Wexford Schools to benefit as LIFT Ireland to bring self leadership roundtables to 10,000 additional TY Students nationwide

Social enterprise, LIFT Ireland, have announced plans for 2025 to bring their self-leadership roundtable events to an additional 120 secondary schools nationwide, bringing its total partner schools to over 550. A number of Wexford schools have already taken part in the programme but with this announcement, many more TY students will be able to experience the tangible benefits of this unique programme.

In total, an additional 10,000 TY students will not only be impacted by this unique self-reflective model but will also be trained in the LIFT Facilitator process, enabling them to roll out leadership roundtables throughout their schools and wider community. 

In just over five years, 100,000 people, from the classroom to the boardroom, have participated in LIFT’s personal development roundtables which focus on core human values, such as respect, integrity, accountability. Established by Joanne Hession, David Hession and Sonya Lennon, and with a round of funding in the offing, LIFT is poised to bring the programme to every young person in the country, through schools and outreach activities, within the next 3 to 4 years.

Unsurprisingly LIFT has seen a gravitational pull into the education sector. “With 65,000 secondary school students taking part in our roundtables, we’ve seen, up close, the impact we’re having in helping young people navigate their way through complex social issues,” Joanne Hession tells us.

Sonya Lennon puts it another way, “In a series of 40-minute sessions, people get to discuss the fundamentals of what it means to better lead oneself, to be a more aware and tolerant friend, colleague or family member.”

LIFT has already formed partnerships with some of Ireland’s biggest corporate players including Vodafone, PTSB and StayCity who have rolled out the Roundtable process with their various teams and can testify to the difference in the well-being of participants, as well as positively impacting on corporate culture.

David Hession, brother to Joanne, a successful lawyer and psychologist, is the one charged with monitoring the impact. “Working with the University of Galway, we already see early evidence on the impact we’re having on young people’s well-being. An anonymous online survey of 700 students conducted after a cycle of 8 roundtables revealed that 35.7% stated ‘improved ability to deal with others’, while 56% said LIFT had ‘changed how they will think or act in the future’”. 

LIFT’s not for profit business model, however, is true to its social purpose in that the income from corporate partners is used to fund the schools programme, ensuring its free for all students, nationwide. LIFT are building a robust research programme to understand where it aligns with current social/psychological theories, how it impacts attitudes and behaviours, and the variations that socio-demographics will bring too. David Hession himself is commencing a doctorate programme around the LIFT model.

LIFT is chaired by renowned business leader Anne Heraty, recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award 2024 by Image PwC. Its board includes recognised and respected leaders like John Lonergan, Denise Fitzgerald, and Ken Casey. 

‘100,000 and going for the multiplier’ is Joanne Hession’s aim, and with her 25-year success as founder of both The Entrepreneurs Academy and QED The Accreditation Experts, together with Sonya Lennon’s Work Equal social enterprise, this trio are already seeing LIFTs magnetism at work internationally. A self-leadership pilot is due to take place with LIFT Partner GOAL in Uganda in July this year.  

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