By Eimear Dodd Journalism MA student, @Irish_TechNews image credit: kinlanphotography.ie

Who is Caroline Kirrane?

Caroline Kirrane is a start-up advisor and finance lecturer at Trinity College Dublin.

1 min pitch for what you are doing now?

I am co-ordinating a crowdfunding campaign for Women for Election, a non-profit organisation that trains women to run for public office. Our funding target is €50,000 and this will allow Women for Election to run subsidised training programmes for women next year ahead of the 2019 local elections. The crowdfunding campaign is being organised by a fully volunteer-led team and we have put it together with next to no budget. We are passionate about getting more women into politics to provide more balanced representation. It’s great to work on a project so aligned to my values and it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience working with talented like-minded women.

What are your plans for 2017?

My day job is lecturing in finance and advising start-ups. I have reduced my start-up workload over the last few months and my lecturing workload eases in the summer. This gives me the capacity to help Women For Election with this crowdfunding campaign which will keep me busy until the end of July when I plan to take a holiday!


What were your highlights of 2016?

My highlight of 2016 was the extra free time I had – in 2015 I completed an MBA so it was a pretty hectic year. Last year had a more relaxed pace by comparison and I had far more opportunities to travel and reconnect with friends and family members.

Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date?

I read everything I can get my hands on about Warren Buffett, most especially his annual letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders which I always recommend to students as a free lesson in finance and business. I have read and listened to almost everything publicly written and said by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO. I think she is a fabulous business leader and combines her business and personal interests with exceptional grace.

I have also read everything I can get my hands on by Peter Thiel and Paul Graham because I think they’re some of the smartest start-up minds out there. I have read some of Paul Graham’s essays dozens of times. I listen to Tim Ferriss’ podcast a lot and really enjoyed his recent book Tools of Titans. I worked for years as a financial analyst and had to relentlessly keep on top of news so I’m more likely to be reading a book these days than checking the headlines. I still read the Economist religiously so I feel like I’m mostly up-to-date but on a weekly basis rather than daily and through a news source that I trust.

What inspired you to get involved with this initiative?

The US election. When Donald Trump got elected, I felt so disappointed and disillusioned that I felt compelled to take action. So I reached out to Women for Election offering to volunteer. They proposed this crowdfunding project and as it turns out, my experience working with start-ups was pretty useful. Some of the key tasks when crowdfunding are recruiting a team, obtaining perks that will appeal to your target audience and a social media and traditional media campaign to get the message out there.

All of that will likely sound fairly familiar to a start-up founder – build a team, find product-market fit and generate interest. In addition, we have co-ordinated the campaign on next-to-no budget so this has forced us to be entrepreneurial in our approach. For example a number of our perks have been donated which means that all the money raised from sales of these perks will go directly to Women for Election.

When does the event take place/how can people get involved?

We are officially launching our crowdfunding campaign on Thursday 15th June at 5.30pm in Dublin. We’ll be live streaming it on Twitter so keep an eye out. You can donate to our campaign at www.womenforelection.ie/donate and buy one of our great perks! We have everything from badges and beanies to interesting experiences like a Pat Liddy Women’s History Walking Tour of Dublin on offer or a reading by author Martina Devlin of a short story written especially for the campaign.

How can people find out more about what you are working on?

Keep an eye on the Women for Election social media accounts – follow us on Twitter @women4election, on Facebook at /womenforelection and on Instagram @women4electionire. You can follow me personally on Twitter @carolinekirrane.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

We should all ask ourselves if 22% women in the Dáil is enough? We believe that for fair and equal representation for both genders it is not.


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