Mary McDermott is a policy analyst, educator, feminist philosopher and activist. Her focus always returns to the dynamic interactions between personal and social change. Through her work in community education and development in Ireland and the Caribbean, in university teaching as a theorist, and in social policy analysis and related political negotiations, her long-standing interest is on the way social change is effected through intellectual clarity, emotional intelligence and the exercise of ‘collegial courage’. In every sector, repeating patterns of elitism, exhaustion and assimilation sit right beside patterns of expansion, energy and innovation. Refusing enthrallment to vampiric power is quite a task.