Specialisterne NI welcomes Seamus Gallagher to its voluntary board.

The team at Specialisterne NI are delighted to welcome new Directors to its voluntary board. Please join us in welcoming Seamus Gallagher.



Throughout my 20 year career in the IT industry I have been fortunate enough to be in a position to offer support to a range of organisations that work with individuals to help them achieve their full potential.  The work of Specialisterne NI is of particular interest to me as a father of a 10 year old boy who has Asperger’s.  I’ve had several conversations (prompted by my son) about what he might want to be when he grows up – Lego Designer has been mentioned!  Regardless of what career path he chooses I want my son to have every opportunity to reach his full potential in life – in and outside of work.  Specialisterne NI’s programmes offer the kind of support that my son may wish to avail of as he gets older.

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to learn more about the great work that Sharon and the team undertake.  The support that Specialisterne NI provides to people is exceptional; the team are committed and passionate about the difference that they make.  I am delighted to be joining the organisation as they continue the journey to not only support autistic individuals in their chosen careers, but also advise and guide employers in understanding the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace.

I hope that I can bring my experiences of working with a diverse range of hugely talented people offering their unique perspectives across a broad variety of roles.   My work within both academia and industry, as well as my knowledge of strategy; transformation; governance & risk, will also allow me to contribute to the continued development of Specialisterne NI’s vision.  I’m looking forward to the challenge.


Specialisterne NI welcomes David Crozier to its Voluntary Board as Chair


I am honoured to have been invited to Chair the Specialisterne NI board. The opportunity to help Sharon and the team build on their success to date and map out a vision for supporting autistic people and employers into the next decade is one which I am relishing.

I am currently Head of Strategy and Partnerships and Engagement at QUB’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies -CSIT and ECIT Institute having joined as Technical Marketing Manager in 2012. As a member of the Senior Management Group, I lead on developing new and existing strategic relationships with mainly public sector partners internationally, nationally and regionally that have a role or interest in cyber security research, innovation and public policy. This and my experience overseeing the marketing. communications and public affairs portfolio at the Institute will be put to good use in my capacity as Chair.

Recent relevant projects I have worked on include the UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020 and Understanding the UK cyber security skills labour market 2020- both for DCMS and the NI Cyber Security Framework for Action published by the NI Department for Finance in 2018. In 2015 I co-founded cyber security start up Liopa Ltd and was a member of the N Ireland Cyber Leadership Board set up to oversee the implementation of the NI Cyber Security Framework for Action. Since 2012 I have co-Chaired the annual CSIT Cyber Security Summit and co-founded the Cyber Security Transatlantic Policy Forum in 2019. During my 20 year career I have also held roles in the public, private and voluntary sectors at Invest NI, Lagan Technologies, the Northern Ireland Office, the Educational Guidance Service for Adults, Jinny Software and Intel Corporation.

I hold a MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a BSc in Computer Science, was a Fellow of the US State Department sponsored 2018 All-Ireland Strengthening Cybersecurity Professional Exchange Program at Boston College and completed the Emerging Leaders Programme at QUB in 2017.

Specialisterne NI welcomes Leanne Hamilton to its voluntary board

The team at Specialisterne NI are delighted to welcome new Directors to its voluntary board. Please join us in welcoming Leanne Hamilton.

I am passionate about neurodiversity in the workplace. As a leader in the defined benefits pensions industry, I have worked with many autistic or non-neurotypical people. What often makes them so good at their jobs is that they offer different perspectives.

My daughter is exceptional, she is direct, tenacious and persistent at solving problems. But as selection processes focus on soft skills such as eye contact and small talk she is unlikely to reach her career potential.

I want to help to change perceptions and highlight the benefits that hiring people with different ways of thinking can bring. That is why I am excited to join the board of Specialisterne NI and help them in their work towards a goal of 1 million careers for autistic people.

Specialisterne NI welcomes Brian Byers to its Voluntary Board

The team at Specialisterne NI are delighted to welcome new Directors to its voluntary board. Please join us in welcoming Brian Byers.

It’s hard for me to explain how excited I am to join the Specialisterne team from both a personal and professional perspective. 

Having worked in career development and employability for over 15 years, with the last 12 years with Ulster University I hope I can bring a lot of experience and knowledge to how Specialisterne develops and expands its amazing services whether that’s programme development, employer engagement or helping to further expand other activities that Specialisterne have been driving.  My roles in Ulster University have been varied but have always focused on employability and career development. I currently manage Employability Services across our campuses but have also led in areas such as employer engagement, curriculum development, the management of our University Skills Award (Ulster EDGE Award). At present there is lot of focus on maximising the use of technology in a way that meets the needs of our large and diverse student community.

From a personal perspective, as a parent of a 10 year old boy who happens to be autistic I can’t wait to be part of the development of services and activities that will help him and his peers to fulfil their potential and critically, to feel more connected with each other. Having gone through the struggle of helping him access the right and appropriate education I now look towards his future and what opportunities and obstacles he and his peers will face and that’s why I feel so passionate about what Specialisterne has and is continuing to do. I am not sure there is a stronger motivation to support the work of Specialisterne than that. I can’t wait to get started.