Shannon O'Connell

Shannon O'Connell
Director of Policy and Programmes

Shannon is responsible for the strategic, technical, and operational management and overall leadership of WFD programmes.

Shannon has extensive experience in politics, policy advocacy and elections. She has worked on more than two dozen electoral campaigns, largely for women candidates. She served as Senior Adviser to Dawn Purvis MLA, former leader of the Progressive Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.

She was also an adviser and campaign manager for the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition in their first elections after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Globally, Shannon has served as a policy and strategy adviser to elected officials and political party leaders, both in government and opposition, as well as a coach for candidates and strategist for political parties. She has worked in more than 20 countries worldwide, including as Country Director for the National Democratic Institute in the West Bank and Gaza.

Shannon was formerly WFD’s Senior Gender and Inclusion Adviser, when she was responsible for developing tools and resources to advance women’s political participation and influence, working with programme teams to design various forms of technical assistance that support better outcomes for women, girls and other underrepresented groups, as well as initiating research and policy efforts that support the same results.