Business Wisdom From Christine Flanagan Of The NMH Foundation

Business wisdom from the desk of … CHRISTINE FLANAGAN, Director of Fundraising,
NMH Foundation/Helping Holles Street


Christine Flanagan completed a BA degree in Political Science at Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA) and an MA in Modern Irish History at UCD. With over 25 years’ fundraising experience, Flanagan has held various roles in both Ireland and the US. Prior to joining the NMH Foundation/Helping Holles Street in December 2015, she worked in a variety of sectors across education, environmental conservation and politics.

Describe your role:

I am responsible for managing and developing the fundraising activities of the NMH Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street. Led by Dr Rhona Mahony, the Foundation was established in 2012. Our focus is to establish a sustained giving model through raising funds from a wide variety of sources. I also work closely with our board, the donors and the hospital to manage all aspects of donations and gift stewardship.

How long in the role?

Eighteen months.

Business priorities for 2016?

In addition to developing a greater awareness of the NMH Foundation across the country, we are building our Holles Street Family Fund annual giving programme. I am also working to grow our community  fundraising activities and developing new events such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Lisbon Marathon Series. The biggest and most popular is the Annual NMH Fashion Show. Save the date – Friday, November 18!

Highlights during your tenure?

We have made great strides in developing closer links with the hospital, patients and staff; awareness of our work is growing. Things tend to move much more slowly than I would hope, so it is important to be persistent but patient.

Did anything in your family background influence your journey to your current role?

My parents had a strong sense of social responsibility, instilled in all of our family from a young age. I was always driven to working in a field where I believed I could make a difference to the lives of others.

The accomplishment you are most proud of?

My children. The professional accomplishment? My tenure at the UL Foundation, when we raised over €120m to help develop University of Limerick into a world-class university.
My goal would be to see the NMH Foundation grow on a similar scale.

How you approach difficult situations?

I try to be objective and always avoid responding too quickly. I like to keep an open mind
to all possible solutions.

What keeps you awake at night?

Donald Trump? I have always been a solid sleeper so very little disrupts me.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

About half an hour – it’s getting three children out the door that takes  a bit longer.

A characteristic you believe a business leader should possess?


Which is the most useful way to engage donors?

It is vital that donors feel connected with the work that we do and see it firsthand. The best way to connect people to the NMH Foundation is with a visit to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to see the incredible work that takes place there.

Advice to women who aspire to be in leadership roles?

If you love what you do, it will come naturally to you. Never think you are above any job
and remember the old cliché, “Do onto others …” 


1. STRONG POINTS: Integrity, compassion and the ability to stay calm under pressure.

2. WEAKNESSES: I could certainly be more patient; a little perseverance goes a long way.

3. WORK/LIFE BALANCE: I make sure I am involved in all aspects of my children’s lives and try to never miss any important events. I am fortunate that my job does not involve much travel so I am rarely away.

4. LOOKING THE BUSINESS: I am not a very flamboyant person so I prefer understated and classic clothes.

5. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: Now that we have moved from the US to put down roots in Ireland, it’s the right time to do some serious financial forward planning.

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our September issue, out Saturday September 3.

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