In February 2015, Inspiring Fifty launched its first annual list of the 50 most inspirational women in the European technology sector. In April 2016 Inspiring Fifty released its second 50 most inspirational women’s list.
This formidable group of women come from across the technology spectrum – serving as active and visible role models and acting as an inspiration to others. We are honoured to enter them into our Inspiring Fifty Hall of Fame and we look forward to continuing our work with these brilliant women to inspire help inspire others to build a successful career path in the technology sector.
Colette has over 28 years of experience in the PR industry and is the Founder and CEO of Ballou PR. She has worked in a vast amount of sectors across many different industries including digital entertainment and media, telecommunications, product lifecycle management and robotics, and mobile entertainment and services. Ballou PR was founded in 2002 and it now has offices in Berlin, Paris and London. It focuses on high-growth technology and internet companies and has had a string of well-documented client success stories including the exit of Musiwave for $100M+, the entry of Facebook into France, and the entry of Eventbrite into Europe. Prior to starting her own firm Colette was a Vice President at Edelman PR’s Enterprise Software and Service group in San Francisco, USA. However, Colette’s real passion is within the European start-up community. Colette is a frequent speaker, moderator, mentor, and judge for start-up events such as Seedcamp, Geeks on a Plane, TechCrunch and Microsoft BizSpark. In 2011 and 2012 she was named one of Wired UK 100’s list of most influential figures in Britain’s digital economy and was also named one of the 500 mentors for 500 startups.
Catherine Barba, is a pioneer of the digital revolution in France, an expert in omnichannel commerce and digital retail. She has received numerous distinctions including that of “Femme en Or” 2011, Alumni of the Year ESCP Europe 2012 and Knight of the National Order of Merit in 2012. After graduating from ESCP Europe in 1996, Catherine founded and managed OMD Interactive (Omnicom group)—when there wasn’t much going on with the Internet in France. She then served from 1999 to 2003 as Managing Director of iFrance, a company launched by the French renowned entrepreneur Marc Simoncini. In 2004, she created the cashback website Cashstore.fr, sold to the Plebicom group in November 2010, then the e-business consulting firm Malinea, sold to the founders of vente-privee.com in June 2011. Her newest company, Catherine Barba Group, helps global brands and retailers on their omnichannel strategy and customer service in the era of mobile commerce. Catherine is an exemplary “digital woman” in France, and is a vocal advocate of women in tech. She has organized events such as Journêe de la femme digital (Day of the Digital Woman) supported by brands like Orange and IBM.
Alice originally worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Having been exposed to technology businesses in this role, Alice realised how technology was fundamentally changing the way we work, live and play, and knew she wanted to be part of that world. She left her job and built the first UK-wide start-up accelerator for graduates, Entrepreneur First, in 2011. The firm takes talented graduates straight out of university and helps them build their own tech start-ups. In its first year, Entrepreneur First helped build 11 companies that are now valued at over $90million. However, noticing a lack of women taking up the opportunity, Alice branched into starting a second business to help address the need for more women in the technology sector. She is a strong advocate for young women in tech: evidenced by her starting Code First: Girls in 2012, a free part-time course which introduces young women to web programming, and has seen fantastic results; more and more girls have gone on to become software developers and are starting tech businesses as a result of the programme. Alice has recently been featured on the BIMA (British Interactive Media Association) Hot 100 2014 and The Drum’s “Women making waves—30 under 30” in 2013.
A born collaborator and connector, Sue is well known for her successful online and offline campaigning and activism around digital social inclusion and women in technology. Savvify (formerly The <goto> Foundation) is a for profit socially responsible organisation founded to enable distinct demographic groups to become empowered through greater understanding and engagement with technology. Sue’s other engagements include mentoring at Google Campus for Mums, which helped over 150 mums and dads in London, Krakow, Madrid and Tel Aviv to take their ideas and get boosted through workshops, mentoring, and inspirational talks from the city’s top founders and investors. Sue is also engaged in the ACM-W project by the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM). ACM-W supports, celebrates, and advocates internationally for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field, providing a wide range of programs and services to ACM members and working in the larger community to advance the contributions of technical women. With over 20 years of experience in academia, Sue is also an accomplished academic manager and researcher with more than 40 publications and a PhD in software engineering. Sue has recently been chosen as one of the Top Ten Women in Tech 2013 by The Guardian, and has also been chosen as one of the most influential women in UK IT in 2012, a survey run by Computer Weekly.
Paola Bonomo is a senior executive, advisor and angel investor with over 20 years’ experience. Paola serves as Global Marketing Services Director, Southern Europe at Facebook, which she joined in May 2015. In this role she is responsible for the company’s commercial results in France, Benelux, Italy and Iberia. Previously, Paola Bonomo worked at Vodafone Italy for three years as Head of Online Services, Commercial Operations: in this role she was in charge of customer acquisition via online channels, as well as customer support via app, social channels, and the Vodafone site. She also served as Vice President, Online Business Unit at the Publishing division of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s leading financial newspaper, where she was responsible for the turnaround of the newspaper’s digital presence. She spent four years at eBay International, first as Marketing and Advertising Director for Italy, and later in the European leadership team in Zurich as Senior Director, European Operations. For the first 12 years of her career, Paola worked at McKinsey & Company, where she served the top management of leading Italian and multinational companies on strategic positioning, growth, new markets, alliances and acquisitions. Since 2009, Paola has been a member of Italian Angels for Growth, Italy’s most prominent angel group, where she focuses on screening investments and supporting entrepreneurs in the digital space. Paola serves a Director on the Boards of AXA Assicurazioni; of fintech startup MoneyFarm SIM ; and of a fashion company listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, Piquadro. Paola’s current non-profit commitments are as President of the Stanford Club Italia, the local chapter of Stanford University alumni, and as a Board member at the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana. She is also a leading member of the alumnae network from the In the Boardoom corporate governance training program, organized by the Italian association Valore D. Paola holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan.
Anne is Director General of the GSMA which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, spanning 220 countries. She is also a Member of its Board. She brings to the GSMA a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success in the highly dynamic mobile industry. With a deep understanding of the opportunities and the challenges facing mobile operators today, she leads the GSMA as the essential industry partner for its operator members around the world, enabling their continued success through driving innovation, providing thought leadership and advocating for the industry. Before joining the GSMA, Anne was Executive Vice President for Mobile Services for France Telecom Orange, where she defined the strategic transformation programmes for a business serving more than 120 million customers and revenues of more than 14 billion euros at the time. Prior to France Telecom Orange, Anne led a 600-person business unit of Equant and was responsible for developing IT services for Equant’s multinational business customers. She began her career in telecommunications as project manager for Telmex in Mexico in 1991. Anne is also encouraging of young women to consider a profession in ICT, believing that they have the ability to create change every day, especially in the mobile industry in low and middle income countries. As director general of the GSMA, Anne Bouverot has made attracting more women to the mobile and ICT industries a big part of her agenda, and during her tenure the association launched the Connected Women initiative with that goal in mind. The Connected Women program hosts events around the world which focus on bringing together experts from across the mobile ecosystem to discuss ways the industry can accelerate the growth of women in the wireless industry.
Judith is a serial entrepreneur, a Fortune 500 board level strategy consultant and an angel investor. She marries entrepreneurial experience with deep insight into what it takes for large organisations to innovate at pace. She is the Founder and CEO of London and New York based innovation and strategy consultancy Takeout. Clients include, Thomson Reuters, Samsung, Microsoft, The British Government Communications Network, and entrepreneurial clients including the Ministry of Sound and YO! Sushi. Judith is also the Founder of Glasshouse, an organisation that provides support, inspiration and networks for entrepreneurs, investors and digital innovators. Glasshouse was founded in London in 1998 and has held events all over the world including London, New York and San Francisco. She was listed as one of the Top Digital Power brokers in the UK by Wired Magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2012, as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Britons in Technology by the Daily Telegraph, A Global Top 50 women to watch in Technology by Femmeonomics and one of WIE’s 2012 50 Global Exceptional Women. Judith is a also member of London’s Tech City Advisory Group which has been set up by No. 10 Downing Street in supporting the fast growing technology cluster in East London and is on the Advisory Board of Silicon Valley comes to the UK, is a not-for profit series of industry supported events designed to improve the ecosystem for entrepreneurship in the UK, Europe and beyond. She was an early proponent of online social networking as a co-founder of Moonfruit.com. The company, formed in 1999, was backed by prominent European and US investors and won several awards including a BBC award for best online design, an online BAFTA nomination. Moonfruit was acquired by Yell in 2012.
Elaine is a Co-Founder and General Partner of Atlantic Bridge Capital, a technology fund providing growth equity and expansion capital to technology businesses in Ireland, Europe and the US. Atlantic Bridge is headquartered in Dublin with offices and staff in London, Palo Alto, Beijing & Hong Kong with over €250m of assets under management. She is also a co-founder of Summit Bridge Capital, a $100m China Ireland Tech Growth Fund backed by China Investment Corp (CIC) and the National Pension Reserve Fund of Ireland. This fund is focused on investing expansion capital in Irish companies with a focus on scaling in China. She currently serves as non-executive director on the board of a number of Irish software companies. Elaine has over 20 years operational experience as an entrepreneur and executive in scaling Irish technology companies with extensive M&A experience. Elaine was co-founder and director of Glonav, an Irish GPS software and hardware company, which was sold successfully to NXP for $110 million. Prior to Atlantic Bridge and Glonav, she has been involved as CFO or VP Finance in three successful Irish technology IPOs on Nasdaq, raising more than $1 billion in capital for Parthus, Iona and Smartforce. Elaine is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and a qualified Chartered Director. She was named as one of Europe’s Top 100 Women in Technology and is a lead mentor and advisory board member of Going for Growth and DCU Ryan Academy Female Propellor program – both initiatives with Irish Government support for the advancement of women Entrepreneurs in Ireland.
Sherry is a former CEO and angel investor who serves on the boards of companies, charities and universities. She chairs Founders4Schools and is a non-executive member of Cambridge University (Finance Board), Cambridge University Press and a Non-Executive Director of Zoopla and the London Stock Exchange Group. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Linkedin.com. As an angel investor, she works with entrepreneurs to solve problems that matter and specialises in consumer Internet, information services and education. She has made angel investments in more than 50 companies and holds investments in 4 venture capital firms. As an entrepreneur, Sherry was founder of two businesses in the financial services industry. Aside from the finance world, she is also non-executive Director of Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity founded in 2009 to promote the study of basic computer science in schools, and is responsible for developing a credit card sized, single-board computer called the Raspberry Pi. In a long list of awards and recognitions, Sherry was voted by TechCrunch as the best CEO mentor / advisor in Europe in Nov 2010. Tornado Insider has named Sherry as one of the “Top 20 trend-setting women in Europe”. She has been rated by Wired UK (2011 & 2010) as one of the top 100 digital people and one of the top ten female digital people in the UK.
Nancy has been described as a ‘serial entrepreneur’ and currently runs MyShowcase.com, which brings direct selling of beauty products to hundreds of mums who need flexible working— a new kind of beauty retailer that champions female entrepreneurialism. Prior to MyShowcase, from April 2012 to March 2013 Nancy was CEO of Weve, leading a team that secured clearance from the European Commission for the UK’s leading mobile operators to launch a media & mCommerce Joint Venture in the UK. She successfully launched the business in November 2012 and Weve now provides a form of blueprint for other collaborations like this in various international markets. Nancy started life working for Condé Nast in marketing and advertising on titles such as Vogue and World of Interiors, becoming commercial director of Condé Nast online in 1995 – the start of a career with the digital world at its core. In 2008 she joined VideoJug, the market-leading How To website, as Global CEO and in May 2009 moved to the Telegraph Media Group (TMG) as Executive Director, Digital Development where her focus was on growing TMG’s digital proposition and revenues. This included the award winning Telegraph.co.uk which today attracts over 50 million unique users per month globally. Nancy also knows how to share the love too – in addition to founding Handbag.com, which was once the number one website for women, she also ran a program called Women In Business, which was sponsored by Barclays Bank, and gave advice and start-up loans to small businesswomen.
Along with Hubert Burda Media Czerny co-invented one of the most important meetings of the high-tech scene outside the United States in 2005; the DLD. Steffi is CEO of DLD Media and co-founder of DLD Conference – which has included speakers such Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Diamandis and Marissa Mayer – as well as its global spin-offs DLDwomen Conference, DLD Tel Aviv Festival, DLDmoscow and DLDcities. DLD Media produces publications, online and video formats, and studies relating to the conference themes, and provides advice to DLD partner companies, startups, investors and public institutions. Steffi has named DLD in 2015 “It’s Only the Beginning”. “I believe that the truly ground-breaking changes to the digital world are still to come – and that the pace of change will increase dramatically. This is why I have chosen ‘It’s only the beginning’ as the slogan for DLD15” she says. Steffi loves to actively connect ideas, people and businesses, most importantly in the fields of media, Internet and arts. She loves to discuss; “the next big thing”, “media in transition” and “diversity 2.0” are her favourite conversational topics. DLD started as an intimate gathering of friends. Since then it has developed into an interdisciplinary, internationally connected platform for people who have changed or will change the world – with their creativity, their business model, their research findings or their personal involvement in a cause close to their heart. DLD events are hosted around the globe every year to connect business and creative leaders, as well as opinion formers. Steffi Joined the Burda group in 1995 held several executive positions in new media activities prior to launching DLD. Her background is in political sciences and communications and Steffi has followed developments in the digital world for over 20 years. In 2007, she founded two successful cross-media communities for Hubert Burda Media: burdastyle.com and hallohund.de In 2010 Steffi was identified as one of Germany’s 25 most influential businesswomen by Financial Times Germany for her success in bringing the international digital elite together at DLD.
Verena Delius is a forward thinking woman with a drive and passion for success. She has years of solid experience in the Internet industry under her belt and enjoys shaping the future of a digital world. Creating high-quality Apps and being close to the trends in mobile and education motivates her. She came to prominence as Co-Founder and CEO of Goodbeans (formerly Young Internet), a mobile games studio in the heart of Berlin which develops fun and family friendly Apps and online worlds. Since its launch in 2007 she has built up a team of 60 people to create and distribute social games aimed at two to 12 year olds. Delius saw an opportunity for Goodbeans to move from a browser-based platform to apps, which was the foundation of the company’s success, which now has 10 apps in 12 different languages. In a short space of time she won McKinsey’s “CEO of the future” award in 2007 and Goodbeans is now currently active in over 20 countries around the world. In 2013, Delius launched new company Fox & Sheep, which also develops and publishes Kids Apps worldwide. Here, Delius works closely with book authors and illustrators worldwide to bring to life the best Apps for kids out there and help parents guide their children through the digital world. Verena is a very active and modern type of CEO at Fox & Sheep; she works out on the floor in the open with her employees and constantly keeps them up to speed with how the company is doing. She offers help with childcare when it is needed and even lets her employees work from home or bring their children into work if something has come up. Verena was also named one of the “Top Women in Tech in Germany” in 2012. Verena is the director of Save the Children’s Online Advisory Board. In this role she advocates for child related themes. Her aim is to bundle the reach of online media to draw more attention towards children in need.
Stina is the CEO and Founder of Yubico, and co-inventor of the YubiKey – a small device that makes strong two-factor authentication easy and affordable for everyone. The company was founded in 2007, funded by the management team and Swedish angel investors. In 2014, Ram Shriram, Google founding board member and former executive at Amazon.com joined as investor and board member, and Marc Benioff, CEO & Founder of Salesforce and Ori Eisen, renowned entrepreneur in fraud prevention, joined as investors. The YubiKey offers the first one touch user experience for strong authentication, uniquely combining driver-less USB and wireless hardware with open source software. Millions of users and 50,000 customers in 140 countries rely on YubiKey authentication for securing access to computers, mobile devices, networks and online services. Customers include 7 of the 10 top Internet brands, e-governments, Fortune 100 companies and individual users. Stina’s goall is to secure the identities of 1 billion Internet users and change the way we do secure online transactions. Previous to Yubico, Stina worked with several innovation projects, focusing on product design and communication. She is an accomplished speaker on Internet identity, security and entrepreneurship, and she is regularly featured in leading International tech media. Stina was recently named in Inc Magazine’s “10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013.” Stina was born in Seattle, USA, but grew up in Sweden, living there until 2011.
Amélie has been an entrepreneur most of her life, focusing her career in the software industry. In 1990, Amélie co-founded GénériX, an ERP company. As a board member, she played a key role in the listing of the company on the stock exchange, as well as overseeing the marketing and sales aspects. From 1999 to 2001, she served as Vice President Southern Europe at Augeo Software, a publisher of Professional Services Automation software where she contributed to the restructuring and recovery of the company. In 2004, she became the CEO of Pertinence – a publisher of software for the optimisation of industrial processes. She sold Pertinence to Intercim, a US publisher of Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence software, in 2008. She subsequently became General Manager of Intercim Europe, and strongly contributed to the sale of the group to Dassault Systemes a year later. Amélie is now the Executive Chairman of Augure’s board. Augure is a successful European SaaS software company in the influencer marketing space with more than 100 people and 1500 customers in Europe. She also holds several board seats at companies such as TVTY, FinalCAD, Vodkaster and Dataiku. Amélie is also an independent board member at BPIFrance, the public investment bank that supports innovation for SMBs in France and is a Venture Partner at Serena Capital .
Amélie is a graduate of AgroParisTech (ex Institut National Agronomique de Paris-Grignon).
Maelle Gavet has served as Executive Vice President of Global Operations of The Priceline Group since July 6, 2015. Gavet is responsible for driving global operational strategy and connections across The Priceline Group and its six major brands:
Booking.com, priceline.com, KAYAK, agoda.com, rentalcars.com and OpenTable, working alongside The Priceline Group CEO, Darren Huston. Her technology and ecommerce background helps solidify the Group’s role as a true digital pioneer.
Prior to joining The Priceline Group, Gavet served as the CEO of OZON, Russia’s leading e-commerce business. Before that, she was a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group, working in France, the UK, South Africa and India. Gavet is a member of the company’s Group Management Board (the team that leads day-to-day operations and strategy of The Priceline Group) and reports directly into Huston.
Gavet is a board member of Edenred, a worldwide leader in prepaid corporate services in 42 countries. In 2012, she was named among Fortune’s 40 Under 40, Forbes’ Women to Watch, and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. She resides in the Netherlands with her family.
Nationality: France, working in NL
Corinne is co-founder of TomTom and Managing Director of its Consumer business.
Corinne is a driving force in the European consumer technology industry. She leads TomTom’s Consumer division, growing the business from a small start-up into a global player. Under her leadership, Corinne is diversifying TomTom into a multi-category consumer brand, bringing new innovation to market and returning the consumer business to growth.
Corinne’s global team creates and manufactures innovative products that play a meaningful role in people’s lives. Corinne is firm believer that technology should help people move forward, not hold them back. And that technology should make life easier, not more complicated. So Corinne’s focus is on turning complex technology into easy to use products that are accessible to everyone. Best known for being a global leader in navigation and mapping products, TomTom now creates award-winning GPS Sport Watches.
Corinne is an entrepreneur who is passionate about technology, design and innovation. She is focused on developing talent and fostering an entrepreneurial culture both at TomTom and in the wider world. As a leader of one of the few consumer technology companies to come out of Europe, Corinne is a champion of European innovation. She plays an active role in organisations dedicated to getting women into more senior positions and in social mobility.
Corinne is co-chair of the Dutch Chapter of Women Corporate Directors and sits on the advisory board of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet.
Earlier in her career Corinne worked for Psion Plc, where she set up Psion’s international distribution network.
Corinne graduated in France with a BA in International Business from ESSEC in 1987. She was made Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2012.
Kerstin Günther is an engineer in electronics with an MBA in finance. Prior to her appointment as Senior Vice President Technology Europe in 2012, with responsibility for Technology, IT and the Technical Service in all 13 countries of the Europe Board area, she was a consultant and later corporate executive in Telecommunication Companies of the Deutsche Telekom Group. Kerstin is member of the board of directors and the supervisory board of several companies of the Deutsche Telekom group in Europe. Kerstin joined the Deutsche Telekom Group in 1991 and has held many senior level positions, and has extensive international experience. She was Senior Vice President Planning Technology for Deutsche Telekom Germany, Senior Vice President Service and Demand Management at T-Home. She led the largest Technical Infrastructure Branch Office of T-Home and before that the Personal Service Centre of Deutsche Telekom. Before coming back to Germany Kerstin held the position of Senior Vice President Strategy and External Affairs at Slovak Telekom, Senior Vice President Wholesale at Magyar Telekom and Vice President Regulatory Affairs at Magyar Telekom.
Karen pursued a career in training and human resources, but at age 29 founded the IT staffing firm Mortimer Spinks. After selling the company to FTSE 250 Executive Search firm Harvey Nash in 1997, she bought and staffed a restaurant business in Fulham in 1998, which, coupled with a passion for food, inspired her to found Toptable. Toptable (styled toptable but now re-branded as OpenTable) is an online restaurant booker covering the UK as well as major cities in Europe and New York City. It was founded by Karen in 2000 as a tool for restaurant owners to advertise their venues and book customers directly. Toptable sat over 1.5 million diners in 2006 when it completed its first full year. Today, 2.3 million visitors view the Toptable website each month and, in February 2010, a dedicated Toptable iPhone app was launched. Investors in Toptable include football manager Sir Alex Ferguson, celebrity chef Gary Rhodes and Diageo. In September 2010, toptable was acquired by competitor OpenTable for approximately 55 million USD. Now based in Montreux, Switzerland, Karen is an active investor backing and supporting numerous internet start-ups, fledgling businesses and other entrepreneurs. She is currently an Investment Partner at ProfoundersCapital and investor in JustAddRed, where her investments include Hire Space and Pets Pyjamas, the number one online destination for stylish pets and their owners. Karen was awarded an MBE in 2010 At the 2005 Institute of Business Advisers Annual Conference, Hanton presented closing remarks about the four principles of successful of business management to which she ascribes: “keep it simple, have clear objectives, don’t confuse reasons with excuses and be prepared to tweak your ideas”.
Claudia Helming founded the Internet company DaWanda in 2006 and serves as its managing director. DaWanda is one of the most popular commercial enterprises in Germany.
300,000 creative individuals and designers sell some four million unique items and products in limited editions on DaWanda and, to date, the social commerce platform has gained 5,2 million members.
DaWanda has 300,000 manufactures from jewellery, clothing, bag, toys, and furniture. 5,2 million users are logged onto the portal and approximately 5 million products traded. The website has seven different country versions, adapted to the regional needs of local customers.
Claudia studied Romance Languages and Tourism at LMU Munich, and then worked as Head of Operations at lastminute.com. This was followed by a Business Development role at Passado where she met her business partner. DaWanda was ranked fourth on the “Proposition Index 2012” by strategy consulting company OC&C. The German-language Startup Monitor of authority GmbH & Co. KG found DaWanda to be the most popular start-up selected by Internet users on several different occasions. Venture Village named Claudia one of the “Top 10 Most Charming CEOs of Berlin” in 2012, “Top Women in Tech in Germany” and she was also on the list GirlsinTech “Top 100 Women in Tech in Europe” for 2012.
Stephanie is the founder of One Ragtime, a global technology investment fund and advisory. Prior to this, she was the Executive Vice President of Orange Digital, Audience and Advertising. Stephanie has an extensive international and management background in the digital, telecommunication and advertising sectors with a proven track record in setting up and growing new ventures, building best-in-class teams and forming international partnerships. She has strong experience of board management and corporate governance. During her time at Orange she held several key top management positions for over ten years, managing the Digital Business Unit, where she was responsible for a number of international subsidiaries in the digital field, major product lines such as Cloud services, data and analytics, digital marketing and social media, applications and sites, online distribution, as well as the company’s global advertising network that spans over 795 million unique visitors across 5 continents and 60 countries. Stephanie was the one leading Orange’s digital acquisition of Dailymotion and its major partnerships with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft. She has a passion for people development, business development and digital, and connecting with people and connecting people. Stephanie is also an Executive Director at leading video platform Dailymotion, an advisor for data company Mythings, and a previous Vice Chairman for IAB Europe. She also spends time as a mentor at Level 39, the leading tech accelerator in London.
Laura is the president of D&AD as well as creative partner at Mr President and co-founder of SheSays, a community to champion women in creative industries. Laura brings together an experimental and innovative use of technological advances and a deep understanding of the functionality and direction of online media. A creative designer who has worked internationally producing content which pushes the boundaries of the medium. Laura cut her teeth as a key figure in the infamous ‘geekgirl’ in the early nineties, and has been involved in the design and implementation of many of the world’s most cutting edge digital work for top international brands as diverse as Levi’s®, Mini, and T- mobile. She has consistently won awards for her commercial work, and has been honored with personal recognition including being voted one of the 30 under 30 leaders in IT by industry leaders as part of the Fairfax Group awards in 1999. Laura is also co-founder of SheSays, an organisation that educates, promotes and inspires women to take up digital creative careers. It runs free mentorship and events to women in the creative and marketing businesses. SheSays’ aim is to “see more women at the top, by offering courses, career management and a collaboration platform”. Laura lectures and travels extensively, speaking on net art and the cultural implications of the internet, as well as teaching dynamic lab-based and technical digital media classes at major universities around the world.
Stephanie’s passion for bridges led her to initially consider a career as a bridge builder. Whilst she has secretly still not given up on this goal, Stephanie became Product Lead at Wooga in the meantime. She is today addicted to building games for non-gamers, at the second biggest developer of social games worldwide. Stephanie designed the Facebook title Monster World, and developed a method of strictly metrics-driven design and weekly iterations. Since its launch in April 2010, the team has organically grown the game to over 2.5 million daily active users, making it the biggest monster game on Facebook. Stephanie was only the second employee to be hired at Wooga, which launched in 2009. Both of the start-up’s founders came from ringtone company Jamba where Kaiser worked previously as a junior product manager. Their initial business plan was to first create free game “Brain Buddies” which would then be used to show investors what could be achieved in social gaming. Based in Berlin, Wooga now has five games on Facebook with over 30 million monthly active users, and the company has expanded to over 200 employees today. At Wooga Stephanie has had the opportunity to become a leader in the field of game design. Heading her own studio, she is now in charge of 4 games and a team of over 25 people.
Neelie served as Vice President of the European Commission up until November 2014. She was responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe. Her political career started on the Rotterdam Municipal Council, and in 1971 she was elected as a Member of the Dutch Parliament for the liberal VVD party. Neelie started work for the European Commission in 2004, as one of the 27 Commissioners working to maintain a peaceful and prosperous Europe. From 2004 to 2009, she was Competition Commissioner, responsible for ensuring a level playing field for business in Europe, and fair prices and wide choice for consumers. In 2010, Neelie became Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe. This portfolio includes the information and communications technology (ICT) and telecommunications sectors. For example: ensuring trust and security for the Internet and new technologies; ensuring competitive communications, such as in the mobile roaming market; building world-class European research and innovation in this sector; and above all getting every European Digital, with access to fast broadband, making the most out of the Internet to support our economy and society. Neelie’s term ended recently in November 2014. In December 2014 she was appointed Special Envoy for startups in the Netherlands, tasked with strengthening the international position of startups in the Netherlands and persuade innovative foreign startups to establish their businesses there. Kroes, as Special Envoy, will devote the next eighteen months to establishing the Netherlands as the best country in Europe to start up a business. Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs announced this today. Interesting Links: Neelie’s farewell letter regarding her work at the European Commission – https://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/en/blog/farewell-neelie-kroes
Anita is a Norwegian business executive and author and has over 18 years of experience from various management positions within the Technology Industry. In September 2014 she was appointed CEO of Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Government’s official instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. She is a former Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard Norway, the first female Managing Director running a country in Scandinavia for HP. She is also a former CEO of the commercializing company Simula Innovation , and was director of strategy in DNV GL. Anita is active and visible in the Norwegian business environment with an extended network. She became well known for the Norwegian public when she published her application for the MD position of HP Norway in her private leadership blog Tinteguri (established 2012). She is inspired by John Kotter and implements his eight step for transformation in all operative job assignments. She has a proven track record of developing business and delivering transformation projects with an approach and style, which instils confidence and builds trust with key internal and external stakeholders. Strategic planning, team involvement and execution are key strengths. Certified in strategy and innovation from MIT, leadership developed at Harvard Business School and in MD operative positions. Anita currently has board memberships at ICT-Norway and KLP. She is an external speaker on technology trends, next generation leadership challenges and how to use social media/technology as a strategy enabler. She was voted one of top Young business talents in Norway 2003, ranked amongst top 40 Leader potentials cross business, politics and science in Norway 2009 and received the awards for best female leader in the ICT industry in Norway 2012, Oda-awards. In 2013 she received the Social Media Personality of the Year Award from Kampanje. Author of the book “Good Enough for the ‘bastards’ – confessions of a female leader” published by Cappelen Damm March 2014 and available on Amazon 2014.
Barbara is both CEO and Founder of Risparmiosuper (Super Saver), the very first web and mobile service that compares real-time prices of supermarkets throughout Italy.
She launched her first start-up in 2004, dedicated to the world of telephony services, and has continued to develop ideas and services over the years. Super Saver is considered to be one of the most innovative and simple start-ups in Italy, and certainly one of the few in Italy with a woman at the helm. Launched in 2010 the company has a team of 13 people divided between Catania and Milan, constantly working on improving the product and creating partnerships that allow diversification of the business model. During the first week the app was in first place on the AppStore in Italy and was also among the top apps recommended by the AppStore. The boom in downloads registered is especially due to the economic crisis that is affecting Italian families says Barbara, for which saving has become an imperative. But also, the ability to scan the barcode and enter the price of the product gives all users an active role. The app has over 300 000 users, over 200 million downloads, and features 10 000 stores and 49 large retail chains. Barbara is also a Councillor at Italia Start up, a non-profit association that supports and gives voice to the ecosystem of start-ups in Italy. Barbara has a degree in Political Science, a Fulbright scholarship and a Masters from Columbia University in New York.
Martha Lane Fox has had a fantastic career in and outside of the business sector. She co-founded Europe’s largest travel and leisure website lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman in 1998, which was taken public in 2000 and sold in 2005. Martha was appointed a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords in March 2013— the youngest woman ever in the upper chamber. Martha serves on multiple public organizations such as Founders Forum for Good, and is the non-executive director for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In April 2012, Lane Fox launched Go ON UK, a charity focused on making the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation. Go ON UK wants every individual, small business and charity to have the skills and confidence to benefit from new digital services. Lane Fox currently chairs the Go ON UK board. At GO ON, Martha represents the 10 million people who have never used the web in the UK and particularly thinking about how the 4 million digitally and socially excluded adults could benefit from clever online applications and access. In 2007 Martha founded her own charitable foundation Antigone.org.uk and also serves as a Patron of AbilityNet, Camfed and Just for Kids Law. In 2013 Martha was awarded a CBE. Although being raised in a family without gender bias, Martha remarks that gender bias starts so early on. “Girls are segwayed into princess parties – maybe they want to have outdoor climbing tree parties. That’s a clunky distinction, but I fight this notion of pink versus blue.”
United Kingdom (Originally from Iran)
Avid co-founded (and was COO) of Boticca.com, a globally curated marketplace that allows consumers to connect with independent designers of fashion accessories around the world. The company was launched in 2010 and would go on to become the world-renowned luxury online bazaar for jewellery and accessories. The company has featured in Vogue, selected by Lady Gaga for her 2011 European tour, and worn by Kate Moss, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba. Avid is originally from Iran, but raised in France, then studied in the US and is now living in the UK, Avid Larizadeh has lived an international life. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she was an investor at Accel Partners in London and a Kauffman Fellow. Larizadeh worked for offline retail businesses such as Altavia in Paris and online companies such as eBay in Silicon Valley, where she launched and managed products globally. She has also worked for start-ups in Europe such as Skype as well as Silicon Valley-based start-ups like Tellme Networks and Linkexchange. Avid loves to explore and create technology and business across multiple cultures, and with her love for fashion as much as her love of technology, she was delighted to combine both passions at Boticca, where they helped unique, independent brands around the world gain access to distribution and the tools they need to build sustainable businesses. After stepping down from Boticca in 2014, Avid focused her passions on supporting the global Hour of Code campaign, of which she is the UK lead. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. It has become a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. She is passionate about supporting women in business and teaching coding to the masses, she is also adamant that every woman should be their most authentic selves, do what they want to do, be who they want to be, in their own time and space. Avid is also a general partner at Google Ventures, which provides seed, venture, and growth-stage funding to the best companies. In addition to her role with Google Ventures, Avid is an advisor to Founders4Schools and the Breteau Foundation. She serves on the Harvard Business School European Advisory Board and also leads Code.org in the UK. Avid earned her B.S. and M.S. in engineering at Stanford University, where she was a Mayfield Fellow. She also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. She speaks French, English, Farsi, and German.
Céline is the founder of Leetchi, a group payment application where users can collect and manage money for a group. In Series B funding stage, Leetchi has been featured on The New York Times, Cosmopolitan and TechCrunch. It has been called the best French start-up in 2013 by Wired. The idea of creating Leetchi.com germinated when Céline Lazorthes was a student at HEC Paris. Céline was responsible for organizing the integration weekend in her class; which had the difficult task of having to collect money from her friends. This mission was always a chore, so she had the idea to create a secure platform to collect money online for different kinds of occasions such as birthdays, the starting pots, weekends between friends, and marriages. In 2013, after obtaining a license from European institution for electronic money, Céline created Mangopay, an Internet payment solution for players in the collaborative economy. In 2014, Celine Lazorthes still runs Leetchi.com and Mangopay. It also helps young companies via its mandates of director and its contribution business angel. Céline campaigns for the promotion of female entrepreneurship in the organization Girls in Tech. In an interview Céline stated that although being a woman gave her more visibility in the media and to investors, she did get underestimated. She wants to inspire women in breaking the “glass ceiling”, something she claims to be purely psychological.
Geraldine Le Meur is a French entrepreneur currently based in San Francisco. She has been involved in several successful companies that she launched together with Loic Le Meur. She has held many senior management roles in those companies over the past 20 years. In 2004, Geraldine co-founded LeWeb. Each year in Paris, LeWeb brings together 5,000 entrepreneurs, brands, geeks, investors and press from 80 countries. According to The Economist, “LeWeb is where revolutionaries gather to plot the future.” Former CEO of LeWeb, Geraldine is still deeply involved in the organization & production of the event, which was acquired by Reed Exhibitions in 2012. Prior to that, she co-founded and managed Ublog, one of the first blogging services in Europe and served as Marketing Director of Six Apart EMEA from 2003 to 2007, when Ublog was acquired by Six Apart (now Say Media). In 1997, she co-founded and served as CEO for RapidSite France, the first shared Web hosting company. RapidSite France was later sold to France Telecom. She also served as Executive VP of B2L, one of the first Web agencies, which was acquired by BBDO (Omnicom group).
Linda Liukas is a programmer, storyteller and illustrator from Helsinki. Her children’s book, Hello Ruby, was funded on Kickstarter and smashed its $10,000 funding goal in just three and a half hours, going on to reach $380,000 in total. It is the most funded book on Kickstarter’s children’s book category. Hello Ruby is ‘the worlds most whimsical way’ to learn about computers, technology and programming, and is aimed at 4-7 year-olds. Linda is also the founder of Rails Girls, an organization launched in 2010 that empowers women with technology tools and a supportive community to build their ideas. Liukas founded Rails Girls in Finland but the organisation experienced rapid international growth, with chapters popping up all over the world. The workshop, which teaches the basics of programming to young women, are now organised by volunteers in over 160 cities. Linda began coding at 13 years old when she fell madly in love with Al Gore, who was the vice president of US at the time. All her teenage girl passion and energy only had one outlet: building the first (and probably the last) Finnish website for Al Gore. At the time there was no Tumblr or Facebook, so she taught herself HTML and CSS.
In 2000 Ana was one of the founders of Starlab, a leading research and innovation company based in Barcelona focused on the space and neuroscience industries. Her husband, PhD in Physics and a Mathematician from the University of California in Berkeley, accompanied her in this entrepreneurial adventure as another founder. The business tandem positioned Starlab as one of the leading companies in research in Spain. They were awarded a number of prizes: Flyer best space company, NOVARE ENDESA Prize, Innovative Company Award by the Barcelona Council, BMW Awards and the recognition of the European Space Agency. Besides her business experience she also proactively participates in various organizations in her community: VP of CataloniaBio, Barcelona Council Growth Bureau, Entrepreneurship Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona and GrupSet Women Entrepreneurs from Catalonia. Ana’s main challenges are to prove that science can be a business model, to give scientists back their important role in society and to convince the companies to invest in long-term research. In 2010 she was nominated by IESE as one of the most influential entrepreneurs under 40 in Spain (the only women in the list) and in March 2014 awarded as one of the most Innovative Women in Europe by the European Commission. Ana Maiques is now leading a new business adventure, Neuroelectrics, a Starlab spin-off. It aims to become the trusted leader in Brain Health by providing measurement tools and making neuromodulation affordable and available for every patient in need.
Natalie Massenet is fashion’s favorite self-made success story. Having started her career at Women’s Wear Daily in 1993 at the age of 27, she left to go freelance and set up Net-a-Porter in 1998, the first online sales portal for designer clothes, which was launched in 2000. By 2001, Rachel had convinced Roland Mouret, famed French designer, to sell his first collection on Net-a-Porter. By 2004, the company was in profit—and won best shop at the British Fashion awards. Now the site features more than 350 designers, 2 million people log into the site every week and their average spend is £500. In recent years, it has expanded into menswear with Mr Porter in 2011 and a discount designer site, The Outnet, in 2009. In April 2010, she sold the company to Swiss luxury goods group Richemont for an estimated £50m. She remains as executive chairman. As chairman of the British Fashion Council since the beginning of 2014, Natalie has boosted London’s reputation. In an open letter launching London Fashion Week, Natalie wrote: “Dear London, British fashion is a serious business. The British fashion industry is worth £21bn to the UK economy […] we would like to see these numbers rise for the good of our industry, our talented designers and our reputation worldwide.” The Economist has praised Natalie, where she is seen as part of “a wider effort to bring a business-like approach to British fashion”. British designer fashion has grown 20% over the past decade, and the industry employs more people than any other creative industry in Britain. With Massenet as a figurehead, these messages are getting out and making a difference.
Nicola Mendelsohn has been Vice-President of Europe, The Middle East and Africa Operations at Facebook, Inc. since May 2013 and is responsible for growing Facebook’s advertising revenue and improving relationships with brands across Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia. Mendelsohn is a high profile figure within British advertising, having spent over 30 years in the sector, 11 of those years as a director with award winning agency BBH. Prior to Facebook Mendelsohn spent five years as Executive Chairman and Partner of advertising agency Karmarama, and four years as deputy chairman of Grey London. Most recently, Mendelsohn also served as the President of the IPA, the first female in the organization (an ad trade industry body) in 96 years. She is also chair of the Corporate Board of Women’s Aid and is a former president of WACL, a club for the most influential women in the UK Communications Industry, established in 1923. Mendelsohn is also Director for Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is Industry Chair of the Government’s Creative Industries Council alongside the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Mendelsohn has received numerous awards and accolade’s throughout her career, including Media Guardian 2013, the annual guide to the “Most Powerful People in Media,” and GQ’s “The 100 Most Connected Women.” Mendelsohn is also an advocate for women’s rights, often commenting and speaking on the subject. She told Fortune’s The Most Powerful Women summit in 2014 “There are cultural issues holding us back,” and adds now that, “I want to make sure I help the next generation of women come up. I want to make sure I can inspire my daughter, in the same way as I would my sons, to do whatever it is they’re passionate about… I’ve always created an environment for the women in the businesses I’ve been in to be the best that they can, however they define that.”
Born in New York and raised in Istanbul, London, and Rome, Mutlu graduated first in her class at New York University. In 2008, after working successively at Deloitte & Touche, Altria Group (MO), and Procter & Gamble (PG), she stepped off the corporate track to go to HBS. While visiting her parents in Istanbul the summer before her second year, she found herself shopping for clothes online but couldn’t find an outlet based in Turkey. She saw an opportunity and came up with the idea of Trendyol. The sites name means “become a trendy person” in Turkish and is centred on the increasingly familiar model of flash sales: customers sign up to get access to sales where the latest fashions are available at heavily discounted prices. But the most significant difference, she suggests, is that Trendyol also runs its own fashion label, Milla — which happens to be the fastest growing portion of its business. Mutlu invested $300,000 of her own money to start the site, which launched in 2010. Trendyol drew 100,000 members after just a month, and she dropped out of school to work on her start-up full time. Within a year, she had received almost $50 million in funding from Tiger Global Management and the venture capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among others. It’s the most any startup has raised in Turkey, and the site is now valued at $150 million and employs 500. Mutlu hopes to expand internationally, but her aspirations go beyond geography. “Our goal is to become a billion-dollar company,” she says. Trendyol has the largest B2C warehouse in Istanbul and the largest on the Internet ever. Demet’s company was the first to sell designs by Turkish designers online; and on launching Trendyol, she was also the first female in Turkey to receive VC funding for her own company. In recognition of her innovation and hard work, Demet was named as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2011.
Lindsey founded Women’s WorldWideWeb (W4) in 2010, an online crowd funding platform aiming to promote girls’ and women’s empowerment worldwide, in cities and in rural areas, in both developing and developed countries. Lindsey and her team of social entrepreneurs founded W4 in response to the urgent global need to protect girls’ and women’s human rights and to unleash the huge potential benefits—for everyone—of accelerating girls’ and women’s empowerment. After completing her B.A. at King’s College, Cambridge University, British-born Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke joined Human Rights Watch in New York and then moved to Africa where she lived and worked for several years, first in Cameroon and later in Ivory Coast, where she worked for three years at the West African regional office of UNICEF on a project to promote girls’ education (AGEI, African Girls’ Education Initiative). Upon her return to Europe, Lindsey began working with the Paris-based humanitarian NGO, Enfants d’Asie, which operates humanitarian programs in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines, providing care for over 10,000 children in South-East Asia. Lindsey is a Board Member and Director of the Philippines Program, working closely with families and children in the slum areas of Cebu City. In May 2008, Lindsey trained in Bangladesh with Grameen Bank (founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus), obtaining a qualification to implement microcredit programs for the alleviation of poverty, and enabling her to implement microfinance programs in city slums and cemetery-slums in the Philippines. Lindsey obtained an Executive MBA at ESCP-Europe, Paris in 2009 and received the MBA Student of the Year award, bestowed by AMBA (the Association of MBAs) and the Independent newspaper, in recognition of her talent for leadership and her determination to “make a difference” in the world, a difference she is hoping to achieve through her groundbreaking work as the Founder and Director of the Women’s Worldwide Web.
Louise started her career in telecoms in Aldiscon in 1995, working across the business to help deploy its, then, ground-breaking SMSC technology in Europe and Asia. When Logica bought the company in 1997, Louise led the service delivery business in the UK market. In 1999, Louise left Logica to found Anam with the goal of developing a business based on intelligent enterprise SMS technology, and quickly raised €2m in seed capital. Anam Technologies is a technology provider of the most innovative and intelligent mobile messaging solutions available today Louise left Anam in 2003 to start her family and in 2012 she returned to lead a major restructuring of the company. In the years out of Telecoms Louise also set up and ran a restaurant, a music business and a media company. Louise gained her initial training in business from the internationally recognised Shannon School of Hotel Management in Ireland, to which she owes her commitment to high standards, hard work and customer service. A team player by nature, and a visionary who’s keen to encourage other women to go further, Louise is prone to ‘always look on the bright side of life’. Louise is thoroughly immersed in technology, with blue-chip experience spanning a number of years prior to Anam. But she’s also a committed Mum, who’s driving Anam’s ambition to marry technical excellence with its human dimensions and applications – such as protecting children in the new cyber landscape.
Belinda is the founder of social enterprise Little Miss Geek and the CEO of Lady Geek. Lady Geek is a consultancy that aims to bring companies to understand the female market through empathy training and truly understand the importance of incorporating women into decision-making processes. For Belinda, “the technology industry is still struggling to shake off the image of the male, pizza-guzzling, antisocial nerd”, and that it is this image problem, which reduces the appeal of careers in technology to women. She has stated that she will not speak at women-only events, as they tend to exclude the men who can help solve problems of women in technology. Little Miss Geek is a social enterprise dedicated to inspiring the next generation of young women to become technology pioneers. Their workshops in schools in inner city London have increased the number of girls taking GCSE Computer Science by 52%. In 2014 Belinda became a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader. She was also named one of Business Insider’s “The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter”. Belinda was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to women in technology. In October 2014 she was placed in Fortune’s “55 most influential women on Twitter” She has written for Wired, Glamour, The Times and has appeared on BBC Programmes and Channel 4 News as a technology commentator. She also has a column in the Huffington Post.
Kathryn Parsons founded Decoded in 2011 to help people become digitally literate and learn how to code in just one day. Parsons was adept at speaking more languages than most – yet she felt there was a “black hole” when it came to possibly the most important language in our collected future – that of digital code. It was this that spurred her into seeking partners to create Decoded. Decoded has been a pioneer in the global zeitgeist around code education. It started with ‘Code in a Day’, and they have since trained thousands of people stretching from start-ups to CEO’s of multinationals. With offices in London, New York and Singapore, Decoded’s offers “digital enlightenment and transformation for individuals, entire organisations and education”. Kathryn believes that digital literacy is not just nice to have, but a need to have for businesses and professionals today. She is also passionate about these skills being learnt in schools and wholeheartedly welcomes the introduction of coding to the curriculum in September 2014 – a real game changer for the UK’s digital future. Her next mission impossible is to challenge businesses to take on the digital dark arts of data, future technology and cybercrime. The start-up has therefore expanded to include Data Visualisation In a Day, Social Data in a Day, Digital Production in a Day and Mobile in a Day, in addition to Code in a Day. Decoded is also bringing the power of code to the masses by open sourcing our online code education platform. This will empower all educators around the world to bring technology alive in the classroom and potentially enlighten millions if not billions worldwide. Prior to launching Decoded, Kathryn co-founded The Scarlett Mark, an agency offering product innovation for brands and media owners. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she spent three years as UK Head of Channel Planning with Ogilvy. Kathryn has recently been awarded the Veuve Clicquot New Generation award, which aims to encourage up-and-coming female entrepreneurial talent, and named in Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women Under 30 In Tech. Kathryn was also listed on Sunday Times Britain’s Top 30 Female Power List 2014. She was appointed Greater London Tech City Ambassador in 2014. Kathryn is passionate about changing the image of coding to inspire more women into the field. “Technology is this huge open, welcoming, creative environment, yet it feels exclusive, niche, the preserve of the few, and that’s totally unacceptable.
Justine Roberts is the founder and chief executive of British websites Mumsnet and Gransnet. Justine came up with the idea of Mumsnet whilst on a disastrous family holiday with her one-year old twins in which she realised that being able to tap into the wisdom of other parents online could help make parents’ lives much easier. Once home she roped in friends Carrie Longton and Steven Cassidy to help build and run the site but for the first five years of Mumsnet, launched in the eye of the dotcom collapse, the company was unprofitable. Justine was only able to raise a small amount of seed capital from friends, so no one was able to draw a salary for five years and Justine’s mother helped out with the childcare. But as user numbers grew, so did the advertising. By 2008 the company was big enough to move from Justine’s kitchen table into its own offices in Kentish Town and now employs nearly 100 people. In spirit of Justine’s passion for helping mothers make the most out of their lives, Mumsnet has been organising live events such as Mumsnet WorkFest, providing mothers with advice and inspiration on going back to work, changing careers, or starting their own businesses. Today the site is the first port of call for many new mothers and fathers, receiving over 14 million visits a month. It generates revenue through advertising, sponsorship and market research. The website has a prominent role in national political debate and leading politicians take part in regular webchats. The site’s ability to draw the party leaders to answer member’s questions led to the 2010 General Election being named the ‘Mumsnet election’. The site has also run high profile campaigns on a range of issues including the sexualisation of childhood – ‘Let Girls Be Girls’ and to improve services for those who have an early miscarriage and has also started a family friendly Jobs classified site. Justine was named in the Media Guardian’s 2010 power 100, was voted number 7 in BBC Woman’s Hour’s “Power List 2013” of the most powerful women in the UK and was runner up in Veuve Cliquot’s businesswomen of the year 2014.
Lara co-founded Dealissime – a daily deals start-up – with Tatiana Jama in 2010 and are known to be two of France’s biggest success stories in recent years. Just one year into launch they sold Dealissime to LivingSocial in 2011 for an estimated $5-7 Million. After having spent 2 years at the head of the French entity, Lara and Tatiana went on to launch new venture Selectionnist in 2013. Selectionnist aims to turn the digital revolution into an opportunity for the media industry – it enables its users to shop for trends discussed in the media, whether jeans, beauty products, or the latest home design. By turning magazines into a digital shoppable catalog, Selectionnist builds the bridge between publishers and retailers – between offline content and online purchasers. Lara is also a member of the National Digital Council (Conseil National du Numérique), an independent advisory board under the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Innovation, the Digital Economy Fleur Pellerin. Its members were appointed by a decree of the President of the Republic on 17 January 2013. The National Digital Council ‘s mission is to express independently and make public the opinions and recommendations on any matter relating to the impact of digital technology on society and the economy. She is also a business angel and partner at 50Partners, an organization that enables shared space for co-working.
Jennifer Schenker has been a journalist for 30 years, working for daily newspapers in the U.S. including the Fort Lauderdale News and the Miami Herald. She has been covering the technology sector in Europe since 1985. At The Wall Street Journal Europe, she covered breaking technology news and worked as the assistant managing editor of Convergence, the Journal’s quarterly technology magazine. In 1999, she took on the job of senior writer/technology for Time magazine in Europe and was editor of Time Digital Europe, a quarterly technology report. She is also a former technology writer for the International Herald Tribune, and from October 2004, to April 2007, was the international editor of Red Herring magazine, managing a team of journalists in Europe, Israel, China and India. She left her most recent job as European technology correspondent for BusinessWeek on Dec. 23, 2008 to create Informilo and pioneer of journalism 3. Informilo is a French media company that produces print magazines focused on putting technology developments into context for business. Informilo’s print publications and website cover innovation in every part of the pipeline-from the smallest start-up with the best idea to big companies that embrace creative disruption. Schenker is a regular media commentator and speaker on all things technology.
Joanna Shields, Baroness Shields, OBE is an Anglo-American entrepreneur, business investor and since 2014, a British parliamentarian, sitting on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords, following PM David Cameron’s recommendation to HM The Queen for her to be created a Life Peer.
Shields serves as Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister in the UK and is a Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange Group and was Chair of Tech City UK in London. She was appointed a Life Peeress in September 2014 and introduced in the House of Lords in October 2014. Since 1987, Shields has developed and grown some of the world’s best-known technology companies, including Electronics for Imaging (Efi), RealNetworks, Google, Bebo, Aol and Facebook.
Following her relocation from Silicon Valley, California to London in 2000, she holds dual US/British citizenship. She was Vice President and Managing Director of Facebook in Europe, Middle East and Africa, prior to which she served as President of People Networks at Aol, a position she assumed after the acquisition of Bebo by Time Warner’s Aol unit. At Bebo, Shields was CEO, leading the company’s growth to 50M users and eventual acquisition for $850 million.
Prior to this position she worked for Google as Managing Director of Europe, Russia, Middle East & Africa.
Shields was ranked #1 on the Wired 100 in 2011 and #6 in the Media Guardian 100 in 2012. In February 2013 she was named to the list of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. In July 2013 Computer Weekly named Shields the Most Influential Woman in UK IT. In July 2013 she received the British Interactive Media Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2013, Joanna was appointed to the EU Web Entrepreneurs Leaders’ Club by EU Commissioner and Vice President, Neelie Kroes. Shields was appointed OBE in the 2014 New Year Honours List for “services to digital industries and voluntary service to young people”.
After being nominated as a working peeress in August 2014, Shields was elevated to the peerage on 16 September 2014 taking the title Baroness Shields, of Maida Vale in the City of Westminster.
Ola started tinkering with code when she was only 14. She enjoys Python and Django the most and Ola is now honored to be a Django Software Foundation developer member. Currently She is doing software with great folks at Potato in London. Entrepreneurship runs in Ola’s blood and as a result of that she created her first successful online business when she was 16. She is a co-founder of Issue Stand, where she was Chief of Operations Officer, which makes a magazine publishers’ life easier. Sitarska is most recently the founder and organizer of Makerland and has also founded and organizer of HACKWAW, CEO and founder of FashionStyle.pl as well as co-founder and CEO of MyGuidie.com.
Ola loves creating amazing experiences for people she cares about. She has organized community events for developers, together with Kuba; they did HACKWAW three times so far, and also organized DjangoCon Europe for 300 people.
Today she is focused on spreading “Make Things” movement all over world and teaching women about programming by co-founding Django Girls. For the latter she was rewarded with the Malcolm Tredinnick Memorial Prize, this work is purely non-profit.
Kristin Skogen Lund is a former Executive Vice President and Head of Nordic Region, Digital Services Division and Broadcast at Telenor, the Norwegian telecoms company. Previous positions include CEO and Commercial Director at the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, CEO at Scanpix, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Online, and several positions at the Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and the Norwegian Embassy in Madrid. Kristin is a current board member of Ericsson, and has previously served as president of The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, and as member of the board of Orkla ASA among others. She holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Business Administration from the University of Oregon. Fortune in 2011 cited Skogen Lund among the “Fortune 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” — Skogen Lund being number 38 in the ranking. She was similarly featured on the “10 Global women on the rise” list. The Norwegian business magazine Kapital has two years in a row put her on the top of the list of Norway’s most powerful women. NHO is the main representative organisation for Norwegian employers with companies ranging from small family-owned businesses to multi-national companies. The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (in Norwegian Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon; NHO) is Norway’s major organisation for employers and the leading business lobby. The current membership of 22 000 + companies range from small family-owned businesses to multinational companies in most sectors.
Wendy Tan-White is a General Partner at Entrepreneur First, Europe’s leading pre-seed programme and fund focused on early stage ‘deep’ tech companies. EF builds every company it invests in from scratch, talent first. She is also an angel investor with her partner Joe White at Curious Capital, focusing on start-ups with strong tech/product IP and diverse, hybrid teams.
She was co-founder and CEO of Moonfruit, the UK’s leading DIY website and online shop builder for SMB’s. Design and community is at the heart of the Moonfruit brand. Invested in by Macromedia(Adobe), LVMH, Stephens Inc (US) and Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups. Moonfruit was acquired in 2012 by Hibu plc (formerly Yell Group) for $37m to support its transformation to a global digital services provider.
Wendy recently joined the Government Digital Services Advisory Board, she is a board member of TechCity UK, Imperial College – Dept of Computing Industrial Liaison Board, Advisory Board School of Design Engineering – Imperial College and RCA, helped launch Zopa.com – first European P2P lending site and Egg.com – UK’s first internet bank.
Wendy speaks on transformation through technology to a range of audiences from British Venture Capital Association and FT Innovate to Deutsche Bank Women’s Conference and Silicon Valley Comes to UK in Schools. Inspiring Fifty EU 2015, Sunday Times/Maserati 100 UK Entrepreneurs 2015, Female Technology Entrepreneur of the Year 2011. Wendy supports the Women 2.0, ChangeTheRatio and WiTT and Women Who Tech networks.
She has a Beng, Computer Science from Imperial College, an MSc in Management and Information Systems, Cranfield and an MA, Future Textile Design from Central St Martins. She lives in west London with her husband and business partner Joe, their son and daughter.
Marina is the founder and CEO of Myngle, a worldwide platform for quality online live language education. Marina was inspired to create a quality language school that cuts away the distance between countries and people using the power of the internet. Now, a few years later, Myngle is providing affordable and high quality online language lessons to thousands of people all over the world. Enabling them to learn the language as if they were in the country itself. In March 2009, Myngle secured €950,000 ($1.25 million) in the form of a bank loan from Rabobank. The Dutch government, through an innovation programme, backed the loan. This was Myngle’s second round of financing. On the first round Myngle was able to secure an €800,000 seed investment from the HenQ fund and private individuals. Myngle was nominated for Best European Web Application or Service EMEA in Techcrunch The Europa’s Tech Awards in July 2009, as well as FEM Business’s Top 5 Start up Media in the Netherlands, in June 2009. Marina has 18 years of professional experience in consumer goods marketing and business development by Procter & Gamble, Philips, Sara Lee; strategy consulting by the Boston Consulting Group and e-commerce / technology by eBay. She lived and worked in Italy, France and the Netherlands, is a passionate traveler, spent one year backpacking through Asia as well as traveling to many different countries around the world. Marina has an MBA from INSEAD.
Camilla is Co-founder and CCO of Queue-it, a start-up who develops and markets an online queueing system for managing website overload during extreme user peaks in relation to popular events and activities online. The solution maintains website performance by protecting against potential slowdowns and failures. Camilla co -founded the company with CEO Niels Henrik Sodemann, and CTO Martin Pronk.
At Queue-it Camilla is responsible for marketing, communications, business development, and HR. She has held various positions within executive management of Ementor Danmark A/S, including the areas of software architecture and business development. Camilla has also held key positions within Nykredit, A.P. Møller-Mærsk, EDS (now HP) and Accenture. She is an MBA graduate from Edinburgh Business School.
Camilla is member of the board at Signatours Travel, EasyTrial, fourKant, Domanica and Queue-it. She is also one of the founders of the Copenhagen community “Women in Tech” who aim to inspire diversity in tech startups, with the purpose of driving even more innovation and a balanced tech startup scene.
Camilla was awarded “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2012, and is a regular blogger, event speaker, and advocate for women and girls and tech. “It is my belief that the way forward must be even more technology into schools as a natural part of learning, combined with the increased visibility of role models from the industry facing young women and schoolgirls.” Camilla says.
Sophie has been Xerox’s Chief Technology Officer and the President of the Xerox Innovation Group since 2006. She is responsible for overseeing Xerox’s research centers in Europe, Asia, Canada and US as well as the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC Inc.). Previously, Sophie was Chief Engineer of Xerox Corporation and Vice President of the Xerox Engineering Center, technical advisor to Xerox’s chief operating officer and Director of the Xerox Research Centre of Canada. Sophie is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, a Fulbright Fellow and a Fellow of the Belgian-American Educational Foundation. She holds 14 US patents. Sophie has received awards from Xerox, IBM, HP, Monsanto, the Belgium National Science Foundation, Semiconductor Research Corporation, IEEE, and Cornell University. Sophie was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame and elected into the Royal Flemish Academy for Arts & Sciences. Sophie is a member of the Board of Directors of Analogic Corporation and IDEXX Laboratories. She also serves on the advisory council of the dean of Engineering at MIT. Vandebroek was born in Leuven, Belgium where she earned a master’s degree in electro-mechanical engineering from Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium. She received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Sarah Wood is co-founder and COO of video ad tech company Unruly, named as the UK’s #2 Fastest Growing Tech Company (Deloitte, 2012), where she ensures the company delivers the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet.
Unruly is the leading programmatic platform for social video advertising, powered by UnrulyX, the first supply side platform (SSP) for mobile video to offer scaled delivery of native ad formats. Unruly has 15 offices, employs 200 people and is backed by Amadeus Capital Partners, Van den Ende & Deitmers and Business Growth Fund.
Sarah was voted one of 15 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc., one of Europe’s Inspiring Fifty and #4 in Digital Spy’s Top 10 Women in Tech. She is an associate lecturer at the University of Cambridge, where she teaches a course in Mash-Ups, Memes and LOLitics: Online Video Culture and the Screen Media Revolution.
Gabi Zedlmayer is currently President of the Female Customer Advisory Council at Hypo Vereinsbank Unicredit at Hypo Vereinsbank Unicredit.
Until December 2015, she worked at HP driving sustainability and social innovation programs aligned with HP’s business strategy. She lead a global team of experts focused on solving social issues in collaboration with non-profit organizations, governments, customers and partners, with the goal to create sustainable solutions that address societal challenges in the areas of education, healthcare, and the environment. Zedlmayer oversaw multiple sustainability and social innovation projects for HP, including: the mothers2mothers partnership, which helps teach HIV-positive mothers in Africa how to prevent the spread of the disease to their infants; and HP Life, an initiative in 49 different countries that helps teach entrepreneurs about IT’s influence on businesses. In addition, Zedlmayer co-lead HP’s Global Citizenship Council and serves as a member of the board of directors of Junior Achievement Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the EU Commission e-skills leadership board, the Computer Science Advisory Board of the University of People, and the board of directors of Hewlett-Packard GmbH, Germany. She also is a member of the Executive Diversity Forum for HP in EMEA and of the Women’s Council of HypoVereinsbank UNICREDIT. In 2011, she was honoured by Newsweek and the Daily Beast as one of 150 “women who shake the world”. In 2012, she was named by FastCompany as a member of the League of Extraordinary Women and was awarded with the DLDWomen Impact Award. Since joining the company in 1987, Zedlmayer has held several positions within HP EMEA, including head of corporate affairs; vice president of marketing services, corporate marketing and customer relationship management for the Enterprise Systems Group (ESG); and general manager of ESG marketing and solutions. Inspired by the way technology has transformed her own career, Zedlmayer has made science, technology, engineering and math education a particular passion of hers. “It’s our responsibility to make STEM education something that kids love, that inspires them, that they can play with,” she says. “The future of economies around the world depends on whether we can get more kids interested in STEM education. The more work we do with personalized learning, the more we will keep the children with us.”