An experienced nonprofit leader who specializes in startups, turnarounds and leadership coaching, Peggy O’Neill has over 35 years of experience working with nonprofit boards.
O’Neill began her career in real estate and financial services. Her nonprofit expertise began at the Whitby School in Greenwich, Conn., where she created internal control procedures and new revenue streams to transform the school’s financial position and eliminate an operating fund deficit. From 2007 to 2013, she served as executive director of Baltimore’s Irvine Center, an environmental education organization. She successfully led Irvine through many difficult transitions including the construction of a new facility and financial challenges to eliminate an operating deficit and create a thriving nonprofit. Now, as Executive Director of ISF, O’Neill is responsible for securing funding from the private sector to support the programs of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security. This requires O’Neill to fundraise and raise awareness about how ISF helps promote and market OSAC and the value that OSAC’s programs serve. “It is also important to create and maintain a healthy partnership between the ISF and OSAC as this model is unique,” she says.
For O’Neill, working in the nonprofit sector allows her to have a mission that guides all of her work and responsibilities. “It’s a rallying and a passion point for people to come together to create something for the better good. For the security sector, it’s very rewarding knowing that the ISF is really making a difference in support of the exchange of security information through OSAC, which helps to keep Americans safe overseas. But it’s also personal. My late brother, Master Sgt. Patrick J. Mangan, was a Marine, and I always admired his service. When I lost him in 2001 (not in active duty), I really wanted to do some type of work to honor his commitment to our country. Working for the ISF rang true to me,” she says.
At ISF, she has spearheaded and created the institution’s infrastructure, fundraising program and website and grew its staff. Through successful programs that include a highly anticipated annual fundraising event, the ISF has funded more than 200 OSAC programs.
“My work at Irvine was a challenging experience navigating through the 2008 economic downturn,” she says. “But to bring all my experience and skills in fundraising, finances and programming to create something of real value – especially wearing many hats in the ISF’s earliest days – is very rewarding. I am quite proud of seeing how the ISF has been embraced so passionately by the community OSAC serves and to see the ISF grow from its founding in 2011.”
O’Neill adds she is often surprised by the resiliency of the security community. “OSAC members freely and genuinely share best practices. It’s about keeping people safe. The strength of the community and the work that the ISF does to support the OSAC network have been an incredibly strong experience. I would encourage all security and law enforcement professionals to embrace that network and get involved. Reach out to the Outreach and Engagement Unit OSACCCO@state.gov for information.”
In addition to her responsibilities at ISF, O’Neill serves as Technical Advisor to the OSAC Council’s Outreach and Engagement Committee, on the Domestic Security Partnership board. Previously, she was the former treasurer of the Hostage U.S. Board of Directors and served on the CAIS Business Managers Commission and on Maryland Public Television’s Anniversary Committee.