Meet the Team

John Denny, CEO VMM

Before joining VMM John led a number of organisations in the public, private and charitable sectors ensuring that each ranked alongside the highest performing in their various sectors. John did this in every conventional performance sense on the one hand, on the other, working closely with various partner communities he helped to create the opportunity for people to take control of their own lives, effectively raising aspiration and expectation and also empowering colleagues to do what is right rather than expected.

Many of John’s ideas come from the time he feels lucky to have spent Africa where was both moved and inspired by the creativity and incredible commitment of individuals, in the most disadvantaged of circumstances, to positively impact upon the lives of those around them without thought for themselves.

As well as being our CEO John also contributes to the following:-

  • Fellow of Liverpool Hope University Business School.
  • Chair and co-founder the NGO One Brick At A Time (OBAAT), skill exchange programme between the UK and Uganda.
  • Director and co-founder of the UK education charity, The Hope Opportunity Trust (HOT). Providing outstanding educational opportunities to young people from less advantaged circumstances.
  • City of Liverpool College Governor and Chair of Audit Committee.
  • Advisor to various charities
  • Advisor on community focussed development & regeneration initiatives

Louise Talbot Beirne, Executive Director, International Programme 

Lou worked in Uganda on psychosocial community development projects before moving to Ireland in 2014. She is an experienced fundraiser, project manager and volunteer coordinator as well as a trained counsellor. She loves that VMM ensures that development empowers the communities we work with, and they are the ones making the decisions about their own futures. She is an active member of the Lay Mission Union of Ireland and is passionate about the importance of volunteer mental health and reducing burnout among humanitarian workers. In her spare time she’s an enthusiastic member of Discovery Gospel Choir, Dublin’s leading intercultural choir.

Fiona Duignan, Coordinator, Short-term Volunteering

Fiona Duignan is the Coordinator for VMM’s Short Term Volunteer Programme. Her main responsibility is to develop the programme that will provide opportunities for people who wish to donate a few weeks to projects in Africa, including tailor made packages to suit volunteer’s requirements. Prior to this Fiona has worked with NGO’s in Ireland, ensuring that legislative requirements were met, introducing best practice and procedures to ensure maximum efficiency and transparency for key stakeholders, personnel and the public. She has travelled to several countries as an independent researcher on social and youth justice projects and has also worked as witness protection officer for victims of torture. Fiona has been a human rights activist for many years and has a Masters in International Human Rights Law from NUI Galway, a BA (Hons) in Law and Administration of Justice.  Fiona has 2 children, 2 crazy dogs, loves to cook for friends, a book worm and music lover.

Tim Flynn – Africa Manager

A native of Co Tipperary in Ireland, Tim has a background in teaching, finance and administration and youth work. Tim first visited Africa in 1997 on a short term volunteering programme and since 1999 Tim has volunteered with VMM in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Prior to this Tim taught at the College of Commerce in Cork and worked in Company & Trust administration in the Channel Islands. From his current base in Kitale in Western Kenya Tim visits VMMs project partners and volunteers in the field as well as working with the VMM Safeguarding & Positive Discipline mentoring programme team.

Van Garber – UK Manager

Before joining VMM in 2011, Van worked in charity and government organisations both in America and the UK.  Recent posts included Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity in Virginia and later as CEO for Habitat Liverpool for two years before joining VMM as UK Manager. Van is also a trustee for the Catholic Mission Union. Van has 3 children and enjoys travel, sports and cooking.


Emily Hosford – Safeguarding Mentor

Emily Hosford has over 6 years’ experience in the international development sector, during which she has worked in programme support, capacity building, monitoring & evaluation, advocacy, and research. She has been VMM’s Safeguarding Mentor since 2015. She supports VMM partner organisations to implement their safeguarding policies and procedures, and create a safer environment. From 2012 – 2015, Emily worked as the VMM International Programme Officer. Her other experience includes roles with Plan International Ireland and the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland. Safeguarding has cut across Emily’s career. She has been involved in safeguarding policy development and review, advocacy initiatives, child rights training, proposal development for rights-based projects, and teaching.

Louisa Preston, Appeals Coordinator for England and Wales

Louisa Preston is VMM’s Appeals Co-ordinator for England and Wales. She has held this position since January 2011, but started volunteering with VMM in 2008. Louisa takes care of anything and everything to do with Parish Appeals. Parish Appeals consist of visiting a Parish, making Appeals at each Mass that weekend, taking a collection and recruiting new VMs and members to VMM. She is also responsible for some of the finances of this office and of the Wavertree Charity Shop. Louisa is originally from Liverpool, went to school and University here. She enjoys the opera, theatre, cinema, dining out and travelling. And hopes to go to Africa at some point!

Wayne Davies – Accounts Manager

With nearly 20 years of experience with accounting packages Wayne was brought in to VMM as a consultant to design and implement the new Sage Accounts package and has been inputting all the day-to-day finances to enable clearer reporting for the CEO and Board Members.  This is sometimes a challenging role due to the complexities of dealing with restricted funding and of course meeting deadlines but it is always a rewarding role and it’s a pleasure to work in the Dublin and Liverpool offices. Although Wayne has travelled somewhat, he has never been to Africa so he’s hoping that there will be an opportunity for him to visit some of our projects in the very near future. His interests are Liverpool FC, amateur photography, cooking, reading and of course his family which include his wife of 9 years and his 2 ½ year old son.

David West, International Programme Assistant / Communications

David West International Programme Assistant / Communications

A veteran traveller with four years’ experience on projects in the International Development and Community Not-For-Profit sector. Dave joined the VMM team in July 2017 in a dual role as the International Programme Assistant and Communications Officer. Originally graduating with a BA in History and Archaeology from UCD, he has recently upskilled and applies his talents in Digital Marketing, Communications and Project Management along with a wealth of administration experience with VMM. Having spent some years in South America and some months in Africa, seeing the inequalities and marginalization which can exist, he hopes to return to Africa again soon. He plays the guitar, enjoys music, culture and the Arts, languages, cycling and cooking.

Mwaiwawo Chipojola, Short-Term Volunteer Programme Assistant

Mwai has just completed her BA (Hons) in Business Studies at ICD Business School. She also earned a BA in Business Administration while in Malawi. Mwai joined VMM in August 2017 and employs her administration skills in keeping the busy Short-Term Programme running. With a keen interest in management and development issues she is eager to work with various organisations in this field. She also likes cooking, music and traveling.

Christy Creely, Administrator

When Christy retired as Customer Services Manager in the Aviation Business he went back to study the Non Profit Sector in All Hallows College while volunteering with Camara on computer recycling activities. Two and a half years followed as a VMM volunteer in Lodwar, Kenya working as the Director of Turkana Trade Training Centre, training managers and staff. Christy enjoys working overseas having worked two and a half years as Engineering Manager Guyana Airways in South America and three years as Project Manager in Royal Nepal Airways Kathmandu building workshop facilities and training staff. He hopes to volunteer overseas again.






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