Dragon's Den star to speak at VEC Adult Learner Fair

Dragon's Den star to speak at VEC Adult Learner Fair

Dragon's Den star to speak at VEC Adult Learner Fair

Donegal VEC has engaged Dragon's Den star, Sean Gallagher, to appear at the Adult Learner Fair on Thursday, January 25th in the Mount Errigal Hotel.

Originally from County Cavan, Sen grew up in a small village where a ‘can do' attitude and hard work

were values that he learned at an early age and he realised that this approach was the only way to

overcome life's difficulties. Born with congenital cataracts, he was almost blind as a child. He struggled

through his early years until pioneering surgery saved his sight. Then the advice of an encouraging

primary school Headmaster was to change his life: "if you can dream it, you can become it". That advice

became his life's mantra.

Over the years, Sen has had many teachers and mentors who taught him invaluable lessons about how

much can be achieved through sheer determination and believing in yourself. He has never forgotten

their advice throughout an exciting and varied career, which has included farming, youth development, politics and


Of all of these careers, Sen is probably best known as an entrepreneur, and the founder and former CEO of Ireland's largest home technology company, Smarthomes which he set up in 2002, along with his business partner Derek Roddy.

Committed to lifelong learning, Sen completed a Masters in Business Administration in 2000. This has given him valuable confidence and knowledge and broadened his understanding of business and the value of education as a cornerstone of success.

Today Sen's other interests include property development, telecommunications, as well as his high profile TV career with Dragons' Den and working closely with his Dragons' Den investment companies. He is also a Board member of

InterTradeIreland, the North South Trade Body and was recently appointed to the Board of FS, the National Training and Employment Agency.

Sen believes that success is available to anyone who chooses it and works at it, and his passion in life now also involves helping other people to grow and achieve success in business and in their own lives.

Other speakers at the fair will included Jasmina Behan and Mary Howick.

Jasmina Behan has been a senior researcher in the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit of FS since 2003.

The Unit provides research assistance to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs. Since her

appointment, Jasmina led the project on the development of the National Skills Database for which the

Unit received an Innovation in Government 2008 Award. Jasmina has contributed to the production of a number of reports for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs and her specific area of interest includes forecasting skills demand in the Irish economy. She was co-author of the FS/ESRI Occupational Employment Forecasts 2015 report which was published in February 2010.

Jasmina is a graduate of University of Novi Sad, Serbia where she obtained a primary degree in Economics and of Trinity College, Dublin, where she obtained a MLitt in Economics. In 2000 she received a University of Dublin Postgraduate Award. Jasmina worked as a teaching and research assistant in the Department of Economics at Trinity College Dublin and as a research officer at Rural Economy Research Centre in Teagasc.

Mary Howick is Vice President of Human Resources in Pramerica. She was born in the west of Donegal near

Inver but spent most of her life in Dublin. She graduated in Information Technology and joined the IT department in AIB Bank working her way up to the position of IT Manager in charge of their branch lending systems. She joined Pramerica as a member of the initial management team in June 2000 as Senior Manager for the Systems Group and helped to establish the company here in Letterkenny. She became head of HR in 2006 and since then has overseen growth of the number of employees in the company from 530 employees to over 820 today. The HR practices in Pramerica have been accredited at Platinum Level by the independent Excellence Though People audit team and when reaccredited in December 2010,

Pramerica achieved the highest score to date in Ireland. Mary works with other members of the senior management team to ensure the culture in Pramerica is one that supports employees to develop their skills and reach their full potential.