By Jane Walsh
Irish Central

Irish Network USA held their first national Board meeting this past weekend in the nation’s capital, kicked off by a reception hosted by Ireland’s Ambassador to the U.S., Anne Anderson.

Highlighting the reception was Ambassador Anderson’s announcement that Irish Network USA was awarded a grant to assist IN-USA in meeting its mission of promoting business, cultural and social ties between the two nations.

Ambassador Anderson welcomed members from across the US and emphasized the support of Irish Government for the mission of IN-USA, “I was delighted to host the IN-USA delegates at a reception at the Irish Embassy in Washington D.C. at the beginning of their weekend-long meeting. The Irish Government is strongly supportive of the development of IN-USA and the expansion of Irish Network chapters across the US. A concrete reflection of that support was a substantial grant, approved by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, from the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme”.

“This national board meeting started a new and exciting chapter for Irish Network USA,” stated Steve Lenox, Co-President. “The support of Ambassador Anderson and her team, the enthusiasm and growing success of our member chapters, and the seemingly non-stop calls from Irish and Irish American leaders in cities across the US are all coming together at the right time to ensure that 2014 is our biggest year yet!”

IN-DC President Brid Ryan, “IN-DC was honored to act as host city for the IN-USA board meeting this weekend. I was personally struck by the individual and collective ambition of our members to reach out and engage with the Irish diaspora and friends of Ireland across the United States. Our continued support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and specifically our receipt this year of a grant from the Emigrant Support Programme, will enhance our ability to cultivate lasting business, economic and social relationships.”

The two day Board Meeting, held at the Dupont Circle Hotel, included several guest speakers including John McCarthy, Future Civic Leaders; Pat Tully, Ireland Funds; Ciaran Staunton, Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform; and Simon Carswell, Irish Times. Those attending the meeting, representing thirteen chapters from across the U.S., participated in interactive discussions on issues ranging from digital strategies to effective fundraising techniques. The central theme that emerged throughout the weekend was using these new skills not just for networking, but to build a network.

The meeting ended with the announcement that Irish Network USA would hold an even larger Board meeting and conference in Seattle, Washington, September 12-14, 2014.

IN-USA currently has sixteen chapters throughout the U.S. including; Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada, New Orleans, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. Over the course of the next year IN-USA plans to grow to thirty chapters.