Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea recognised at ITAG awards

20 Nov 2017

Ann O’Dea, CEO of Silicon Republic and founder of Inspirefest. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea has been honoured at the ITAG Excellence Awards.

Ann O’Dea, CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic, and founder of leading sci-tech event Inspirefest, has won the Outstanding Contribution to the Digital Sector award at the Information Technology Association Galway (ITAG) black-tie event last Friday (17 November), held at the Hotel Meyrick, Eyre Square.

The ITAG Excellence Awards are a celebration of innovation and achievement within Ireland’s technology community, and the organisation itself aims to strengthen and develop the IT industry in the west of Ireland.

A beacon for best practice

Joan Mulvihill, director of the IC4 at Dublin City University Business School, described O’Dea as “a beacon for best-practice leadership”, adding that what she has achieved with Inspirefest is “truly remarkable”.

Mulvihill continued: “Through Inspirefest, no one has done more to promote female entrepreneurship and diversity across the business – and indeed, social landscape – than Ann O’Dea.

“She has been a mentor, sounding board and friend since we first met, so, when we talk about ‘the tech community’, no one embodies the values of a true community more than Ann O’Dea.”

Prof Brian MacCraith, president of Dublin City University, said: “Ann is a national treasure, the human dynamo who singlehandedly has added the critical ingredients of diversity and inclusion to the excitement of tech in Ireland.”

Inspirefest plans

O’Dea previously received a Net Visionary Award from the Irish Internet Association in 2015 for her work in ensuring the visibility of female role models in the tech industry. Last year, she won the Women Mean Business (WMB) Empowering Women Award, which recognises initiatives from companies or individuals to foster an encouraging environment in which women’s careers can flourish.

With Inspirefest, ITAG said O’Dea has successfully disrupted the traditionally “male and pale” expectations within the tech conference world.

The sci-tech champion recently spent time in Asia, hosting an Inspirefest salon in Hong Kong as part of the international plans for the global Inspirefest community. There are further salons planned for 2018 in Europe’s start-up hub of Berlin as well as San Francisco and New York.

Inspirefest 2018 will be held in Dublin on 21 and 22 June of next year.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Super Early Bird Tickets for Inspirefest 2018 are on sale now!

Updated, 9.36am, 21 November 2017: This article has been updated to include comments from Prof Brian MacCraith.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects