Meet Thrival Keynote Speaker Ann Makosinski

While still in high school, Ann Makosinski created the “Hollow Flashlight,” which was recognized with several awards at the 2013 Canade-Wide Science Fair, won the 2013 Google Science Fair, and won several awards at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Makosinki appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon twice on the GE “Fallonventions" segment to demonstrate her inventions. In 2014, she was named one of TIME Magazine’s "30 Under 30." As of October 2015, Makosinski has been featured as the global ambassador for the Uniqlo Fleece product line that highlights the similar harvesting of thermal energy in the Uniqlo product and the “Hollow Flashlight.” She is currently a second year student at the University of British Columbia. Read on to learn more about Ann and register for her keynote at Thrival.

You can also buy tickets for two days of Thrival Music featuring The Chainsmokers, CHVRCHES, Thievery Corporation, Ty Dolla $ign, Hudson Mohawke, and more.

You’ve won prestigious awards at the Google Science Fair, Intel Science and Engineering Fair, were featured in TIME Magazine, and appeared on the Tonight Show — twice. When do you first recall having a deep interest in creating and inventing?

Ann Makosinski: I think I've always had an interest in creating things, just by taking the resources around me and trying to piece together something "better" or that could solve a problem. Because my parents didn't give me many toys when I was a kid, my first problem I really remember having was finding a way to entertain myself, so instead I made my own toys. While the physical act of making something is quite satisfying, I have also found an outlet for creativity in areas like writing and film to be quite enjoyable.

You’ve called yourself a “differentist”. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Ann Makosinski: "Differentist" is a term I made up while I was a kid, meaning that I wanted to be different and also do things differently than everyone else. While this is obviously not completely possible (and I do admit to falling into the trend of skinny jeans), I still try to follow this philosophy. Why do and look the same like everyone? Be creative!!! Follow your passions, and be PROUD of their and your individuality. If people don't like what you do and love, so what? 

You’re one of four keynote speakers at the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival this year, and you’re already a veteran public speaker. What are some common themes that you share with each of your audiences that speak to the work you do?

Ann Makosinski: When I speak, I usually tell a summarized story of all the awkward stages of me growing up (including the time I resembled Harry Potter and got literal bowl cuts), and then depending on what struggles I'm going through in life, I give five pieces of advice at the end to the audience (and myself). I also always try to think about what advice I'd like to tell my younger self (because 18 years old is really old folks!!!), and then present it in a way that relates to things the audience may be going through. My speeches are casual, and I try to make the audience feel like they're listening to a close friend talk. While the style of more formal speeches is a wonderful medium to employ, as per my rebellious teenaged spirit/devil child style, I like giving my talks a twist. 

What artists are you most excited to check out during Thrival Music?

Ann Makosinski: Probablyyyy Wild Child, as well as CHVRCHES and Chainsmokers! I listen to a lot of dead people, so the ones that are alive and at the festival I'll be doubly excited to listen to and see!

Any projects you are working on now that you want to tell us about?  

Well the most major project I'm working on right now is Gilmore Girls, I'm on the last season and on the edge of my seat. Just kidding (not really), I'm also writing an autobiography/self-deprecating memoir, as well as attempting to write a series of STEAM related graphic novel books for teens that I hope to be turned into a TV show. I also am working on a bunch of legal stuff that is not entertaining to write about for the flashlight, and once that is done I will hopefully be signing a deal to finally get them out in production. Also in September I'll have started second year university at UBC, so that's fun (other than the frantic all nighters studying part)!