Sean Gallagher: Generation Next Ambassador
Sean learned from an early age that hard work 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.
At 18 Sean wrote a life plan and over the intervening years, he relentlessly pursued and achieved every one of his goals.
On leaving school he attended Agricultural College where on completion he bought a farm at the age of 21. At 26, he became a professional Youth and Community worker. By 28, he became a full time Political Adviser to the then Minister for Health, Dr. Rory O Hanlon T.D. Sean went on to take up a position as assistant CEO of Louth County Enterprise Board where he speccialised in developing and presenting “start-your-own business” courses to budding entrepreneurs. He graduated with an MBA from the University of Ulster in 2000.
In 2002, Sean and his business partner, Derek Roddy launched a company that specialised in manufacturing and installing cabling and technology systems into new residential homes. ‘Smarthomes’ became Ireland’s largest home technology firm with over 70 staff and a turnover of €10 million. Although Sean recently exited the running of the business, the company is currently embarking on an ambitious plan to enter foreign markets and is active in the energy space.
In 2006, Sean was a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
In 2008, Sean was appointed by the Government to the North South trade body, InterTradeIreland and is Chair of the Board’s Equity Committee which helps promote early stage seed funds for start up or emerging businesses.
Passionately committed to health and fitness, Sean is a qualified fitness instructor and has first degree black belts in Judo and Karate. In 2009, he won RTE’s Charity Lords of the Ring boxing show.
In 2010, Sean joined the Board of FÁS, where along with his Board colleagues, he is helping to reshape and refocus the National Training and Employment Agency. He is also Chair of the Drogheda Port Company which is developing plans for a new deep water Port on the East Coast.
Sean is a strong campaigner and advocate for those with disabilities. He is Patron for the Irish Association of Supported Employment (IASE) and a keen supporter and advocate for Sight Savers International, the National Council for the Blind (NCBI) and the Irish Guide Dogs organisation.
Sean believes that Irish entrepreneurs are vital to the creation of jobs and the recovery of the national economy and is certain that despite the changing nature of our economy, Ireland continues to offer endless and exciting opportunities for those courageous enough to pursue their dreams.
Sean currently spends much of his time giving motivational talks to aspiring or early stage entrepreneurs. He has spoken to hundreds of groups and is a regular contributor at seminars on success, business and entrepreneurship.