Public Invited to In Conversation Series with New Business Professors

Professor Alma McCarthy, Professor of Public Sector Management, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Oct 07 2019 Posted: 12:43 IST

Following the recent announcement of newly appointed Business Professors at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in NUI Galway, the Cairnes School and Whitaker Institute will host the ‘Inaugural Professors In Conversation Series’ featuring the new professors. Alma McCarthy, appointed Professor of Public Sector Management will open the series on Wednesday, 9 October and will talk about - Attracting, managing, developing and retaining talent in the Irish public sector. The lunchtime event is free and open to the public.

Professor McCarthy will reflect on the key learnings from her research in public sector organisations in Ireland and discuss learnings from international best practice including how best to attract and develop senior leadership capability. She will identify a number of opportunities and challenges currently facing public sector organisations in relation to human resource and talent attraction, management and development. Some of these challenges include the need to be forward-thinking and plan strategically to meet the changing socio-demographic trends of the next generation of public sector employees. Alma will also discuss how current demographic and societal trends are impacting public sector human resource management as well as reflect on the likely future trends that public sector organisations must plan for including changes in employee preferences for how they work, the impact of technology and changes in career expectations.  

Drawing on over 15 years of expertise in the public sector, Professor McCarthy will be in conversation with Tomás Ó Síocháin about her public sector research and work. Tomás is CEO of the Western Development Commission (WDC), the state agency tasked with advising the Government on policy for the West, and has experience in senior management positions in other public sector organisations. 

Professor Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to launch this inaugural lecture series which will provide our newly appointed professors with the opportunity to engage students, colleagues and the general public in a frank discussion of issues that are crucially important for our country. The challenge facing the public sector to attract and retain talent is one such issue, with profound implications for our systems of health care, education, security and other areas of public administration.”

Speaking about the event, Professor Alma McCarthy, NUI Galway, said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to be in conversation with Tomás Ó Síocháin discussing my research in the area of public sector management. The delivery of public services for our citizens is contingent on the capability, commitment and competence of our public sector employees and leaders and their ability to innovate and lead change. In turn, the delivery of quality services to the public is dependent on how well public sector organisations attract, manage and develop their talent. I will focus on this important area.”

Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO, Western Development Commission, said: “Serving the public is a key challenge for public servants and for the public service. Changes in technology, the move towards a low carbon economy and the changing culture of work internationally are significant drivers of change. This is particularly the case for a sector that, at times, is seen as slow to change. In my experience, however, there is an appetite for change among leaders in the public service, and I very much look forward to hearing Professor McCarthy’s insights, and facilitating a broader conversation on this important topic.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, 9 October from 1pm-2pm in Room CA110 in the Cairnes Building, North Campus, NUI Galway.

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