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The Christmas period can be a time to reflect.

Reflect on the highs and lows of the year gone by. What worked well – and not so well.

But thank God it’s been a year of many highs.

Our training company launched an annual awards gala to celebrate the success of our students in the hair beauty and fitness sectors

I wrote a teaching book that became a bestseller and was included on an International reading list

I launched the Winning Minds Movement – on the same day my daughter was appointed vice principal in the school she attended as a young girl.

I became a member of the Learning Tech Labs Meetups and found an incredible group of people

And I pitched an idea for mental wellbeing at an EDtech startup that won 2nd place

I also met some incredible people along the way, who helped me grow and develop

But HackAccessDublin was my highlight of the year. Because it was different.

It was not about money or product; it was about purpose and meaning.

I got to meet inspirational people, all committed to solving access issues for people with disabilities. People who gave their weekend – and expertise – to do good.

I was part of a team, and developed an idea that was selected in the top three by Smart Dublin.

HAD is also a movement that’s supported by companies with a conscious, such as Nissan, Rehab Group, AHEAD, Atos, Accenture, Google, National Learning Network, Neatebox, Girls In Tech and Smart Dublin.

But most importantly – Hack Access Dublin has substance and story – it’s a legacy to Stephen Valentine, the brother of HAD founder, Janice Valentine.

Yes – Hack Access Dublin is going places – and it was definitely my highlight of the year for 2017

Derek O Kelly – Founder Winning Minds Movement

Director The Waverley Academy