Inspirefest reveals first group of speakers for 2018 event

30 Nov 2017

Dr Easkey Britton, who will be speaking at Inspirefest 2018. Image: Tomas Hein

The countdown is on for the sci-tech event of the year as the first speakers for Inspirefest 2018 are revealed.

Inspirefest returns to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin’s Silicon Docks from 21 to 22 June 2018. Now in its fourth year, this event brings together, on one stage, more than 50 of the brightest minds in international science, tech, entrepreneurship, the arts and innovation, for what has become an unmissable date on the European events calendar.

Themes explored at next year’s event will range from the future of digital media, artificial intelligence and fintech, to blockchain uncovered, space research and environmental science. As always, there will be an invaluable dose of leadership lessons, networking tips and professional development, whatever your career path or level.

With just a few months to go before the 2018 event kicks off, Inspirefest has announced the first group of speakers that attendees can look forward to seeing next June. Along with many more brilliant thinkers, makers and doers still to be announced, Inspirefest 2018 is off to a flying start.

Dr Easkey Britton, Like Water

Easkey Britton

Dr Easkey Britton. Image: Tomas Hein

Dr Easkey Britton is an internationally renowned professional surfer, artist, scientist and explorer from Ireland. She is a five-time Irish national surf champion and holds a PhD in marine environment and society. However, her real work lies in promoting a healthy relationship between people and the sea by using her passion for the ocean to jump-start social change.

Her groundbreaking journey to Iran in 2013 introduced the sport of surfing to women and local communities, and is featured in the award-winning documentary film Into the Sea.

Britton has co-organised and facilitated international gatherings around the world promoting social change and leadership, including the world’s first global Surf for Social Good summit in Indonesia in 2015.

Named an ‘agent of change’ by Surfer magazine in its special Ocean Edition, surfing is Britton’s active metaphor for life.

Currently a postdoctoral research fellow at NUI Galway, she co-leads the interdisciplinary NEAR Health work package on nature-based solutions, a framework to use coastal blue space to restore health and wellbeing.

This year, Britton founded Like Water, a platform to explore innovative ways to reconnect with who we are, our environment and each other, through water.

Claire Lee, Silicon Valley Bank

Claire Lee. Image: Silicon Valley Bank

Claire Lee. Image: Silicon Valley Bank

Claire Lee is the managing director of early-stage banking at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), heading a group dedicated to working with founders, entrepreneurs and pre-Series A companies. This team oversees strategic partnerships with leading accelerators, incubators, and investment, entrepreneurial and industry groups that support founders at the early stage.

SVB works with more than 50pc of VC-backed companies globally.

Lee joined SVB in January 2014 from Microsoft Ventures, where she was a principal in the new seed fund, evaluating and investing in early stage start-ups, and working closely with the partners that incubate, invest in and support them.

Prior to this, Lee was part of the corporate strategy team that created and launched the Microsoft BizSpark programme globally, with a focus on Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Her career began with IBM in Ireland.

Passionate about education and inclusion, international affairs, and providing greater access to capital and opportunity, Lee is an adviser to Astia Global and the US Department of State, and sits on the NationSwell Council.

Katie Burke, HubSpot

Katie Burke will speak at Inspirefest. Image: HubsSpot

Katie Burke. Image: HubSpot

Katie Burke is the chief people officer at HubSpot where she oversees the company’s global employment brand, recruiting, human resources, and employee learning and development teams.

Burke has been featured in HuffPost, Business Insider and more for her work in the culture and people development space.

Prior to HubSpot, she was the director of marketing and corporate partnerships at Athletes’ Performance and Core Performance. During her tenure, the organisation was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and was featured on CNNMoney, Yahoo, ESPN, The New York Times and more.

Burke attended Bates College and holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. She is an adviser at Flybridge Capital Partners and was part of the inaugural Rev Boston class of Top Women in Boston Tech. In 2017, she was named the MassTLC Emerging Executive of the Year

Niamh Given,

Niamh Given. Image: Niamh Given

Niamh Given. Image: Niamh Given

Niamh Given is chief growth officer at, an innovation platform that is enabling start-ups to achieve the extraordinary through access to investment, partnerships and community engagement across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Given is responsible for all corporate programmes across the business and is focused on driving synergies as Nest scales across diverse regions and industries. Having spent the past 14 years in Asia, she has unique insights on innovation in this region and an extensive background in tech start-ups as well as corporate experience at PCH.

Given joined Nest with more than 12 years of operations experience, focusing on strategic growth and the development of new business units. With more than eight years’ experience working in product development in China as well as co-founding her own online wine start-up, she has worked extensively with both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups to bring their products to the global marketplace.

At PCH, Given led the team that enabled hardware start-ups to navigate the complexities of manufacturing product at scale, reducing time to market and minimising risk.

She was also a pivotal founding member of Highway1, a premier hardware accelerator based in San Francisco that has brought more than 60 hardware start-ups through a four-month accelerator programme and raised more than $80m in funding.

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!

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