ICLF President Speech 2024

Friends, thank you all for being here today. If you don’t know me, my name is Laddie. Like many of you, I got involved down here at the ICC because of an affiliate program. The affiliate was called the Friends of St. Patrick. I stay around and became involved also for the same reason many of you did…because Mary Moriarty told me to.

It is with profound gratitude and humility that I stand before you as the new Chairman and President of the Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation. This moment is not just a personal honor, but it is a testament to the enduring spirit and vibrancies of our shared Irish heritage. First and foremost, I want to express my deepest thanks to the members of the board for trusting me with this responsibility. Your confidence in me is both humbling and inspiring and I pledge to serve with the same passion and dedication that each of you has shown. Jim Daugherty and Leslie Thompson, you have led us through many years. Thank you for your service and what you have done. We wouldn’t be here without you. I am so proud to call you both friends. 

To our community supporters and affiliate partners, your unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting Irish culture has been the cornerstone of our success. This year we mark 25 years, and this wouldn’t have been achieved without your enthusiasm and support that breathes life into our mission.

Now together, I ask you to join me as we build on this foundation that not only celebrates our rich history, but also embraces the dynamic and evolving nature of our culture. As I take on this new role, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: As chairman and president, my top priorities will be growth, reconciliation, and communication. I know we have all seen a lot of change over the years. COVID wasn’t easy on the ICLF, affiliates, and community partners. 

But, it is now time to join together, to put aside personal differences and create a plan and path for our next 25 years. We sit today in what I like to call an “the emerald in the desert.” It is time we show it off on a whole new level – if not for ourselves or the future, then for the people that cannot be here with us today that made this place possible. People like Jim Cunningham, Bill O’Brien, Norman McClelland, Jimmy O’Connor, John Corcoran, Carol Joyce, Frank Levy and so many more. 

Today, I’m reminded of the words of W.B. YEATS “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met.” This sentiment perfectly captures the spirit of our foundation going forward; a place where everyone is welcome and we forge connections while we celebrate the stories, music, literature, art, and traditions that define us. 

Looking ahead I’m excited about the opportunities that lie before us. We will honor our past while we will continue to expand or educational programs, ensuring future generations understand and appreciate the depth of our heritage. This includes a complete overhaul and relaunch of the Academy programs and new programming offered at the Cultural Center and Library. 

We will foster creative collaborations, bring together artists, scholars, and community leaders to explore and celebrate Irish culture in all its forms. We will work tirelessly to sure that our Foundation remains a vibrant, inclusive, and welcoming place for all. 

In the coming days, you’ll be seeing more communications from us so make sure you’re signed up for our email updates and that you’ll become a member if you are not. In the coming weeks and months, I will be bringing staff together with strategic stakeholders and perspective donors that will help share and shape our vision going forward. 

It’s an exciting time to be down here if you haven’t been involved in a while or know someone that hasn’t or wants to be, let’s have a tea or a pint (or both) and get you involved. 

In conclusion, I want to thank you all for being here. I also want to thank my husband Blake for supporting me in this effort. I’m eager to embark on this journey with all of you and I am confident that together we will continue to inspire and uplift our community, preserving and celebrating the rich tapestry of Irish culture for generations to come. Thank you.