by Michael O’Neill
Once upon a time if you wanted to get on in the big World outside you’d be listening to some ‘grey haired old Professor’ from Trinity or UCC, maybe even Queen’s Belfast if you lived in the North, spouting on about future career prospects in subjects like Maths and Science. That was then and this is now, the ‘REAL’ world of 2016.
You’ll still find a few ‘Grey haired’ professors continue their great work today but the modern young youths, male or female, are more in tune with the heroes and heroines of today whether from the world of business or sport and no Irish sports star is better qualified as a role model for today than Olympic Gold medallist Katie Taylor.
Think back just a few years and imagine a boxer, Amateur or Pro, receiving a rapturous welcome from students keen to progress in the big world outside? Even less likely in those days of yore that it would be a sportswoman. The times they are a changin! And for the better.
I WISH Conference organisers have announced that Katie, the current Irish, European, World and Olympic Champion in the 60kg division, will join delegates at this year’s event in Cork City Hall where she will meet with Transition Year students as they explore future study and career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
I WISH expects to see over 2000 students attend a series of workshops, exhibits and meetings with female STEM role models over the two-day event. Joining the line-up of speakers, which includes CEO of Vodafone, Anne O’Leary, Katie Taylor will be interviewed on stage by Barrie O’Connell, President of Cork Chamber of Commerce.
Commenting on the announcement, Caroline O’Driscoll, I WISH Ambassador and Partner with KPMG, said: ‘On behalf of I WISH founders Gillian Keating, Ruth Buckley and I, we are delighted to welcome Katie Taylor to this year’s conference. Katie is highly regarded as the outstanding Irish athlete of her generation and is very much an inspiration for young Irish women as she prepares for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio. I WISH was founded to inspire, encourage and motivate young women to consider careers in STEM where there are traditionally lower levels of female participation. Katie Taylor, as an inspirational Irish woman, has excelled in a field which was traditionally dominated by men.’
The I WISH conference will also feature seminars, daily keynotes and engaging talks by women who are at the top of their field in STEM including Cliona Murphy, Vice President of Technical Services at PepsiCo, Mary Moloney, CEO of CoderDojo Foundation, Aoife Caulfield from Twitter, Margie McCarthy of Science Foundation Ireland and Marie Moynihan, Vice President of Talent at Dell.
‘Students at this year’s conference will now have the opportunity to hear first-hand from Katie Taylor about how she confronted her own personal challenges, including tackling female stereotypes, and it should be a memorable event for all in attendance as they meet an Olympic hero,’ added Caroline O’Driscoll.