My Charity Career – Maureen Kavanagh

We were eager to reach out to Maureen Kavanagh to hear of her impressive career. We hope you enjoy her ‘Charity Chat’ as much as we did. We are currently recruiting a part-time Membership Support Officer and a Communications Officer to join the team at Active Retirement Ireland.


What is your current role and how long have you been working in it?

CEO of Active Retirement Ireland for 13 years


How did you get to where you are today and what influenced your decision to work in your chosen field?

I started my career in Microbiology and Biochemistry which I worked at for 5 years before leaving to have children. I began doing voluntary work in a local adult education group and proceeded advance through adult & community education on to paid work as co-ordinator of a women’s groups network. I loved being involved in women’s community education and this influenced me to move to a national organisation AONTAS to co-ordinate the first national programme for Women’s networks in Ireland. I advanced to manage a national programme for community education facilitators. I moved to become CEO of ARI in 2008.


What do you love/enjoy most about your job?

Working with older people, strengthening the national organisation and putting in place good policies and procedures


And what are the most challenging parts of your job?

Working with older people and managing a membership led organisation


What’s something you’re working on that you’re excited about?

Supporting older people to get back their agency after lockdown


How do you relax?

Reading, walking, meeting friends for a glass of wine or coffee


What skills and personality traits do you think are essential for a job like yours?

Leadership, teamwork, management, patience, clarity of role, vision


What’s your advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the same field?

Go for it, it is a great sector to work in


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t wait around for opportunities, seek them out


What has been the best moment of your career so far?

Bringing in two major partnerships to advance our work

Pulling together the stories from older people on how they felt during lockdown “Telling it like it was”


What are you looking forward to in the year ahead careerwise?

Leading the organisation in a transformational programme for older people.


If you’re a professional who works in the not-for-profit sector and you’re interested in taking part in the ‘My Charity Career’ interview series, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]   We’d love to hear from you!