“Jean masterminded the
development of Unilever’s
Magnum ice cream,
laying the foundations
for a billion euro brand.”

Kees van der Graaf,

Former President, Unilever Europe

Jean Callanan Strategic Thinker

My Purpose

I am passionate about supporting people to use all their talents to make a difference in our world, and this informs both who I choose to work with and what I do in my free time.

It leads me to working with amazing people on an eclectic mix of fascinating projects. To these tasks I bring all my experiences in life, and am rewarded and enriched by the experiences that I get in return.

“Jean is an absolute professional with a dedicated passion for her field of expertise.”

Marian Finnegan,

Managing Director - Residential & Advisory at Sherry Fitzgerald


A flavour of some of these roles:

Chair of Irish Hospice Foundation

I am passionate about end-of-life care and I chair Irish Hospice Foundation, a national charity that addresses dying, death and bereavement in Ireland. Our vision is an Ireland where people facing end of life or bereavement, and those who care for them, are provided with the care and support that they need.

Book Midwife to International Bestsellers

I supported author Lorna Byrne on her journey from being an unknown woman (with an amazing gift) who wanted to write a book (and had a great story to tell), to being an international bestselling author with more than a million readers in 50 countries, translated into 30 languages. This included working with some of the top publishers around the world, co-ordinating international media including BBC, CNN, Die Welt, and inspiring projects like bringing Nobel peace prize winner Betty Williams to New York to meet and talk with Sunni and Shia Muslim leaders.

I also helped Sr Consilio, founder of leading Irish addiction centre Cuan Mhuire to write The Harbour Within, a book of spiritual inspiration based on her life experiences.

Mentor

I delight in the number of different people I mentor, helping them to expand to their full potential. I particularly enjoy working with people who are in transition, people on the spectrum, first-time authors writing in the inspirational field and social entrepreneurs. Rethink Ireland has asked me to mentor several of their  fund recipients. In all this I am helped by my curiosity and by my training as a coach.

Catalyst in re-imagining a better world post-Covid

I firmly believe that we need to use the opportunity provided by the pandemic to rethink our future, that in the midst of such pain and loss we need to seize the opportunity this enforced break in our routine has given us to reflect and see our world in a different way. This has resulted in a series of blogs, an interview with RTE Radio’s show The Business, and facilitating online workshops designed to invite people to imagine a better world after the pandemic.

I was particularly delighted when musician and songwriter Eleanor McEvoy credited conversations on this subject with me as  the inspiration behind the concept for her Better Normal Concert.

Talent spotter

I am regularly invited to participate in interview boards. For several years I “paid back” my scholarship to the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium by sitting on their Irish scholarship board – always with an eye to supporting talented young people that would really benefit from this opportunity, and would use it not just to enrich themselves but to make a contribution to Ireland and to Europe.

Curator of events

Creating thought-provoking events such as 15 Toasts to our Grandmothers which sought to honour our grandmother who have had such an influence on shaping who we are, and are far too often unacknowledged.

Blogger

I was delighted a few years ago to be invited to be a HuffPost Blogger (you can read my posts here). While that platform is no longer  available to contributors  I continue to enjoy writing and am delighted among other things to be an occasional contributor to RTE Radio One’s A Word in Edgeways.

I am curious and always keen to learn more. Recent and on-going learning experiences include:

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainable leadership -
“Communicating for Influence and Impact” course

A brilliant and inspiring course that brought me up to date on the latest thinking and actions around purpose, stakeholder engagement and sustainability. Its focus on considering deeply my personal purpose and impact has been very valuable.

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Presencing Institute -
Participant in GAIA - Global Activation of Intention and Action

I am loving participating in this global group created by MIT’s Dr Otto Scharmer, which seeks to put into action Theory U to help us to sense into the emerging future. I am finding this process, and the content, inspiring and thought-provoking in this very uncertain world we are living in.

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Findhorn International Centre for Sustainability -
Participant in Findhorn’s Transformational Leadership Journey.

A fascinating and inspiring online course which took place over eight months. My fellow participants came from across the world, many of them playing leading roles in sustainability, social enterprises and philanthropy.

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Food-Systems Summit 2021 -
Participant in Dialogue on Ireland’s Agri-Food Strategy 2030

As someone with a background in the food industry, a board member of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (the Irish Sea Fisheries Development Board) and someone who likes to eat well every day, I have been participating in and where appropriate contributing to the discussion on this very important topic. You can read some of my thoughts on it here.

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