Congress Vice President
As founder and Chief Executive, Barbara O’Connell (MBA DipCOT) has built Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII) from an idea to a national organisation, providing specialist neuro-rehabilitation services in communities throughout Ireland. Previously Barbara worked as an Occupational Therapist across many rehabilitation settings, developing her role from the frontline to executive management level, leading and training staff to enable people with disabling conditions from all walks of life to achieve their maximum potential. Barbara has significant experience of change management in a challenging healthcare environment. She has pioneered the design, implementation and management of social re-integration programmes for people with an acquired brain injury, bridging the identified gap between post-acute services and return to the community. Using innovation and a solution-focused approach she has spent years transforming challenging systems and harnessing opportunities to bring about real change in the lives of people. Barbara established ABII as a small non-profit. She has since grown it into a large national organisation and, as Chief Executive, now leads, develops and manages diverse senior management teams and external stakeholders to increase funding and implement transparent business processes. Her work and achievements have been recognised through awards including the Ulster Bank business of the year and the Women Mean Business (WMB) Social Entrepreneur of the year. In addition to holding an MBA Barbara has continued her education throughout her career, attending courses at Harvard Business School on strategic planning and organisational development and at Harvard Kennedy school on leadership and decision making. She has been a Director on many boards in the non-profit sector over the years, including large umbrella bodies and the Irish Charity Regulator. She has recently completed a post graduate diploma in Business and Executive coaching in Smurfit Business School, University College Dublin.