Kelly Hoey Inspirefest
Kelly Hoey speaking at Inspirefest 2016. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

8 career takeaways from Inspirefest 2016 – and why you need to attend this year

4 Jul 2017

Are you going to Inspirefest this year? It could open up a world of opportunities for your career.

With fewer than two days to go until the sci-tech conference of the year, excitement is reaching boiling point for those attending Inspirefest 2017.

For those of you who already have your tickets, you can expect amazing speakers, incredible fringe events, and plenty of inspirational keynotes and panels that will help you in both your personal life and your career.

Future Human

For those of you still feeling unsure about what you could glean from Inspirefest, perhaps last year’s takeaways can shed some light.

Anyone who attended Inspirefest 2016 would argue that there are so many more insights, tips, nuggets of advice and words of wisdom that they got from last year’s phenomenal event.

A list of every takeaway from this amazing conference would simply be too long, so you’ll just have to attend this year’s Inspirefest to see for yourself.

Kelly Hoey

Build your expertise and own it

Speaking about her ever-changing career, Kelly Hoey’s entire talk from last year’s Inspirefest could be turned into a number of tips for your career and life. One thing she advised people to do is “be known for something”.

Hoey said curiosity and inquiry are essential. “I want you to own your expertise,” she said. “Be willing to relearn and create a new expertise.”

Build your network

Unsurprisingly, the woman who literally wrote the book on networking also advised us to build our own network. “Ideas without a network are simply ideas. Careers without relationships are relying on a ‘help wanted’ ad.”

Networking is one of the most essential skills for people hoping to advance their career, especially when it comes to changing jobs, companies and careers. Luckily, Hoey will be back at Inspirefest this year to help attendees figure out how to build their network.

Karla O’Brien

Be authentic

In perhaps one of the most inspirational and moving keynotes of last year’s conference, Karla O’Brien told us about her journey to become the woman she always wanted to be. After years of trying to fit in, O’Brien finally had the confidence to stand out.

“I wondered why I waited so long to be the person I always wanted to be,” she said. “What I’ve come to realise is that being true to yourself allows for more meaningful relationships and experiences than fitting in ever could.”

Being authentic in your life, both professionally and personally, is one of the most important pieces of advice you could ever listen to, and there are few better people to take this advice from than O’Brien.

Maureen Taylor

Understanding others is key to communication

Both in your everyday life and throughout your career, you will need to be understood. Maureen Taylor, co-founder of SNP Communications, said that in order to be understood, we must first know our audience.

“So many people focus first on what they need and want to say to people,” she said. “In order to be persuasive or meaningful, you have to understand what people are thinking and where they’re coming from.”

This can be particularly true when it comes to your everyday working life. Whether you’re trying to get a message across to a client or your team, or even if you’re simply asking for a pay rise, Taylor advises knowing your audience first and understanding their point of view.

Think about who you were as a child

This piece of advice is particularly helpful for those who feel like they’re stuck in a rut, or not as happy as they once were. Taylor says that when it comes to figuring out where to go next, you should think back to your eight-year-old self.

“Who were you when you were eight? Because studies are showing that really, we’re tall eight-year-olds. So, some of our core is back to that point before we start getting too influenced by the outside.”

Thinking back to that time will give you clarity about what you really want to do, even if it isn’t specific to your job. Taylor will be speaking again this year at Inspirefest, offering even more insights.

Sinéad Burke

Do something about it

Strictly speaking, these sound words of wisdom came from her sister, but it was activist and blogger Sinéad Burke who showed us at Inspirefest last year the importance of taking that advice. She spoke about being annoyed at L’Wren Scott being reduced to the title of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend in her obituary.

“I was pacing up and down the long hallway giving out about this. My sister turned to me and said, ‘If you’re so annoyed, do something about it’. I said, ‘I will!’”

Whether you’re bothered about the way something is done, or you want to be part of change, Burke’s talk would encourage anyone to stop talking and start doing.

Dr Maureen Gaffney

Be adaptable

In an inspirational keynote at Inspirefest 2016 about the secret to happiness, Dr Maureen Gaffney spoke about humans’ inability to predict the future, and an unwavering need to be adaptable to unknown changes. “We live in a world that is difficult and hard,” she said.

“We are dismal at protecting the future.” With this in mind, Gaffney advised attendees to develop an open mindset. “We have to be open-minded at all of these different levels; open-minded, open to influence, open to risk, open to learning, open boundaries at a personal and a corporate level.”

Do no harm

An essential piece of advice for anyone at any stage of their life, Gaffney also spoke about the power and effects of negativity, adding that it takes nine pieces of positive information to cancel out a negative thought, but only four negative thoughts to cancel out a positive one. And so, we should strive for positivity and do no harm when it comes to ourselves.

“The more small, positive events that you can create and enable in your day, the more likely it is – it’s 50pc more likely, actually – that you’re going to have a creative, good idea.”

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Book now to join us from 6 to 8 July in Dublin.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. 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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