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About Our Team

Our people and our associates

Andrew Talbot

Managing Partner

Andrew is a specialist in partnership working, collaborations, charity mergers and governance.  

He provides group coaching, project leadership, training, facilitation and governance advice to charities, social enterprises and statutory organisations. He also provides independent honest-broker support to collaborations and partnerships:

  • building strategic alliances;
  • developing effective consortia; and
  • leading successful mergers and charity restructurings. 


A solicitor by profession, Andrew worked as a corporate/commercial and charity solicitor in leading Corporate Law firms in both Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and in Belfast before specialising in his real passion – which is to provide specialist support to the voluntary and community and social enterprise sector.

Andrew worked in NICVA, the umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland, for seven years, providing advice and support to charities on governance, charity law, partnerships and collaborations. 

Andrew now delivers support independently with Collaboration Ireland. He is a CO3 Associate, a NICVA Associate and a mentor for Work West.

Examples of Recent Experience:

  • The successful completion of a charity group structure between Action Mental Health and New Life Counselling Service
  • The successful merger of Craft Northern Ireland and Craft & Design Collective
  • Evaluation of the HSE’s process to review the governance and sustainability of four drug and alcohol projects in Tallaght, Dublin
  • Facilitating a programme of community planning workshops for Ards and North Down Borough Council which led to the successful formation of a Third Sector Forum
  • Conducting Governance Reviews on behalf of NICVA under the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme
  • In partnership with CO3, conducting a review of the Supporting People programme for the Department for Communities – from the perspective of identifying collaboration projects and opportunities for partnership working between Supporting People providers
  • Leading the development of the Human Rights Partnership, a consortium of four of the main human rights charities in Northern Ireland
  • Facilitating the merger of Orana Family Centre in Newry and Early Years
  • Leading the successful merger of Newtownabbey Citizens Advice and Antrim Citizens Advice
  • Facilitating the formation of the Northern Ireland Alcohol and Drugs Alliance


Andrew has also supported the development of over 100 other alliances, partnerships and mergers since 2011:


These include: Healthy Living Centres Alliance, Consumer Rights Initiative for NI, Sports Association Newry and Down, Northern Ireland Advice Services Consortium, CDM Community Transport merger, TheatreNI merger, Verve Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership, Together For You, Cancer Focus and Lilac Partnership, Rare Diseases Partnership, a Cruse Bereavement Branch merger and the Long Term Conditions Alliance.

Andrew is currently a Board Member of the Northern Ireland Hospice.

Chris MM Gordon

Managing Partner Chris is a specialist in corporate governance, facilitation and social enterprise development. He is an experienced Manager and Director and works with boards of private and voluntary sectors. Chris is the current CEO of the Irish Social Enterprise Network, the largest network of social enterprises, social entrepreneurs and social innovators in Ireland. Chris is the former Director of Social Enterprise NI funded by the Department of Economy and has worked with differing communities North and South of the border. Chris currently provides group coaching, project leadership, training, facilitation, governance and collaboration support to voluntary and community, social enterprise and statutory organisations.

Professional Experience

Chris is the CEO of the Irish Social Enterprise Network (Socent.ie) and BCorp Ireland representative. Chris’ work focuses on leading and managing European and Nationwide projects on Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship, Corporate Responsibility, Social Impact,Startups, Cooperatives, Exporting, SMEs in Ireland and leading a life of passion and purpose. He is a director of Treehouse, Far & Wild and Founder of Socent.ie and the Irish Export Cooperative (ExportCoop.ie). Chris is the former Director of Social Enterprise NI. Through Socent.ie, Chris built Ireland’s largest network of social enterprises, social entrepreneurs and social innovators in Ireland. Through the ExportCoop.ie, Chris brought together Irish SME exporters reducing business costs through cooperative means opening up new avenues for business growth.

Board Experience

Chris is the Chair of Far and Wild CIC social enterprise in Northern Ireland, working for those most socially excluded and marginalised through outdoor facilitated sessions. Chris is Partnerships and Development Coordinator for the Irish US Alumni Association, building on positive US and Ireland relationships. Chris is the CoFounder of the Irish Export Cooperative, a cooperative formed to reduce the cost of exports for SME’s in Ireland. As part of the Cultivators team for the The Good Summit, Chris has worked with colleagues on developing the enterprise and contributed to business and strategic planning. Chris served as the first Chair of the Irish Social Enterprise Network and is a consortium partner for Social Enterprise NI.

Recent Experience:

Through his professional experience, Chris has worked with a number of charities and private profit making organisations on strategy, facilitation and development. For example:
  • Collaboration process for Tallaght particularly focussed on Section 39 organisations
  • Interim Project Manager for Dun Laoighre Rathdown Outreach Project for corporate governance and oversight review
  • Working with Partnerships and Local Development Companies on social enterprise strategy
In addition, Chris has supported the development of social enterprises, profit making arms of Social Enterprise through his work in the Irish Social Enterprise Network and his time in Social Enterprise NI. Chris engages on national discourse and policy development providing sectoral reporting, supports and proposals to government. Chris has featured in the Sunday Times, BBC, Irish Independent, RTÉ, Today FM, Sunday Business Post and other media. He has contributed to National and European policy papers for political parties. Chris is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management in the UK, Social Innovation Fellow from StartingBloc in the US, a Constellations Society Fellow from France, Tällberg Pathfinder Fellow from Sweden and a US Department of State awardee on Social Enterprise and Tackling Long Term Unemployment programme. Chris’ passion is in outdoor facilitation, youth work, social inclusion and his community development experience. Chris has a degree in Theoretical Physics from Queen’s University Belfast, a Masters in Business from the University of Ulster and has spent time at Babson College, Dorset College and Boston College.

Duncan Walker


Duncan is an experienced Project Manager with 25 years’ experience in the Healthcare, Disability and Social Housing sectors. Prior to moving to Ireland in 2003 Duncan worked in the public and private healthcare sectors managing a range of services and projects. He also worked for various Local Authorities in the Greater London region, managing large scale housing projects.

For the past 15 years Duncan has worked in the Social/Voluntary housing sector in Ireland, working at all levels from managing individual housing development projects to strategic level on a number of Boards of Management. In 2013, Duncan commenced working for WALK, a disability service provider based in Walkinstown in South Dublin.

As well as working on housing projects supporting people with intellectual disabilities to move from group housing to independent, community-based accommodation, Duncan also managed a start-up social enterprise in Walkinstown , Dublin – the Green Kitchen cafés & garden centre. This social enterprise provides training in the hospitality and horticulture sectors and supports people with intellectual disabilities to progress to further training and employment.

Duncan is currently working as a freelance consultant in the social economy sector and is a voluntary Board member of the Irish Social Enterprise Network.

LinkedInDuncan Walker



Maighread Kelly


Maighréad is a highly accomplished business leader with over two decades of Human Resources and Management experience. She has extensive experience of working with a varied range of clients and offers independent and impartial advice and expertise on a consultancy basis.

Prior to becoming a consultant she worked for over 25 years in the community and voluntary sector. She has strong knowledge and direct experience of the applicable regulations, standards and policies. In 2014, Maighread’s research, titled ‘The Potential of Social Enterprises to Support People with Intellectual Disabilities to Overcome Barriers to Employment’, was published by Glasnevin Publishing.

Over the course of her career, Maighréad has undertaken significant work with a range of disability services including RehabCare, Cheshire Ireland, Brothers of Charity, the National Disability Authority, and Sunbeam House Services.

Maighréad also has experience working as a freelance consultant in the social economy sector. She has is experienced and qualified to review publications both regional and national which are now out of date, she will undertake research to ensure the information is accurate and relevant.

Since completing a Master of Science in business management Maighréad has worked
extensively as a voluntary company director and HR consultant to social enterprises in the Cork Area. She
advises and supports these organisations on the recruitment of staff, on how to introduce a governance structure, organisational policy & procedures, review their services, manage their staff and develop their strategic plans. This work is done on a pro-bono basis and is voluntary.

Has been a Director on the Board of Sample Studios, Cork Craft & Design, Naomhoga Chorcai and the No-Name Club.

LinkedIn Maighread Kelly



Sophie Reynolds

Associate Consultant

Sophie Reynolds offers over 6 years’ experience leading action research and practical interventions in the field of public and social innovation. An innovative and strategic thinker, and recognised social and public innovation expert, she regularly presents to, advises and trains various government and international agencies (e.g. EU Policy Lab; UNDG; OECD; various government agencies, etc.) on the benefits of incorporating citizen-led and social innovation approaches as a way to tackle various public challenges.

Professional experience

For the past 2 years (since leaving the UK) Sophie has worked as an Independent Researcher and Consultant for leading innovation charities (Nesta UK, Nesta Italia), on large European projects and other more discrete pieces of work. Prior to that, Sophie spent over 5 years+ Senior Policy Researcher (Public and Social Innovation) with Nesta, the UK’s innovation.

From 2016 – 2019, she led the policy work of the EC’s flagship Horizon 2020 project for social innovation, Social Innovation Community (SIC) which supports policymakers to design better policies and measures to support social innovation, through research and by linking policymakers to practitioners and citizens. Here she has produced high-quality policy reports, mapping the field of social innovation policy in Europeandexploring how EU employment policy is driving social innovation. As part of SIC, Sophie developed, designed and helped roll out a series of participatory social innovation policy interventions (workshops, hackathons, master classes) aimed at encouraging public-social collaboration around identified local challenges in 10 EU countries, reaching over 650 community, public sector and civil society representatives.

Sophie was lead author of The Lisbon Declaration of Social Innovation: Social Innovation as a Path to a Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Declaration. To ensure that the community could have their policy needs listened to, she led policy workshops, roundtables, and launched a Europe-wide public consultation survey (which was translated in 4 major EU languages). 650 representatives of the community from over 27 EU countries have now signed the Declaration, and Carlos Moedas (EC Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science) publicly endorsed the Declaration at the Web Summit (Lisbon, November 2018).

Sophie has extensive research expertise of the fields of social enterprise, social innovation and public sector innovation: From 2015 – 2016, she led the research and learning work package of the EC-funded project TRANSITION (Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation), designing training workshops and learning supports for the social incubators, and synthesising the lessons learnt into key reports. In the past, she has contributed to several research publications focused on scaling social innovation and social enterprise: Making it Big: Strategies for Scaling Social Innovation(2014); Making Sense of the UK Collaborative Economy(2014).

Sophie has also led and contributed to several publications exploring aspects of public sector innovation (incl. an OECD-funded public sector innovation skills study; i-teams: The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world). She has presented to and advised international public agencies – the UNDG, OECD Special Committees, the European Commission – and national governments, on public sector innovation strategies. She has had articles published in international academic journals, such as Public Sector Digest.

Recent Experience:

Sophie has been a founding member of the European Social Innovation Policy Alliance (a coalition of leading organisations across Europe looking to advance social innovation policies across Europe).

In April 2019, Sophie was asked to sit on interview panel for the Social Enterprise Development (SED) Fund, a  €1.6 million fund created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Sophie has a strong interest in placemaking and community-led local development. She is a member of the Dublin Placemaking Network. In January – February 2019, she led a series of participatory policy workshops working with city authorities and key stakeholders in Athens and Amsterdam, to support the cities to develop city-wide social innovation strategies

LinkedIn – Sophie Reynolds

Twitter @SophsASophist


Timely Support

Time is a critical factor in most Collaborations. We are best able to plan transitions before issues arise, but can adapt to any stage of a Collaboration Process.

Innovative Ideas

Collaboration Ireland has experience in it’s founders that have produced innovative results for parties that have successfully benefitted from a Collaboration Process.

Operation Planning

We plan our process and facilitate all conversations with stakeholders where possible giving as much insight into the Collaboration as possible.


Having all stakeholders on board can be crucial in a Collaboration success. We will happily step you through the best fit for your organisation.

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