Gillian Maxwell – Keynote Speaker

Former Director of Flying Tiger Ireland

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Gillian Maxwell Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Retail
  • Market expansion


  • English


Gillian Maxwell studied Human Resources and French, and started her career on the IBEC EOP programme in Paris. She returned to Ireland in 1999 and started an outsourced graduate training programme, Metamorphose. In 2002 she followed her passion and joined the organising committee for the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Ireland, running the DAL programme which provided a bi-cultural or bilingual volunteer for each delegation. This was the best job she ever had!

At the end of the summer in 2003, she married Niall – a minor organisation requirement following the games! She then joined the HR team in Trinity College Dublin in a recruitment specialist role.

In 2011, with Niall, they partnered with the parent company to bring Flying Tiger Copenhagen, a Danish Variety Store, to Ireland, opening their first store in Dun Laoghaire. They grew the business to 28 stores throughout the island of Ireland, employing over 400 people. At the end of 2017 they exited the Irish business to develop and grow the Tiger brand in the US. With 13 stores now in the USA, Gillian has recently returned to Ireland to explore opportunities here.

Niall and Gillian were finalists in the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year – emerging category. She is an active Board member and mentors and coaches women entrepreneurs. She is passionate about people. strong teams and great leadership!

Gillian Maxwell is especially passionate about caring for her two children and speaks on the intricacies of juggling family life along with running a successful international business. With Gillian’s husband Niall also involved in the business, they had clear demarcation rules – which sometimes were breached. Gillian speaks openly and honestly about the balance involved in making decisions which allow both her family and her business to thrive. Gillian’s recent decision to return to Ireland was largely based on planning for her children’s future. She explores these dilemma’s and their resolution.

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