Introducing Social Enterprise Consultant #15 – Ciara Connaire

I’m stepping into this programme having worked as a scientific officer at an Agency of the European Union. I’ve gained international experience within the private- (Pfizer Biotech, community retail pharmacy, hospitality), public- (European Medicines Agency, World Health Organization) and social- (charity and volunteer work) sectors. I graduated with a Master of Pharmacy from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

As a pharmacist, I enjoy working in the healthcare and regulatory field. However, four programme specific aspects helped shape my decision to create time out for this unique experience.

Aspect 1: International Development and Social Enterprise

The idea of working with vulnerable populations in developing countries has resonated with me from a young age. As a child I was drawn towards social impact activities at a local level – helping members of the Irish travelling community with literacy skills, charity fundraising via raffles, bake sales, runs, fasts, a fire walk etc. In later years I’ve engaged with communities in developing countries. Three short but memorable experiences of mine include:
i) Some field work experience in the Philippines with local communities, as part of a project with a specialized agency of the United Nations, an NGO and the University of Oxford.
ii)  A brief engagement with Tibetan exiles in the Indian Himalayan Region.
iii) Medicines management assistance in a pop-up medical clinic in a metro Manila slum area.

Aspect 2: Travel

I love to travel. I’ve worked in Europe, the States and Asia. During university I spent four summers travelling abroad, including 3 months backpacking around India.

Aspect 3: International  group collaboration

_Social Starters offers an international and skunk work type approach. I’ve previously enjoyed great experiences that shared this spirit. Some were shorter in duration like the McKinsey & Co. Next Generation Women Leaders (EU & Middle East region) three day Paris workshop.
Some were longer, including 3 months spent at the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific Regional Office in the Philippines, where I worked as an intern in the Human Rights, Gender, Equity and Ageing office.

Aspect 4: Startup / Tech

The Startup and Tech aspect very much appeals to me. I’ve coded and created a winning website for a social enterprise startup idea, having recently completed a beginner’s front end web development course. Plus, I’ve been immersed in an entrepreneurial environment having grown up in a family business.

In brief, why did I choose to join this Social Starters programme?

Travel. International development. Social Entrepreneurship. Tech. 

Grass-root community collaboration. International skunk work environment. India. Adventure.

I’m looking forward to working with and learning from _Social Starters, our fellow consultants and in particular, the local communities in the social enterprise arena.

If you’d like to #JoinUs in India on our next Immersion Programme (forthcoming dates: August & October) we only have a few places left so hurry, don’t delay! Send us your CV and a cover letter to info@socialstarters.org or find out more HERE. Closing date 21st May 2015. You can find out more about our programmes and dates on our website www.socialstarters.org.

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