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Brightwater is one of the best Recruitment Consultancies in Northern Ireland. The brand is universally known and respected, and this is down to the incredibly hard working, loyal, smart and extraordinary staff who work at Brightwater.
Barbara McGrath, MD Brightwater Group

Barbara McGrath

Managing Director

Barbara McGrath is the Managing Director of the Brightwater Group which encompasses Brightwater, Brightwater Executive and Mentors of which she is Chairperson. She joined the company in 2005, was appointed to the board in 2011 and became MD of the Group in 2017.  In 2018, she was the driving force with two fellow directors in an MBO and is now concentrating on both organic growth as well as acquisitions of companies in synergy with the Brightwater Group.

Barbara’s background is in sales, operations and recruitment. She has over 20 years’ recruitment experience having worked in a high street agency. She is a former Chair of the Executive Institute of Ireland and a two term President of the National Recruitment Federation (NRF) where she was an integral part of the campaign lobbying government on behalf of the industry.

Barbara has a B.Comm and is MREC qualified. She is a Fellow of the Executive Institute of Ireland and an Honorary Fellow of the NRF.

Contact Barbara by email or connect with her on LinkedIn

John O'Donnell

John O’Donnell

Finance Director

John O’Donnell is the Finance Director of the Brightwater Group. He joined the company in 2002 as a financial controller. In January 2008 he was promoted to Finance Director and was appointed to the board in 2011. In 2018, John along with two of his fellow directors took part in an MBO. As well as being responsible for a busy finance department, John is an integral part of the leadership team driving the business forward through both organic and acquisitive growth.

Prior to joining Brightwater, John worked in the insolvency department of a large practice firm and then moved to an industry role as a financial accountant for a national radio station. After nearly three years, he then moved back into practice on the consultancy side for a further three years before commencing his career with the Brightwater Group.

John is a qualified FCCA and holds a Diploma in Accountancy & Finance. He is a Fellow of the NRF.

Contact John by email or connect with him on LinkedIn


Estelle Davis


Estelle Davis

Managing Partner - Executive Division

Board Director - Brightwater Group


BBS in International Business & Japanese. After working in Japan for three years as an interpreter & international business coordinator, she joined Brightwater in 2003 to build out the recently set up Insurance division. After various promotions she managed the financial services and insurance divisions from 2007 - 2011. She then led the set-up of Brightwater’s Executive which is now a team of six partners, whilst managing strategy for Brightwater Group divisions. She personally recruits executive level hires across insurance, funds and aviation leasing. In June 2017 Estelle was appointed to the board of Brightwater Group.

Estelle Davis

Managing Partner - Executive Division

Board Director - Brightwater Group


Estelle is the Managing Partner of Brightwater Executive and a Director of the Brightwater Group. She leads the Executive branch, focusing on senior management level assignments across VP, Director and C-Suite levels. Estelle joined Brightwater in 2003, initially on the insurance division before transferring to the financial services desk. She works with a variety of clients such as multinationals and private equity backed portfolio businesses. She is an expert in the financial services, banking, treasury, funds, insurance and aviation leasing sectors and has an innate understanding of her clients’ requirements as well as the sensitivities of recruiting business leaders.

Before joining Brightwater, Estelle worked as an International Relations Programme Officer in a regional government office in Japan for a year

Estelle holds a BBs in International Business & Japanese from DCU and is fluent in French and Japanese. She is a Fellow of the NRF

Contact Estelle by email or connect with her on LinkedIn

Gordon D'Arcy

Gordon D'Arcy

Commercial Director

Gordon joined Brightwater in September 2019 as Commercial Director of the Group where he plays an integral part in building client relationships and driving business growth across the island. Gordon has a Degree in Economics, a Diploma in Business, Finance and Strategy Innovation. He is Ireland’s longest serving rugby international and played at the highest level of the sport for over 17 years.
Gordon's widely varied career includes best-selling children’s author, investment management, business consultancy, sports columnist and business owner. He is also a non-exec director for a global payments company and is an ambassador for several bodies including Barretstown, a non-profit organisation and 20x 20, an initiative for women in sport. He also was a member of the board of Paralympics Ireland for nearly four years.

Contact Gordon by email or connect with him on LinkedIn


Aoife Clarke

Aoife Clarke

Commercial Director

Aoife is the Director of Operations and Administration for the Brightwater Group. One of the longest serving staff members of Brightwater having joined in 2000, Aoife has a Diploma in HR Management and a Certificate in Computer and Secretarial Studies. She has responsibility for the day to day operations of the Group. This includes management of the Group’s administration team, the HR function, co-ordinating internal training, facilities management, reviewing and implementing systems and procedures as well as project implementation such as GDPR.  Aoife is on the NRF Skillnet committee which specialises in meeting the training demands of the recruitment industry.

Contact Aoife by email or connect with her on LinkedIn


Conor O'Hagan



Conor O'Hagan

Manager - Belfast

Conor joined Brightwater in 2016 and has 4 years’ experience in technical services recruitment. He manages Brightwater’s Northern Ireland office where he oversees the teams recruiting for engineering, supply chain, sales & marketing, business support and accountancy & finance. His own team recruits for engineering & supply chain professionals across a broad variety of sectors such as manufacturing, civil, transport, warehousing, procurement and construction amongst others. He personally specialises in the areas of process, continuous improvement, manufacturing, production, maintenance, quality and design.

Prior to joining Brightwater, Conor gained over ten years’ experience of sales and operations across retail and sports betting brands where he gained superb business development and communication skills.

Conor holds a BSc in Management and Information Systems from Queen’s University.

Contact Conor by email or connect with him on LinkedIn


John Duffy

Jaime Henderson

Office Manager

Jaime joined Brightwater in 2016 as a part of the administration team and was promoted to Office Manager in 2020. She is responsible for the smooth running of Brightwater’s NI office which involves providing full administrative support to the team of consultants, assisting with payroll queries, credit control, facilities management and monitoring compliance issues. Jaime has a strong administrative background and has worked in various countries including Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Previous roles include a purchasing officer for a multinational food services company and an air hostess for a major airline.
Jaime gained a BA in Business & Marketing from Northumbria University

Contact Jaime by email or connect with her on LinkedIn