Common Purpose is an independent, non-profit, educational organisation which aims to improve the way society works. It attracts people from all walks of life and encourages them to explore their leadership potential and are inspired to bring their leadership abilities to a bigger picture.
The FrontRunner is a four day programme aimed at third level students who have already shown evidence of leadership skills in civil society. Over the course of the programme, participants aspire to solve real-life problems posed from a variety of businesses and institutions through site visits and challenges, as well as meaningful engagement with leaders from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
The programme investigates how themes such as power, risk, leadership and influence operate in different parts of society and participants meet with and learn from a huge range of diverse leaders who already bring about real change. The programme takes place out of the educational setting in venues that reflect the themes that are covered.
Portobello Institute, were delighted to nominate two students who we felt would really contribute and benefit from this unique programme. Here is one students account of her experience.


Gillian Mangan - BA (hons) in Early Childhood Studies, Level 8
"At first I was very flattered on being chosen to represent Portobello Institute on the FrontRunner programme. I won’t lie; I was very nervous on that first day as I knew no one and didn’t know what to expect. However, I needn’t have worried. It was fantastic. I got to know the most amazing, out going and passionate people from all ranges of sectors that I would never had the opportunity to meet otherwise. There was students there from computer engineering, secondary school teaching and creative media to name a few. I am so surprised as to how close a group we became over the 4 days.
We were given different experiences and challenges through the programme which tested and developed our leadership and team working skills such as debating and listening exercises. We got to meet many heads of company’s like the CEO of the Leinster Rugby Association, a reporter from the Irish Independent and many others who gave us honest accounts of their role as leaders and gave us tips on how be a great leader in any job or society.
Over the 4 days we met in different venues- (the Bank of Ireland in the IFSC, the National Maternity Hospital, QQI Head Office and Cluid Housing Association), here we got the opportunity to meet and ask the leaders in these companies questions we would never usually get the chance to ask - they gave such personal and honest answers.
This programme was an amazing experience for me and I am so grateful to Portobello for the opportunity. This programme has helped me grow as a person and made me more confident in myself to become a future leader in not only my future employment but in society and my life also".