About

About

According to the 2020 census, over 15% of British Columbian’s claim Irish descent. In many ways this is no surprise; Ireland and Canada share a deep history. In 1536, Irish emigrants began travelling to Newfoundland in search of fish. Between 1830-1850, over half a million Irish emigrants landed on the Eastern provinces of Canada. Throughout the 1950’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s Irish people travelled far and wide across Canada, seeking new personal and economic experiences and opportunities.

Since the fall of the Celtic Tiger in 2008, Irish emigration to Canada has grown exponentially with Vancouver becoming one of the most popular destinations amongst Irish emigrants.

Founding the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce Vancouver   

It is estimated that over 20,000 Irish emigrants reside in the Greater Vancouver area. Despite this large diaspora, in 2017, many people felt that although there was increasing momentum for growing Irish community and businesses within Vancouver, there was something missing: A viable means for connecting and supporting this large group of talented individuals.  A number of Irish people recognized the lack of support and networking opportunities for growing the Irish business community in Vancouver. They reached out to the Irish Ambassador to Canada with the idea of forming a chamber of commerce in Vancouver. With much enthusiasm and support, the Ambassador helped them establish a chamber. This small group would become the founding members of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce Vancouver (ICCCVan). We acknowledge the continued financial support of the Emigrant Support Program from the Irish Dept. of Foreign Affairs who continue to contribute to the operating costs of the Chamber.

The ICCCVan maintains close links with our sister chapters in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, as well the Irish Consulate in Vancouver and the Irish Embassy in Ottawa.

 

L:R: Founding members of the ICCCVan (Lar Quigley, Ruairi Spillane and Mikey Smyth) pictured with visiting Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe and Ambassador Kelly

What we do

The ICCCVan is a not-for-profit organization that represents, supports and encourages the Irish business community in Vancouver.

The ICCCVan was created to promote, connect, and support Irish professionals and business owners in Vancouver and support trade development between Ireland and Canada. We are the only Irish professional networking organization in Vancouver, offering members a variety of opportunities to promote their business, as well as numerous opportunities for professional education and development. Through our business community and events, professionals of all levels can grow their networks and seek the support of fellow members.

Our Community

We aim to foster and promote a sense of community and connection among Irish professionals and entrepreneurs living in Vancouver. Are you looking to grow your network and create business opportunities? Become a member today!  Through our member directory and sponsorship opportunities, we support and promote our members’ interests and endeavours.

Are you looking to grow your network and create business opportunities? Become a member today!

Our Mission

Whether you are brand new to the city, established here for a decade, or have a  connection to the Irish community, our mission is the same-to provide value and support to our members by creating business opportunities and connecting talented people throughout Vancouver and beyond. The ICCCVan focuses on the promotion of trade and commerce for Vancouver-based Irish businesses between Canada and Ireland. The Canadian European Trade Agreement (CETA) has created opportunities for businesses to expand into Irish and European  markets. Working within CETA, we work to promote trade and commerce between Ireland and Canada and advance the business interests of our members.

ICCCVan Launch event in May 2018

Meet our Board

Ruairi-min-300x300-1

Ruairi Spillane

Chairman / President
Ruairi is from Killarney, County Kerry and moved to Vancouver in 2008. In 2012, Ruairi set up an information website, Moving2Canada.com, to assist Irish people planning their move to Canada. The award-winning Moving2Canada website is source of free independent information on immigration, settlement and employment, and attracts over 8 million visits per year. Ruairi also launched a recruitment agency, Outpost Recruitment, linking construction professionals with Canada top construction firms. Ruairi holds a degree in Business Studies and a Masters in Financial Services. Prior to moving to Canada, Ruairi worked in financial services in Dublin.
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Brid

Brid Dunne

Vice President
Bríd hails from Co Laois and arrived to Vancouver in 2016. Her decision to move to Canada followed a photography vacation here in 2015, so it is only fitting that her move resulted in her role as Director, Customer Experience with Canadian Inbound Travel Company, Fresh Tracks Canada. Bríd’s career started with a brief stint in Radio Journalism as a News reporter with INN news syndicate before her interests were peeked by the field of Experiential Marketing. Her 15 years of events experience culminated in 7 years leading the Experiential & Behaviour Change Marketing company Real Nation as their Director of Client Services & Operations before her move to Canada. With 5 APMC Awards and 2 Event Industry Awards for large scale brands such as Tiger Beer, Heineken, Murphy’s Stout and Bord Gais Energy, Bríd was the best candidate for our Director of Events role, marrying Event operations with Customer Experience to ensure the best experience for our members.
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Deborah

Deborah Flood

Governance Secretary
In 2010, Deborah Flood moved to Vancouver from her hometown of Swords in Dublin. Deborah is a lawyer in Ireland, England, and Canada.  For ten years, Deborah worked in private practice, where she represented clients in multiple trials and appeals. In September 2018, Deborah moved to the British Columbia Securities Commission where she now works as litigation counsel.  For the last two years, Deborah has served as a director of the Vancouver Bar Association (VBA).  The VBA is a non-profit organization serving 1,500 plus lawyers in the City of Vancouver. Deborah volunteers her time mentoring UBC law students and acting as counsel for a pro bono law clinic.  In addition to her legal career, Deborah recently became a licenced marriage officiant with Vancouver Officiants.
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Alan C

Alan Cosgrave

Treasurer
Originally from Wexford, Alan moved to Canada in late 2012. Alan has served on the board of ICCCVan since 2019 and is the society’s Treasurer. Alan is a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Ireland. Alan is a Partner with MNP LLP in their Enterprise Risk Services practice and works with a variety of clients across Canada to assist them with their risk management needs. Active in the community, Alan is also a board member with CelticFest Vancouver Society and part of the charitable organization 100 Men Who Care.
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Cathy (1)

Cathy Fitzgerald

Director of Marketing & Communications
Cathy hails from County Meath and moved to Vancouver in 2015 after travelling throughout South America. In 2018, Cathy founded Mindo Marketing which helps organizations connect with existing and potential customers through effective marketing activities including events, search engine optimization, social media, webinars, paid advertising, copywriting, content marketing, brand development and more! Knowledgeable and skilled at communication and digital marketing, Cathy provides a good mix of strategy and execution to help support the Chamber in its efforts to connect and support Irish professionals and business owners in Vancouver.
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Arthur

Arthur Cullinan

Director of Memberships
Arthur first moved to Vancouver in 2014 for a short period before deciding to move back permanently in 2018. Having practiced as a mergers and acquisitions solicitor in Dublin, he is now pursuing re-qualification as a lawyer in Canada and expects to be called to the British Columbia bar in April 2021. He currently works as an articling student at Watson Goepel LLP where he advises business clients on a broad range of corporate and commercial legal matters. In his spare time Arthur is an avid lacrosse player and has been part of the Irish national team at two world championships and one European championship. As memberships director, Arthur is responsible for delivering membership initiatives for ICCCVan. This includes member recruitment and retention, member engagement, and membership value. Arthur lives in Yaletown with his wife Sarah and dog North.
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Mike

Mike Murphy

Director of Sponsorships
Mike Murphy, from Clane County Kildare in Ireland,  emigrated to Vancouver in 2011. Mike is a Marketing Professional with vast experience in Ireland and North America across numerous industries. Since moving to Canada, his main industry focus is the AEC sector. This year, Mike wishes to offer value that will drive business and success to our sponsors and members in such uncertain times. Mike is also the Senior Marketing & Business Development Manager for Western Canada at Integral group. Mike is the key point of contact for Marketing, Proposals, Business Development and Communications. Mike’s greatest passion is building and nurturing relationships, providing strategy and driving market growth in a fast and competitive industry.
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Frank Flood

Frank Flood

Advisory Role
Frank Flood is from Dublin and is Ireland’s first Consul General in Vancouver since 2018. The Consulate opened its new office in September 2020 and has three key functions, support for the Irish community and consular service, trade facilitation and the further promotion of strong bilateral relations between British Columbia and Ireland. Formerly a chemistry teacher Frank has worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs since 1995 on the trade, peace process and humanitarian aid sectors. His assignments include a secondment to the United Nations Development Programme in Ethiopia, Belfast and Boston. Prior coming to Vancouver with his wife Orla Ní Bhróithe, Frank was Ireland’s Ambassador to Estonia. He has three children, Ríona, Fergal and Breandán and two lovely granddaughters Clíodhna and Caoilinn.
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Amy

Amy Dennehy

Director of Marketing
Amy hails from Cork and lived in NYC for 2 years before she came to Vancouver in 2017.  As an award winning, digital marketer, Amy has worked with companies across industries, primarily in SaaS. Having graduated from UCC in 2013 with a Bachelor of Commerce, major in marketing and minor in information systems, Amy has worked at the intersection of marketing and technology ever since. Amy has experience working with an array of tools including Salesforce, WordPress, HubSpot, Photoshop, Google, MailChimp and Shopify. She has recently set up a digital agency to help businesses grow and optimize their digital presence. In her spare time, Amy is passionate about volunteering with community organisations, traveling and is a big foodie
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Julie Connolly

Julie Connolly

Director of Events
Julie was raised in Vancouver steeped in the local Irish community. Owing in part to the outstanding hospitality she was introduced to in this environment, Julie is now the owner of Carte Blanche Events which has been producing award-winning galas throughout the lower mainland for over 20 years now and more recently worldwide with virtual events as well. While there are many clients worth mentioning such as PwC, the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace, the World Jewelry Conference and more, by far the most fun role was as General Manager of the Irish House during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics where she operated one of the largest and busiest houses in town. Shortly thereafter Julie opened her own event venue in October of 2010 called Jewel Ballroom & Catering which won the Top Choice Award in 2014 & 2015 for best venue in Vancouver. The landlords redeveloped the building so Julie went back to her passion of producing world class spectacular gatherings for Carte Blanche Events. Website: www.carteblancheevents.ca
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Alan B

Alan Bradley

Director of Operations
Alan moved to Vancouver in 2012 from Dublin after a few years travelling and working abroad in New Zealand, Australia and Uganda. Before leaving Dublin, Alan spent 4 years working with PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Management Consulting mainly helping banking clients to survive the financial crisis by raising billions in funding and rebuilding departments. Alan joined Ledcor in 2012 and worked on the Business Improvement team with their Resources and Transportation division. His work involved helping them to scale their fixed wing and rotary businesses, marine towing, trucking and forestry businesses. This included M&A, helping to establish and grow international revenue in Asia and the UK, continuous improvement and system implementations. He left to enter the cannabis industry pre-legalisation with Aurora Cannabis and helping them to expand internationally through M&A and led a number of Finance Transformation projects. He then was involved with a cannabis start up who looked to launch new products into the Canadian market. In his role with the chamber he is looking forward to bringing more events to members and providing great networking opportunities for Irish people to thrive professionally.
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