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Our Director Team

Barbara McGrath

Barbara McGrath


Barbara McGrath is the CEO of the Brightwater Group which encompasses Brightwater, Brightwater Executive and Mentors of which she is Chairperson. She joined the company in 2005, was appointed to the board in 2011 and became MD of the Group in 2017.  In 2018, she was the driving force with two fellow directors in an MBO and is now concentrating on both organic growth as well as acquisitions of companies in synergy with the Brightwater Group. In January 2023, she was appointed CEO of the Group where her focus is on the strategic direction of the organisation. 

Connect with Barbara on LinkedIn

Gareth Fleming, MD

Gareth Fleming

Managing Director

Gareth was appointed to the Board of the Brightwater Group in 2022 and in January 2023, he was appointed Managing Director of the Group. While overseeing the Group's activities, his  particular area of focus covers all things technology both nationally and internationally. Gareth has specialised in the technology and digital recruitment space for 14+ years and has worked with a broad variety of clients across traditional and disruptive fields ranging from large global banks to hyper-growth, fintech and med-tech scale-ups. Gareth’s knowledge of the international tech recruitment market has seen him complete successful tech mandates in Ireland, USA, Middle East and City of London across all IT verticals and industries whilst growing high performing teams.

Connect with Gareth on LinkedIn

Deputy MD

Jean O'Donovan

Deputy Managing Director

Jean is Director of Brightwater’s Professional Services division. She joined Brightwater in 2003, was appointed to the Board in December 2020 and was appointed Deputy Managing Director of the Group in January 2023.  Whilst overseeing the Group's actitivies as a whole, her particular remit covers a broad range of disciplines including accountancy, taxation, banking, fund services, legal, compliance & risk and insurance. With over twenty years’ recruitment experience, Jean personally specialises in the recruitment of senior accountancy & finance professionals on a temporary & contract basis. Her knowledge of the professional services market is unrivalled, and she has an instinctual grasp of the challenges her clients face on a daily basis. 

Connect with Jean on LinkedIn

John O'Donnell

John O’Donnell

Finance Director

John O’Donnell is the Finance Director of the Brightwater Group. He joined the company in 2002 as a financial controller. In January 2008 he was promoted to Finance Director and was appointed to the board in 2011. In 2018, John along with two of his fellow directors took part in an MBO. As well as being responsible for a busy finance department, John is an integral part of the leadership team driving the business forward through both organic and acquisitive growth.

Connect with John on LinkedIn

Estelle Davis

Estelle Davis

Chief Development Officer - Executive Division

Board Director - Brightwater Group

Estelle is the Chief Development Officer of Brightwater Executive and a Director of the Brightwater Group. She leads the Executive branch, focusing on senior management level assignments across VP, Director and C-Suite levels. Estelle joined Brightwater in 2003, initially on the insurance division before transferring to the financial services desk. She works with a variety of clients such as multinationals and private equity backed portfolio businesses. She is an expert in the financial services, banking, treasury, funds, insurance and aviation leasing sectors and has an innate understanding of her clients’ requirements as well as the sensitivities of recruiting business leaders.

Connect with Estelle on LinkedIn 
Emma Anglim - Director, Business Support

Emma Anglim

Director - Business Services / HR

Emma is a Director of the Brightwater Group and heads up Brightwater’s Business Services division which encompasses Business Support (office administration/customer support) & HR divisions. She joined the Group in 2007 where she focused on the temporary & contract business support market. In January 2022, Emma was appointed to the Board.  She has a proven track record in leading a successful team focusing on business support & HR recruitment on a permanent, contract and temporary basis across a broad range of industry sectors. Emma personally specialises in recruiting for temporary & contract business support roles and has developed an extensive network of clients by providing quality service with fast and efficient turn-around times.  

Connect with Emma on LinkedIn

Mark Byrne

Mark Byrne

Commercial Director

Mark is Commercial Director in Brightwater’s Dublin’s office. He joined Brightwater in 2003 and has over 20 years’ recruitment experience. In 2011 Mark was promoted to Commercial Director and he personally specialises in recruiting for legal professionals. He works with a broad variety of clients from law firms to large multinationals placing legal and company secretarial professionals on a permanent, temporary and contract basis at all levels from newly qualified up to senior legal counsel/partner level.

Mark is a Fellow of the NRF and holds a BSc in Marketing from DIT Mountjoy

Connect with Mark on LinkedIn

Tom Wilkinson

Tom Wilkinson

Commercial Director

Tom is the Commercial Director of Brightwater’s Cork office managing a team recruiting across various professional disciplines including Accountancy, Engineering, Life Sciences, IT, Business Support, HR and Sales & Marketing. He joined Brightwater in 2015 bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge of the accountancy market in the Munster and Connacht regions. While responsible for the overall operations of the Cork office, Tom specifically recruits for senior level accountancy and taxation roles for public practice, financial services and industry.

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn

Aoife Clarke - Director of Operations & HR

Aoife Clarke

Director of Operations & HR

Aoife is the Director of Operations and HR for the Brightwater Group. One of the longest serving staff members of Brightwater having joined in 2000, she has responsibility for the day to day operations of the Group. This includes management of the Group’s administration team, the HR function, co-ordinating internal training, facilities management, reviewing and implementing systems and procedures as well as project implementation such as GDPR.  She is on the NRF Skillnet committee which specialises in meeting the training demands of the recruitment industry.

Connect with Aoife on LinkedIn

Cathal O Donnell

Cathal O Donnell

Commercial Director - Engineering & Operations, Supply Chain & Logistics

Cathal is a Commercial Director with Brightwater overseeing the engineering and supply chain recruitment divisions for the Dublin branch. Having joined Brightwater in 2010 initially as team leader of the engineering & construction team, he was appointed Commercial Director in December 2020. With nearly 20 years’ experience recruiting for the technical sector, Cathal personally specialises in recruiting for senior level engineering professionals across engineering, construction and operations. He has a successful track record in large volume public sector recruitment assignments and works with a range of private and public sector clients both in Ireland and overseas. 

Connect with Cathal on LinkedIn

Clinton Donkin Commercial Director

Clinton Donkin

Commercial Director - Public Practice & Taxation

Clinton joined Brightwater in 2021 as Commercial Director within the Professional Services division. He specialises in tax and professional services recruitment from Partner or Head of Tax to Associate and Seniors, partnering with leading professional services firms, SMEs and multinationals across the island of Ireland. He has an extensive knowledge of accountancy and taxation and understands the complexities and culture of his clients. He has an unrivalled network of contacts which makes him the ideal recruitment partner to employers and jobseekers alike.  

Prior to joining Brightwater, Clinton gained over 15 years’ recruitment experience in Ireland and across Australasia.

Connect with Clinton on LinkedIn

John Duffy

John Duffy

Director of IT

John is a highly experienced IT professional and heads up the internal IT department for the Brightwater Group. He joined the Group in 2013, bringing with him a wealth of experience in network security, systems implementation and change management. He has overseen various projects including implementing a new CRM system and managing the sourcing of all IT suppliers. He is responsible for upgrading and modernising all IT systems for the Group.

Connect with John on LinkedIn

Eileen Moloney - Marketing Director

Eileen Moloney

Director of Marketing

Eileen has more than 25 years’ senior marketing experience in B2B and B2C. Having joined Brightwater in May 2000, she heads up the internal marketing function of the Group with specific responsibility for sponsorship, PR, events, marketing strategy and budgets. Her commercial awareness as well as her in-depth knowledge of recruitment market trends make her an integral part of Brightwater’s leadership team.

Connect with Eileen on LinkedIn

Derek Smyth - Associate Director, IT Contracts

Derek Smyth

Associate Director - IT Contracts

Derek is an Associate Director within Brightwater’s IT division. He joined Brightwater in August 2010 and has over 22 years’ experience in recruitment and key account management within the recruitment industry. Derek focuses on the IT contracts sector primarily recruiting across software development, system analysis, IT project management, network support, data warehousing, business intelligence and cyber security.  He account manages a number of key clients where he has built long term mutually beneficial partnerships offering on-going recruitment services, market information and salary benchmarking.

Connect with Derek on LinkedIn

Associate Director -Life Sciences

Gillian McMurrough

Associate Director - Life Sciences

Gillian holds a BSc in Genetics from UCD. She has 7 years' Life Science recruitment experience partnering with leading Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Devices and Diagnostics clients across Ireland– working with both established and growing clients. Gillian specialises in senior end technical recruitment from Senior Specialist through to Director level. She has an excellent track record and reputation in placing niche and in demand professionals in the following areas: Quality, Regulatory Affairs, Drug Safety/Pharmacovigilance, Medical Affairs, Clinical, Research and Development, Formulation / Drug Development, Technical Operations and Project Management. Services include Contingent recruitment (Permanent appointments), Executive and Retained services, Contracting and Interim solutions and Advisory services.  

Connect with Gillian on LinkedIn

John Christopher Howe

John Howe

Associate Director - Data Science & Analytics

John is an Associate Director of Brightwater’s Data Science & Analytics team within Brightwater Technology. Having joined Brightwater in 2011 initially on the IT team as a resourcer, he soon found his niche as a recruiter. He now manages the data science team recruiting on behalf of clients for roles covering several areas including data science, Machine Learning, AI, data analysis, data visualisation and data engineering. His own interest in analytics and data science is key to his solid recruitment partnerships across his client portfolio. 

Connect with John on LinkedIn 

Tom Guilfoyle BW Funds

Tom Guilfoyle

Associate Director - Financial Services / Funds

Tom has over 6 years’ recruitment industry experience, most of which within the financial services sector where he has worked with international and domestic financial services companies. He joined Brightwater’s Financial Services division in mid 2021 and was appointed Associate Director in July 2022. He oversees consultants recruiting for Banking, Funds, Insurance and Risk & Compliance while personally focusing on the placement of professionals across the Irish and European funds marketplace in interim, contract and permanent roles at all levels. 

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn

Associate Director - IT

Stacy Keogh

Associate Director - IT

Stacy joined Brightwater in 2016 as a recruiter on our IT team and has nearly 7 years’ IT and engineering recruitment experience in Ireland and Canada. She was promoted to Associate Director in January 2023 and now leads the software engineering team in placing professionals on a permanent basis at all levels from graduates up to senior director / partner level. Her areas of speciality include .Net, C#, ASP.Net Developers, Java Developers, BI & ETL Developers, BI & ETL Technical Leads, SharePoint Developers, QA Engineers, QA Managers, Performance Engineers, Automation Test Engineers, Project Manager / System Analyst and Technical Business Analysts. Stacy has an innate understanding of what skillsets and attributes are essential for specific roles which makes her the go-to recruiter for her clients. 

Connect with Stacy on LinkedIn

Head of Finance

Ciara Byrne

Finance Director

Ciara is a highly experienced finance professional and heads up Brightwater’s internal finance department. She joined the Group in 2019, bringing with her over 10 years’ experience in financial business planning, financial budgeting, forecasting and implementation of internal financial controls. A qualified accountant through ACCA, Ciara was appointed Finance Director of the Brightwater Group in January 2023. 

Connect with Ciara on LinkedIn

Majella - Associate Director, Sales

Majella Slevin

Associate Director - Sales & Customer Service

Majella has nearly 20 years’ recruitment industry experience in Ireland and Australasia, primarily with the HR and Business Support areas where she worked with a broad range of international and indigenous companies. She joined Brightwater’s Business Services division in 2022 as Associate Director where she personally focuses on the placement of Sales & Customer Service professionals across the Irish marketplace in interim, contract and permanent roles at all levels.  

Connect with Majella on LinkedIn