[you can download a pdf of my services page here]
Who do I serve?
Focused Solutions provides value driven processes for non profit organisations and sectors in Ireland and Australia.
My mission is to work with people to create powerful, just and celebratory places to work and live – that’s what drives and engages me in the world.
My work involves helping people, organisations and whole communities to reflect, plan and action their purpose.
I’ve worked across sectors with thousands of people from all walks of life using creative and inclusive processes.
I love action research/evaluation and gathering the thousands of strands of information and ideas then framing the complexity into documents that clearly communicate context, challenges, adaptive strategies and ideas to move forward.
Linking theory to good practice is a delight for me because it helps create better places and spaces for people to live.
I’ve helped create strategies, policies, plans, research and good practice frameworks at local, regional, national and sectoral levels.
My particular talent and delight involves bringing together diverse partners within and between sectors to reimagine how things can be done.
We can all make a difference
Services I offer
My clients have said they appreciate my expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to the work I do with them. Check out Client Love for a few testimonials.
You can get an overview of my work on this page as well as my visual resume
I have a talent for gathering information, synthesising data and then communicating complexity in a way that is practical and makes a real difference.
You can read some of my reports and papers here
Working with diverse stakeholders in partnership is a challenge and one that I have facilitated for decades with very practical results
I work from a very strong social justice value base that has at its core the need to improve services and standards to our most marginalised citizens.
The Functional Areas I have worked in have included:
- Strategic planning, action research and creative action evaluation at community, sector, regional and national levels
- Learning & Performance work including developing sectoral and organisational L&P plans across Ireland
- Organisation reviews and standards development including services and team reviews and development
- Whole of community and sectoral development research and planning using community development and creative engagement processes
- Project, programme and event development from idea to reality including managing all vital resources – people, places, money and ideas
- Facilitation of communities, teams and organisations to review and celebrate their progress and achievements
- Review and development of information and communication systems within teams and organisations
- Coaching and supporting individuals and teams to develop their potential
- Developing and maintaining social media and online communications for organisations including databases, site design and e newsletters
- Effective report writing and written communications for projects and organisations
Scroll down and see the range of areas I work in, examples of my work and the diverse populations I have had the pleasure of working with over 30 years
What I do
I gather the stories and weave a pattern that begins the journey to understanding
I’ve done many action research and action evaluation projects in Australia and Ireland.
I work with clients to define the parameters of the project then develop both qualitative and quantitative methods to gather data, information, knowledge and understanding of sectors, projects and processes. I have done this work across sectors and my reports have helped improve the quality of services to many marginalised groups.
I delight in linking theory to good practice and policy development with diverse partners.
My action research and evaluations have helped create an understanding of the activities, outputs and real outcomes of projects that have run from a few months to over 3 years.
My research and evaluation work has also informed policy and funding development in sectors.
All my evaluations and research have included service users and their voices are given clear space in the process and the reports I write.
A sample of my clients and work
- National Travellers Taskforce Research Ireland – I was part of an action research team that developed a whole of Ireland research and sampling framework to research a range of aspects of travellers lives. The action research had a strong social justice base that involved hiring and training local travellers as research support in counties around Ireland.
- Action Research to developing Partnership plans across Ireland – I was involved with a social action research team that developed whole of community action research approaches to develop Partnership plans that attracted multi millions of euros in funding. I created the first and only partnership with Cork University as I trained a dozen long term unemployed people in Wexford over a year to be action researchers to develop that Parntership plan. Cork Uni provided lecturers and all the participants were awarded Community Development Diplomas as a result of the work. The Partnership Plan also attracted more than 15 million euro in EU funding to establish the Wexford Area Partnership. The Partnership then funded another year for the team to action some of the research recommendations in the plan and we worked with Cork Uni to provide further accreditation.
- Crisis Pregnancy Programme Health Services Executive Ireland – review of supported accommodation services to women experiencing crisis pregnancies in Ireland. This research and evaluation involved speaking with key stakeholders including women who had used the supported accommodation services. The report included an international review of literature as well as integrating key elements of national housing and accommodation strategies. Copy of report here
- Evaluation HEART action research training programme for ex homeless service users in Galway. I evaluated this training programme with all key stakeholders:- participants; trainers; project sponsors and support staff. As part of the process I ran 2 sessions to provide feedback on the evaluation to the participants and the project sponsor as well as key government and local authority managers working in the homeless sector in Galway. The report was very well received and one of the participants met me months later and said that he learnt a lot from the process and the report and was able to use his learning in a new job. Copy of report here
- St Stephens Green Trust [SSGT] Dublin Survivors Grant Programme – 2012-2014. Results, Reflections and Learning from a 3 year process. I was the evaluator of the programme through 2013 and 2014. As evaluator I surveyed the projects twice a year using templates linking objectives with actions, results and learning. Twice a year I facilitated a day long gathering of the projects from the UK and Ireland to share the learning. I wrote a number of reports to the client during this time. SSGT also commissioned me to write a legacy document covering the 3 years of the funded programme and I was the keynote speaker at the launch of the document at the end of 2014. The evaluation and learning report can be downloaded here
- Evaluation of Middle Abbey St Dublin emergency accommodation to homeless women in Dublin. I evaluated this emergency accommodation twice for the Homeless Agency. The first report had a major recommendation regarding the need for a clear support and move on service within the space to help a core group of women who had been there for a number of years. The second report recommended the closure of the accommodation and the development of a specific 24 hour emergency accommodation service for high needs homeless women in Dublin. This service was funded and developed as a result of my report. Down load first evaluation report here. Download second evaluation report here.
- Evaluator to EU Theatre Training Programme for People with Schizophrenia. I was commissioned by Schizophrenia Ireland to evaluate a 2 year EU funded professional theatre training programme for people with schizophrenia.
- Youth Theatre evaluator Sligo. Blue Raincoat Theatre Company commissioned me to evaluate their youth theatre programme. I used creative arts methods with the young people to evaluate the programme and process.
- Evaluator to a range of arts training programmes. I used creative evaluation methods to work with training participants to evaluate their training programmes.
What I do
I help organisations develop a clear sense of purpose, principles and processes that work to achieve their vision
- service, project and whole organisation evaluation and strategic planning
- reflection and celebration days for teams
- learning and performance plans for organisations and whole sectors
- standards development for ngo’s
A sample of my clients and work
- Homeless Agency Dublin – learning and performance review and plan for the whole homeless sector in Dublin. They also commissioned me to create the training plan for the sector including marketing materials, hiring trainers and managing the budget. Homeless Agency then appointed me Chair of the L&P Working Group for a year to help implement key recommendations from the strategic plan with the heads of HR of the major non profit organisations in Dublin. We met for 3 hours once a month resulting in: – a competency framework for the sector and a training programme for the sector as well as shared ways of working and exchanging information. Download report here
- Numerous national non profits including St Vincent de Paul and Simon Communities Ireland – develop national training and development plans. I worked within these organisations to map current training provision, assess training needs against service standards that I developed and then design a training and development plan.
- ALONE Ireland – Culture & Celebration. ALONE work with at risk people over 65 in Dublin. I was commissioned to write an organisational history document that was visual. I was invited to ‘decorate’ the open plan office space to reflect the organisations principles, operational direction, successes and people. I created a celebration lunch for the team.
- COPE Galway – development of customised quality standards framework. I worked with all the projects in COPE Galway to develop a process as well as assessment and planning forms for an organisation standards framework. The standards were developed to reflect the service journey of the service users who were multiple needs homeless men and women as well as women and children escaping domestic violence. The framework is used throughout the organisation as an assessment, planning and performance management tool.
- Depaul Ireland – many project reflection and celebration days. Over the years I did a lot of work with one of Irelands premier and innovative NGO’s working with homeless people. They were the first organisation to bring low threshold and harm reduction services to Ireland. My last piece of work before moving back to Australia was a reflection, celebration and planning day with the team from the Backlane project who work with homeless men.
- SKIL2 organisation online learning space. Depaul Ireland – Over 2 years I worked with a cross organisation team to develop the principles and framework for an online learning intranet. Download an info pack
- Development of information/data collection forms and processes in homeless services. I helped services in Crosscare and Focus Ireland to develop clearer data collection processes. I did this in consultation with front line project workers.
- Learning Centre Link. As Education Officer with LCL I worked with many learning centres in the Northwest to develop their centres through planning and reflection processes. I also developed a number of distance learning training programmes and trained people in centres to facilitate them within their communities.
- Cooperation North Ireland. I worked with staff and managers to develop and train people to use an annual performance review process.
- Creation and provision of training across sectors. I have developed and delivered a range of training programmes within the arts, community development, non profit and homeless sectors. Feedback from sessions has always been very positive and people comment that my training is always interesting as well as providing clear information and practical skills.
What I do
nothing beautiful or powerful ever came out of a comfort zone and I am your discombobulator
Organisations, communities and individuals have many strengths and assets that can be used to help them build and grow.
4M Strategic Planning works on many levels that range from the Mega to the Micro. Ultimately it’s all about what kind of difference you want to make in the world, what values and principles drive you , how you’ll make it happen and who will be your partners in the future adventure.
I help facilitate creative, collaborative and action focused strategic planning processes.
A sample of my clients and work
- Many creative entrepreneurs and artists – I’ve worked with so many wonderful individuals to explore and imagine the way ahead for their business and creative work. I provide an inside understanding of small business/creativity and an outside eye for the possibilities and potentials.
- Area Partnership Plans Ireland – created Partnership plans in Counties and communities that attracted millions of euros in EU funding. I worked with Nexus Social Research to create economic, social, cultural and diversity plans that aided the work of Partnership Companies across rural and urban Ireland. We hired and trained local people to work with us in the creation of the plans and I facilitated some of the first whole of community planning sessions in Ireland.
- Consumer Association Ireland – whole of organisation review and strategic plan that involved interviews with key stakeholders as well as intensive weekly scanning and planning meetings with a 4 person strategic review team over 10 weeks. The plan was designed to connect with a series of key strategic objectives that were developed in partnership with staff and board and was intended to be a working document.
- Visual Artists Ireland Evaluation & Plan for Professional Development programme in Northern Ireland. I was commissioned by VAI to evaluate their professional development programme for visual artists in Northern Ireland and then develop a model of good practice for the future. Download report here.
- Strategic Plan Schizophrenia Ireland. I worked with all key stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for the organisation.
- Artist Association Ireland Strategic Planning over 3 years. Every year I worked with the board of AAI and their CEO for a day to review the previous year and plan for the next one.
- Department Sport and Recreation WA. As a regional officer and acting regional manager I conducted a number of whole of community recreation plans as well as individual organisation planning days.
- Learning Centre Link. As Education officer I ran strategic planning sessions with Learning Centres in the Northwest.
- Geraldton Midwest Development Authority. As Community Development Officer I helped strategise a range of projects in rural health, the arts, womens health and training and employment. I also created a number of networks or government and non profit organisations to plan how we could work more effectively together.
What I do
I delight in creating spaces for people to connect, learn, imagine and act up
I’ve worked with groups of 6 to crowds of hundreds. My role as a facilitator has been utilised across multiple sectors to reflect on many issues.
I have a lot of experience bringing diverse groups together to create partnerships that have changed sectors.
I have been the MC/Chair for numerous events and conferences where I helped frame both the process and structure of the event.
My facilitation has been utilised in training, learning and development settings within organisations and sectors.
I have developed, resourced and led many events that ran from 1 day to many months.
I love bringing together people to create great projects and love all the creative challenges of project management.
A sample of my clients and work
- Project leader CPTED [crime prevention through environmental design] audit of Maylands Business Precinct – I am coordinating a CPTED audit of the Maylands business precinct with 55 Central, Paul Cozens [Curtin University] and Lisa Baker [MLA Maylands].
- Irish coordinator for 3 day visit by high ranking Singapore government delegation to Ireland to study the pharma industry. I was hired by Jones Lang Lasalle to coordinate all elements of this 3 day visit including a private dinner with high level Pharma industry speaker as well as meeting with key industrial development managers in the relevant government department. Read more about this work in this post.
- City of Melville Neighbourhood Watch reflection and planning session. I designed and facilitated a 2 hr reflection and planning session for the City of Melville. download the report here
- Lecturer Master of Arts. Community Music. University of Limerick. Ireland. I was contracted by the university to develop a module ‘ Funding and Business Plans for Community Musicians’. All my students passed the module, many with distinction. The international assessor said that she had never seen such an innovative module for community artists anywhere else in the world.
- Chair Homeless Agency Dublin Learning and Performance working group – As a result of the Learning and Performance plan I created for the whole homeless sector workforce in Dublin I was appointed Chair of their L&P Working Group to implement all the key recommendations within the plan. I had already worked in partnership with all the HR managers of the major NGO’s in Dublin working in the homeless sector to create the plan. They worked with me over a year, meeting for 3 hours every month, to successfully implement all key recommendations.
- Trained long term unemployed people in Wexford Ireland to be action researchers in order to develop the Partnership plan for the area. This was initially a year long process and I partnered with University of Cork to build accredited modules so the participants could receive a Diploma in Community Development. The team was trained to conduct the broad ranging social and economic research that informed the plan. The plan accessed the newly formed Wexford Area Partnership multiple millions of euros. 50% of the first year participants gained jobs and the remaining 50% and another cohort worked with me for another year to implement further key research. I continued to partner with University of Cork and participants received further formal qualifications.
- Chaired and MC’d a range of events in Ireland – I was Chair of a day long conference on Multiple Needs Homeless Women in Dublin. I developed a chaired a 2 day conference for community arts workers from all over Ireland. I MC’d a one day event on Youth Arts in Dublin. I developed a chaired 3 regional professional visual artist days around Ireland for the Artists Association of Ireland. I Chaired a day long think tank for local authority, tourism and hoteliers in County Leitrim to explore ways of rebranding the county as a tourism destination. These are only a few examples of this kind of work.
- National Artworker Course Ireland – I was the key facilitator and organiser for the last National Artworker Course run by CAFE. The training programme for artworkers ran in 5 day blocks over a year.
- Effective Written Communication training – I ran these training days for project workers in the Dublin homeless sector for the Homeless Agency over 3 years.
- Develop your own website in 4 hours training – I ran this small biz for a number of years in Ireland. One person entrepreneurs in a range of sectors met with me 1 to 1 where I helped them create a site using wordpress.com to promote their businesses.
- Geraldton Midwest Development Authority. As Community Development Officer I led and supported a range of initiatives including: – Chair of the Kamien Committee that created a rural medical student scholarship; accessed capital funding to develop a regional rural medical student learning area; developed a video to encourage medical students to be rural gp’s and added a rural medicine to the Uni WA medicine training. I also funded and developed training for women wanting to start a business. I also developed and ran a 2 day Wildflower Industry conference in Geraldton that resulted in clearer connections within the industry as well as the development of a growers cooperative in the Midwest.
- Dept Sport and Recreation WA. As regional officer and acting manager based in Bunbury and then Northam I led numerous projects including: – a corporate health swimming competition with business in Northam; a life dreaming day for people with disabilities; a youth say gathering in the southwest; a community games day in a rural town;and community arts support.
What I do
I adore wrangling complex data into beautiful, readable and practical documents
A lot of my research, evaluation, strategic planning and facilitation work requires written documents that can be used in many ways.
I have a strong reputation for writing reports and documents that make a difference to service users, sectors and also help inform policy development and funding. I’ve also created information sheets for the training events I facilitate.
One of the greatest compliments I received was when a project worker in the Dublin homeless sector read my Middle Abbey Street report and said
I couldn’t put the report down. It was so easy to read and gave very real and practical solutions to a really difficult issue. Thanks for including the voices of homeless women.
My reports have covered issues across numerous sectors and hold the voices of many many stakeholders.
I love writing reports because when they’re done well they can effect real change for some of the most marginalised people in our communities.
A sample of my clients and work
- There are a range of papers you can download as examples of my work from this Services page.
- Arts Councils north and south Ireland. Arts and Disability handbook. I managed a team of people with hearing and physical disabilities to compile a handbook of resources and opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities in Ireland.
- Refugee Information Service Ireland Information pack. The RIS contracted me to develop an information pack that they and other organisations could use to inform and train mainstream organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland.
- Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation Engaging People document. I was commissioned by the Foundation to develop a short document that would provide ideas for creative ways to engage people during a major Climate Justice conference in Dublin during the Irish governments EU presidency term.
- Website content and editing for Learning Curve Institute Ireland. My work isn’t just about writing reports. I have also been commissioned to help write content for sites as well as design and write e newsletters.
- Presentation to Dublin Business Womens Network – Social media strategy for soloentrepreneurs. I created a Prezi presentation on the social media strategy I had created for my Life Dreaming business [now in hiatus]. View the presentation here.
- Mapping Keyworking in the Homeless Sector Dublin. The Homeless Agency commissioned me to map the elements of key working and case management that could inform the development of of an effective system within the Dublin homeless sector. Download the paper here.
- Effective Boundaries information sheet. I created this sheet as part of a work day with project workers and managers in Tus Nua Dublin – a supported accommodation service for women leaving prison. Download the sheet here.
What I do
I believe that safe shelter is the right of all citizens and it’s possible to create services that are both compassionate & professional
I worked for over a decade with government agencies, local authorities and NGO’s working with homeless people in Dublin, Galway and other parts of Ireland.
I conducted research, evaluations, training and strategic planning across the sector and helped develop new services and policies regarding service provision and funding.
A sample of my clients and work
- Homeless Initiative – Under One Roof research and report. This was one of the first pieces of research commissioned by the Homeless Initiative [which became the Homeless Agency]. The HI was an agency charged with changing the whole service and policy structure of the Dublin homeless sector and involved a partnership approach between the Health Services Executive, relevant Dublin local authorities and NGO’s working in the sector. Download report here
- Training and Development Plans for the largest NGO’s in Dublin and Ireland – Depaul Ireland, St Vincent Depaul, Dublin Simon, Simon Communities Ireland. I developed training plans for a number of large NGO’s working with homeless people in Dublin and around Ireland.
- Evaluation of first Night Shelters for Rough Sleepers in Dublin – I evaluated the first shelter for rough sleepers in Dublin over 2 years and helped develop KPI’s and processes with the project and management team.
- Day long workshop to explore homeless issues and responses in Dunlaoghaire Dublin – I was commissioned by the Dunlaoghaire Council to design and run a day long session with all key government, local authority and NGO’s in this area to explore opportunities, challenges and future potential actions regarding homelessness.
- Training and development sessions across the homeless sector in Dublin – I ran many training sessions within NGO’s and for the Homeless Agency in Dublin.
- Developed clear and easy data collection forms for project workers in Crosscare Rough Sleeper Shelters – I worked with the team of project workers to improve their daily data collection forms and processes so there was more consistency in data gathering and the information could be easily used to provide clear information to senior management and funders.
- Review Training and Development Service Dublin Simon – I reviewed the T&D service and made recommendations that reframed how their resources were focused.
What I do
I love working with people to create connections, explore possibilities, imagine new potentials and then make them happen
A lot of my working life has revolved around community development and I’ve lived and worked in many rural WA and Irish communities.
I was one of the first female regional officers for the Dept. Sport and Recreation [worked in the South West and Northam and Midlands region] and the first Community Development officer in the Geraldton Midwest Development Authority [GMWDA] covering over 600,000 sq kms. My territory as Education Officer with Learning Centre Link covered the Northwest, Pilbara and the Kimberlies.
My work in Ireland covered both urban and regional areas in the Republic and Northern Ireland.
A sample of my clients and work
- WA Wildflower Industry conference. When I worked with the GMWDA I travelled to many farms and talked with farmers about alternative crops. One area that was flourishing but uncoordinated was the wildflower industry in the Geraldton Midwest. After talking with all the growers I agreed to coordinate a 2 days conference for the whole industry throughout WA and base it in Geraldton. The conference involved growers, researchers, funders and importers/exporters from key market internationally.
- County Leitrim Tourism Development plan. I wrote this plan for the Failte Ireland Leitrim office as a vision and practical document. Download plan here
- Learning Centre Link Education Officer to the Northwest. When I worked with Learning Centre Link I created a range of distance learning education packages, trained facilitators to run the programmes as well as run planning sessions within the centres.
- Researcher National Travellers Taskforce Ireland. I was a member of a research team that conducted extensive research into travellers lives in Southern Ireland. We used an action research approach that included and involved travellers as gatekeepers onto sites and into different populations.
- Geraldton Midwest Development Authority. As the Community Development Officer I worked in all areas of health, education, rural development and the arts. I commissioned research, led projects, helped create policy and worked with local councils in the region.
- Dept. Sport and Recreation WA. As a regional officer in Bunbury and regional office/acting manager in Northam I worked with many organisations, individuals and local councils to create plans, policies and help fund initiatives.
What I do
the arts change lives and I show how
I have worked with many individual artists as well as arts organisations to plan and evaluate across a range of issues.
Project evaluations of arts in community projects have shown me the real power that creativity and the arts have to make a difference in peoples lives and impact on whole communities and countries.
A sample of my clients and work
- Evaluator Mapping arts programme over 3 years. Common Ground commissioned me to develop an evaluation process for their multi partner arts programme for young people in Dublin inner city.
- Guest speaker at conference on evaluation in the arts. I was guest speaker to a 1 day conference for arts workers on the topic of value driven arts evaluation processes.
- Evaluator EU theatre training programme for people with Schizophrenia – I evaluated a 2 year theatre training programme for Schizophrenia Ireland that was funded through the EU and trained people with schizophrenia in professional acting skills.
- Individual professional strategic planning with visual artists. I provided a number of visual artists with strategic planning support to plan their careers in a 3 year timeline.
- Designed website for Dorothy Smith – visual artist Ireland. I worked with Dorothy to structure the design of her site as well as populate the content. I also taught her how to add new content to the site.
- Sligo cross generational arts programme evaluator. The Sligo County Council Arts Office commissioned me to evaluate this programme. Over 2 years I created an evaluation process for the artists, primary school students and older adults who participated in a weekly cross generational/cross arts programme base in the school and in a very small rural community.
- VAI Professional Development Programme for Visual Artists in Northern Ireland. I was commissioned by VAI to evaluate their Professional Development Programme in Northern Ireland. Download report here
- Training to arts workers in Dublin Artsquad. I conducted a range of training days for artsworkers in the Artsquad covering presentation, facilitation and work opportunities.
- Training and reflection days with Common Ground Artists working in communities. I facilitated one day reflection sessions with the professional artists who worked in Common Ground projects in Dublin’s inner city communities.
- AAI strategic planning days with board. I ran one day reflection and planning sessions with the board every year for 3 years.
- Temple Bar Properties research with arts organisations on marketing needs. I met with all the cultural organisations in Temple Bar Dublin to gather information on their specific and collective marketing needs and wrote a report making recommendations to TBP on how they could support the initiatives.
- Evaluation Community Arts Training module Queens University Armagh. I evaluated a community arts module.
- Dublin City Council Arts Office Arts Based Training evaluation. I created an evaluation and support process for the artsworkers and recreation officers in DCC recreation centres.
- Arts Council Ireland database for youth arts. I created a database of all the accredited learning and training opportunities for young people thinking of entering the arts as a career in Ireland.