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UCD Smurfit School Alumna Micaela Connery Honored as 2021 AACSB Influential Leader

  • Date: Tue, Feb 16, 2021

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UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School announces that alumna Micaela Connery is one of 25 business school graduates honored by AACSB International (AACSB)—the world’s largest business education alliance—as the 2021 Class of Influential Leaders. The annual initiative recognizes notable alumni from AACSB-accredited business schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.

Micaela currently serves as Co-Founder and CEO of The Kelsey, a non-profit organization with the mission of accelerating and advocating for housing that is inclusive of people with disability of all incomes. The Kelsey is building homes within communities that are a mix of housing for adults with disabilities, affordable housing and middle-income housing in one community development.

With a focus on inclusive housing for people of all abilities and incomes – and a ‘think big’ approach – social entrepreneur Micaela established The Kelsey in 2017. The San Francisco-based organisation now has 240 homes in its pipeline and is aiming to develop a model that could be replicated globally.

Micaela believes that the person who has shaped her work is her cousin Kelsey, who had multiple significant disabilities. Kelsey and Micaela were the same age and came from similar backgrounds and had similar interests, yet the opportunities that were available to Micaela and those available to Kelsey were not equal. Seeing life through the lens of disability and inclusion has been central and fundamental to everything Micaela does.

Micaela began laying the groundwork for the project during her studies at Harvard and continued to advance The Kelsey as she travelled between Dublin and San Francisco whilst doing her Full-Time MBA at UCD Smurfit School.

Micaela closed the first round of seed funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in March 2018 and since then has 240-plus homes in the pipeline with projects in San Jose and San Francisco. The Kelsey has also raised and unlocked over $18m of funding and will get close to $60m in funding in 2021 through philanthropic funding, private lending and public subsidies. In parallel to building housing communities and raising funds for the initiative, The Kelsey also advances policy advocacy and community organising and awareness that support those goals.

“We are inspired by the efforts of business school graduates like Micaela,” said Caryn L. Beck-Dudley, AACSB president and CEO. “UCD Smurfit School is developing leaders prepared to change the world and AACSB is honoured to recognize Micaela for her positive impact on society.”

Now in its sixth year, AACSB’s Influential Leaders honorees include nearly 250 business school graduates who have created a lasting impact in business and society. All honorees have earned an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree from one of the more than 870 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide. The unique stories of each honoree, and how they are creating meaningful, lasting impact in the world, are available here. Read a recent In Profile UCD Alumni interview with Micaela here.


Established in 1916, AACSB is the world’s largest business education alliance, connecting educators, learners, and business to create the next generation of great leaders. With a presence in more than 100 countries and territories, AACSB fosters engagement, accelerates innovation, and amplifies impact in business education. Learn how AACSB is transforming business education for a better society at


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