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Brian O'Connor

After growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Brian developed his career as a consultant, manager and investor. He has worked in the UK, US and Hong Kong and has vast experience as a company director in a variety of industries and professions. He has raised significant sums for companies through both private equity and structures and exchange listings. Through his long established consultancy company, Corporate Direction Ltd, he is currently providing strategic advice to Governments, International organisations and companies on the challenges facing healthcare in general and specifically on the Connected Health opportunity.


Bleddyn Rees

NE Director, Digital Health Expert & Lawyer

Bleddyn is a vastly experienced commercial lawyer with 30 years experience of outsourcings, privatisations and complex contracting and projects. He has a unique CV for a private sector lawyer, having spent three and a half years on secondment as General Counsel of the Commercial Directorate of the Department of Health. On his secondment to the Department of Health he advised the Minsters (Prime Minister, Secretary of State, Ministers of State), Special Advisors and NHS organisations and gave evidence to the Health Select Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. Bleddyn has a very detailed understanding of the UK health sector and regulatory framework.


Julien Venne
Strategic Advisor

Julien is the Strategic Advisor of the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance). His role is to support companies in their business development in Europe, and policy-makers and public authorities in several European Countries. His expertise covers innovation development, business models design and ecosystem creation within the Connected Health sector. He has a multi-disciplinary academic background, with economics, sociology, political sciences and complex systemic. In the past Julien has worked for different health and social care providers and has driven several projects and eHealth clinical trials.
Beatriz Sanz
Events Manager

Bea is a dedicated Meeting and Event Planner with 15+ years experience in corporate meeting planning. She is a detail-oriented professional with strengths in event creation, planning and execution. Bea started her career at 19, working as an Event Project for a Hotel company while obtaining her University College of Tourism from University of Girona. After graduation, sheobtained a Master in International Relations and Opening New Markets from “Eserp, Business School”. Career highlights include working as part of the operational team of the eHealth Week 2010 international conference, working as Project Manager for 256ideas on their international projects.
Matt Rigby
Communications Lead

Matt manages Communications for the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance), having joined the team from the Manchester Connected Health Ecosystem. He has a solid background in communication technologies across digital, design and media engagement. Matt is based in London. His experience covers Project Management on a range of digital innovation programmes, specifically those targeted at providing support to small companies wishing to develop their businesses and access the UK NHS.
Heather Smith
Administration Manager

Heather manages connector administration and membership communications for the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance). Previously an Office Manager for a multi-national company Heather has over 15 years experience in administration. Based in Belfast Heather is involved on the ground with the Northern Ireland Ecosystem.  

Damian O'Connor
Director of Operations

Damian is COO at the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance), ensuring delivery of all aspects of day-to-day operations and providing strategic leadership to deliver the ECHAlliance vision.
He has also been driving the development of an International Network of Permanent Connected Health Ecosystems throughout Europe, to provide sustainable and structured opportunities for academia, patient groups, health & social care providers/payers and industry to meet and provide solutions to specific problems.
Damian gained 30 years of experience in British Telecom, with a background in service and customer management, efficiency challenge delivery, programme and business management.
In 2008, Damian set up his own Business Consultancy, providing clients with professional advice and support in business improvement and efficiency programmes, as well as providing training in leadership and management skills.
Paula Dougan
Operations manager

Paula began her career at PwC, specialising in the healthcare sector. During her 8 years with PwC, she undertook performance reviews of services and value-for-money studies on behalf of the Department of Health, Social Services & Public Safety in Northern Ireland. Paula also worked with NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government on ‘Better Together’, Scotland’s National Patient Experience Programme, exploring patient experience of hospital and GP services.
As Operations Manager at the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance), Paula ensures the delivery of all aspects of day-to-day operations related to membership, ecosystems, European projects and strategic partnerships and events.
Paula is the ECHAlliance project lead for EC Funded projects GET – Global eHealth Transforming services and Readi for Health.



Tobias Gantner
Strategic Advisor

Tobias is a restless resident of different worlds, a roaming renaissance man: A medical doctor by training, a health economist and jurist by education, a philosophy aficionado by academic passion and curious by default. He has worked in a number of leading positions in hospital patient care and major industry companies such as Siemens, Novartis, Bayer Healthcare and Johnson&Johnson. Subsequently he followed his bliss and founded the ‘HealthCare Futurists’ (HCFs).
Tobias holds a number of academic appointments and is a sought after speaker in topics related to the future of health-care. He is on the advisory board for digital health in a number of institutions and is interested in digitalization and democratization in healthcare that both go along. Among his clients are major health-care industry players as well as newcomers to the market and start-ups.
He is currently approaching a professorship at the Fresenius University of applied sciences at Cologne campus for innovation in healthcare, design thinking and leadership in innovation.
Tobias is supporting the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) in the fields of strategic advice as on how to develop ecosystems in Germany and how to support companies that want to establish business in Germany.





George Crooks

Non-Executive Director

Professor George Crooks is currently the Medical Director for NHS 24 and Director of the Scottish Centre for Telehealth & Telecare. NHS 24 is the national provider of telehealth services for the whole of Scotland currently providing the majority of its services via telephony, the web and digital television. He is responsible for the quality, safety and effectiveness of all clinical services and the development of new services in partnership with other NHS organisations. George was a General Medical Practitioner for 23 years in Aberdeen latterly combining that role as Director of Primary Care for Grampian. George was President of the European Health Telematics Association 2012 – 2016 and is a Board member of the European Connected Health Alliance. He leads the Integrated Care Action Group on behalf of the European Commission within the European Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing. He is Chair of the Scottish Digital Health and Care Innovation Programme Board, leading on the at scale delivery of telehealth and telecare services and also the Chairman of the Digital Health Institute in Scotland, a partnership between academia, industry and health and care delivery organisations delivering innovation in technology and design that can provide safe, effective and sustainable health and care solutions and create economic growth in Scotland.
He was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List 2011 for services to healthcare.



Joan Cornet

Non-Executive Director

Technical Engineer, and Graduate in Psychology. After working as a Clinical Psychologist in a General Hospital, in 1979, he was elected mayor of Manresa (Spain). In 1988 he began his career as civil servant in the European Commission in Brussels, where amongst other projects he led EURES employment network. From 1994 to 1999 he was Secretary General of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament. In June of 2004 he was named General Secretary of the Department of Health of the Government of Catalunya. In September 2005 the Government requested that he start up the “Bioregion of Catalonia” (Biotechnology) and from January 2007 to May 2013 has been CEO of TicSalut Foundation (ICT Health).from the till April 2017 has been Director of “mHealth” at Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

Mikaela Nordenfelt

Ecosystem Coordinator

Mikaela is the International Ecosystem Coordinator. Based in Brussels and a Swedish national, she has professional experience in consulting and project management since 1995. Previous positions include Senior EU Policy Officer at the Skåne Brussels office focusing on EU health and social care and Executive Director at the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce, Washington DC. She has substantial experience of strategic analysis and communication related activities including writing reports, analysis and connecting stakeholders. Mikaela has extensive experience working in international teams. She has degrees from both Vesalius College, Brussels and The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Bologna.

Myriam Martin

European Project Coordinator

Myriam is specialized in the implementation and management of projects aimed to meet challenges in Health that can be solved with the use of ICT, spotting areas of opportunity for the development of profitable eHealth innovation, interacting with potential customers and end-users (healthcare managers, professionals, patients, etc.) and putting a strong emphasis on Business Modelling, in order to realistically address market opportunities in the eHealth space. She has the experience in providing entrepreneurs with the tools to ensure that their companies and start-ups have the leading edge, helping them to identify key focuses and provide them with a strategy to launch. She has managed several EU projects mainly aimed to support ehealth SMEs to shorten the go-to-market process, as well as to pave the way for the take up of eHealth by identifying the needs and, by addressing the eHealth policy challenges, promoting the development and upscale of eHealth solutions. Myriam graduated in 1992 in Economics and Business at ICADE (Pontifical University of Comillas) in Madrid, and is Master in Business in the European Community.