x = independently organized TED event

Theme: YES

This event occurred on
March 25, 2023
Belfast, Antrim
United Kingdom

In 2023 TEDx Stormont will celebrate 10 momentous years. And Northern Ireland will mark 25 even more momentous ones. The anniversary theme of YES talks to a story that is befitting the celebratory backdrop of hope and positivity.

Great Hall, Parliament Buildings
Belfast, Antrim, BT4 3XX
United Kingdom
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Darragh McCarthy

Across 18 years at Morgan Stanley, Darragh worked in London, Frankfurt and New York, holding the positions of Global COO for Institutional Securities, COO for EMEA, Head of Fixed Income Sales North America and Head of Fixed Income Sales EMEA. Identifying Global Investment Banks’ increasing demand for high-quality resources to navigate the shifting regulatory landscape, in 2013 Darragh founded FinTrU - a profit-driven organisation with a social purpose to create high-quality professional employment and investment in local communities. Today, FinTrU employs over 1,100 people across offices in Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Dublin, Letterkenny, London, Maastricht, New York and Porto. Darragh has been a board member of the Belfast Chamber since June 2020 and the Innovation and Growth Advisory Board for the City of London since June 2021. Originally from County Cork, Darragh now lives in Belfast. He is married with 3 children.

David Blevins

Sky News’ Senior Ireland Correspondent
David Blevins is Sky News’ Senior Ireland Correspondent. He has covered every notable event on the island of Ireland in the last three decades – from the troubles to the Good Friday Agreement, the ups and downs of Stormont and more recently, Brexit and the global pandemic. In 2019, The European Journalism Institute in Prague awarded him its ‘Freedom of the Press’ Award. He regularly lectures journalism students at home and abroad on the role of the media in the peace process. In 2022, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Ulster University for his contribution to journalism, education and charity.

Emer Currie

Senator, spokesperson for NI, Special Education and Inclusion
Senator Emer Currie was appointed to the Seanad by the Taoiseach in 2020 and is Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson for Northern Ireland, Special Education and Inclusion. She was elected to Fingal County Council for her home ward of Castleknock in 2019. Before politics Emer worked in advertising and marketing for 15 years for some of Irelands biggest brands. She is originally from Tyrone and serves on the Good Friday Agreement Committee, is Chair of the Sovereign Affairs Committee of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, as well as Co-Chair of the All Party Work Equal Oireachtas Committee and a member of the working group of the Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.

Janina Ramirez

Historian, Documentary Maker and Author
Dr Janina Ramirez is an Oxford University Fellow, BBC broadcaster and best-selling, award-winning writer for children and adults. As a medievalist, she seeks to uncover hidden histories, finding inspiration from the past on how to build a better present and a fairer future.

Jim Dennison

Chief Executive of the Simon Community NI
Jim Dennison is the Chief Executive of the Simon Community NI, Northern Ireland’s largest and longest-serving homeless charity, a position he has held since 2014. Prior to this, he was Head of Operations at the Chartered Institute of Housing and Director of EU Peace Programmes at the Community Relations Council. Jim is a Non-Executive Director of the NI Ambulance Service and Chair of its People, Finance and Organisational Development Committee. He holds an Honours Degree in Politics from the Queen’s University of Belfast, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Regional and Local Development from the Dublin Institute of Technology; and is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He is passionate about challenging perceptions of homelessness and is absolutely committed to providing help and support to those without a home of their own.

Joan Mulloy

Irish solo sailor
Mayo native Joan Mulloy is one of Ireland’s most inspiring solo sailors, representing her country on the global racing stage. Since learning to sail on the West coast she has followed a determined path to global success, representing Irish ambition and homegrown talent in the high-octane world of offshore racing. In 2018, Joan became the first Irish woman to represent her country at the high-profile international Solitaire Le Figaro race. Her ultimate ambition is to be the first Irish person to complete the Vendée Globe, a solo round-the-world race known as “The Everest of the Seas”. She comes from a family of seafarers, and her family business is an organic mussel farm on the West Coast of Ireland. Joan lives with her husband and their two toddlers in Killary Fjord, County Galway.

Karise Hutchinson

Professor of Leadership
Karise Hutchinson is Professor of Leadership at Ulster University. She is an award-winning researcher, author, educator, speaker, and strategic advisor to leaders in public, private and third sector organisations. Specialising in uncovering and spreading the very latest leadership thinking, Karise helps leaders take a deeper look at how they think and practice leadership today, for the sake of tomorrow. Karise has gained significant insight into the leadership process in various contexts including higher education, peace building, corporate, and small business. Karise lives on the North Coast of Northern Ireland with her husband and four children joining her on her adventure and love of life.

Leona O’Neill

Head of Undergraduate Journalism at Ulster University
Leona O’Neill is head of Undergraduate Journalism at Ulster University after spending 24 years as a news journalist in Northern Ireland. She is a weekly newspaper columnist with the Irish News, a Field Producer for Vice, Al Jazeera, CBC and others. She is an avid campaigner for better mental health in newsrooms. In 2019 she was standing beside fellow journalist Lyra McKee when she was murdered by a dissident republican gunman during a riot in Derry. She faced months of harassment and intimidation following the incident and developed PTSD. She co-edited Breaking: Trauma in the Newsroom alongside the BBC’s Chris Lindsay.

Lisa Strutt

Leadership Coach, Lifelong Learner and Trustee
Lisa Strutt is an executive leadership coach and a Fellow of the Institute of Coaching (Harvard). Passionate about coaching, she challenges leaders to be purpose-driven, exceed expectations and create a better future for themselves. Following the death of her husband John to pancreatic cancer in 2020, Lisa regularly speaks about her experience to support other people, facing loss and grief move forward. She advocates for better conversations about end of life, death and dying. A lifelong learner, she’s an Alma of Boston College, has a PG Dip HR (University of Portsmouth), MA Hons (University of Edinburgh) and MBA (The Open University).

Matthew McEIhinney

Theatre Director, Football Fan and a Child of the Peace Process
Matthew McElhinney is a theatre director, a football fan and a child of the Northern Irish peace process. As a theatre director he is steward of a great legacy of work from his mother; the playwright Marie Jones, including his recent LPT award-winning production of ‘A Night in November’. As a football fan he is a part of the transformation of Northern Irish support, from the sectarian dark days of the 1990’s to the accolade of the ‘Best fans in Europe,’ and the winners of the Grand Vermeil. As a child of the peace, he has hope for the future.

Patrick Dexter

Globally-renowned Cellist
Patrick Dexter is a globally-renowned cellist from Ireland making music in a tiny stone cottage surrounded by immense amounts of nature. During the Covid lockdowns, Patrick’s home performances began to rack up tens of millions of views online. His virtuosic arrangements of classical, traditional Irish folk and contemporary pop music saw him skyrocket to international notoriety, all while he wasn’t allowed more than 5 kilometres from his front door. In 2022, Patrick released his debut album, Solace. Solace quickly became the highest selling independent album release in the US and Canada for classical-crossover genre, ranking No. 15 in the US and Canadian Billboard album charts.

Peter Corry

Singer, Producer and Director
Originally from Belfast, Peter is a singer, producer and director who has performed internationally for over 25 years. He runs his own production company, Peter Corry Productions and is the artistic director of the Belfast School of Performing Arts which, with over 700 pupils, is the largest performing arts school in Northern Ireland. He is passionate about encouraging young people to perform and creating exciting and entertaining theatre and live events.He believes in the benefits of performing and the power of music to inspire and help us all better communicate.

Tom Fletcher

Principal of Hertford College, Oxford University, diplomat and author
Tom is the Principal of Hertford College, Oxford University. Tom served as the foreign policy advisor to Prime Ministers Blair, Brown and Cameron, before becoming British Ambassador to Lebanon (2011-15) and a Visiting Professor at NYU (2015-20). He is the author of the bestselling Naked Diplomacy: Power & Statecraft in the Digital Age and Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux. His first novel, The Ambassador was released August 2022. He led reviews of the modernisation of the FCO (2016); future of the UN (2017) and the future of learning (2019). He is a former chair of the international board of the UK's Creative Industries Federation, adviser to businesses, academies and NGOs, and a member of the Global Tech Panel. He writes for the NYT, Prospect, Foreign Policy, The National and others, is a regular interviewee on BBC, Sky, CNN and has been profiled by the BBC, Arab News and more. His Foundation for Opportunity supports good people doing good things in public life.

Winnie Ama

Emerging Singer and Songwriter
Winnie Ama is a Belfast native Northern-Irish-Ghanaian artist. The emerging artist is one to watch on RTE2FM’s 2023 Rising list. Nominated as BBC ATL’s Artist of the Year 2022 for the NI Music Prize, she headlined Latitude Festival’s BBC Introducing stage in the same year. Winnie Ama has performed with Macy Gray and as the resident artist at The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. She is also a lead data analyst for 'Why Not Her?', campaigning for gender equality in music. She has a radio show on Colourful Radio and has performed DJ sets at The Southbank Centre and Electric Picnic.

Organizing team


Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Adriana Morvaiova
    Team member
  • Irka Laskowska
    Team member