John has a financial education and career background and worked with HSBC in Eritrea where he established bank training programmes and completed a master’s degree on Financing for Eritrean Firms. John set up the Vita programme in Eritrea in 2000 and travelled to Ethiopia to help establish Vita’s first programmes there in 2005. He returned to Ireland in 2007 and has been CEO of Vita since 2008. John has focused on developing next generation models of development including the Irish Potato Coalition which was set up in 2014 and the Vita Green Impact Fund which was launched in 2016. Originally from Dublin, John is married to Smret with whom he has five children. John enjoys languages as well as a tune on the guitar.


Neil is a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ working experience in audit and international, domestic not-for-profit such as GOAL and Irish guide Dogs for the Blind.

Neil is Head of Finance and Governance in Vita with additional responsibilities as Chief Risk Officer and Company Secretary.

Ciara Feehely joined Vita in 2015 after having been on the board for several years. Her last position was in EirGrid as their Senior Lead Communications Specialist,  she has also worked with RTÉ and the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association.

Maria has a project management background. Since 2008, she has been managing rural and urban water services projects in various countries such as Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Iraq and Bangladesh. She has experience working for both government bodies, international development organisations and aid agencies.

Emily has a background in international development and human rights. She has worked with local community development and civil society organisations in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda and has managed a child safeguarding and protection programme in these countries. Emily’s qualifications include a Masters in Globalisation & Development from University College Cork. Outside of work, she enjoys tai chi, cinema and keeping up with current affairs.

Danny has a background in international development, having managed and advised on social programs in countries emerging from periods of war or civil conflict. Before joining Vita, he worked with NGO and UN agencies in countries including East Timor, Kosovo, Liberia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. His qualifications include a BA in Sociology and Masters in Development Studies. In his spare time he enjoys travel, writing and raising his children.

Dani, originally from Kingston Jamaica,  has a background in Early childhood education. Before joining Vita, Dani was the Restaurant Administrator at The Ivy Dawson St. and later People Manager at Hyde Restaurant.

She has had over 10 years experience in the voluntary service having been a part of The Rotary Club and it’s junior arm The Interact Club.

In her spare time Dani has a keen interest in music, cinema, watching sporting activities and gardening.

Gerry Murphy has involvement in strategy and partnership development within Vita. For over 30 years he worked directly in a number of senior marketing and sales management roles with Flahavan’s , Britvic, CPC Knorr and Unilever Ireland as well as dealing directly with major suppliers in Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA.

Gerry co-managed the InterReg2 Fund on behalf of the Irish Exporters Association and he worked as the Marketing / Business Advisor for ROI with Invest Northern Ireland, In the recent past he has held Board positions with Age Action Ireland and MS Ireland. He is a Management Science graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds graduate membership from both the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and M.I.I.


Maggie is a trained journalist. She has a BA in Mass Communication from the University of Zambia (Zambia) and an MA in Climate Change: Policy, Media, and Society from Dublin City University (Ireland). Prior to joining Vita as a Communications and Fundraising officer, Maggie worked for the Zambian Ministry of Information as a District Information Officer

Kate Higgins Jackson oversees the Vita programme in Ethiopia. Kate graduated with a Master’s in Moral Theology specialised in Christian human rights and globalisation and further studies in Kimmage Development Studies centre. She has spent the over 7 years working in the area of international humanitarian aid managing programmes in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Somalia, and Lebanon at the Syrian border. She has worked in a variety of roles during this time include Programme Quality Coordinator and Grants Manager. She is excited to contribute her expertise to the Vita programme and team.