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Course Faculty

Our faculty team from Smurfit and Leinster Rugby are globally recognised for building excellence. The teaching team will employ a participant- centered approach that ensures each person has a voice and shares her/his insights with peers to enhance everyone’s experience.

Helen Brophy, Faculty, Smurfit Executive Development

Helen led the Smurfit Executive Development team from January 2012 to October 2022. She specialises in programme design and delivers across the programme portfolio in areas of leadership, change management and organisation effectiveness. She holds an Executive Masters in Consulting and Coaching for Change from INSEAD in addition to an MBS from UCD Smurfit School and a BA in Communication Studies from Dublin City University.

Helen is certified by the British Psychological Society for Level A Occupational Ability and Level B Personality Psychometric Test User Certification and is qualified in a range of psychometric and 360 instruments. She has also continued her professional development throughout her career, undertaking programmes at leading ranked international Business Schools including Harvard (US), Center for Creative Leadership (US) and IESE (Spain).

Leo Cullen, Head Coach, Leinster Rugby

Former Leinster captain Leo Cullen made his senior debut during the interprovincial and Heineken Cup matches of the 1998/99 season. The Wicklow man gained 32 Irish caps during his career and had the honour of captaining Ireland against Russia, in Rotorua, during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He also captained Ireland against Scotland a month previous.

For 2008/09, Cullen was handed the captain’s armband and would captain Leinster Rugby to three Heineken Cup wins, a Challenge Cup title and two PRO12 titles. With his years of experience in the game, Cullen was asked to join the Leinster backroom staff by head coach Matt O’Connor after his retirement and he became the Leinster forwards coach in July 2014.

When O’Connor departed a season later, Cullen was appointed Leinster Rugby Head Coach in August 2015 and led the province to the top of the Guinness PRO12 table and to the PRO12 Final in his first season.  In 2018, in his third season, Cullen became the first man to win a Champions Cup title as a player and as a head coach as he presided over a first ever Guinness PRO14 and Champions Cup double for Leinster and since then the team have added three further PRO14 titles to the trophy cabinet back at UCD. 

Karan is Associate Academic Director at Smurfit Executive Development and earned his PhD at University of Alberta, Canada in 2008. Before entering academia, he served as a Captain in the Indian Military. Karan has previously worked in India, Canada, and Spain and served on the faculty of the Instituto de Empresa Business School, Spain. His research, teaching and consulting interests are in the areas of leadership, stakeholder theory, behavioural strategy, institutional theory, and emerging markets. Karan has worked with a number of the Ireland’s leading organisations including CIE, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and An Garda Siochana.

Dr. Emma Burrows, Personal Development Manager, Leinster Rugby

Dr. Emma Burrows is a sports and wellbeing coach with 14 years’ experience working with recreational, performance pathway, Olympic, Paralympic, and professional athletes. Emma’s current role is a joint initiative between Leinster Rugby and Rugby Players Ireland where she works full-time with Leinster Rugby as Personal Development Manager. She was previously the Player Development Manager for the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland where she developed and delivered their Personal Development Programme including career planning and wellbeing support to professional soccer players.

Emma completed a BSc. in Sport Science and Health in 2013 during which she conducted award winning research on coaches’ attitudes to mental health issues in athletes. She continued her studies in DCU completing her PhD in 2019 following a period of 5 years developing, implementing and evaluating a life skills and career adaptability intervention for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coaches and support providers which reached over 150 people ahead of the Rio 2016 Games. 

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