Former NASA astronaut to take the stage at first ever Future Human event


5 Dec 20195.72k Views

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Image: Joan Higginbotham/NASA

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Joan Higginbotham, the third African-American woman in space, will speak at Silicon Republic’s all-new event.

Editor’s note: Please note that Future Human 2020 has been rescheduled to take place on 29 and 30 October 2020. Speaker line-up subject to change. More details can be found here.

Future Human has announced the first speakers for the 2020 event, starting with Joan Higginbotham, an American engineer and a former NASA astronaut.

Higginbotham will speak at the Dublin event in May 2020, along with HubSpot marketing VP Kieran Flanagan and Irish venture capitalist Elaine Coughlan.

Future Human follows on from five years of success hosting Inspirefest, and event curator Ann O’Dea, Silicon Republic’s CEO, has promised the same accessibility, diversity and inclusion under the new brand and highly interactive format.

Third African-American woman in space

Joan Higginbotham was the third African-American woman in space following the trail blazed by Mae Jemison and Stephanie Wilson. She flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a mission specialist in 2006, logging more than 308 hours in space. Her primary task aboard Discovery was to operate the Space Station Remote Manipulator System, the robotic arms used to hold onto both payloads and crew members conducting spacewalks.

Higginbotham’s career in space exploration dates back to 1987 at the Kennedy Space Center, where she landed a job as a payload electrical engineer a mere two weeks after graduating with a science degree. In all, she actively participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her nine-year tenure at the centre.

She has been recognised by NASA with an Exceptional Service Medal and also received the Adler Planetarium Women in Space Science award in 2007.

Irish VC in the spotlight

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Also announced on the Future Human 2020 line-up, Elaine Coughlan is a managing partner and co-founder of Atlantic Bridge, a global technology growth equity fund.

A woman in a tweed jacket and mustard blouse stands smiling with her arms crossed in a leafy outdoors shot.

Elaine Coughlan. Image: Future Human

A well-known name in the Irish start-up scene, Coughlan has more than 25 years’ experience scaling tech companies. GloNav, a GPS company she co-founded, was acquired by NXP Semiconductors in 2007.

Named one of Europe’s Top 50 Inspiring Women in Technology in 2015, Coughlan also served as a finance executive at Irish tech companies Parthus, Iona Technologies and SmartForce.

Growth marketing expertise

Completing the first trio of announcements for the 2020 event is Kieran Flanagan, vice-president of marketing at HubSpot, who has helped scale the company’s international business.

A man wearing a floral-patterned grey T-shirt presenting on stage.

Image: Kieran Flanagan

Flanagan may also be familiar to readers as host of the marketing podcast The GrowthTLDR. He has a background in supporting SaaS businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to enterprises, in growing traffic, users and revenue. At HubSpot, he was involved in the company’s shift towards a freemium model and the management of all of the global customer acquisition teams.

Flanagan is also a passionate advocate for remote work, a concept expected to play a part in discussions around the future of work at the event.

Future Human takes place in Trinity Business School on 21 and 22 May 2020.

Future Human is Silicon Republic’s international technology, science and business event celebrating meaning, values and purpose with collaborative, interactive and hands-on experiences. Super Early Bird tickets for Future Human 2020 are available now.