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The Third Act Conference

The Third Act Conference

The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2.

Nov 9th (8.30am – 4.30pm)

Registration 8.30-8.55am

** **

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Speakers and contributors

Jos de Blok
jos de blok
Jos de Blok is the founder and CEO of Buurtzorg (neighborhood nursing), a Dutch organization with more than 10.000 employees, offering community based (home) care services to more than 70.000 patients a year. Founded in 2006 with one team of four nurses,  Buurtzorg has transformed home-based health care and it has created an innovative method for nursing care at home. As a community based and client centered organization, Buurtzorg connects highly qualified licensed nurses and clients to create positive and proactive solutions that are effective, holistic, and sustainable. Organized in small autonomous teams of up to 12 nurses within a neighborhood-sized care area, Buurtzorg nurses bring groundbreaking synergy and expertise in a direct and connected relationship between care-giver and client. Buurtzorg has succeeded in reducing administrative burden for nurses, improving quality of care and raising work satisfaction for their employees (Buurtzorg  was awarded three times employer of the year in the Netherlands). Buurtzorg is supported by an innovative IT system and works without management structure. Internationalization started by launching in Sweden, US, Belgium, Japan, China, Czech Republic, Korea, Scotland and UK.

Jos de Blok is a nurse by education and considered a change agent in the Netherlands when it comes to the organization of community based (home) care. Before he established Buurtzorg he had several senior management positions in home care organizations including director Innovations for medical services.



Dr. Edward Kelly
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Why The Third Act? I spent fifteen years researching adult development and wrote my doctorate on the topic. In that time I observed many theories and change methods, ancient and new, and came to see the truth of Jung’s insight that you can’t live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning for what is true in the morning by evening time will be a lie. I had started in the morning and was now in the afternoon and experiencing the difficulty of that change. What Jung couldn’t have anticipated though was how human longevity would add another 25-30 years to our lives. Putting these together; the change that was happening out there (a new Third Act in life) with my area of interest (Adult Development), I set up The Third Act organisation to both educate people about the implications of human longevity as well facilitate people in transition from their second to new Third Act, hence The Third Act Conferences, Workshops, Seminars, Programmes and Coaching
Anne Connolly

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Anne is the CEO of the ISAX – the Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange (www.isax.ie) – an independent network of businesses, academic institutions and government agencies collaborating to fast-track the research, development and commercialisation of innovations for the global smart ageing economy.  Its Vision is to build Ireland as the global leader in smart ageing innovation, targeting the fastest growing consumer market, projected by Merrill Lynch to be worth $15tn by 2020.

This follows on from her role (2006-2013) as the Executive Director of the Ageing Well Network, an independent think-tank and catalyst for social change, comprising senior managers from government departments and agencies, companies, NGOs, academics and service providers.     It spawned the WHO Age Friendly Cities and Communities programme, now operational in all municipalities in Ireland.

Prior to that, and following her role as strategic planner in Kingspan Buildings Products, she established her own strategic management consultancy practice specialising in strategic planning and business excellence, with a deliberately mixed range of clients – from large multi-nationals to indigenous companies, commercial and non-commercial government bodies and NGOs.

She is currently a member of the board of SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), a governor of the Royal Hospital Donnybrook and a board member of their Voluntary Housing Association.  She had previously been a director of a number of boards – An Post (national postal service), Fabulous Beast Dance Company, Chair Simon Community Ireland (national homeless charity), ICC Bank, Agency for Personal Service Overseas.


Nick Owen
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Writer, theatre director, actor, storyteller, consultant, coach, and catalyst, Nick Owen’s work has been mentioned in dispatches across many contexts and continents, particularly in business, the professions, the arts, and education. He is known for his creative and alternative ways of exploring some of the key issues that affect personal and organisational development, innovation, and transformation.


Nick’s particular areas of expertise include the power of storytelling and narrative to create sustainable personal and organisational change; the role of metaphor in unlocking difficult issues; and the role of breath, voice, and energy in leadership and everyday social interventions.


Much of Nick’s work involves supporting and nudging people to let go of past certainties, explore new pathways and practices, and to envisage a bigger and more widely systemic vision of the world in which each of us can find our own unique star to follow.


He is the author of several books on story and metaphor and a co-initiator of (early collaborator in*) the Third Act movement. For more information go to www.nickowen.net

Jane Stephenson

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Jane is the MD of Seminars.ie, which specialises in bringing international motivational, personal development and inspirational speakers to Ireland. She started Seminars.ie in 1994 upon her return to Ireland from the US and London, when she noticed the personal development section in bookshops around the country was expanding at an extraordinary rate, and decided to investigate this phenomenon. She has worked with most globally renowned spiritual speakers including Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer and many more. Inspirational and truth seekers include Susan Jeffers, Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Tony Buzan, and Noam Chomsky and others.

Jane believes passionately in the power of the individual to change and adapt at every stage of life. She feels that we must be open to change and not get stuck in our comfort zones, and ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ (Susan Jeffers). Her Third Act transition was celebrated by a year in Provence and she is currently writing her book ‘Beyond The Gurus’.

Donal O'Flynn

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Enabling a world transformed by abundant graphene. We are developing a production process for high-quality, low cost and scalable high volume graphene, feeding existing carbon markets and enabling emerging graphene markets. Graphene will enable: * Energy efficient lightweight transport * Clean, desalinated water * Clean air * Fast charging, longer lasting batteries * Lighter, more electrically conductive wires than copper * Super-efficient solar cells for buildings and cars * Flexible, bendable touchscreens for TV’s, Tablets, Phones and Watches * Thin, light structures that are 200 times stronger than ones made from steel. * Graphene can do all this and more. What the world needs is an abundant supply of high quality, low cost graphene to make all this a reality. At grapheneXL we are committed to this goal. At grapheneXL we are committed to this goal. The co-founders are: Donal O’Flynn, Executive Chairman: Donal is responsible for all aspects of grapheneXL’s activities, leading the company in its relationships with prospective customers and shareholders. He is a self-confessed energy geek, having become fascinated with the subject from an early age. In 2005, he co-founded OpenHydro, a world leader in marine turbine technology to harness renewable energy from tidal streams. Philip Moynagh, CEO: Philip is responsible for the development and execution of grapheneXL’s strategy. He leads the building of the organization, the plan and the culture to deliver that strategy. In 25 years with Intel, Philip held roles including Vice President of Internet of Things, General Manager of Quark Division, Director of Low Power Solutions, and Factory Manager of multi-Billion-$ Chip Manufacturing Factories in the US and Europe. He has received multiple awards including: Irish Exporters Association “Innovation Award”, the Software Association’s “Multinational Award”, the Institute of Engineers “Professional Development Award”, and Trinity College’s “Alumni Award”. Bill Shelley, CTO: Bill leads the technical design, process development, product development, and intellectual property portfolio of the grapheneXL technologies. In addition, Bill leads the team in identifying opportunities for innovation in developing novel graphene processes. He is an engineer and entrepreneur specializing in new technology development, advanced materials, and alternative energy. He has led several technology start-ups, building R&D and product development teams, laboratories, and manufacturing facilities. Bill has successfully developed new materials and products for aerospace, automotive, medical, industrial, and consumer electronic fields.

Prof Rudi Westendorp

Rudi Westendorp (1959) is professor of Medicine at Old age at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at Copenhagen University, Denmark (2015) and director of the interdisciplinary Center of Healthy Ageing exploring ageing from cells to society. Trained at Leiden University, Netherlands he became a consultant in internal medicine and epidemiology and later dedicated himself into geriatrics and gerontology. He was full professor at the Leiden University Medical Center, and chair of the department of old age medicine (2000-2014). He was founding director of the privately funded Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing (2007-2014) that conducts research, provides education and pursues societal innovations to improve quality of life of older people. He acquainted ample national and European grants, published more than 600+ original articles with an h-index of 75+, and supervised over 50+ PhD students of which three of them have been appointed full professor. He published the bestseller ‘Growing older without feeling old’ that is translated in nine languages. He was endowed doctor honoris causa by the University of Newcastle, UK (2009), and received a knighthood in the order of the Dutch Lion (2014).

Tara Wilson

Human Work Systems

Growing up in an entrepreneurial family where business was a part of everyday life, I absorbed much. Following a degree in psychology from the University of St Andrews (2001), whilst pondering what next, I found myself managing a UK packing operation for Monaghan Mushrooms (the family business). A failing operation in urgent need of people and process reorganisation. It proved to be an enriching and humbling experience.

Emerging from this role I desired both to be altruistic and entrepreneurial but struggled and ultimately failed to reconcile my motivations with opportunity. During this period I found a new profession selling country homes while completing a part-time executive MBA with the Smurfit Business School.

In 2006, I found myself willingly drawn into the design and implementation of an ERP system in Monaghan Mushrooms. As IS manager, I felt satisfied by the problem-solving nature of this role, figuring out an appropriate balance between existing workflow habits, actual value streams and ultimate system design. The most challenging and engaging aspect of this role was being facilitator between people and system.

Getting back in touch with my motivations I embarked on a Masters in Occupational Psychology. In 2010 I transitioned from IS manager to Training & Development Director tasked with building a department to service the needs across the group (3,500 employees 29 locations worldwide). This served a wide remit from developing operational capacity to building leadership capability and delivering organisational design initiatives.

The autonomy and scope of this role exposed many of my personal misconceptions. I had unwittingly absorbed the assumptions of corporation best practice through my education and my professional network. I had lost the ability to see what was real.

For the past two years I have researched, advocated for and advised on a different perspective on organisational systems. A stripped back approach, starting with the purpose of the organisation and from there working out the appropriate work system design. I see no real conflict between people and technology, just ineffective design. Where people excel, technology disappoints and vice versa. 

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein

Sarah Wren Wilson

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Artist Biography – Sarah Wren Wilson



Born in Monaghan, Ireland (1991). Sarah completed her studies in Fine Art at Loughborough University with a First Class Honour Degree. Since then Sarah has taken part in numerous artist residencies (Spain, Iceland, UK) and has been shortlisted for two London based awards ‘The Young Contemporary Purchase Prize’ and the Graduate ‘Works in Print’ Prize.


Most recently, Sarah has received a Distinction in her Fine Art Masters from the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Currently, she continues to exhibit both in Ireland as well as internationally – with locations including China, New York and Finland. This October Sarah will take up a month’s residence at the Burren College of Art as a recipient of the Irish   Emerging Artist Award 2017.


Heidi Gutekunst

Naisjohtajat Heidi Gutegunst / Amara

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Heidi is the founder and CEO of Amara Collaboration, a social enterprise with the vision to double the worldwide number of leaders with transforming capacity. She works with individuals, groups and organisations wishing to transform and develop, including companies wanting to develop self-organised structures.

She has worked over a decade in traditional and digital advertising agencies in leading positions. The last three agency years Heidi served as a CEO for a digital advertising agency. During her time as a CEO the company went through a transformation with results in financial performance, employee satisfaction, conquering new offerings, turning customers into accounts, developing self-organised structures and winning both national and international awards for the first time in years.

She believes that Aware Leadership will lead to more holistic decisions on all levels and dimensions and was inspired to co-author “Street Smart Awareness and Inquiry-In-Action”, in order to translate the theory and practice of transforming capacity into practical applications of development for everyday life and business.

Heidi has numerous international advertising awards, she travels for work and life, loves to learn from different people and experiences and is a regular speaker at international Business Forums interested in her personal entrepreneurship and transforming ability.

Mark Carter

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Mark Carter

Mark spent 19 years as a Dublin based partner with PwC’s People and Organisation practice. While satisfied with a challenging career over those years with one of the world’s leading firms, he felt that the time had come to step out of that arena and move on to a new stage. Having left his long term career in July to spend time travelling before pursuing new ventures he is currently in the midst of his own Third Act transition.

Supplementary info

At PwC Mark established the HR Services practice in Ireland which advised leading Irish and international organisations on a wide range of people and organisational issues. In particular he had extensive experience delivering global mobility services which helped businesses get most value from their internationally mobile employee populations, while at the same time enhanching the mobile employee experience. He led the PwC series of Global Employee Mobility & Employment Tax Forums, and for many years ran their HR Business Briefings. He was a member of the PwC EMEA HR Services wider leadership network, and former board member of a number of international bilateral business associations, as well as the International Committee of Dublin Chamber of Commerce. His overseas experience was gained with the PwC global strategy team in New York.


Eilish Hardiman

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Éilís Hardiman

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Tallaght Hospital Eilís Hardiman has been given the top job in the group that will integrate three children’s hospitals ahead of the move to the new national children’s hospital at St. James’s in Dublin.

Hardiman was today named as as CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group which oversees Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the paediatric service at Tallaght Hospital.

Hardiman is a qualified nurse and has over 20 years in the healthcare profession including  two-and-a-half years as CEO of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, the primary authority in charge of the design and building of the new children’s hospital.

She also previously worked for 19 years at in St. James’s Hospital where she held the post of director of nursing.

Hardiman’s appointment to the role in the Children’s Hospital Group follows on from the appointment of Dr. Jim Browne as chair of the group in April this year and a further nine further appointments in August.

National Children’s Hospital

Planning permission for the new National Children’s Hospital is hoped to be secured by the end of next year with the end of 2017 pencilled in for the completion of the facility at St. James’s.

The Department of Health says that the tendering process to choose the design team is underway with a new office also established to carry out preparatory work at the St. James’s Hospital site.

Hardiman’s appointment was made this afternoon at Government buildings with Health Minister James Reilly’s  saying her appointment represents ‘another important milestone’ in achieving the best possible healthcare for children. The Minster outlined the importance of the role Hardiman will take on:

The role of CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group is critically important in driving forward the integration of the three hospitals, and the project as a whole. This appointment is another milestone for paediatric acute services in Ireland and I am delighted that a person of the calibre, ability and experience of Eilísh Hardiman is taking up the role.
Tricia Cusden

tricia cusden

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Tricia has long shown entrepreneurial flair, starting and running her own slimming club from 1974-1986 while caring for her young family. At the same time she gained a first class BA honours degree in 1986 at the age of 38. From 1986-1986 she worked as a management training consultant with The MaST Organisation before setting up her own training consultancy in 1996.

Until the birth of her granddaughter India in 2012, Tricia worked with a variety of corporate clients including Accenture, Dixons Stores Group, Nomura and Esso Petroleum. Unfortunately India was born with a rare chromosomal disorder which necessitated long periods of time in hospital. Tricia therefore stopped all client work to help to support her family. Early in 2013 when India was much improved, Tricia decided that she needed a new challenge.

At the age of 65, Tricia spotted a gap in the market for a new approach to cosmetics for older women.   She invested her own savings in a range of specific makeup suitable for more mature eyes, faces and lips. In October 2013, Look Fabulous Forever was launched to 80 friends and family at a party in London.

At the time of the launch, two makeup tutorial videos which Tricia had made with two friends acting as models to demonstrate all the LFF products, were uploaded to YouTube. Slowly these videos gained in popularity and were the starting point for the fast growth of the business. There are now over 70 tutorials on YouTube with nearly 4.5 m views between them.

In November 2015, she was awarded CEW’s Digital Achiever of the Year Award and in 2016 LFF was shortlisted for Amazon Digital Business of the Year part of the Lloyds National Business Awards. Tricia also recently won Nectar Small Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year and Fabulous Ladies SME Emerging Businesswoman 2016 awarded by HSBC’s National Women in Business Awards. In 2017 she was nominated by PWC for a Rising Star Award.

Tricia has two daughters, Anna and Suzy, who both work in the business, and five grandchildren. She divides her time between London and France.

Declan Hanley

Declan joined Davy in 2015 as Head of Financial Planning and has overall responsibility for the development of holistic financial plans to meet the individual needs of our clients. Prior to joining Davy, Declan worked in Mercer and has over 12 years of experience consulting with senior executives and Trustee Boards across large multinational and local companies. Most recently, Declan was Head of Clients for Mercer’s investment management business in Ireland, developing new innovative solutions for defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans. He previously worked as a consulting actuary for a range of international and domestic clients. He is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland and the Institute of Actuaries in the UK. He graduated in Financial & Actuarial Mathematics from Dublin City University in 2000 and is a Qualified Financial Advisor (QFA).


Maire Daly

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Máire is passionate about transformation and has been working with individuals to empower them to maximise their talents for many years. She has a B. Commerce from UCD and after a career in Financial Services she undertook further training in coaching.

Her introduction to The Third Act arose from reading articles by Dr. Ed Kelly and hearing him interviewed in the media. “When the pupil is ready, the teacher is there” – attributed to many wise beings!

Conscious of the ‘space that emerged’ after the second act, Máire attended the first Third Act Transition Programme in search of ‘what next?’

The programme provided a great opportunity to share experiences, discuss ideas and explore options with other individuals in their third act in a positive, flexible environment.

The search continues …

Kingsley Aikins
kingsley aikins
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Economics and Politics graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. Kingsley has spent over 30 years working in 6 countries in the areas of trade and investment, philanthropy, education, culture, tourism and sport. As CEO of a major international non-profit organisation for 17 years, he raised over a quarter of a billion dollars in 12 countries. Kingsley and his colleagues are now focusing on online / offline training in Networking, Philanthropy and Diaspora with corporations, governments and non profit organisations.


Jim Blake

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Jim ‘s introduction to the Third act was in 2015 when he attended their first seminar. Charles Handy and Ed Kelly tweaked his interest and he signed up for a Third Act transition programme devised and facilitated by Ed.

Approaching 70 and still working it was a good time to take stock and what better way than with a group of like minded people more or less in the same position. On the back of the course he decided to take a break for a couple of months and headed off with a loose plan and a bag on his back to South East Asia travelling through Vietnam ,Cambodia and Thailand.

It was hoped that the time out would allow him to revaluate his work life balance and return with a clear plan. In reality he returned no wiser than when he had left but he did come back with some bug which necessitated him spending two nights in the Beacon. If the trip away didn’t do anything to clarify his thinking the two nights on a drip helped him concentrate his mind on the preciousness of time and the futility of wasting any of it..

He immediately set about rearranging his life and while he is still clocking up some hours to keep the wolf away from the door more of his time is now spent on some  other pursuits. He has signed up for a TEFL course which he plans to use doing voluntary teaching in some far flung parts and is working on the outline of a book which he says is very much  in the embryonic stage and is shy about declaring any date for its completion.


Conference agenda

1. Conference Agenda 2017

The Third Act: Who's responsible?

The Third Act- Who's Responsible_

The Third Act Conference

The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2.

Nov 9th (9.00am – 4.30pm)

Supported by