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Image / Agenda / Business

My Career: Founder of the AI Institute Maryrose Lyons


By Sarah Finnan
30th May 2024
My Career: Founder of the AI Institute Maryrose Lyons

Maryrose Lyons is the founder of AI Institute, a new platform providing AI courses by bringing together industry experts with deep knowledge of implementing AI in their respective areas. With over 20 years of experience working in marketing, she’s passionate about helping marketers, recruiters, and business owners to save time and produce better quality output using AI.

Did you always want to be an AI course creator?
As soon as I saw the massive potential of Generative AI – yes!

In college, I studied… BESS, double honours Economics and Business Studies. Since then I’ve done a Masters in Cyberpsychology and a PostGraduate Diploma in UX.

My first real job was… in a hairdresser/B&B in Courtown where I washed hair and ran indoors to serve breakfasts and make beds. I still make a good fry. At the age of 15, I learned how to multi-task thanks to Breda Rossiter.

The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was… that you must have a good strong boss or team leader; otherwise, your team will end up getting a lot of the dross work piled on it. If you don’t have a good leader, leave – set up your own business where you can call the shots!

A common misconception about what I do is… that it’s all about machine learning – it is and it’s not! Machine learning powers the Generative AI that we love to use, but you don’t have to understand the inner workings of it to get great results. You don’t know how the inside of your phone works, yet you still use it and it makes you more connected and many of us live our lives on it…

My main responsibility in work is… to grow this start-up I’ve created called the AI Institute into a global provider of AI courses for everyone as fast as I can.

Do you have a career mentor or someone you look up to/seek advice from?
I have an unofficial Board of people who have supported me over the years and whose advice and insights I respect and appreciate. We meet every eight weeks or so. I can bounce ideas off them and they have so much wisdom, it’s great.

The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far is… when I left the world of corporate finance to go set up an internet café. That was in 1995 and I knew this internet thing was going to take off!

The first thing I do every morning is… put on the espresso machine, feed the cat, and drink water.

My morning routine is… I realised a couple of years ago that I love early mornings. I love the peace of it, a new day and all the potential that it brings. So I start work at 6am and do my learning or deep thinking work then. I have breakfast with my son at 8am and then go to the gym. The rest of the day happens after that.

I can’t go to work without… a computer!

I travel to work by… I work from home.

On an average workday I… chat to my team who are based in Australia, Brazil, the UK, Berlin and Belfast. We work hard, but we all really enjoy what we’re doing, so it doesn’t feel like work.

I start my working day at… 6am by choice!

The first thing I do at work is… open my emails and ChatGPT. Initially having it open helped me remember to use it. By now, it’s a trusted member of my team and I couldn’t live without it. That’s what I invite everyone to do. If it’s open and in front of you, you’ll remember to use it.

I usually spend the first portion of the day… talking to my Australian teammate who is about to knock for the day.

I break for lunch… anytime between 12 and 2pm and usually have a salad which I make myself or leftovers heated up.

The most useful business tool I use every day is… hard to say – that’s like asking a mother of 10 who her favourite child is! I use multiple tools for various purposes. You should see my credit card bill, I’m always having to explain to my accountant why every single one of them is important!

I save time by… using AI to help me with the repetitive tasks. My favourites are currently Claude 3 and ChatGPT4o. But I use a lot more besides.

I rarely get through my working day without… two strong coffees before 11am in the morning.

The best part of my day is… delivering training to groups. I love the energy amongst these dynamic people who are dedicated to improving the way they work. I feel really lucky because I get to show people around the most powerful game-changing tools – their faces when they learn how to get it to do advanced and powerful work is priceless.

The most challenging part of my day is… definitely anything to do with accounts! I’ve got a great accountant in ContractingPlus but I still hate having to even look at all the notifications from Revenue and banks and all that stuff. The only notifications I like getting from banks are the ones to say that Stripe has paid out and there’s new money in the accounts!

I know it’s been a good day if… we have a steady stream of Stripe sales notifications!

I usually end my day at… around 6pm. I make it a point not to work beyond that time because I’m a single parent and evenings are family time.

I switch off from work by… going for a walk and listening to a podcast. My favourites are Blindboy, Diary Of A CEO, My Therapist Ghosted Me, and of course all of the ones I listen to for learning and work.

Before I go to bed, I’ll… read for a bit, but not too long because my eyes start closing. This is why it takes me ages these days to finish a book and why I love to read loads while on holiday.

I prepare for the month ahead by… making a list of things I want to achieve, categorised, and written on paper. That sits on my desk and I see it every day. I really think seeing it there makes me do the tasks, and I get great joy out of seeing my progress and removing items when planning the next month.

After a long work month, I destress by… having a massage with an amazing Thai masseur called Pui who never ceases to be amazed at how tight my shoulders are after just a few weeks! She is a miracle worker!

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is… that I’m a working parent to an amazing son. We have a beautiful home life and enjoy each other’s company. We often have little adventures together – recently we headed off to see our team Leinster in the European Cup Final and we hope to travel to South America later this year.

If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is to… use the tools every day. Identify use cases in your work where you can get advice from AI, and really push the AI tools to deliver quality responses. Don’t just take the first one back, be creative and enjoy!

I’ve just finished working on… a short mini-course on AI for beginners, a webinar on how to create your own marketing assistant and onboarding two new course creators (for sales and events). At the moment I’m working on developing version two of our online platform which will see the introduction of self-directed learning to sit alongside our very popular live sessions.

Imagery courtesy of Maryrose Lyons