I came across this unusual conference quite by accident on a friend’s Twitter feed last year. My biggest problem has always been the fact that I want to do everything, learn how to work anything, especially anything techy. Well my prayers were answered with this crowd. The conference programme covers everything from soft robotics and medicine, to filmmaking, space & fashion, medical design, STEM education etc.
A vast range of entrepreneurs, creatives and tech companies gave diverse and interesting talks with no two covering the same ground. The key focus however was not the company’s bottom line from each presentation. It was inclusivity, diversity and innovation.
One person I’d been aware of for some time was Lian Bell, orchestrator extraordinaire of the Waking the Feminists movement which had seen worldwide support in the wake of out National Theatre’s failure to incorporate any of the diverse female theatre voices into its centenary programme. Lian rallied a powerful group of people to change this, and received support from across the world.
With a rich group of passionate speakers, largely women, diversity is a key tenet of this festival’s aims.
Particularly inspiring were some of the educational initiatives, role modelling and mentor networks this group of advocates are developing for young women in Ireland.
It opened my eyes to emerging tech concepts of which I was blissfully unaware such as Fintech, and others which I had vaguely heard of – Blockchain.
Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEo, a U.S. investment initiative for female entrepreneurs, financed by a group of 1000 women investors, particularly made me think. Ireland has a rich entrepreneurial tradition and a terrible history of women in key management areas of companies. For this reason, SheEo stuck out as something we seriously need more of in Ireland. I contacted Vicki after the conference, and now my task is to find the women in Ireland willing to support such an initiative.
This year’s Inspirefest takes place in Dublin July 6th and 7th featuring speakers Ana Matronic, Ellen Pao and Prof Jane Ohlmeyer.
Tickets at Inspirefest.ie