7 career lessons from Inspirefest 2017 – and why you should attend this year
Attendees at Inspirefest 2017. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

7 career lessons from Inspirefest 2017 – and why you should attend this year

19 Apr 2018

Thinking about heading to Inspirefest this year? It could give you some incredible inspiration to boost your career.

Inspirefest 2018 is just around the corner, with plenty of amazing speakers already set to take the stage.

Have you got your ticket yet? If you do, you can expect amazing speakers, incredible performances, and plenty of inspirational keynotes and panels that will help you in both your personal life and your career.

If you’re still undecided about whether or not to head to Inspirefest 2018, perhaps some takeaways from last year’s event might help you make your mind up.

Also, for the first time ever, Inspirefest is offering Spring Bird tickets at a final discounted price until 30 April so, if you do decide to book your ticket, you’d better do it fast!

Anyone who attended Inspirefest 2017 would say that there were so many amazing insights, tips, nuggets of advice and words of wisdom – and not just from the future-of-work speakers.

While we’ve rounded up some of our favourite nuggets of career advice from last year’s event, a full list would simply be too long. To get maximum benefit and truly grow your career, you’ll have to attend this year’s Inspirefest to see for yourself.

Stop being busy – Adrienne Gormley

“Everyone has a buzzword they never want to hear again,” said Adrienne Gormley, global head of customer experience at Dropbox.

“For me, that buzzword is productivity.”

Gormley said employees simply can’t be any more productive.

“In a world that has us racing around from morning until night, we are working every minute and we are trying to squeeze the most out of every single day,” she said. “You have to make time for creativity.”

Step out of your comfort zone – Dr Sue Black

“My life had been disrupted but I really wanted to be the person taking charge,” said Dr Sue Black at Inspirefest last year.

“I never would have dreamed really that anything like that would happen, that I would get to uni, that I would get a degree, that I would get a PhD.”

Following an extremely personal story, Black discussed the journey that got her to where she is today, with a lesson that we all need to take on board.

“I looked deep inside myself and told myself a story, and the story I told myself was that you’ve got to change yourself, you’ve got to force yourself out of your comfort zone.”

Push through your doubts – Catherine Owens

A major concern for anyone progressing in their career is sometimes, ‘Should I be here?’ Imposter syndrome or general doubts can stop us from growing.

But artist Catherine Owens had a lesson for all Inspirefest attendees last year.

Owens believes it is vital that we all become aware of not just the energy around us, but the energy inside us. “When you find yourself in the room and your brain is saying, ‘Oh no’ or ‘I’m not sure’, [you need] to be able to close off that conversation and push forward on what you can bring.”

Develop human relationships – Kelly Hoey

“I want you to stop worrying about how you’re going to ‘work the room’,” said author and networking expert Kelly Hoey. “I want you to start worrying about, ‘How am I gonna connect?’”

For Hoey, communication is key in all situations – not just the communication itself, but the manner in which we do it. She said we need to tailor each method of communication to each situation, as every person is unique. “Don’t serve me up some mobile ad that’s for a product or service I’m not gonna use.”

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.” She 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.

Follow your dreams – Dr Niamh Shaw

Engineer, scientist and performer Dr Niamh Shaw is the perhaps one of the greatest embodiments of never giving up on a dream, no matter what you think people will say. In her case, that dream is to go to space.

With one flight under her belt, Shaw is determined to not make it her last. Speaking at Inspirefest last year, her sheer determination was clear. “It’s my dream and I’m going to achieve it,” she said.

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.”

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Get your Spring Bird tickets now to join us in Dublin on 21 and 22 June 2018.

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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