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About Us

Our Board

Learn more about TENI's board.

  • Sara Phillips (Chair)

    Sara Phillips has been involved with the trans community for over 20 years and has been a member of TENI since its inception in 2006. Sara is now in her second term as Chair having originally been appointed to the position in November 2012. For over 4 years Sara was the facilitator of the Dublin Trans Peer Support Group and is still a member of its steering committee. She has extensive experience & education in group facilitation and support mechanisms. She is presently National Manager [Ireland] for an American, multinational, construction coatings company. She has experience in international business, company management and previously ran her own businesses in the construction and entertainment industries. She is also a proud parent of 3 adult children.

  • Claire Farrell (Vice Chair)

    Claire Farrell is a transgender woman who co-founded the first official trans group in Ireland known as 'Friends of Eon' in the early 80's. She provided a dedicated phone line from her office to enable people to make contact. She was owner of own business for 19 years from 1973-1992. Claire was Chief Executive of a national charity until retirement in 2010. She has been a political activist and elected councillor in the 1980's and 90's. Claire has considerable experience of business and NGO work and a keen interest in trans rights and is a former member of Fundraising Ireland, a professional body for fundraisers. Appeared on several RTE television programmes and radio in the 80's and delivered speeches at seminars to the Samaritans and others.

  • Fionnuala Power (Company Secretary)

    Fionnuala joined TENI in 2013 and has been an active board member since then. She holds a Masters in Law from UCC together with a Masters in Human Resources Management from National College of Ireland. She also holds a B.A. (Hons) in Legal Studies with Business and a B.A. in Legal Studies in International Trade Law. Fionnuala was heavily involved in the Law Society throughout her college years and was elected class president for a number of years running. She worked for Bank of Ireland Mortgages for 2 years during the economic crisis before deciding to pursue her initial interests. Subsequently she joined FLAC, the Free Legal Advice Centres where she worked for over 2 years on advancing the rights of access to justice and thus learned of Dr Lydia Foy’s case. Since then Fionnuala has been heavily involved in human rights advocacy and empowerment on many levels. She has a particular interest in developing diversity policies within the workplace and is presently involved in a workplace strategy committee. Fionnuala currently works in the legal sector and provides a great deal of support on development and policy.

  • Simon Blanckensee

    Simon Blanckensee lives in Greystones County Wicklow. Simon has a BA in Social Care from Dublin Institute of Technology and has worked in Residential Care and Family Support Centres as a Social Care Worker for the past 29 years. He has worked with a number of different marginalised groups during this time.

    Simon became involved in the trans community through TransParenCI, a nationwide support network for parents and family members of transgender people. Simon is co- founder and facilitator of Trans Greystones, a local trans peer support group in County Wicklow. Simon has spoken frequently in the media about the issues which affect transgender youth and their families in Ireland. Simon lobbied on behalf of TENI and engaged with a large number of TDs and Senators during the passage of the Gender Recognition legislation through the Oireachtas from 2013 to 2015. Simon was a visible and active member of YesEqualityWicklow, canvassing and promoting the inclusion of all LGBTQI+ identities during the Marriage Equality campaign in 2014 and 2015. Simon has been involved in organising and constructing the annual TENI Arts event, now known as TRANS-FUSION, since its inception as “Gotta Get It Out Of My Head” in 2013.

  • Lee Jollans

    Lee Jollans has been involved in both student politics and LGBTQ activism since moving to Ireland in 2011. Lee is currently a doctoral researcher in the School of Psychology in UCD. In 2012 Lee established the UCD Student peer support group for transgender students, and has initiated a number of other campaigns focusing on the needs of transgender students on campus. Lee is also one of the founding members of the Irish Trans Students' Alliance (ITSA), and currently sits on the committee of ITSA.

  • Alex Lawson

    Alex Lawson is a young trans man with media and community experience. He has shared his story with The Irish Times and taken part in many pieces of research with a view to normalising trans identities; helping to create studies which the community can draw upon as evidence when faced with gatekeeping bodies.

    Alex spoke for BeLonG To at Dublin Pride 2015, highlighting the improvements needed to the then Gender Recognition Bill. He was facilitator for the under 18s section of the first Trans Youth Forum in 2015, as well as member of the Trans Youth Organising Committee. Alex volunteers with TENI wherever possible and is dedicated to TENI’s mission of improving the conditions and advancing the rights and equality of trans people and their families. Alex takes particular interest in mental health and trans-related healthcare. Alex is a student of politics and statistics in University College Dublin.

  • Dani O'Connor

    Dani O'Connor retired from a senior management position in a large company in 2012 & soon after started a new and very fulfilling challenge as a TENI volunteer.  Since then Dani has been involved in the campaign for progressive Gender Recognition legislation, lobbying, researching and becoming a member of the “Talk Trans” team.  Dani has also been involved in other aspects of TENI’s work by attending many TENI events and contributing when possible.

    Dani is married with a grown up family, has been associated with trans groups for over 35 years & was an active trade unionist serving on branch and regional committees. 

  • Ben Power

    Ben has been an active member of the trans and LGBT communities since 2007. He Co-facilitated the Cork trans peer support group for 2 years and volunteered as a member of staff at The Other Place LGBT Resource Centre. He also represented the local trans community on the organizing committees of Cork Pride and the Cork Rebel Awards during that period. Ben became an administrator of the Trans Guys Ireland Facebook support group and currently delivers the Trans and Sexual Health training modules to new LGBT Helpline volunteers around the country.

    Following his election to the TENI Board in October 2011, Ben served as Company Secretary and on the HR, Governance, Gender Recognition and Volunteer Committees and maintained a 100% attendance record at meetings before stepping down from the Board in 2013 in order to join the TENI Staff where he played an integral part in the campaign for Gender Recognition.

  • Emily Scanlan

    Emily is a MSc qualified, with over 10 years volunteer management and development experience. During her time with ALONE, she shaped strategy to grow corporate donations by 50%. Emily has been a long-time member and supporter of TENI, volunteering at Trans-Fusion, running fundraising events at Spinster, among others. Emily hopes to bring her wealth of financial and fundraising skills to the TENI Board.

    She is skilled marketer, with an Advanced Diploma in Digital Marketing. She achieved YouTube viral success for ALONE, reaching two million worldwide and won Social Media Award for Best Facebook Page for a Non-Profit, 2015. She has strong leadership skills and has directed teams of five direct reports, and controlled a €1m budget. Having previously worked for BeLongTo as fundraising manager, National College of Ireland, GAZE film Festival and Community Response, brings extensive experience in community development.  


  • Frances Shiels

    Frances Shiels has been involved in trade unions, civil rights, human rights and equality activism for her entire life. She transitioned 4 years ago and has been actively lobbying and advocating for transgender and intersex human rights and equality since at local, National and International levels.

    Frances has acted as Board member of Northlands, The Holywell Trust and Council for the Homeless (NI). Hence she has many skills in the areas of human relations, financial management and scrutiny and governance.

  • Lynne Tracey

    Lynne Tracey started out in the advertising industry in Dublin. She spent her early career working in agencies such as Campaign Advertising in Dublin and McCann- Erickson in New York. In the early 90s, Lynne moved back to Dublin as a founding Director of McCann-Erickson Dublin and subsequently moved to the Javelin Group where she was a Board Director.

    Lynne was the first female President of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI), She has also served on the Board of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI), the Advertising Benevolent Society (TABS) and CCCI (CopyClear). She currently lectures on the DIT MSc in Advertising and has been a Clearance Manager with CopyClear since 2007.

    Lynne also has extensive experience working with not-for- profit Boards. She served on the Well Woman Board for five years and chaired the Board for two years. She is currently on the Board of the New Theatre in Dublin’s Temple Bar.

    Lynne is the proud mother of four children, one of whom is trans.

  • Cearbhall Turraoin

    Cearbhall Turraoin is a history and philosophy undergraduate student in Trinity College Dublin and has been active in LGBT rights campaigns since 2011, first for marriage equality and later gender recognition. They are also a former administrator of the Irish Trans Student Alliance (ITSA), coordinator of Trans Training 2014, an organiser with LGBT Noise, and assistant author of the Trans Youth Forum Report. Cearbhall is particularly interested in the political and legislative aspects of LGBTQ issues as well as historically marginalised sections of the queer community such as trans and non-binary issues, intersex people and sex work.

  • Daniel Zag√≥rski

    Daniel Zagórski is a law and politics student in UCD and a strong advocate for human rights issues. Daniel has worked with BeLonG To and TENI on the campaign for gender recognition. He also participated in the Trans Youth Organising Committee for the first Trans Youth Forum that was held in July 2015. Daniel has significant experience in the media and has done interviews with The Irish Times and RTE. He has also been involved in the No Hate Speech movement.


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