Waterford teenager joins Paul O'Connell at Foróige’s Leadership for Life Youth Conference in Kildare

Aldi Play Rugby Ambassador Paul O’Connell: 'Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something!'

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Waterford’s Fiona Kenny joined 250 other teenagers from India, the USA and Ireland in County Kildare for Foróige’s Leadership for Life Youth Conference.

The conference took place recently on the grounds of NUI Maynooth, bringing together teenagers to empower them to become leaders in their own lives.

Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell gave a talk to the young people as part of the Aldi guest lecture series, where he highlighted the importance of staying positive.

O’Connell, an Aldi Play Rugby Ambassador, said: “God given talent is a myth! Successful people work harder and smarter and that’s how they achieve their goals. It’s really important to keep positive. Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something! You have the capacity to work, train and do anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter what it is - stay the course and be the person you want to be.”

Paul O'Connell with some of the delegates at Foróige’s Leadership for Life Youth Conference.

Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige, said: “These young people have come to this conference because someone in their lives saw their potential to lead, grow, develop and influence, whether that was a parent, Foróige youth worker, or teacher.

“The conference offers these young people the fantastic opportunity of exploring their own unique set of leadership skills, whilst encouraging them to believe in their own ability to make real and powerful positive change in the world.”

The 250 delegates, aged 15 to 18, graduated having completed various stages of the leadership programme.

As part of the week-long conference, the delegates also met inspirational guest speakers, including Director of Digital and Brand at Kingspan Group Louise Foody and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh.