FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF HERSTORY
Melanie is a social entrepreneur and and award-winning creative with a passion for justice, equality and storytelling. Starting a degree in Mathematics & Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin, she decided to take a detour and enrolled in art college, leading to a career working for some of the world's best advertising agencies.
As an intern at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London she penned 'Life Story', the most successful Barnardo’s campaign to date, which increased donations by £2million and volunteering applications by 50% during the recession. Across the pond in Paris, she worked for Fred&Farid, SIDLEE and Saatchi's. Despite the fact that she’s only 3% French, Melanie was chosen to represent France in the 2013 Global Cannes Young Lions Competition.
The advertising industry is a strange place for a born socialist, but as Steve Jobs once said, ‘You can’t join the dots looking forward, only looking back.’ In 2014 she found herself in Kenya, where some soul searching sparked a new career direction that would enable her to apply her creativity and communications skills for the good of humanity.
Back home in Ireland, she became Creative Director of the inaugural Heart of Ireland (Hi) Festival. Working with Hi Festival Founder Maria Bourke (also her Mum!), the Heart of lreland is a celebration of real people and the real Ireland. Melanie programmed 73 events over 4 days from the Irish Chamber Orchestra to pig-racing. The inaugural Hi festival was sponsored by 88 local businesses and garnered national and international press coverage. During the Hi Festival, a number of discoveries inspired the inception of Herstory and the rest is history, or rather herstory!
In her free time, Melanie loves swimming in the sea, hiking, dancing, marching, yoga, meditation, reading, and spontaneous adventures with her soul sisters.
Dani Gill is a writer, and an independent curator, project manager and creative writing tutor, based in the west of Ireland. From 2010-2016 she was the Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway. During her time with Cúirt she has successfully won three major European Project Awards: Read Me Live (2011), The Crossroads of European Literature (2013), and Sharing the World (2015-2016).
Dani was a member of the Advisory Panel for Galway European Capital of Culture 2020. She has also worked for the Volvo Ocean Race (2009), Decadent Theatre Company, and Galway events company: Fold/Unfold.
Dani is a creative writing tutor and hosts a Writing Club for students aged between 12 and 18 years. She is interested in youth arts and education, and has collaborated with several community organisations on youth projects.
Dani is also a published poet. She published her first collection of poems, After Love, with Salmon Poetry in April 2017: Buy the book with free worldwide postage. She also writes fiction and is currently working on a novel.
Researcher & Project Manager (Republic of Ireland)
Katelyn Hanna is a Researcher and Project Manager at Herstory and has been involved in the movement since 2017 when she hosted a Herstory salon in Maynooth University. Raised in Donegal but now based in Maynooth, she graduated with an Undergraduate degree in English and History in 2017 and with a Master’s degree in Irish History in 2018. Katelyn is a proud feminist and throughout her time in college she was very involved with the Feminist Society as PRO and eventually as President of the society.
Project Manager (Northern Ireland)
Fiona Lowe is the Project Manager for Herstory in Northern Ireland and has been involved with Herstory since 2016. Fiona is an artist and researcher from County Down. A graduate of French and History of Art from Queen’s University, Belfast, Fiona returned to her alma mater to undertake a Masters in Arts Management. She is also a member of Women In Business, NI and is the Lean In leader for Women in the Arts at Queen’s University. She is a young leader in the Belfast Chapter of the Ireland Funds and a member of the newly formed Queen’s Leadership network.