The second and final day of Inspirefest 2018 took place today in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin’s docklands with another day of fantastic speakers taking to the stage to inspire the audience. 

Rajeev Behera – The future of work: where the humans take centre stage

Rajeev Behera is the CEO and founder of Reflektive and set up the company having enjoyed a successful career working for Disney. He noticed that all of the available HR solutions were great at managing process, but pretty worthless for supporting talent so he wanted to tackle this issue by creating Reflektive. One very interesting point he made was “HR to RH. Humans are perceived as resources to be extracted from” so Rajeev decided to flip it to RH – “resources for humans to help employees to thrive”.  Job mobility now means employees hold the power in companies and companies have to be extra careful with how they treat their employees. “The workforce is so much different now than it was twenty years ago and employees need to be totally agile now,” he said.

Katie Burke – Helping women shoot for the stars

Chief people officer at HubSpot, Katie Burke had three interesting points in the hope to help women “shoot for the stars”.

  • Reinforce confidence – In a survey with graduates asked how much they hope to earn over five years in the workforce, men aimed to make $80k in comparison to women on average aiming for $64k. Ms Burke wants women to become more confident and aim higher.
  • Encourage microrisks – Research shows that women are just as likely to take risks as men – but men are more active in taking risk whereas women are more calculated. She feels women can be braver,
  • Change the conversation – “If we change the conversation we immediately changed the gender trajectory in tech and encourage more women to become CEO’s and board members.”

Karen Contet Farzam – The future of money: Fintech uncovered

Co-founder of WHub.io, Karen Contet Farzam talked about Fintech and how China has become the world’s leading country in Fintech. She said, “Today, there are 800m people using the internet in China. China is the largest innovation hub in the world and is two years ahead of the rest of the world in fintech, and fintech is changing the financial sector in the same way the internet has changed the written press.” China is on the brink of becoming a cashless society, moving straight from cash to a digital society.

Raju Narisetti– New media landscape

On the board of Wikimedia and former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal in Europe, Raju Narisetti focused much of his talk on Wikipedia, the world’s largest free content platform. At present, only 17% of the 200k editors on Wikipedia are women so there is a complete misrepresentation on the platform. One of the biggest issues Wikimedia face in trying to bridge this gap is the “harassment of female contributors” however the company are now using AI to target such cases. “The future of free knowledge is expanding and we need more women on this journey,” said Mr Narisetti during his talk. Wikimedia have also established wikiwomen which are workshops run by female contributors with the aim to urge more women to become contributors to the website.

Liza Donnelly – New media landscape

“Listen, watch, wait, observe,” was how Liza Donnelly summed up her profession, which captivated the audience as she took to the main stage to begin speaking. She is an award-winning cartoonist for the New Yorker and CBS who has spent more than four decades in the industry and overseen many changes along the way. Having enjoyed a really “quiet career” because “fans don’t usually write to cartoonists”, the internet brought big changes to her job. Platforms such as Twitter have given her new ideas for work and allows her to engage with her fans daily. With social media, she also realised that work could help bring change in society and really connect with her audience. She has drawn some very memorable illustrations on a number of topics from 9/11, to Repeal the 8th, to the current migrants crisis in the US.

Deepa Mann-Kler – Exciting Experiments in Art and Technology

Deepa Mann-Kler is CEO of Neon which is using immersive technologies to improve the health and wellbeing on people. Everyday, 150 people die from prescribed opioids and Ms. Mann-Kler described it as the “silent killer”. “20% of the world’s population are in chronic pain and our technology can reduce this number significantly,” she said. She discussed her company’s first product – BreathVR. This is “an alternative method with the use of VR that is not life threatening or damaging which improves patient outcomes and reduces pain by up to 50%”. In her bid to help people overcome their pain, she said, “Technology is there to give people choice and it enables us to feel human.”

Naomi McMahon – How music embraces disruption

Senior Vice President and head of strategic marketing for Universal Music Group (UMG), Irish woman Naomi McMahon is enjoying life in the US. Working with some of the biggest artists in the world, she said, “Disruption drives growth and technology is at the heart of this allowing UMG to engage with our consumers.” She also said “fans are now a new media vessel for music and UMG try to leverage that disruption to spark participation”. Speaking of disruption in the speaking industry, Ms. McMahon said Drake is the biggest disrupter in modern music as “he understands culture, listens to his fans and experiments new ideas. With technology, fans are in charge now and we have to bring them in,” she added.

Claire Lee – The 1pc Club

In her talk aimed at leaders taking chances on people, Claire Lee, the head of early-stage banking at Silicon Valley Bank said there are a number of “ incorrect stereotypes that exist in the tech industry in relation to women. “We need to create a diverse workforce through representation, making important legislation, and most importantly going outside our comfort zone,” she said. She believes that creating a diverse team and embracing their stories, will help companies thrive and be successful. “Love, not money, makes the world go around and supporting and building a diverse team makes is the best way to make that happen,” she added.

Niamh Given – Thinking Global: Looking to Europe, Asia and the Middle East

Niamh Given is the chief growth officer of Nest.vc (New Zealand) and gave the audience three tips in going global:

  • Question everything
  • Embrace everything
  • Show up