Speaker Bios

Diarmuid Ó Conghaile

Head of Department of Heritage & Tourism, Languages & Humanities

Atlantic Technological University – Galway City

Diarmuid Ó Conghaile (BB, BComm, MA) is currently Head of Department for Heritage & Tourism, Languages & Humanities at the Galway City campus of the Atlantic Technological University (ATU). A graduate of the Shannon College of Hotel Management, the University of Galway, and the University of Limerick, Diarmuid has gained extensive operational experience in the hospitality industry in Ireland and abroad. Since joining ATU as a lecturer in Hospitality and Tourism in 2013, Diarmuid has engaged with international universities in China and Spain, delivering modules in Tourism-related subjects to students of Nanchang University and the University of Valencia, respectively. He took up the role of Head of Department in November 2017. As a principal investigator within the Sustainable Tourism Observatory at ATU (STORY@ATU), Diarmuid is currently working with his colleague Dr James Hanrahan (ATU Sligo) on a comprehensive study that uses the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS) to measure the sustainability of tourism on six off-shore Irish islands.

Joan Crawford

A native of Donegal Joan studied at University of Ulster where she graduated with a B.A. Hons in Hotel & Tourism Management with a Diploma in Industrial Studies.  She then went on to attain a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Ulster.

Joan Crawford has been with Fáilte Ireland for over twenty years in both national and regional roles working on destination, product, industry and commercial development.

As a Manager on the Wild Atlantic Way, Joan has worked on the project since its inception back in 2014.She is passionate about supporting tourism businesses to drive business recovery and growth.

Craig Foley

Chief Executive Officer Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador

Craig Foley, Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, has been working within Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism industry for more than 20 years. Having held numerous positions on industry boards and committees, Craig believes collaborative partnerships are the best approach to advance the tourism industry and the operations of those working within it. Recognizing the potential of tourism to positively impact the economy and way of life for residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, and with extensive experience in strategic planning, development and implementation, Craig works tirelessly to ensure sustainable industry development and growth. Craig currently sits as Chair of the Provincial/Territorial Tourism Industry Associations group and has a seat on the TIAC Board of Directors.

Minister Charlie McConalogue

Minister Charlie McConalogue was appointed as Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine on 2 September 2020.

He was born in October 1977 and is from Gleneely in Co. Donegal. From a farming background, he was educated at Carndonagh Community School before going on to study at UCD where he studied Economics, Politics & History. He first became involved in politics while attending UCD.

After working in Fianna Fáil Headquarters for a number of years, as well as working abroad in Australia, Minister McConalogue returned home to work on the family farm before being elected as a Donegal County Councillor in 2009. In 2011, Charlie was elected TD for Donegal North East.

Minister McConalogue was appointed previously as Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with responsibility for Law Reform and prior to that, he held the positions of Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Children, Education and Skills, and Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


John Angelopoulos

John Angelopoulos is the Director of Tourism Product Development with the Provincial Government Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation. Collaborating with industry stakeholders, he is the lead for the implementation of the Provincial Tourism Product Development Plan and visitor journey priorities. His work in tourism product development over the past 16 years has taken him to communities from Nain to Trepassey, building capacity in the development of authentic experiences that tell our unique story of people, place and culture.


 Meadbh  Seoighe (Joyce) works as an Enterprise Executive with Údarás na Gaeltachta assisting enterprises across the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking regions of Ireland) to develop their business plans and create employment. Support is provided through a range of soft supports, grant aid and investments. In 2016 Tourism was added to her portfolio and she is now implementing the 2018-2020 Tourism strategy for the Gaeltacht. Destination marketing to promote the Gaeltacht’s unique offering in terms of language and culture will be central to this. Prior to joining Údarás na Gaeltachta Meadbh worked in the television and film sector and as an independent marketing consultant.


Joanne Gaffney

 Aquaculture Technical Manager Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Irish Sea Fisheries Development Agency

Joanne has been actively involved in the aquaculture industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland for more than fifteen years. She initially worked as an Aquaculture Development Officer in the Border region, but leveraging her qualifications in environmental science, she quickly moved into a Regional Environmental Role. Her focus was on achieving progress in key areas which helped to improve and measure the environmental performance of the sector leading to the achievement of commercially valuable sustainability certification. These credentials maintained access to prime market segments and enabled the fish farmers to profit from  good environmental performance. She joined BIM in 2012 as a Regional Environment Officer where she became an industry expert on the complex process of environmental impact assessments (EIA), emerging marine policy and enhanced fishery certification.

She was appointed to the position of Aquaculture Technical Manager in BIM in May 2020. Her remit includes the investigation and commercialisation of innovative solutions to industry challenge, novel technology transfer and the development of new cultivation techniques and species with a particular focus on the sector’s response to climate and biodiversity challenges. Joanne holds an honours degree in Zoology from Trinity College Dublin, a Masters in Environmental Analysis from Queen University Belfast and is currently completing an MBS.


Dr Conor McTiernan

Dr Conor McTiernan is a lecturer in the Department of Tourism and Sport in Atlantic Technological University. He completed his PhD in Leeds Beckett University exploring the role of trust in inter-organisational knowledge transfer in Irish festival and event tourism networks.

Conor’s teaching and research primarily focuses on tourism policy development, tourism networks, innovation, knowledge management and trust in tourism SMTE’s. Conor is also knowledgeable on tourism network formation and operation, especially facilitating knowledge transfer within network structures.

Conor is a member of the organising committee for the Laurentic Forum and is dedicated to ensuring the network explores how the development of a sustainable tourism sector can contribute to supporting coastal communities.


Laura Johanne Olsen

Laura Johanne Olsen is the program manager of the public-private partnership “Lofoten – The Green islands 2030”, which is a regional program for taking a national lead in the green transition of society, business and academia. From this year, all six municipalities of the Lofoten islands have voted through and implemented “The Roadmap for Lofoten – The Green Islands” in their political ambitions and public plans. Together with the regional grid- and net company “Lofotkraft” and the destination company “Destination Lofoten”, we aim to reduce climate gas emissions in the public sector, in transportation, tourism, coastal fisheries, aquaculture and agriculture, and in aviation. Together we will create the world’s cleanest island community and low emission society within 2040.

Dr Maeve Edwards

Dr Maeve Edwards, Director and co-founder background in algal research places her in a unique position to assist a considerable number of companies who are looking to transition from the use of wild seaweed resources to more accessible methods provided by aquaculture production. Irish Seaweed Consulting champion the sustainable aquaculture technique of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture where possible.

The Irish Seaweed Consultancy Ltd. is the only consultancy in Ireland specialising in seaweeds. Each of us have nearly twenty years experience at the forefront of applied macroalgal scientific research.

Keith Hutchings

Managing Director for the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation

 Keith has spent his professional career in a variety of roles and responsibilities with a proven record of strategic leadership, planning and execution, financial management, public engagement, media and public relations, driving change and advocacy. He currently holds the position of Managing Director for the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) in St. John’s NL.

Keith started his career with the Workplace Health Safety and Compensation Commission NL in various adjudicative and management related positions including OHS prevention services, tribunal reviews, human resource management, financial management and employer services. 

As an entrepreneur Keith started his own consulting business providing health and safety management, regulatory compliance, and financial management to industries and business owners in transportation, construction, fishery, accommodations and service sectors in.

In 2007 Keith was elected to the NL House of Assembly (provincial legislature) for the District of Ferryland. He was reelected 3 times and served a total of 12 years including cabinet portfolios as Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, Minister responsible for Research and Development Corporation, Minister Responsible for Public Engagement, Minister of Fishery and Aquaculture and Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs. He also served as Official Opposition House leader from 2015 -2019 when he retired from elected office.

His legislative career also included Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Human Resources and Employment and the Department of Health and Community Services along with leading reviews of the provincial minimum wage and personal care home service delivery model.

During his professional career Keith has spent time volunteering in coaching hockey and soccer, serving on sports executive groups and volunteering with youth groups. He has a passion for the outdoors and pursues hiking, salmon fishing, hunting big game and all other things in the wild whenever he can.

Keith completed a Bachelor of Arts Program at with a Major in Political Science and Certificate in Public Administration from Memorial University in St. John’s as well as Occupational Health and Safety Program from Ryerson University in Toronto.


Dr. Deepika Dave

Dr. Deepika Dave is a bioprocessing scientist specializing in the areas of Marine Bioprocessing and Bioconversion, Blue Biotechnology and Waste Utilization (including production of high value molecules such as nutraceuticals, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals from marine unutilized resources , both on a small and pilot scale), environmental engineering (including waste characterization, water/ wastewater treatment, management and utilization, remediation of contaminated air, water and soil) and energy production and management (including characterization of biomass, size reduction, production of bioethanol and biodiesel). She has over 19 years of increasingly responsible experience in engineering, science, management, research, training and facilitation.

Dr. Dave obtained a Ph.D. (2009) in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India), a master (1999) in Environmental Engineering from S.P University (India) and a bachelor (1995) in Environmental Engineering from Gujarat University (India). She worked as an Environmental Engineer (1998-1999) at Vaibhav Environ Consultant (India), lecturer and consultant (1999-2004) at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Technology (India), Graduate Scholar (2004-2008) at IIT Bombay (India), Research Associate and Project Coordinator at Dalhousie University (2009-2012) before joining as a Research Scientist at Marine Institute in 2012.

Dr. Dave is a principal investigator for the delivery of the product and process design, industrial and development services at the Marine Institute’s Marine Bioprocessing Facility. Under Dr. Dave’s research guidance, the CASD’s marine bio-processing research team (marine biotechnologist, bioprocessing technologist, lab technologist, facility supervisor, post-doctoral fellow, graduate students) is currently working on several scale-up projects valued related to marine oils, protein, sea cucumber extract, shellfish extracts, waste utilization and eco energy for the benefit of NL’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. These initiatives are currently being conducted in partnership with several industry partners, federal and provincial funding agencies (e.g. NSERC, NRC, DFA-FTNOP, MITACS, Weston, IBRD, RDC, CCFI, Harris Centre), and researchers within MUN’s Department of Biochemistry and Faculty of Engineering, as well as Dalhousie University.


Arnheiður has been working for Visit North Iceland from 2011, spending her days showcasing the attractions of Iceland‘s Arctic north as a year round destination.  Covering 16 municipalities and working with 250 tourism companies, she knows this region inside-out and looks forward to sharing her extensive knowledge with you. From previous work as a consultant she has an extensive experience in marketing, innovation and finance as well as service development and entrepreneurship.