Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

PAI are delighted to announce our speakers and presentations for our Annual HR Conference 2022: Building the Workforce of the Future – An Inclusive Approach to Talent Management

For the first time PAI will be taking our popular annual conference both online and in-person, to create an inclusive experience for those who wish to attend and those who are unable to travel on the day.

Our HR conference 2022 will ensure our clients are kept up to date on the latest insights, trends, and solutions for HR Professionals across the Irish Public Sector for the year ahead.

Siobhán McKenna: ‘Inclusive Recruitment, Attracting the Diverse Workforce – A Public Sector Best Practice Review’

Siobhán is the Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at the Public Appointments Service, the primary recruiter for the civil  service. Siobhán returned to Dublin last year after spending 20 years in the non-profit and public sectors in London. She initially worked in international development at the Open Society Institute, where her policy and advocacy work focused on supporting the global fight against HIV/AIDS. In 2009 she joined Greater London Authority, the regional government for London, where she developed and delivered programmes for disadvantaged young Londoners. Later, moving to London’s Violence Reduction Unit, she led the Unit’s £7m education programme.

During the last decade at City Hall Siobhán developed and delivered the workplace equality, diversity and inclusion priorities for the Mayor of London and the key front-line public sector organisations within the Mayor’s remit (including Transport for London, London Fire Brigade, the Met Police).
In 2018 she led the policy work on improving the representation of women in leadership roles in her organisation, developing progressive HR polices, as well as a positive action sponsorship programme for women, helping to reduce City Hall’s gender pay gap in 2020 to less than 1%.

Siobhán holds a Batchelors degree in International Social Science from UCD and a Masters in Ethnic and Racial Studies, from Trinity College.

Síle O’Donnell: ‘Building equality, diversity and inclusion through best HR practice and cultural change’

Sile O’Donnell is a HR Consultant, Associate Trainer with PAI and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in HRM, organisational behaviour and organisation development (OD) in Trinity College Dublin. Sile has a track record of achievement in leading best practice HR and change, spanning three decades in numerous senior HR and OD roles in the public sector.

She provides a range of HR and OD consultancy services to public sector organisations. She has worked with many public sector organisations during the pandemic to develop culture change, performance management systems, wellbeing, workforce planning, competency frameworks and EDI policies. Sile delivers a wide range of training programmes for PAI, including accredited HR and change management training, management and leadership training, equality, wellbeing, and dignity at work programmes. Since 2020 she has trained hundreds of managers in managing people and teams remotely.

Sile has chaired our annual HR conference for the past four years. Her career profile and HR qualifications can be viewed at

Sharon Dillon Lyons: Ensuring equality in talent attraction – developments and case law

Sharon Dillon-Lyons is a practicing barrister with a general civil practice.. She has experience working in policy and compliance with non-governmental organisations and she represents and advises public bodies on a range of statutory duties including HR and employment law, regulatory investigations, data protection, freedom of information and health and safety. She also has experience of best practice tools to monitor implementation of policies, procedures and ongoing compliance with legal and contractual obligations.



A Fireside discussion with John Amaechi OBE – Championing Diversity in the Workplace – A Core Skill for Public Sector Leaders

There are many things to tell you about John. Obviously there’s all the usual Bio stuff; respected organisational psychologist, an OBE, Chartered Scientist, elected Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, bestselling New York Times author, Research Fellow at the University of East London, and Founder of APS Intelligence. And then there are all the things he does; Mentor to many, teacher to some, and always using his deep psychological insight combined with real life experience to provide a touchstone for people and companies who want to thrive, achieve and align their beliefs, values and ethics.

But these are the things you need really need to know; John is a giant, literally, he’s huge! He’s also a Dad, Brother & Uncle…from Stockport (a product of the statement ‘The most unlikely of people in the most improbable of circumstances, can become extraordinary’). People who think facts and evidence should bow to ‘opinion’ drive him crazy, he’s passionate about Star Wars, is a self confessed nerd & geek, a former NBA sportsman, has a voice like honey, is transported by music and loves nothing more than to eat decadent foods that are bad for him – especially donuts.

So while you’re questioning everything you thought you knew, John will entertain you with his storytelling, confront you with uncomfortable truths, make you laugh and move you to tears (sometimes in the same minute) and ultimately inspire you to grow and develop in ways you couldn’t possible imagine… that you can be a Giant too.

Richard Grogan: Wellbeing and Stress – the legal obligations and challenges from a safety health and welfare perspective

Richard Grogan specialises in Employment Law, and Taxation of Employment Law Awards and Settlements. Richard brings over 30 years experience, specialist knowledge and expertise as a Solicitor and Chartered Tax Advisor to provide a quality and value for money service to his clients. Richard is one of the best known and respected Employment Law Solicitors in Ireland. Richard is ranked as one of the top Employment Lawyers in the country. Richard writes and lectures extensively on Employment Law and Taxation. You can see some of Richards publications and lectures in our publications section.

For our full agenda or to register for this event, please visit our Annual HR Conference Event Page.