Mike Smith OBE, Non-Executive Chairman
After over 35 years of experience in leading private and public sector organisations, Mike Smith was awarded an OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours list for services to Economic Development and Urban Regeneration in Belfast. Whilst they share a surname, Mike is not related to Managing Director Stephen Smith.
As one of Northern Ireland’s most senior business leaders, Mike brings a range of skills and expertise to the Lighthouse Communications team. He has held a number of senior positions throughout his career including CEO and Managing Director of Titanic Quarter Ltd, and chairman of Cinemagic.
As a Chartered Surveyor and Chartered Town Planner (FRICS, FRTPI), Mike continues to act as an advisor to Belfast City Council and is an experienced conference presenter on subjects including urban planning, regeneration, economics and leadership.
He is a graduate of both Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast.
Stephen Smith, Managing Director
Since establishing Lighthouse Communications in 2009, Stephen has built an enviable base of international and locally-based clients, whilst developing a growing team of award-winning team consultants.
With more than 25 years’ media and communications experience, he has devised and directed strategies for a variety of blue chip, SME and public sector clients. Stephen has vast experience in crisis management.
Prior to entering the public relations sector, he spent eight years working at the BBC in Belfast and Radio 5Live in London across the fields of news and sport.
Stephen holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors; a Diploma in Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising from Queen's University Belfast and a Certificate in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Alyson English, Director
Having joined the Lighthouse team in 2010, Alyson leads the team to devise and deliver creative, intelligent PR and digital communications strategies that achieve objectives set by the client and exceed their expectations.
With considerable experience in crisis management, corporate and B2C marketing communications, across sectors including travel and tourism, hospitality and leisure, motor retail and manufacturing, Alyson is trusted by her clients to protect their reputation and communicate key messages to target audiences.
Alyson is a Chartered Public Relations Practitioner (CIPR) and holds a Digital Marketing Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a BA (Hons) Degree in Public Relations and Media, Culture and Communications from University of Lincoln.
She also holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors, of which she is an active member, and was a Non-Executive Director at Bryson Recycling.
Carly Rodgers, Head of Digital
An expert in all things digital, Carly’s talents lie within social media management, digital strategy, online reputation management, copywriting, content marketing, social advertising and analytics evaluation.
Simon Cunningham, Account Director
A former journalist, Simon joined Lighthouse in 2017 after 10 years in the media industry. Simon’s well-honed writing skills and enviable knowledge of the economic landscape allow him to quickly and effectively identify the needs of Lighthouse clients.
Before joining Lighthouse, he spent four years as business correspondent at the Irish News in Belfast, gaining a reputation for accurate and fair reporting across all sectors in Northern Ireland.
Simon, a former deputy editor of the Tyrone Courier in Dungannon, has worked in all areas of print journalism as a respected news and sports reporter.
Simon is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast where he attained a BA (Hons) degree in English and Politics. Simon also received a newspaper journalism qualification from Belfast Metropolitan College.
Tara Harrington, Creative Lead
With over 10 years’ experience as a Graphic Designer Tara has worked with many local and international clients within the property, retail, food and drink, education and entertainment sectors.
Her extensive design skills encompass brand development, visual identity, editorial, digital, web and mobile design, animation and motion graphics.
Whether it be an annual report; an animated video; an advertising campaign; a new website; or a series of social media graphics, Tara takes a hands-on approach to all projects delivering impactful, creative assets for her clients.
With an undeniable passion for visual communications Tara expertly identifies emerging design trends and employs these techniques to attract and engage target audiences.
Leading the creative team at Lighthouse Communications Tara oversees all visual output including videography.
She is a graduate of Ulster University where she attained a BA (Hons) degree in Design for Visual Communication with a Diploma in Industrial Studies which she attained after completing a Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design.
Molly Cullen, Client Manager
Molly holds the position of Client Manager at Lighthouse and works to develop holistic marketing and PR campaigns across a range of channels including websites, social media and digital news platforms.
With a background in both traditional and digital PR, Molly’s experience gives her the understanding of how to effectively combine the best of offline campaigns with new trends in content marketing, social media marketing and online brand management.
Molly’s skills lie in social media management, content planning, digital strategy, and delivering creative ideas that meet client objectives. Molly has previous experience with local and international clients and a strong knowledge of the media landscape.
Molly graduated from Ulster University, where she achieved a First-Class BSc (Hons) degree in Communication, Advertising and Marketing along with a Diploma in International Business. Molly also has a Diploma in Social Media Strategy and sits on the CIPR Committee. Molly is an accredited PR practitioner.
Dearbhla MacDonald, Client Executive
Having graduated with First Class Honours in BSc (Hons) Communication Advertising and Marketing, and a Diploma in Professional Practice, Dearbhla currently holds the position of Client Executive.
Dearbhla has gained valuable experience working across a number of clients and projects within sectors including law, professional services, aviation, and motor retail, and continues to implement her skill set to achieve client aims and objectives.
Ciara Madden, Junior Client Executive
Ciara studies Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University Jordanstown and is the Lighthouse Communications 2021/2022 placement student.
She is currently working with a variety of clients and across a range of projects, using her time at Lighthouse Communications to gain invaluable industry experience, develop her skills set and put into practice her learnings from university so far.
Ciara was on the winning team of the 2021 PANI Advertising competition and has been awarded a place on the Ulster University Dean’s list for two consecutive years.
Prior to her studies at Ulster University, she worked for 4 years in the aerospace manufacturing industry and has experience working in local tourism and events.