Jillian van Turnhout features on RTE’s Prime Time Show

RTE’s Prime Time Show of 6 June 2024 examined the failures of the Charities Regulator to address public concerns, focusing on issues within the Peter McVerry Trust, repeated crises at the former Kerry-based Animal Heaven Animal Rescue, and the now-defunct Cat Haven charity in Cork.

A number of experts were interviewed for the report. Jillian van Turnhout, as a Chartered Director Certified in Corporate Governance was one of them.

One of the topics of the program was a series of donations to the Peter McVerry Trust by the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People charity. These donations were specifically earmarked for the purpose of purchasing certain properties.  

An internal finance report of the Peter McVerry Trust reveals that over €1.3 million of one of the earmarked Capuchin donations was immediately used to pay running costs and charity debts, including over €700,000 owed to the Revenue Commissioners and €500,000 to two other creditors of the McVerry Trust.

“This was a betrayal of trust,” said Jillian van Turnhout. “The Capuchins had given the money for a very specific purpose. It was explicit,” To see an email that “violates that agreement in such a short space of time and such a clear manner, it makes me question, where were the controls in place in an organisation that one person could instruct in that way?”   

For RTE’s article and link to the Prime Time Show, titled “Betrayal of Trust”, please click here

Jillian van Turnhout speaking at Odgers Berndtson Ireland Established and Emerging Female Leaders group

I was honoured to be asked to participate in a stimulating panel discussion hosted by Odgers Berndtson Ireland titled “How to transition from an Executive to a Non-Executive Director”.

Susan Kelly, Partner at Odgers Berndtson Ireland, served as the MC for the event which took place at the RDS. The distinguished panel featured Caroline McDonnell, Non-Executive Director at Scotia Bank; Davina Saint, Independent Non-Executive Director at Stripe, and myself.

Susan Kelly said, “The panelists, renowned for their expertise, shed light on the essential attributes of a successful board member and shared personal insights into the challenges and benefits they encountered on their paths to becoming Non-Executives.”



This event was significant because it was the first meeting of the year for the Odgers Berndtson Ireland Established and Emerging Female Leaders (EFL) group. The full house’s active participation indicates a promising future for Boards in Ireland.

I would like to express my gratitude to Odgers Berndtson Ireland for inviting me to be on the panel. Additionally, I thank the audience and fellow panellists for a stimulating and engaging conversation.

Governance Handbook

Have you considered having a Governance Handbook for your Board? If not, creating one could be a constructive step towards enhancing your organisation’s governance practices.

A Directors’ [Trustees’] Handbook is a valuable resource for incoming Board members to smooth their induction onto a Board while also guiding everyone on their roles, responsibilities and duties.

“Good governance means an organisation will design and put in place policies and procedures that will make sure the organisation runs effectively.” A Governance Handbook will collect everything a Director needs in one place to ensure that they are compliant with legislation and regulations and outline policies and procedures to ensure effective governance. As an organisation grows, it should include a broad range of information.

Over the years, I have helped several clients create or review their governance handbook. The best handbooks are comprehensive, accessible, and relevant. A handbook should be a living document that clearly articulates the governance framework of your organisation. We would be happy to help you create a Handbook tailored to your organisation’s unique needs if you need assistance.

Jillian van Turnhout completes second term on the NSAC

Last Friday, I completed my second term on the National Screen Advisory Committee (NSAC).

The NSAC is an independent committee that advises the Minister for Health and the Department of Health on all new proposals for population-based screening programmes and on changes to existing programmes.

It has been a privilege to be a ‘public voice’ on this primarily medical committee, drawing from a wide range of disciplines. I hope our recommendations for screening will be implemented soon and make a positive difference. There is now a public call for a ‘public voice’ representative via Stateboards.ie (link below).

Thank you to all NSAC members and the secretariat, both past and present, for your care, commitment, and public service. For most of my term, we were fortunate to be chaired by Professor Niall O’Higgins and as my term closed, it was a delight to welcome Dr Suzanne Crowe as Chair (pictured with me).

Expression of interest for appointment to the NSAC – Epidemiology, Ethics, Public Voice, Health Economics and Obstetrics Roles can be made here.

Jillian van Turnhout awarded WAGGGS Medal of Service

At the 38th World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, it was announced that Jillian van Turnhout was awarded a WAGGGS Medal of Service. The WAGGGS Medal of Service is the highest form of recognition that WAGGGS can bestow and is awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their outstanding service to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting at national and global level.

In making the announcement, Jess Bond, World Board member and Chair, People Committee gave the following testimonial:

“2023 Volunteer Medal of Service is awarded to former Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides and a member of the WAGGGS Governance Committee, Jillian van Turnhout, from Ireland.

Jillian has tirelessly given her time, her knowledge, her energy and her talents to the Movement in so many varied ways, over many years of dedicated service.

Governance work is often done quietly in the background. It is because of dedicated volunteers like Jillian that WAGGGS has a strong governance backbone to support it to achieve its mission and objectives. Jillian has undertaken a variety of smaller and larger tasks as a member of the committee over the past six years, which all together add up to make an outstanding contribution to WAGGGS. Personally, as a World Board member, I know we have really benefitted from the tailored and interactive learning and development sessions she has run over the past few years.

She has also made an immeasurable contribution to the Irish Girl Guides in a wide range of roles – not only in leading the organisation as Chief Commissioner from 2004-2007 and in her current role as Company Secretary and Chair of the Governance Committee, but also by leveraging her professional expertise for guiding’s benefit. For example, using her considerable expertise in safeguarding and ensuring the organisation meets the highest standards and putting girls and young women at the heart of everything by developing a relevant and engaging programme for young members.

Jillian can do a lot herself, but she tries to open doors and give space for others to give things a go. She will be there by your side quietly helping, supporting and championing you to give it a go and to learn in a safe environment. In this way she embodies and lives our Guiding values.”

Jess Bond
World Board member and Chair, People Committee
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

The Medal of Service expresses gratitude to members of the Association whose service is considered to be exceptional, noteworthy and/or extraordinary in nature.

On receiving the award, Jillian van Turnhout said:

“This recognition is the highest form of recognition that WAGGGS can bestow. I am being recognised for my contributions to the WAGGGS Governance Committee and as an active volunteer with the Irish Girl Guides. Thank you, Amanda O’ Sullivan, IGG Chief Commissioner, for accepting the award on my behalf.

I am involved in guiding because I believe to we need more women in leadership and I can play a role by planting the seeds and nurturing the leadership skills of the girls and young women in the Irish Girl Guides. By using my professional governance skills, I can support guiding globally and nationally. As a young guide, I wasn’t too good at gaining badges and so to all our young members, there are always avenues open to be a Trailblazer. To be recognised among 10 million members in 155 countries is truly an immense honour, I am humbled and extremely proud. Thank you.”

At the Irish Girl Guides AGM, on 3 September 2023, Jillian van Turnhout was presented her award consisting of a certificate, medal and special pin. The presentation was made by IGG Chief Commissioner, Amanda O’Sullivan along with guest online participation of Jess Bond, World Board and Chair, People Committee and Fiona Bradley, World Board and Chair, Governance Committee.


Jillian van Turnhout on RTE Saturday with Aine Kerr

I had the privilege of joining Aine Kerr on RTE Saturday with… to discuss my expertise in governance and offer insights on the recent RTE revelations. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge with such a wide audience. Below is a short video clip. A link to the RTE website with a full playback of the entire program is at the bottom.

You can listen back here.

Jillian van Turnhout in Carmichael’s Governance Panel Discussion

Carmichael is a leading training and support body for non-profit organisations in Ireland. Jillian van Turnhout is on their panel of trainers for governance.

On April 26, 2023, Carmichael held a Governance Dilemma webinar in which a panel of experts discussed a real-life governance issue that an Irish non-profit organisation had faced. Each of the panel members suggested actions that could be taken. The scenario was anonymised so that the organisation in question could not be identified. The challenge discussed by the panel was that of a board that did not take effective control and oversight of the organisation and a CEO who ignored the board.

The panel members were:

Andrew Madden
Head of Training, Consultancy & Communications at Carmichael.
Andrew enjoys working in the non-profit sector where he sees people motivated by a desire to make a real and positive difference. He is particularly passionate about governance in non-profit organisations as he believes that well-governed organisations are best placed to achieve and realise their own objectives to the fullest.

Gerry Egan
Chartered Director, Company Secretary, consultant, and trainer.
Gerry works with a variety of commercial and non-profit clients specialising in corporate governance, data protection, and strategy and change.

Jillian van Turnhout
Consultant, Chartered Director, and certified by INSEAD in corporate governance.
Jillian has been a CEO, Chair and is an experienced Non-Executive Director (State, Charity, and Commercial boards).

The panel was chaired by Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí, CEO of Carmichael Diarmaid has extensive experience as a board chair and a board member in a number of charities and with working with boards and providing governance support and advice. He is actively involved in the Good Governance Awards, Mentoring, and the Board Chairs Network initiatives led by Carmichael.

Each of the panel members gave a number of possible responses and actions that could be taken by the board in the scenario outlined.

After the panel discussion, Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí, the Chair of the Panel, made the following remarks:

“It can be extremely stressful for people who have stepped onto boards in a voluntary capacity and are trying to do their best but are coming up against difficulties like this. That can be really challenging for a person’s mental health so that’s important to bear in mind and again to make sure there is a team of allies behind you.

The Charities Governance Code can be a great tool to help review your governance structures and compliance. You can use it as a conversation starter since all charities are required to comply with it so it can be a way to encourage the Board to consider a Board evaluation, address trustee recruitment, or review its strategy as these are all specific standards in the Code.”

If you would like to join the Carmichael Governance Dilemma mailing list, sign up here.

Jillian van Turnhout speaking at Dublin South’s Local Enterprise Week

The title of the event is ‘The Business of Social Enterprise, a challenging and provocative examination of social enterprise as a business model.’

It takes place in the Apex Theatre, Tallaght on Thursday March 9th 2023, 10.00 to 12.00

“There is a growing awareness of Social Enterprise among the public and businesses alike. However, while it is becoming understood in terms of social impact, it is less understood in terms of being an actual business model capable of profitability, scaling and international expansion. This conference examines Social Enterprise as a business model. The seminar is co-hosted by Partas, SERI and South Dublin LEO. The venue is the new theatre called The Apex, in the Tallaght Enterprise Centre which is currently undergoing a multi-million euro redevelopment by Partas as a major Food Hub for Tallaght.”


Welcome by Tom Rooney, CEO, South Dublin Local Enterprise Office


John Kearns – CEO, Partas

Lorraine Corcoran – Director, SERI
Snapshot of Social Enterprise as a business sector.

Carol Gibbons – Divisional Manager Regions & Local Enterprise, Enterprise Ireland
Relating to Social Enterprises as businesses

To be advised – Social Entrepreneurs Ireland
The vital role of the entrepreneur in social enterprise

Angela Ruttledge – Public Affairs and Stakeholder Management, FoodCloud
The business model as part of the DNA of a Social Enterprise

Gavin Callan – Procurement Director CBRE The gaps and opportunities for Social Enterprises to play with the big guys

Jillian van Turnhout – Governance Consulting
Social Enterprises need enterprising boards

Participation is by prior booking only at:

Register here

Jillian van Turnhout appointed Independent Chair of Nursing Homes Ireland

The Board of Directors of Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has appointed Jillian van Turnhout CDir IDP-C as Independent Chairperson. Jillian succeeds Maurice Pratt, who stepped down from the role of Chair at the end of 2022, having served the maximum six-year term.

Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, wrote:

“We thank Maurice for his excellent service to NHI and are excited to work with Jillian. Thanks also to Thora Mackey CDir Institute of Directors in Ireland

Jillian has wide ranging strategic, public affairs and corporate governance experience that she will bring to NHI to support us in addressing the myriad of challenges in respect of the care requirements of our ageing population.

Welcome Jillian and I very much looking forward to working with you in the interests of our members and those in the care of our members.”

I am delighted to share that I am starting a new position as Independent Chair of the Board of Nursing Homes Ireland.

Thank you to the Institute of Directors in Ireland Board Centre (and in particular Thora Mackey CDir) for putting me forward for consideration. This is a commercial Board role to add to my State Board (Arts Council), Charity (One in Four) and not-for-profit experience. I am relishing the opportunity to lead the Board and bring my governance, strategy, public health, and public affairs experience to this role.

I have already met with some of the members of NHI to learn more about the day-to-day challenges they are facing. Over the coming months, I plan to meet with stakeholders whom I hope to work with to address the current issues facing the sector and to map out the future of nursing home care in Ireland. In my role as Chair I am fortunate to be supported by Tadgh Daly, CEO who heads up the outstanding staff team – I met our small but impressive team last week.

I plan along with the Board of Nursing Homes Ireland to make a difference and demonstrate how an effective Board can further the goals of an organisation.