SEAN COLLINS MCCARTHY
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR, INNOVATOR & FILMMAKER
MANAGING DIRECTOR, COL ALLIANCE
COL Alliance is led by its Managing Director, Sean Collins McCarthy, an international entrepreneur, social innovator & filmmaker with over two-decades of professional experience serving at the highest level across a number of industries including sports, media, tourism, hospitality, marketing, education, private equity, real estate, impact investing and venture philanthropy.
Mentored by Mark H. McCormack and his leadership team (Cleaveland, London & Bradenton) in the late 90s, Sean established an international management company, Propriety Management Ltd., (alongside his late father, Patrick Collins McCarthy d. 2022), specialising in sports management, experiential marketing and media production based in Dublin, Ireland with international operations in New York City, London and Geneva. He was instrumental in securing over €2 million euro in venture capital for the activities of the company from corporate finance firms & high-net-worth investors, and developed & structured international partnerships & alliances with IMG (Endeavor), Octagon (IPG), Euro RSCG (Havas Creative), among others.
A scholarship recipient from several world-acclaimed sports academies (UK, Belgium, Spain, Germany, France and America), he was offered a number of academic scholarships (College of William & Mary, Clemson University, et al,), before pursuing a career in the sports & media industry under the guidance of Mark H. McCormack and his leadership team at IMG Academy in Florida, having previously been specially selected to attend IMG Academy (USA), NBTA Academy (Germany) and Millfield (UK) as a young athlete by the Head of Player Development, Recruitment & Sports Psychology (Jeff Wilson) on behalf of IMG Academy.
He relocated to the United States in his mid-twenties to develop a joint-venture with IMG’s USA HQ (negotiating with senior management in Cleveland) after he and his fellow company director (i.e. his late father, Patrick Collins McCarthy - d. 2022) encountered anti-competitive practices in the Irish market and won a legal battle in the High Court of Ireland (Feb, 16th 2005), substantiating the predatory behaviour of the competitors (domestic & international) to his Irish-based management company, Propriety Management Ltd., and its strategic partner, IMG.
In 2006, he was invited by the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Small Business (CASB) to mentor at George Washington University (School of Business/Public Policy) as part of the Executive MBA Program with a focus on entrepreneurship, socioeconomic & tourism impact initiatives, sports management & marketing, CSR & business ethics and impact investing & venture philanthropy. During this time he established a successful strategic management consultancy & socioeconomic research firm, Horizon Group, focused on Sports, Marketing, Media, Tourism & Venture Philanthropy based on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC with his wife, a Purdue University Graduate specialising in econometrics, statistical analysis and sustainable development.
As CEO of Horizon, Sean assembled, with the assistance of the Director of CASB at George Washington University, a powerful group of special advisors and advisory board members (Horizon Advisory Board) in Washington, D.C., which included many renowned industry, military and non-profit leaders including Joan Hisaoka (Hisaoka PR - d. 2008); Gen. William G. T. Tuttle Jr. (US Army - d. 2020), Peter A. Kirsch (Chief of Staff,Office of James V. Kimsey - Founding CEO & Chair, AOL and former Chair, Refugees Intl. & ICMP); Fred Malek (Former President of Marriott Hotels and Senior Advisor of Carlyle Group - d. 2019), et al.
Subsequently, he served as Senior Managing Director of a U.S. private equity firm, THG, with fellow partners: former Chief Investment Officer for the Office of James V. Kimsey (over USD$1 Billion under management), Peter A. Kirsch; former Senior Vice President of IMG & Director of IMG Academies (over USD$1 Billion in revenue), Gregory C. Breunich; and former Investment Manager for a Rothschild backed-investment fund, George McGill. In this role, Sean assembled a global advisory board (incl. former board members & senior management (i.e. Presidents/VPs) of American Savings & Loan, Robert M. Bass Group, UBS Paine Webber, Northern Trust, et al., and oversaw fund structuring, due diligence investigation, negotiations and M&A strategies with private wealth management, transatlantic corporate finance, and PE firms. Initially, Sean's U.S. private equity firm (THG) served as the investment vehicle for an acquisition attempt in 2011 to acquire IMG from Forstmann Little & Co. - under the then leadership of Ted Forstmann (1940 - 2011) and hedge fund manager (Tiger Fund), Julian Robertson, Jr. (1932 - 2022) - before diversifying to include a range of services: venture philanthropy advisory, real estate PE and M&A services across Sports, Media & Tech.
In addition, Sean structured a PE Real Estate joint venture in 2011 with Palace Investment Company, and served as Co-CEO alongside Palace’s Founder, Peter A. Kirsch, a former Chief Investment Officer for Jim Kimsey (Chairman & CEO Emeritus of America Online), non-profit board member & advisor to Colin Powel (Former Secretary of State/US Military Four-Star General) and Chief Investment Officer for VC/SPAC investment vehicles backed by John Hendricks (Discovery, Inc.), Fred Malek (Marriott Hotels), Ted Leonsis (AOL), et al.
Sean has advised, assisted and/or worked in consultation with ultra high-net-worth individuals, family offices, corporate finance firms, governing bodies, professional associations, humanitarian organisations and international development agencies including the Office of James V. Kimsey (Founding Chairman & CEO of AOL and Former Chairman of International Commission for Missing Persons & Refugees International); International Financial Services Centre (IFSC Ireland) under the leadership of John Bruton (Former EU Ambassador to the USA); IDA Ireland, Irish Funds Industry Association (the representative body for the international investment fund community in Ireland), and social impact, humanitarian and sustainable development initiatives, programmes & projects supported by The Global Fund, IMF, World Bank, FAO, World Food Programme, UN Environment Programme, UN Office on Sports for Development & Peace, UNICEF, UNDP, etc.
A relative of the Irish Statesman, Michael Collins (1890 - 1922), Sean (along with his late father, Patrick Collins McCarthy - d. 2022) has been closely involved in overseeing media, marketing, licensing & social impact initiatives inspired by Michael Collins’ socioeconomic vision, humanitarian ethos and sustainable approach including films, special events, consumer products, humanitarian projects and sustainable development campaigns. In 2014, he co-founded the Michael Collins Foundation Initiatives with his father, Patrick, in consultation with relatives, Michael O'Mahony (retired solicitor) and Nora Owen (former TD and Minister for Justice) at Leinster House and Buswells Hotel, and John Bruton (former Taoiseach & Ambassador of the EU to the USA) with IDA Ireland senior representatives at Wilton Park House in Dublin, Ireland.
As a social entrepreneur, marketeer & media pioneer, his expertise & experience has spanned two decades & five continents working with industry leaders, spearheading the development, planning, production, direction, post-production and/or distribution of live & delayed sports, entertainment media properties, current affairs programmes, and multi-genre content - overseeing:
• Experienced production crew members, media broadcast veterans and journalists (RTE, BBC, CNN, Sky, National Geographic, History Channel, Time.com, The London Times, et al.);
• Cross-platform syndicated distribution & revenue-sharing contract negotiations; AFP & sponsorship strategies; and corporate hospitality & loyalty packages with senior management and media & sponsorship specialists (i.e. NHL, ESPN, Golden Bear/Jack Nicklaus Companies, IMG, Anschutz, et al.);
• Filming & production aspects of factual content in remote locations and extremely challenging conditions (slum communities, landfills, informal settlements, wildlife ecosystems, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, hospitals, clinics, etc.);
• Media panel roundtables (Johannesburg, Nairobi, New Delhi, etc.) convening humanitarian leaders, global health practitioners, academics, industry & non-profit experts;
• Global PR, marketing & branding campaigns and special projects, events & goodwill tours (in association with IMG, Octagon, EuroRSCG - Havas Creative, etc.) including organising international press conferences/photo opps, corporate hospitality, conducting interviews and producing/directing media content relating to special VIP guests & dignitaries and sports, fashion, entertainment & media personalities (and their agents, guests, entourage and/or family members): Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Anna Kournikova, Daniela Hantuchová, Barbara Schett, Lindsay Davenport, Iva Majoli, Elena Bovina, Pádraig Harrington, Sophie Dalh, Tyra Banks, Jodie Kidd, Aimee Mullins, Jemma Kidd, Jessica White, members of U2, Perry Ogden, Richard (Biff) Stannard, Julian Gallagher, Howie B, various musical ensembles (including Riverdance, etc.), senior diplomats, ambassadors and heads of state/government, representing the USA, UK and EU member countries;
• Negotiations with or on behalf of senior management of stadia & arena organisations (relating to special events operations, sponsorship, media production, corporate hospitality, security, logistics, public-private partnerships, etc.) including: IMG, International; Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, Ireland); Royal Albert Hall, London; Miami Arena; American Airlines Arena (Kaseya Center) Miami, FL; Crandon Park Tennis Center, Key Biscayne, FL; Verizon Center (Capital One Arena) Washington, D.C.; RFK Memorial Stadium (Washington, DC), MGM Grand Garden Arena Las Vegas; Madison Square Gardens, NYC, etc.
• International special events, tourism destination projects and social impact initiatives engaging world acclaimed sports, fashion & entertainment personalities (IMG, IPG, etc.) - generating global visibility & awareness for brands and socioeconomic initiatives & humanitarian campaigns, reaching over 750 million viewers worldwide across 220-plus media territories on premium networks, news/factual broadcasters and sports/esoteric channels: ESPN International, Sky Sports, Canal Plus, RTL, Star Asia, Gillette World Sport, Trans World Sport...
As a filmmaker, he has concentrated on documenting humanitarian, social innovation, sustainable development and wildlife conservation challenges and solutions, profiling the philanthropic, humanitarian and/or conservation efforts of Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson, Microsoft founder, Bill Gates; and Digicel founder, Denis O’Brien; co-founder of the Hong Kong based Duty Free Shoppers Group & founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, Chuck Feeney; Stagecoach co-founder & Kenyan Children's Home (Thomas Barnardo House) patron, Dame Ann Gloag; founder of Nando’s, Hollard Group and Spier Wine Farm, Dick Enthoven (1937 - 2022); March to the Top founder and CEO of Eastdil Secured, Roy Hilton March; supermodel, best-selling author, activist and/or UN Ambassador, Waris Dirie; supermodel, actress, activist and/or WHO Ambassador, Liya Kebede; military leader & humanitarian expert, Major General (Ret.) Tim Cross, CBE; academic, author & non-profit leader, Dr. Auma Obama; a number of former US Presidents, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton; members of the Craig family (Lewa Wildlife Conservancy); and the humanitarian and global health efforts of inspirational leaders from Doctors Without Borders, Fistula Foundation, FIGO, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karen Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons, DREAM programme (Community of Sant'Egido), Fogarty AIDS International, Red Cross, etc. including Gillian Slinger, Dr. Prabha Choksey, Dr. Betty Gikonyo, Dr. Hillary Mabeya, Andrea Riccardi, Dr. Pierre Foldès, et al.
In addition to serving as the Managing Director of the alliance of social enterprises, initiatives & joint ventures (COL Alliance), Sean also serves as:
Head of Marketing & Media: COL Marketing & Media Unit
Chief Strategy Officer: COL Strategic & Innovation Unit
Head of Partnerships & Alliances: COL-LINS Network / Horizon Initiatives
Chief Operating Officer: COL Tourism & Hospitality Unit
Senior Producer & Director: COL Media for Development Team
The social enterprise, sports, arts, education, health and venture philanthropic initiatives that Sean has spearheaded and/or supported over the years have been featured (live/delayed) on sports, fashion, arts and news radio channels and premium TV broadcasters (including PBS, BBC, ITV, Sky News, Sky Sports, ESPN International, STAR Asia, Trans World Sport, Gillette World Sport, etc.) in addition to prominent magazines & newspapers of record (Rolling Stone Magazine, ACE (LTA’s magazine), The London Times, The Guardian, Vogue Magazine, Human Rights Careers’ Magazine, etc.), and his social enterprise & innovation efforts have been compared to Sir Bob Geldof and Sir Richard Branson (by editors & journalists and industry & non-profit leaders), two of his early role models.
In his early business career as owner and Director of Propriety Management during his first international business venture (i.e. The Trilogy: The Collins Cup, Escada International Fashion Show & Performing Arts Event) at the age of 21 with strategic partners including IMG, and subsequently, during the period when he was fighting a legal battle in the High Court of Ireland relating to same, Sean dealt with tabloid/yellow journalism and smear campaigns within the Irish market from media organisations closely aligned with his then competitors, which utilised techniques including exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering and sensationalism in opinion pieces and erroneous articles, radio & TV programmes, etc. Today, he applies the many lessons learnt from this experience across his advisory services and proprietary media portfolio, particularly when 1.) advising & assisting a wide range of clients (including philanthropists, private foundations, NGOs, corporations, etc.) navigate the unwieldy and complex areas of media relations, risk avoidance/management strategies, PR crisis management, CSR marketing campaigns, public policy/philanthropic initiatives, etc., and 2.) conducting editorial research & fact-checking (i.e. due diligence & evaluation processes based on historical information, factual material and social, economic and/or environmental impact (and not being influenced by biased accounts, erroneous articles and/or sensationalist reports, etc.) relating to prospective panelists, contributors and participants, as well as projects, programmes and initiatives (supported by philanthropists, private foundations, NGOs, CSR-focused corporations, state agencies, etc.) earmarked for profiling in his proprietary media portfolio (i.e. documentaries, roundtables, journals and other similar media content & publications).
Since his appointment as Managing Director in Autumn 2022, Sean has streamlined the group's activities, enhanced the group's advisory services (COL Alliance) and proprietary offerings (Horizon Initiatives), created partnerships & alliances with like-minded organisations while also assembling a distinguished international advisory broad of industry leaders, distinguished academics, financiers & innovators, media & film veterans, and humanitarian, global health and sustainable development experts. The 12 person board now consists of leadership team members & senior advisors including: an American economist, researcher & international development expert (Purdue University & USAID); an Irish media & broadcast expert (formerly, RTE & Windmill Lane); a British sports & entertainment expert (formerly, IMG & WME); a former senior military leader (formerly, British Armed Forces & NATO) and international security & humanitarian affairs expert (former Advisor, UK House of Commons Defence Committee and Board Member, Center for Intl. Humanitarian Cooperation); a global health expert recognised by WHO & FIGO; the Chair of a British university initiative & former Assistant Dean of an American university department (Harper Adams University & Purdue University); a Bangladeshi social activist & documentarian (Majority World); a British tech investor, philanthropist and scholar (associated with the University of Oxford and City, University of London); an American philanthropist & Professor Emeritus of world renowned business school, Wharton School (UPenn.) and former Chair of Rockefeller Center; a renowned advisor to philanthropic leaders, award-winning authors, and sports, fashion and media personalities, as well as the co-founder of world-renowned non-profit organisation: Desert Flower Foundation; etc.