Kickass #techmums training at An Cosan in Ireland

#techmums went international this week as we flew over to An Cosan college in Tallaght, Dublin to train 6 new kickass #techmums trainers. Liz Waters, principal at An Cosan, had seen me keynote the Future Jobs Forum in Dublin earlier this year and connected with me afterwards to find out more about #techmums and what we were doing.
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We were greeted at Dublin airport by a very friendly taxi driver and taken to Maldren Hotel in Tallaght.

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Avril from An Cosan kindly took us out for a lovely dinner on the first night. I loved the whole story about how An Cosan college was set up 27 years ago by two women, in their own houses. They wanted to help women in the deprived local area get an education with the view of changing their lives for the better. This really resonated with me as that is what I have done with my own family and with #techmums.

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The next morning Avril kindly picked us up and took us to An Cosan. We didn’t have much of an idea what to expect, so were totally overwhelmed when we got there to find everyone so wonderfully kind, friendly and welcoming. After a welcome cup of tea we started off the day in the usual An Cosan way with a poem read by the principal Liz Waters. We were all sat around a large table as Liz read the poem, listening and focusing our eyes on the lovely candle and flowers in the middle.

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We all then introduced ourselves around the room. As we went around the room and everyone spoke I became overcome with emotion and started crying. I’ve never before felt so in tune with a whole group of people that I’ve only just met. What a very special place An Cosan is, full of incredible women who have come from hardship to change not only their lives but the lives of many others around them.
When we had finished our introductions and had a break before starting our training I got everyone together for a #selfie πŸ˜ƒ

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We had a great first day getting to know each other and taking everyone through our #techmums train the trainer program. At the end of the first day Aly, Mary and I were elated and exhausted at the same time.

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Along with the wonderful Sinead who is our #techmums champion at An Cosan we got a taxi into Dublin to meet more fabulous women for dinner. Dinner at Peyton and Byrne was delicious; our waitress was French and awesome. She thought that our #techmums tshirts said #technomums and wanted to come out to a techno club with us after dinner πŸ˜‰

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All the women at dinner were fabulous in their own way and all keen to support, champion and encourage women in tech: Ann O’Dea from Silicon Republic, Eithne Harley from Accenture Ireland and Liz Waters principal of An Cosan. It was a great evening of excitement and putting the world to rights.
We went home at the end of the evening feeling excited and hopeful about getting disadvantaged women into tech and changing the world.
The next morning we went into An Cosan again for the second day of our program.

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An Cosan must be the friendliest place I’ve ever been to. Every single person there exudes welcome and friendliness, its incredible. Every day at break time Aisling would welcome us with tea, coffee and freshly made scones that were absolutely to die for.

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Day 2 had started with Sinead reading us a wonderful poem by Nelson Mandela and playing some music.

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I’m so delighted that Sinead is going to be running #techmums at An Cosan. She is a perfect combination of intelligence, humour and caring that I’m sure will enable #techmums at An Cosan to fly producing many kickass savvy #techmums for years to come.

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At the end of day 2 of our training we held our graduation ceremony with Sinead, Eithne, Donna, Laingo, Valerie and Angela all graduating, becoming An Cosan’s very own team of kickass, savvy #techmums trainers.

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All of them great role models in themselves for the women of Tallaght. I’m proud to have met and spent time with them.
We were very sad to leave An Cosan at the end of the day, but are already looking forward to going back to work on partnership opportunities. Completely like minded people are hard to find, and finding a whole organisation full of them is a life changing experience.

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We left after a quick #selfie with Sinead and Aisling, got in our taxi and were off to the airport.

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The flight home was quick, arriving at Heathrow as the sun was setting.

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Thank you Ann O’Dea for inviting me to speak at the Future Jobs Forum in Dublin earlier this year, thank you Eithne Harley for telling Liz Waters from An Cosan to come and listen to my talk there. Thank you Liz for inviting us to An Cosan, thank you Sinead for being a kickass #techmums ambassador and leader and to all of our new kickass savvy #techmums trainers at An Cosan: Eithne, Donna, Laingo, Valerie and Angela. We are so delighted to have you on board πŸ˜ƒ

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