The Shona Project is operated by a small army of women and men. Founded by Tammy Darcy in 2016, it has grown over time and our team now consists of an accomplished board, an amazing group of youth ambassadors, and a panel of wonderful women, who provide all kinds of support from advice, to mentoring to cups of tea and biscuits.

Meet the team

 

Tammy Darcy: Founder


Founder

The year Tammy turned 14 everything changed. Her parents went through a messy separation, and her older sister, Shona was diagnosed with an acquired brain injury that rendered her physically and mentally disabled, and left her requiring full time nursing care. It was also the year she was bullied so badly in school that she spent break times in a toilet cubicle and climbing over the back wall to go home.

As a result of all these experiences, Tammy went from an A student to a fail student, her self-esteem and self-confidence were destroyed and she gave up on herself for many years, made some poor choices and some even bigger mistakes.

At 25, Tammy went to college at night, and achieved an honours degree in Human Resources Management followed by an MA in Business Management in Social Enterprise. She is currently studying an MA in Education.

Tammy feels that had she had the right support, information, and guidance, she may have been better equipped to overcome the challenges she encountered as a teen. She now sees that her experience is not unusual, and that many girls find their teenage years to be negative, distressing, and traumatic. It is during these years that the internal barriers which prevent young women from achieving their potential are often formed.
Tammy is passionate about eradicating bullying and rivalry amongst girls and promoting the fact that our differences are what make us special and our challenges are what teach us to be understanding, resilient and determined.

Tammy can recite the theme song to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air on demand, which is her proudest accomplishment in life. She is wanted in 13 countries by the Grammar Police, so if anyone asks, you didn’t see her.

Orlaith Carmody


Chairperson

Orlaith is a Leadership and Executive Coach with a passion for supporting opportunities for women. She was an RTE reporter in a previous life, and then became a director of businesses in education, training, recruitment, and media production. She has served on the boards of RTE and the Broadcasting Authority.  She lives in the beautiful countryside of County Meath with her husband, four (very big!) kids, and a few dogs, cats, and horses.

Kathryn Kenneally


Financial Controller

Kathryn has years of experience as a Chartered Management Accountant and the co-founder and director of Dairy Direct.

Gillian Maxwell


Business Development

Gillian is an entrepreneur who brought the Flying Tiger Copenhagen brand to Ireland and then to the USA.  Before this, she worked for the Special Olympics World Summer Games – the best job she ever had! Mum to Kate and John, she loves to drink tea and chat, and is mad for all things chocolate!

Antoinette McDermott


Secretary

Antoinette currently works as the Regulatory Lead at the Central Bank of Ireland, and has years experience in regulation, governance, banking and diversity and inclusion.

Despite the fact that Antoinette is obsessed with policies and procedures, she is also the best craic of all time.

Sarah O’Connor


Fundraising

Sarah has many years experience working with entrepreneurs, developing ideas, and making connections. Sarah is part of an amazing team who raise funds so we can offer most of our events and services for free.

One of Sarah’s biggest accomplishments is her extensive headband collection. Ask her to show you photos!

Kathryn

Katherine O’Sullivan


Education

Katherine is the beloved 4th Year Head at the Presentation Secondary School in Waterford. She is passionate about making sure every girl reached their potential and is an amazing role model to the students she works with.

Katherine is an avid runner and a pretty good soccer player too!

 

Laura Wall


PR and Marketing

Laura is a creative genius who currently works as a group director for Thinkhouse. Laura is a culture sponge and PR nerd who fell in love with The Shona Project when we pitched to her in her previous job in 2019. She helps us tell our story in a colourful and lovable way.

Mary Darlington


Governance

Mary has many years experience in Health and Safety, leadership and Governance. She was the very first National President of Network Ireland, an organisation which supports women in business.

Mary is also a pretty deadly drummer, she can get pretty loud!

Nisha Kamat


Deputy Financial Controller

Nisha is an actuary with several years of experience in the finance industry working in the US, London and Dublin. She has a keen interest in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with a specific focus on gender equality and climate change. She hopes to use her skills to tackle these goals by working with like-minded individuals to create a positive social impact. She is currently on the Irish FinBiz 2030 Task Force and is an Engagement Manager with the platform Impact Consulting. She is passionate about women’s rights, the importance of education and helping female students and professionals realise their full potential.
Nisha loves to travel any chance she can get and is always looking forward to the next adventure.

Steph Golds


Counselling & Psychotherapy

Steph works as a counsellor and has first-hand knowledge of the challenges that our teenage girls are facing. Steph loves hearing people’s stories; their journeys and how they came to be where they’re at. Her style of counselling is person-centered, integrative, and intuitive. You can check out her website here where she offers both in-person counselling but also online resources to help you manage if you are going through a bit of a rocky patch.

Steph is the best listener and has the kindest eyes you’ve ever seen x

Ellen Conway


Social Media Coordinator & Administrator

Ellen graduated from WIT with a Bachelor of Business degree with a specialisation in Marketing. She runs The Shona Project’s social media accounts and manages the website. She could give Dr.Dolittle a run for his money so, if you see her chatting away to animals, it’s totally normal!

Aoife Hutchinson


Marketing Intern

Aoife is a 3rd-year business student from WIT who is also majoring in marketing. In her spare time, she can be found chilling playing Animal Crossing or our for her daily stroll!

Shauna O’Connell


Marketing Intern

Shauna is a 3rd-year business student from WIT who is also majoring in marketing. She loves what the Shona Project represents and has said she’s super enthusiastic about being able to be part of it!

Marion Ashley


Events and Projects

Marion provides support to the entire team, and is always super organised when it comes to our events and projects. She has a background in psychology, counselling/ psychotherapy, and meditation and is passionate about compassion and connection.

Marion was born in New York and lived in many, many places before she realised that Ireland really is the best 🙂

Shona Marshall


Head of International Impact

Shona has delivered The Shona Project workshops to young girls and teenagers in Africa, and is now working with partner organisations to train volunteers to deliver our message in other countries. Also, her name is Shona so she gets to have her own name on her t-shirt, whats not to love about that?

Freya


The Real Boss

Freya may be young, but she is fiercely passionate about girls following their dreams and being whoever, they want to be. She can often be found smiling sweetly at boys on the soccer pitch before flattening them. Having struggled with her mental health over the past 2 years, she is more driven than ever to help girls in any way she can. The future CEO of The Shona Project? We think so! Tammy better watch out!

Judith Mullally


Content Contributor

Judith reigns from Waterford, in the Southeast of Ireland. She’s a lover of fashion, spoken word, music, people, and the ocean! She is currently studying psychology and counselling. Prior to
commencing her studies last year, she was a professional singer/dancer turned entertainment director for CCL, touring the world and sailing the open seas performing on cruise ships. She’s a believer that the strongest card in the deck of cards of your life is your authenticity -so shine on my friends, and always be unapologetically yourself x

The Shona Project is for girls, by girls, and about girls. In order to make sure we always have the best interests of our girls at heart, we established our Youth Council, a group of young Irish women from all over Ireland, and with a range of different backgrounds and interests.

Our youth council helps us make all our decisions, tells us when we’re doing things right, and breaks it to us gently when we’re missing something special. They are our ambassadors and our eyes and ears on the ground. If you would like to apply to join this group of brilliant young ladies, get in touch. The more the merrier.

Aoife


Aoife is an artist and writer from Laois with a passion for sustainable fashion and global development. Having been diagnosed with autism at the age of 7 and hEDS (a rare connective tissue disorder) aged 15, she is an outspoken activist for the rights of disabled people. In her spare time, she loves to listen to music and crochet!

Órna


Órna Murray is the founder of Your Health Psychology and Move2B (a social enterprise that empowers girls to work with their bodies). She has a master’s in Health Psychology and a degree in Applied Psychology. She trained as a yoga teacher in 2019 and is passionate about finding your inner chill and feeling good in your body. An extremely proud Shona Ambassador too! You can check out her website here.

Grace


Grace is a 27-year-old self-proclaimed fairy living in Waterford. Grace has her own business – Grace Marie Creative – specialising in Social Media Marketing & Content Creation. Having had quite a rough time in school and in her early 20s with her mental health, Grace’s goal in life is to help people, especially young women who may be experiencing similar struggles. Grace has plenty of opinions on politics, gender equality, environmental protection, sustainability, equality for people with disabilities, and mental health among other things. She LOVES animals and on any given day can be found working from home and chilling with her cats and dogs!

Chloe


Chloe (pronouns: she/her) is 20 years old and from Tipperary. She is a student at UCC studying French and Politics. She is super passionate about feminism and all things relating to gender equality! Chloe loves educating others and encouraging people to get involved in feminism, activism, and politics, and showing that it doesn’t have to be as boring as you may think. Politics aside, she loves reading, writing, and cooking – you’ll always find her with a book or a spatula in hand. Chloe also runs a small blog in which she writes about all the things she loves!

Megan


Megan began as a Shona Ambassador in 2017 and has been sharing her story of battling anorexia with the hope to spread awareness of eating disorders and document her journey through recovery. She has a degree in Psychology and Sociology from UL and hopes to work in the field of mental health. She is 22 years old, originally from Mayo, and currently living in Cork.

Maebh


Maebh is immensely interested in Gender Equality, as a measure of global development and a fierce advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. Using her background in debating, development education and politics, she aims to promote active citizenship at every level to ensure a more just world.

Tara


Tara is 25 and has just started college as a mature student studying psychology. She is incredibly passionate about mental health and likes to talk about it at any chance she gets to try and help break the stigma attached to mental health problems! Tara also makes YouTube videos and has a podcast called One Too Many, both of which can either feature her talking about serious topics or just her talking pure nonsense, no in-between!

Destiny


Destiny is passionate about promoting storytelling and shared experiences as a way to encourage others to share their own experiences. She believes that stigma and shame hold us back when we should be celebrated as survivors of trauma. Destiny is studying Social Science and is a talented writer.

Róisín


Róisín (She/Her) is from a small village called Lahardane in Co Mayo in the west of Ireland. She has recently graduated with a degree in Social Care. She is passionate about mental health, having struggled for many years with her own mental health challenges. She is also extremely passionate about human rights, feminism, and LGBTQ+ rights. She is also involved in other organisations such as SpunOut.ie and SeeChange. You will most likely find her in her free time listening to musical soundtracks, designing houses on Sims or playing Animal Crossing!

Ciara-Beth


Growing up with high functioning autism, Ciara-Beth experienced difficulty maintaining eye contact, and the social isolation that came as a consequence. In an attempt to alleviate the negative effects that minimal eye contact had on her life, and the lives of others on the autism spectrum, Ciara-Beth created an app called MiContact.

Sinead


Sinead had a really hard time in school when an important friendship turned bad. Inspired by the effects this had on her confidence, she started a movement to promote kindness. Sinead hopes that in her role at Shona, she can really encourage girls to support and accept each other.

Alisha


Alisha, a talented writer from Waterford, and has a passion for English and reads about 3 books a week! She wants to use this platform to encourage young women to stand together and support one another, and hopefully to make girls who are struggling realise that they are not alone.

Lauren


Lauren, from Cork, is a passionate feminist and women’s rights activist. Lauren knows sexism exists from the way she felt she had to conform to stereotypical ideals as a teenager and the pressure she, herself, put on other girls as well. She now aims to break this cycle through her weekly feminist vlog channel which can be viewed here.”

Fiona


Fiona is a talented playwright and actress who produces beautiful pieces based on the female experience. Not one to conform to tradition, she relocated from her native LA to Ireland perfect her craft. One to watch for sure..

Ruth


Ruth is a 24-year-old makeup artist living in Wexford. Following her life-changing surgery in 2019 she decided to start a TikTok channel, raising awareness about being an amputee and has since gone on to be one of the biggest Irish creators. She aims to break down the barriers surrounding the subject of disabilities and mental health in Ireland through her quirky sense of humour and growing social media platforms.

Ava


Ava is a 22-year-old entrepreneur, founder of Old Soul Vintage. Her business began the day before COVID-19 Lockdown when she received the keys to her new shop. Ava lives to promote sustainable fashion while focusing on helping people find their own individuality with what they wear. She also passionately promotes local artists, designers, photographers & crafters in-store to shine a light on the hidden Irish talents. The global pandemic continues to affect Ava and her business but she’s fighting to continue her journey.

Iona


Iona is our music buff, a firm believer that there is “power in your playlist”. Iona holds a  Diploma with the West London College of Music in Button Accoridon, and loves to sing, especially in the old Sean – Nós style.

Skye


For years, Skye was unable to attend school due to her mental health struggles,.Now she is doing well, and is keen to share her story to help reduce the stigma around mental health, and hopefully help other girls who are struggling

Emma


Emma, from County Kilkenny, is passionate about equality, human rights and politics, and aims to create a world in which everyone has equal access to opportunities and support. She battled with anxiety for a few years after her parent’s divorce, and now uses her new-found strength to encourage conversation around mental health.

Alana


Alana is a talented actress, spoken word actress and filmmaker. She runs her own production company, making short films for social enterprises, charities and changemakers. An accomplished youth activist herself, Alana is hugely involved in youth empowerment in Ireland

Katie


Katie started her own company at 16, selling gender neutral clothing. Her entrepreneurial spirit was recognised when she was awarded National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year and U magazine’s “30 under 30” award. Katie will represent Ireland in the European Finals in Sofia, Bulgaria this November.

Isobel


Izzy is a talented writer, activist and debater with an amazing future ahead of her. She wrote a powerful post about labels which is one of our most read and shared posts to date. Check it out here.

Abigail


Abigail wants to be a role model for girls, for them to be confident and to believe in themselves and for them not to be ashamed when times get tough. She is a passionate mental health ambassador, and also acts as an ambassador for SeeChange.

Naoishe


Naoishe is 22 and from Louth. She is passionate about languages, volunteering for her local Crosscause Charity, donating Christmas shoeboxes, movies and fashion. At 17 Naoishe became ill with POT Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue (M.E) and Fibromyalgia. She hopes to use this platform to share her story, raise awareness about illnesses that aren’t always visible and help others who are struggling with similar health.

Joy


Joy is one of the founders of The Shona Book Club, and a talented writer. Her favourite book is Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Daisy


Daisy is one of the founders of The Shona Book Club, and a talented writer. Her favourite book is The Cider House Rules by John Irving

Libby


Libby is one of the founders of The Shona Book Club, and a talented writer. Her favourite book is The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Clara


Clara is passionate about improving young people’s mental health, with a particular interest in overcoming body image issues and stamping out diet culture. With a background in managing a non-profit that engages young people with European issues, she also seeks to empower the youth of today to speak their mind on issues closest to their hearts.

Michaela


Michaela, from Waterford, is currently studying in Maynooth University. She is an advocate for young people’s voices in Ireland. She is also a passionate activist for student representation, student engagement, education and the student learning experience. Areas she is involved in include mental health, equality, social justice, women’s rights, environmental issues, sustainability and youth empowerment. She can most likely be found reading a book or at home in Waterford with her family, her dog Roxie and her four cats! Her love of the Shona Project is immense. Her aim is to celebrate amazing women with diverse passions and to hopefully provide support and be an inspirational mentor like so many she has in her life.

Sophie


Sophie is on a mission to make the world ethical and sustainable again. She facilitates events that promote the circular economy rather than the linear economy. She is convinced that this is the best way to face our environmental and ethical challenges and allow companies to make profits.
Passionate about innovation and problem solving she knows we will improve our system by using human knowledge alongside new technologies.
Sophie is one of the founders and managing director of: “What The Hack” organization that offers tailored, sustainability-focused hackathon events for universities, large corporations, or interested parties.

Mikaela


Mikaela is 21 years old and from Co. Wexford. She is currently studying a BSc Hons degree in Applied Healthcare at Waterford Institute of Technology. Mikaela also works part-time as a Healthcare Assistant in a hospital. She enjoys going out to restaurants, doing her makeup, listening to music, watching TV, and meeting up with friends.

Blessing


Blessing, from Dublin, is currently studying in Youth & Community Development at Technological University Dublin. She’s an outspoken passionate activist on all sorts of social justice issues, especially mental health awareness among Black & other ethnic minority communities in Ireland.  She is also involved in other organisations such as SpunOut.ie and See Change. Activism aside, she loves listening to worship music, writing, and cooking African food. She hopes to write a book/start a blog someday

Rebecca


Rebecca is a twenty-year-old from Carlow studying Community and Youth Work at Maynooth University. Rebecca is outspoken and passionate when it comes to social issues such as mental health, racism, and migration. She is involved with organisations such as Spunout.ie where she writes articles and posts which raise awareness on issues such as juvenile arthritis and mental health. She aims to challenge the status quo through education and challenging people on their prejudices. She enjoys writing, public speaking, and music

Siobhan


Siobhan Brady is the Guinness World Record holder for the Highest Harp Concert. She comes from Limerick and is an accomplished and experienced harpist on both the Irish lever and pedal concert harp. She is currently a third-year student at Cork School of Music studying for her Bachelors of Music. She is a senior harper in The Irish Harp Orchestra as well as a harpist in the CIT Symphony Orchestra.  She holds a Guinness World Record which was awarded in Jan’ 2020 for the Highest Altitude Harp Performance. The Concert was performed at 5000m on the 6th of September 2018 just above the summit of Singla pass on the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of India. The project raised £20K in funds and increased awareness for Cystic Fibrosis, using music and altitude can be seen here.