Joe Quinsey has just taken to the helm at DCU Educational Trust this November. As CEO, he will lead the organisation at an exciting time as it seeks to build meaningful partnerships with DCU’s supporters that will further the university’s mission to transform lives and societies.
As a DCU graduate, Joe comes to the Trust with a strong knowledge of the university and a wealth of leadership experience acquired in both the not-for-profit and commercial sectors. After completing an MBA with DCU in 1996, he went on to enjoy a successful career with Diageo before joining The Children’s Medical and Research Foundation as CEO in 2010. In this role, he oversaw a campaign to raise €35 million for paediatric research, vital infrastructure and medical equipment for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. Since 2016, Joe led on Transformation Projects with leading global diversified building materials business, CRH, before joining the Trust.
In this interview, he describes what motivated him to return to DCU and talks about the projects and challenges that he looks forward to addressing.
First of all, I want to say how thrilled and honoured I am to have been afforded this exciting opportunity to help with DCU’s continuing mission to transform lives and societies through the work of DCU Educational Trust. My own DCU experience was one of transformation; lucky enough to have had the benefit of employer sponsorship to enable me to complete an MBA in DCU, my experience helped open a whole new world of career possibilities. Following my MBA, I completely changed career path and trajectory. It is that focus on the individual potential of every student, and the relentless ambition of the university that I find so compelling.
I believe that the vision and mission of DCU Educational Trust must be completely in harmony with that of the university. As an integral part of the DCU community, everything we do in DCU Educational Trust must be a partnership between the Trust and the University; the Trust exists because the University exists. So my vision is not only that we are helping to deliver the DCU mission through the provision of philanthropic funding, but that we are active and engaged partners with DCU in the pursuit of DCU’s vision to be a globally significant University of Transformation and Enterprise.
Raising philanthropic funds is never easy, and it is a long game. In an ever-competitive fundraising space, this is undoubtedly one of the major challenges, not only for us but for all charities. Coupled with this, the continuous but necessary increase in charity governance, and focus on the data regulatory environment, will undoubtedly continue to put pressure on costs and resources. That said, DCU Educational Trust is coming from a position of strength and we continue to have a very strong case for support, loyal donors, an exciting project pipeline, a committed team, a dedicated Council of Trustees, and excellent relationships with our colleagues across the University and the wider DCU community.
More than any one particular project, I think it is actually the diversity of the projects and the scale of their ambition that has struck me most. DCU is looking squarely at the major challenges facing the world today and seeking to address them through the discovery and translation of knowledge – whether that is through research by DCU’s Water Institute to provide clean water for all, or through the work of the International Institute for Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction in the area of online political extremism.
The Future-Tech project to deliver a state of the art new STEM facility is also something that excites me. With the relentless demand for highly skilled STEM graduates and research capacity, a facility like this that will accommodate an additional 3,000 STEM students each year will be critical to the continued prosperity of Ireland’s knowledge-based economy.
As I mentioned earlier, DCU’s commitment to providing a transformative student experience and to enabling all students to fulfil their potential in life is something that has always impressed me. There is probably no better example of this than DCU’s Access Programme. As Ireland’s oldest and largest university access programme, it supports approximately 1,200 students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds to attend DCU each year. In my short time with the Trust so far, I have enjoyed meeting a number of these students and it is clear to me that their talent and determination will be a major asset to both business and society in the future.