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Our Director Team

Barbara McGrath

Barbara McGrath

Managing Director

Barbara McGrath is the Managing Director 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.

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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.

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Estelle Davis

Estelle Davis

Managing Partner - Executive Division

Board Director - Brightwater Group


Estelle is the Managing Partner 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.

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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 where he is directly responsible for the IT, Engineering, Supply Chain, Pharmaceutical, Sales & Marketing and HR recruitment teams. He personally specialises in recruiting for senior sales professionals on a permanent basis and has brought an award-winning sales & marketing team to new heights of success. He works with a broad variety of clients such as multinationals, family run businesses and SMEs.

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Jean O'Donovan

Jean O'Donovan

Commercial Director

Jean is the Commercial Director of Brightwater’s Professional Services division. She joined Brightwater in 2003 and was appointed Commercial Director in 2017. Her remit covers a broad range of disciplines including accountancy, taxation, banking, fund services, legal, compliance & risk and insurance. With nearly 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. 

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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.

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Gordon D'Arcy

Gordon D'Arcy

Commercial Director

Gordon joined Brightwater in September 2019 as Commercial Director of the Group where he plays an integral part in building client relationships and driving business growth across the island. Gordon is Ireland’s longest serving rugby international and played at the highest level of the sport for over 17 years. His widely varied career includes best-selling children’s author, investment management, business consultancy, sports columnist and business owner. He is also a non-exec director for a global payments company and is an ambassador for several bodies including Barretstown, a non-profit organisation and 20x 20, an initiative for women in sport. He also was a member of the board of Paralympics Ireland for nearly four years.

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Aoife Clarke

Aoife Clarke

Director of Operations & Administration

Aoife is the Director of Operations and Administration 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.

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Eimear Walsh

Eimear Walsh

Associate Director - Banking, Funds, Insurance & Legal

Eimear is Associate Director with direct responsibility for Talent Acquisition and Training across the Brightwater Group. She now heads up our internal talent division having had previous roles across the Group including managing the financial services team as well as working as a recruiter in the retail, sales & marketing divisions. Having joined Brightwater in 2006, Eimear is ideally placed to understand what it takes to succeed in the recruitment industry.  She is also responsible for developing training programmes within the Group to enhance the skills & knowledge of our consultants.

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Cathal O Donnell

Cathal O Donnell

Regional Director - Engineering & Operations, Science and Supply Chain & Logistics

Cathal is Regional Director for Brightwater, managing both the Belfast office and overseeing the engineering, life sciences 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 Regional Director in July 2018. 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. 

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Emma Anglim

Emma Anglim

Associate Director - Business Support

Emma is Associate Director of Brightwater’s Business Support division. She joined the Group in 2007 as a consultant focusing on the temporary & contract business support market and was appointed Associate Director in January 2019. She has a proven track record in leading a successful team focusing on business support 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.  

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John Duffy

John Duffy

Associate Director - 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