An Cosán CEO scoops national award for charity leadership!

Charities Excellence Awards

An Cosán CEO Heydi Foster scooped the Excellence in Charity Leadership Award at Charities Institute Ireland’s Charity Excellence Awards 2023, which were held in the Round Room of the Mansion House recently. The award is presented to an executive head of a charity who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and management skills in the effective operation of the organisation, whose vision permeates throughout the entire charity, and who has shown outstanding leadership in driving its success. In his preamble before announcing the winner at the ceremony, MC Anton Savage said the award was going to someone whose visionary leadership had not only transformed their organisation, but also left an indelible mark on the entire sector. “They have set the standard for governance and management excellence, fostering a culture of continuous growth and collaboration,” he said.

Mr Savage said that, under Ms Foster’s guidance, the judging panel felt that An Cosán had expanded significantly, ensuring financial stability and making a profound societal impact. Specifically of Ms Foster, he said: “Their influence extends beyond their organisation, shaping national policies and contributing to vital societal conversations. Their exceptional leadership has opened doors to education and life-changing opportunities for countless individuals”. 
On receiving the award, Ms Foster said: “I am delighted to have received this year’s Excellence in Charity Leadership Award. I’m humbled and proud of this recognition from my peers, having led non-profits in my native Guatemala, in Boston and, for the last 18 years, my home that is Dublin. “It has been my privilege to work with – and grow – our outstanding team to build on the incredible vision of An Cosán,” Ms Foster continued. “I’ve found a wonderful second family with them. “Leadership is core to our work. We’re committed to learning, leadership and enterprise and I learn from, and am inspired by, the leadership I see around me every day – my talented and determined management team and other colleagues throughout An Cosán who live our values and lead the way in each of their roles. But also in the learners, who lead in their own learning journeys, in their homes and families, and in their communities.

Ms Foster added: “It is this powerful everyday leadership that inspires me every single day to continue on the path to a better future that is the heart of our vision in An Cosán.”

Everyone at An Cosán community education centre in Jobstown, Tallaght, was delighted to see their CEO recognised for her exceptional leadership with the awarding of the Excellence in Charity Leadership Award.

Anna Durkan, Chair of An Cosán’s Board of Directors, said “This award recognises that, since taking up the CEO role four years ago, Heydi has proven An Cosán is an organisation of national importance, influencing policy and government practice, while cementing its place within the heart of the communities it serves.” 

To find out about An Cosán’s adult education, early years’ education and care, counselling and parenting support services, see

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Sarah Brooks

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