IT – TECH
Are there skills that make people sought-after specialists even in times of crisis? That was a question that occupied Ukrainian-born Anna Iarotska after the economic collapse of her home country in the late 1980s. Her answer: it is people with technical know-how who shape the future of a country. And this is the best way to start early. Together with Yuri Levin, she founded Robo Wunderkind. Children from the age of five learn the basics of programming with age-appropriate robot kits. The Austrian startup’s edtech solution is now in use at 200 schools worldwide.
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The world’s most important information page has a proper gender dent, the vast majority of Wikipedia authors being male – and this also applies to the protagonists, i.e. the individuals who are written about. The Swiss business journalist and TV presenter Patricia Laeri plans to change that. With her “Edit-a-thon” initiative, she wants to make women visible and Wikipedia more diverse. What a great idea.
Lena Immel brings along the most important skills for modern leadership: enthusiasm, creativity, and innovative spirit. With great dedication and smart solutions, she is moving the digitalization of Deutsche Telekom’s wholesale division forward. She succeeds in combining the famous out-of-the-box thinking with clever pragmatism and a sense of proportion.
This woman is a bridge builder. She excels between the old and new worlds in an extremely technical, male-dominated environment. Stephanie Züllig was responsible for driving the construction of large-scale plants for Siemens forward. She worked for more than 12 years in management positions in the Building Technologies division and has developed new business models and rolled out digital solutions in the Arab world, Africa, and Europe. She founded MindScale in 2018 and today mainly advises Swiss companies on their digital and data strategy.
Claudia Hobohm understands that successful digital transformation depends above all on interdisciplinary, diverse teams. Two years ago she founded a hub as managing director at Rhenus Archive Services (RAS). She has brought together specialists from different age groups and disciplines, ranging from IT, biotechnology, marketing, corporate strategy, and design thinking. The common vision? To complete the shift from paper to digital logistics.
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Lindiwe Matlali’s organization has the power to change the lives of a whole generation in South Africa – the coding initiative Africa Teen Geeks has reached over 50,000 since its founding in 2014. The non profit organization is currently assisting the South African government to develop and implement a compulsory coding curriculum from Grade R-9. The founder was awarded several times for her tireless commitment and her work has been recognized by the President of South Africa, who appointed her as one of the 30 commissioners responsible for developing South Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy.
She says of herself she’s always been a tech junkie. Michelle Skodowski studied e-commerce and founded BOTFriends with three co-founders at the age of just 21 (!). The startup has specialized in the development and design of chatbots and language assistants. Its customers include big players such as Bosch, Porsche, and Innogy. What also motivates her? Getting young women excited about tech.
FINTECH – MONEY
Dr. Carolin Gabor
With her team, Dr. Carolin Gabor develops innovative business models for the banking, insurance, and asset management industries. As CEO of a new finleap portfolio company, she has made it her business to promote digitalization in the insurance sector as well. And she knows how important role models are, especially in male-dominated industries, and wants to support young women. Thanks to her many years of experience in tech companies, she knows what it feels like to be alone among men – which is why she founded the Fintexx – Women in Finance initiative. The network events are now taking place throughout Europe.
Everyone is looking for purpose in their work life – Jessica Espinoza has found it. As senior investment manager & global gender finance lead at Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, she is responsible for providing investment capital to companies in emerging and developing countries. She pays particular attention to positive development effects in partner countries in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. As global manager for Impact Investment, she drives digital change at the international level and focuses – this is a novelty – on investments in the area of diversity/women’s empowerment.
Dr. Hanna Jakob and Dr. Mona Späth
The best input comes from practice. Dr. Hanna Jakob and Dr. Mona Späth have worked as speech therapists in clinics and practices, recognizing the potential for innovation through digitalization. With neolexon, they founded an IT start-up and developed both a therapist app for the therapy session and two apps for self-training at home in order to increase the exercise frequency.
Anna Franziska Michel
Every year, 100 million tons of clothing are produced. A new record. Anna Franziska Michel wants to counteract the disposable mentality with the use of artificial intelligence in the design process. The principle of Yoona Technology: Intelligent technology saves working time, material, energy, and CO2 emissions. On the other hand, Yoona enables the production of individual fashion at high-street prices. Sounds like a tailor-made candidate for the Innovation category.
Jennifer Baum-Minkus is the inventor of “gitti”, the first vegan nail polish that consists of 55 percent water and does not use any harmful ingredients. What sounds like a nice-to-have is in fact a must-have, since a large part of traditional varnishes are suspected of being carcinogenic. So does everything that glitters glitter in the life as the founder of a “conscious beauty brand”? Not quite. She reports about her ups and downs refreshingly honestly on the social channels.
Dr. Angelika Kneidl
How do people move in an increasingly dense space due to urbanization? And above all: how can escape routes be planned and predicted? These are the questions that computer scientist Dr. Angelika Kneidl is concerned with. The initial spark for the development of her software crowd was the catastrophe of the Loveparade 2010 in Duisburg. With her company accu:rate, she offers customers the simulation of crowds of people as a service and as a software product. Exciting times, an exciting topic!
Who holds the corporate world together at its core? New work ambassadors like Katharina Krentz. She has made a name for herself in the Bosch universe with 400,000 associates worldwide with Working Out Loud. She played a major role in the introduction of the Social Intranet (the so-called “Bosch Connect”) and she has carried the role of community manager into the group. Digital transformation, learning culture, and change are part of her DNA.
In 2017, Corina Sas became the first female professor in the School of Computing and Communication in Lancaster. There she leads world-renown research in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). With a passion and track record of managing large scale interdisciplinary projects she drives the international research agenda on digital mental health. For example, she developed AffecTech and along with her students she explored what technologies can support memory impairments associated with depression such as negative bias, over-generalization, and reduced positivity.
What a nice motto: “We’re silver-plating the net.” In fact, the silver surfers should not be underestimated or ignored when it comes to the digital transformation of society. Dagmar Hirche’s initiative aims to improve the living conditions of the older generation. This also includes participation in social life, which is not possible without digital skills. That’s why she has been explaining the 1×1 of smartphone and tablet to seniors since 2015, and since 2015 she has made 4500 people aged 65+ fit for digital fun with her association.
Eva Neugebauer & Juliane Willing
Eva Neugebauer & Juliane Willing founded an online farm shop for fresh, sustainably produced food in 2015. The principle: they support regional agricultural businesses in direct marketing, the producers benefit from fair prices, the consumers from a delivery service with electric cars and 100 percent transparency. Win win – that’s why you two are the winners in the sustainability category.
THE VOICE OF F10
She gave her corporate an innovative, contemporary face. You could also say “cool” face. With her fresh appearance, her approachable self-confidence and her enormous presence, she has set a new benchmark. She has advanced issues such as female empowerment, lifelong learning and diversity. Many talk about cultural change – she IS cultural change.
If it is right (and it is right) that human resources are the success factor for the future, because – to stay in the picture of resources – good talents are something like “rare earths”, then people like them are needed. She is a role model for an entire generation of women in this country.
Therefore the special prize “The Voice by F10” goes to —— Janina Kugel.
Janina Kugel will leave Siemens in January; in a personal statement she wrote: “I have always been driven by change. I have always preached the importance of change. Change is what we are pursuing at Siemens. And change is what I am now looking to achieve in my own life.”
For this, Janina Kugel, we wish you all the best wherever your journey takes you. Thank you for giving the label top manager such a credible, sympathetic, modern touch. And thank you for the black leather jacket. It’s cool.