Hi. My name is Deanna O’Connor and I am the founder of The Speak Up Club. I spent most of my career writing for and editing magazines, working on everything from  Irish Tatler and Xposé, to Business & Finance. I’ve MC-ed at Dublin Tech Summit, and numerous business networking events and awards.

One day I got a message on LinkedIn from an ambitious young woman asking for advice on how to get experience speaking in public, and it inspired me to start The Speak Up Club.

It was something that had been on my mind ever since I had interviewed a very impressive woman, Dr Anita Sands, and she revealed the importance she placed on learning public speaking skills.

Anita told me:

‘You should be investing in the core skills that you need, behind the scenes, whether you’re a world-class athlete or a world-class executive. That’s the singular most valuable thing I ever did– it’s particularly valuable for women because one of the things that I’ve observed over the years is that women have a tendency not to speak up, so I tell young women all the time: ‘find your voice and find it early’. It’s not enough for us to have a seat at the table, it’s not enough for us to lean in, we have to lean in and speak up.’

What she said really stuck with me. It’s important for women’s voices to be heard. A couple of years ago an ad agency created an app called ‘Woman Interrupted’ to analyse conversations to show how much men unnecessarily interrupt women. It saddens me that in this day and age, that app is needed. Having confidence in your voice and being able to articulate your ideas clearly and succinctly is so important, and I hope that The Speak Up Club will provide a fun, non-scary and supportive environment to nail those public speaking skills.

Next, we take over the world!

The Speak Up Club founder Deanna O'Connor on the panel at the inaugural GirlCrew Pro event. Pictured, L-R: Pamela Newenham, GirlCrew co-founder, Deanna O'Connor (then editor of Xposé magazine), Avril Mulcahy (entrepreneur), Clodagh Logue (Microsoft).

Inaugural GirlCrew Pro panel. L-R: Pamela Newenham, Deanna O’Connor, Avril Mulcahy, Clodagh Logue.

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