Career advice for Inspirefest attendees
Inspirefest 2017 attendees. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

5 career advice takeaways from Inspirefest 2017

24 Jul 2017

Inspirefest has so much to offer, and career advice is just one of the things you could take from every speaker.

Inspirefest 2017 took place at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin in the first week of July. It was a refreshing set-up of thought leaders, inspirational speakers, intelligent debates and important conversations.

Among the life journeys, industry talks and calls to action, there were countless examples of professional and personal advice that could be used to help you in your life and career.

While there was a big focus on the future of work and working life as we know it, there was plenty of career advice that came from unlikely sources and conversations.

There was so much information from the conference that we couldn’t possibly sum it all up in one list, so we’ve decided to start you off with five career-focused nuggets that you can take away from Inspirefest 2017.

Be curious – Dr France A Córdova

Dr France A Córdova, now the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, has had a decorated scientific career, but that’s not where she started.

With journalism as her first calling, she found her way to science through a fascinating documentary.

Speaking at Inspirefest, she advised the audience to be curious in life. “If you don’t have curiosity, you don’t pursue knowledge deeply.”

Try everything – Rhianna Pratchett

As one of the few game-writing legends, Rhianna Pratchett’s career story is guaranteed to inspire you, especially if you’re at the beginning of your career and can’t even see the top of the mountain.

When asked by another gaming legend, BAFTA winner Brenda Romero, to offer some advice for those starting out, she said: “If I can do it, they can.”

Pratchett added that she had always wanted to be an amphibious writer and try different things, which she believes has strengthened her skills in her career.

Make work, work for you – Colin Graham

Both in his keynote and during a panel discussion about the future of work, Facebook’s Colin Graham strongly advised the Inspirefest audience to “make work, work for you.”

This was in relation to the fact that everyone is getting busier, work-life balance is becoming seriously skewed in the wrong direction and work pressure is increasing.

“Try and make work, work for you,” said Graham. “The company will take whatever you give them, so you have to be disciplined.”

Eliminate bias – David Moloney

Intel’s David Moloney spoke of how AI will spark a revolution like no other, but humans pose the biggest risk to its future.

By this, he was referring to bias, and the negative impact it can have on AI and, by extension, the future.

While diversity is essential in developing AI, it’s also an important part of all walks of life. From multinational corporations down to individuals, Moloney encouraged everyone to watch their language and eliminate bias.

Start small – Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh

Discussing her journey from being a college student to becoming an inventor and entrepreneur, Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh gave the Inspirefest audience a lot of food for thought.

Encouraging fixing and mending instead of discarding and wasting, Ní Dhulchaointigh spoke about how the idea for Sugru came to be. On the rocky road to success, she encountered a perfect bit of career advice for anyone who might be feeling overwhelmed.

She said her friend advised her to start small and make it good. “Let’s just get out there and see what happens.”

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Ultra Early Bird Tickets for Inspirefest 2018 will be on sale soon. Sign up here to be the first to know when!

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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