Ambassadors and Founders
LORD PUTTNAM OF QUEENSGATE, C.B.E.
David Puttnam spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes.
From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006.
He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the ‘creative and communications’ industries. In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002. From July 2002 to July 2009 he was president of UNICEF UK, playing a key role in promoting UNICEF’s key advocacy and awareness objectives.
David is the present Chancellor of the Open University, following ten years as Chancellor of The University of Sunderland. He is President of the Film Distributors’ Association, Chairman of North Music Trust (The Sage Gateshead), Deputy Chairman of Profero and a trustee of the Eden Project. Most recently he has set up Atticus Education, an online venture, in partnership with BT Ireland, which will deliver interactive seminars and masterclasses using state-of-the art video conferencing technology
He was Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television from 2006 until January 2012. He was founding Chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and for ten years chaired the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. He has also served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery, the Science Museum and many other organsiations.
In 2007 he served as Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, having performed the same role on the 2002 Communications Bill. He has also been Chairman of two Hansard Society Commission Reports on the relationship between Parliament and the Public; he serves as Senior Non-Executive Director on two public companies.
David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006. He has been the recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees from Universities in the UK and overseas.
Having run many successful publishing companies in London, Norah bought her own business, Harmonia, in 2004 with a strong portfolio of brands and events in Ireland, the USA and more recently in China.
In Ireland she publishes a range of market leading magazines including strong women’s brands, Irish Tatler, Woman’s Way, U and specialist titles such as Food&Wine, CookBook, Irish Tatler Man, Eat Out, Auto Ireland and Ireland of the Welcomes
Her investment portfolio is diverse and includes online and traditional media businesses.
She also has a growing events division which includes consumer exhibitions, conferences, award ceremonies and designer fashion shows. Having worked with the leading International designers over the past decade Norah produced the British Irish Fashion show in 2011for HRH Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland and a range of designer shows in Shanghai for the World Expo.
A journalist and former nurse, Norah is Ireland’s current Publisher of the Year, having won the award no fewer than four times. She is also a member of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, the London-based Women’s Irish Network and The International Women’s Forum. She is a former Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year.
Norah is also a Dragon in RTE’s show Dragons Den (2011 and 2012) and is a regular contributor to current affairs and women’s programmes. She is co-anchor with Chris O’Donoghue on Newstalk Breakfast and has recently signed up to present RTE’s new Today show on Fridays.
Her husband, BBC journalist Richard Hannaford, died following a short illness with cancer in October 2011 and she has one son Dara who is 13 years old.
James Whelton ran a computer club in his own school and shortly after finishing his leaving Cert teamed up with Angel Investor and XING co-founder Bill Liao in Cork to make Coder Dojo happen.
James says “I quickly saw the massive interest in programming from people my own age, younger and older. When we founded in mid December, we had 40 students show up to the first session, which grew over time. Basic programming and web development was taught, students were taught by other students who’d grasped things faster than others and it was an extremely lively environment.” Twitter: @jwhelton