The Foundation operates with the support of a volunteer group of individuals passionate about the future of Irish Performance Sailing and a skeleton professional staff.

Board Announcement - December 2017


Following the successful establishment of the Irish Sailing Foundation with €600,000 in donor support secured and a network of supporters developed in Ireland, UK and US the organisation’s founding Chief Executive, Jack Gleeson, has completed his term of office. Jack will continue as an Advisor to the Foundation and support the organisations mission to secure funding to help Ireland’s young sailors enhance their performances leading to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and beyond. The Foundation Board would like to thank Jack for his role in establishing the Foundation and looks forward to his continued contribution in an advisory capacity.


Colm Barrington - Chairman

Colm has raced dinghies and keelboats successfully in Ireland, Europe, the U.S., the Caribbean and Australia where he has won club, regional and national championships. He is a three time winner of the Round Ireland Yacht Race and has won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Britannia Cup on two occasions. He has also cruised extensively world-wide.


Colm has been professionally involved in international aviation for many years. He is the Chief Executive of NYSE listed FLY Leasing Limited and former Chair of Aer Lingus plc.


Colm has been chair of the ISA’s Olympic Steering Group since 2005.


Read interview with Colm Barrington, courtesy of Afloat magazine, here

Robert Dix – Director

Experienced non executive director with strong commercial focus gained from over twenty years experience as a partner in a Big 4 accounting firm and subsequent executive and non executive director positions in a number of organisations.


An expert in M&A, IPO’s, Financial and Corporate restructurings, and Strategic Planning combined with expertise in Corporate Governance and Audit Committees.


Robert is former Olympian and an experienced sailor. He’s a member of Howth Yacht Club, and was involved in a consortium with Hugh Coveney that put together the Irish entry in the 1989 Whitbread Race. More recently, he was appointed to the Harnessing our Ocean Wealth Taskforce by The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.

Tom Roche – Director

Tom is a founding Director of NTR (National Toll Roads) plc. and Chairman of the Board of Directors.


He also holds a number of other Directorships. Tom graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an MA (Economics) Degree and holds an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


An accomplished sailor, Tom is a member of both the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the New York Yacht Club.

James O’Callaghan – Director

James O’Callaghan’s responsibility is to develop and deliver athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the ISA’s Performance Pathway. James works under the guidance of the Olympic Steering Group.


James, from Malahide in Dublin, is a business and economics graduate of Trinity College. He is a Level 3 qualified coach and Level 2 coach tutor. In 1998, along with Trevor Millar, he founded SailCoach Associates a successful coaching company based in France. James was a key member in the development and delivery of the SailCoach business model from foundation to 2002.


His broad range of experience also includes coaching at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. Since 2006 he has been the Performance Director for the ISA and results have steadily improved during his time at the helm. At the Rio 2016 Olympics his programme delivered Ireland’s first sailing medal in 36 years.

Kathryn Grace – Head of Development

Kathryn is an experienced strategic Marketing professional with a background working in various communications roles within multi-nationals, client relations within the advertising sector and most recently as Marketing Manager in one of Irelands leading Golf & Sports Clubs, Elm Park, where she was responsible for the planning and implementation of all internal and external communications successfully driving new member recruitment and new revenue streams. Kathryn has a proven track record in delivering quantifiable results through creative marketing solutions.


Kathryn is passionately committed to the future of Irish Performance Sailing and is responsible for communicating the Pier to Podium message to all corners of the world, building relationships with all those who share our vision to achieve the Foundation’s goals. To find out more about Kathryn and connect with her directly on LinkedIn please click here.

Jack Gleeson - Fundraising Advisor

Jack trained in KPMG where he qualified as an accountant specialising in corporate restructuring and insolvency. He has acted as High Court Examiner, Receiver and Liquidator and has held roles as interim manager, business strategist, non- executive director and company chairman. He has advised business executives, accountants and lawyers on team building, communication and leadership and has been a coach and mentor to business and sports people.  Jack has advised banks on stressed loans and has been engaged by accountants and solicitors to advise clients in difficult trading situations. In 2012 he was appointed by NAMA to their professional panel as a Business Monitor. Since February 2013 he has worked with the KPMG Special Liquidators appointed to IBRC.


In June 2015, he was appointed CEO of the newly formed Irish Sailing Foundation charged with seeking philanthropic support for the high-performance athletes of Irish Sailing. Following the successful establishment of the Foundation with €850,000 in donor support secured and a network of supporters developed in Ireland, UK and US, he completed his term of office in October 2017. He will continue as a Fundraising Advisor to the Foundation and support the organisations mission to secure funding to help Ireland’s talented young sailors leading to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and beyond.


Jack was educated in Blackrock College, University College Dublin and KPMG. He has served as President of Blackrock College Past Pupils Union, Chairman of the UCD Students Club, President of the KPMG Alumni Association and Chairman of Blackrock College Rugby Football Club. For many years, he chaired the major fundraising drive to develop modern educational facilities at Blackrock College. He is a former member of the Management Board of Elm Park Golf and Sports Club where he served as Director of Finance. He is a member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.