DLI Celebrates Top Women in Tech

On 30 November 2017 at BeCentral in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners welcomed over two hundred key stakeholders and community members to celebrate the fifth edition of the European Ada Awards and to share the success stories of the 2017 Digital Brusselles project with support from the Digital Belgium Skills Fund. The Ada Awards are a long-standing pledge to the European Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition that recognise top European girls and women in tech and the organisations that support them.

Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, opened the evening with a warm thank you to DLI supporters, followed by keynote presentations from Ms. Céline Vanderborght, Brussels Region Smart City Manager and Ms. Andrea Almeida Cordero, Member of Cabinet for Ms. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market. Both speakers committed their support and that of their stakeholders to active engagement of girls and women for fulfilling the vision of an inclusive digital Europe.  A subsequent tweet about the event by Commissioner Gabriel was very well received on Twitter.

Opening presentations were succeeded by graduation of over sixty participants from the 2017 Digital Muse After School program with Ms. Valentina Cala DLI Digital Creative Manager, and from the first-ever cohort of the CYPRO “First Steps” program with Ms. Mai Ensmann, DLI CYPRO Coordinator.

Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, then recognised 200-plus participants of the 2017 “Female Digital Starters” training program, followed by an inQube / Digital Brusselles project pitching session hosted by Ms. Lama Jaghjougha, a recent Syrian refugee to Belgium and founder of Move Women Refugees Forward. Initiatives presented included those launched in the context of inQube Move It Forward events over the past two years, including:

  • Brussely – a platform by/for/about Brussels Generation Y-ers, presented by Ms. Safia Bihmehdn
  • MESS – a gamified concert-going platform for Brussels citizens, presented by Ms. Alexandra Pykacz & Ms. Edith Euan
  • MIA – a virtual innovation space for Brussels citizens, presented by Ms. Muna Ibrahim
  • African Gist – an African tech internship program, presented by Ms. Cynthia Mukendy
  • Tabadoul – a professional mentorship program for women refugees led by ENoWM and DAW, presented by Ms. Sinem Yilmaz

A particularly moving moment of the evening came about when, as part of her pitch for the Brussely platform, Ms. Safia Bihmehdn read a poem she composed about her participation in the Move It Forward for Women in Media event, which as the poem describes, inspired her toward a whole new direction in digital entrepreneurship and in celebrating the youth and diversity of Brussels.

The final highlight of the evening was the 2017 European Ada Awards, launched with inspiring keynote presentations by Ms. Dinah Barret, Senior Solutions Architect for EMEA at Amazon Web Services, and Ms. Gabriela M. Juric, 2016 European Digital Girl of the Year, and co-hosted by Ms. Miller and Ms. Loredana Bucseneanu, DLI Strategy Officer.

2017 European Ada Award trophies were presented by Ms. Simone Hume of Amazon Web Services in the following categories and announced by noted Ada Award partner representatives:
1. Ms. Pascale Van Damme, Vice President and General Manager at Dell EMC Commercial Belux, is 2017 European Digital Woman of the Year, as announced by Ms. Austeja Trikunaite, Secretary General of CEPIS.

2. 2017 European Digital Girl of the Year honours were awarded in the following age categories:

15-17 Year Old Category, as announced by Ms. Kiki Walravens, GSMA:
Maeve Galvin (Ireland)

11-14 Year Old Category, as announced by Mr. Laurent Roux, Impact Officer at European Institute of Technology:

  • Aoibheann Mangan (Ireland)
  • Charlotte Johnson (United Kingdom)

10 Years and Under Category, as announced by Ms. Tomislava Recheva of European Schoolnet:

  • Helena Staple (United Kingdom)
  • Zara Ilyas (Ireland)
  • Ruby Scott Kenny (Ireland)

3. Teen-Turn of Ireland is 2017 European Digital Impact Organisation of the Year Award, as announced by Ms. Michela Palladino, Director of European Policy at Developers Alliance.

The 2017 European Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles celebration concluded with a reception catered by From Syria With Love, an organisation led by recent Syrian women refugees to Belgium that Digital Brusselles is honoured to support.

The Digital Leadership Institute and Digital Brusselles would like to thank the speakers, judges, partners and sponsors of the 2017 European Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles celebration, including the Digital Belgium Skills Fund, Amazon Web Services, European Institute of Technology, CEPIS, European Schoolnet, Edosoft, GSMA, Developers Alliance and BeCentral.

Congratulations to all the girls and women recognised by this year’s Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles celebration. We are looking forward to welcoming even more of you again next year!

Join the 2017 Ada Awards & Digital Brusselles Celebration!

The Digital Leadership Institute has the honour of inviting our key stakeholders and community members to join us in celebrating the fifth edition of the European Ada Awards, recognising top European girls and women in tech and the organisations supporting them, AND the success stories of the 2017 Digital Brusselles project, with support from our wonderful partners and the Digital Belgium Skills Fund. Join us by registering at this link!

DLI Update – September-October 2017

The DLI Board and Executive Team are actively involved in initiatives with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women.  This month, DLI was selected as one of the Best 100 Startups in Belgium, and DLI team members joined Digital First on 19 October to celebrate.  Also, as part of DLI activities supported by the Digital Belgium Skills Fund, on 25 October in Brussels we launched Digital Brusselles, Europe’s first female tech incubator.  See the article about our recognition here and a video about the Digital Brussels launch below.

*Entrepreneurship & Arts powered by Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics


6 September – Women in Tech.Brussels Breakfast (Brussels): On 6 September, Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, joined a Women in Tech.Brussels breakfast meeting to contribute to coordinating upcoming initiatives that promote women in technology in Brussels.


13 September – EIB Gender Action Plan Expert Engagement Meeting (Brussels): On 13 September in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to an expert meeting on the Gender Action Plan of the European Investment Bank.


15 September – Creative Ring Brussels “Women in Innovation” Meeting (Brussels): On 15 September at the BOZAR Lab in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a Creative Ring meeting on the topic of Women in Innovation.


19 September – Women in Business.Brussels Platform Meeting (Brussels): Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, and Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, joined the 19 September meeting of the Brussels Women in Business platform.


26 September – WISE4ALL Launch Event: Women Contributing to Innovation (Brussels): On 26 September, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined the WISE4ALL launch event at the European Parliament, in collaboration of MEP Pina Picierno and with support from the S&D Group, as part of a pan-European consortium promoting diversity in innovation. On the same occasion, Ms. Miller contributed to a round-table on Digital Manufacturing and New Innovation Processes.


28 September – First Meeting of the Governing Board of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined the meeting of the first Governing Board of the European Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition on 28 September at the European Commission in Brussels. Ms. Miller was recently selected to the inaugural 12-member governing body of the DSJC.


4 October – Grand Opening of BeCentral (Brussels): On 4 October in Brussels, the DLI Team will join the grand opening of BeCentral, a community space in the heart of Brussels dedicated to closing the digital skills gap and accelerating Belgium’s digital transformation.


9 October – Women Code Festival 2017 Launch (Brussels): On 9 October at Co.Station in Brussels, Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, will contribute to a panel discussion as part of the launch of Brussel’s first-ever Women Code Festival.


19 October – Digital First 2017 (Brussels)DLI was selected among the Best 100 Startups in Belgium in 2017 by a jury organised by media company Digimedia. Ms. Valentina Calà, DLI Digital Creative Officer, and Ms. Katrien Geraedts, DLI Marketing & Communications Manager, were on hand at Digital First 2017 on 19 October, at Tour & Taxis  in Brussels, to celebrate.


11 October – InnovIris Women in STEM Panel (Brussels): As part of the Brussels Women Code Festival and European Code Week, on 11 October Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, will provide a keynote presentation on Digital Brusselles: The Heart of Inclusive Transformation and contribute to a Women in STEM panel organised by InnovIris, the Brussels agency for scientific research.


Be sure to visit our Calendar, Upcoming Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

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DLI Among Top Startups in Belgium

On 19 October, Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute joined Digital First 2017 to celebrate being selected among the Best 100 Belgian Startups by a high-level jury organised by media company Digimedia. DLI team members, Ms. Valentina Calà and Ms. Katrien Geraedts, were on hand to greet investors and discuss the work of DLI, who has successfully launched Europe’s first female tech incubator, Digital Brusselles, and is driving world class programs to differentiate Brussels, Belgium and Europe as “the heart of inclusive digital transformation.”

“With a three-year track record as a social enterprise, DLI is outperforming most startups even outside its class,” shares DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, about the recognition. “We believe this is as much about how innovative and impactful our work is, as it is about the engagement and dedication of our partners to our mission,” she says. “It is not every day, for example, that organisations like Amazon Web Services and the Digital Belgium Skills Fund come together to help drive positive change,” says Ms. Miller. “This is a testament to both the quality of the work we are doing and to just how important that work is — for which we feel very honoured.”

DLI Awarded by Digital Belgium Skills Fund

The Digital Leadership Institute has been awarded support from the Digital Belgium Skills Fund (DBSF) for its work to increase participation of girls and women in digital studies and careers in Belgium. In collaboration with the King Boudewijn Foundation and through support of the European Commission, DBSF aims to increase social inclusion through digital skills, especially for young people.  Launched in 2016 by Mr. Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister for the Digital Agenda, the Digital Belgium Skills Fund has a budget of €18 million which will be invested over the next three years on initiatives that teach key digital skills, including basic coding and cyber security.

Since its founding in Brussels in 2014, the Digital Leadership Institute has pioneered European and global initiatives to bridge the gender gap and digital divide, with a focus on delivering digital skills and career opportunities to the most under-served and socially excluded communities in the world.  With the support of DBSF, DLI is pleased to introduce our new team members and the exciting initiatives they will be leading in Fall 2017:

20 September-13 December – Digital Muse After School Programme: From 20 September to 13 December, DLI will organise the Digital Muse After School  program, a Wednesday afternoon (14:00-16:00) program in Brussels (EN/FR/NL) for up to 40 girls, aged 11 to 16 years old, in order to encourage them to pursue studies and careers in ESTEAM (Entrepreneurship and Arts powered by STEM).

Digital Muse After School Schedule:

The inaugural DMAS program will focus on project work that introduces digital-creative skills and career paths to participants around four themes:

 

  • 20 September-4 October:  “Talk2Me” – Smartphone App Development with MIT App Inventor for Android
  • 11-25 October:  “Teen Blogstar” – Web Design with WordPress
  • 8-22 November:  “See What I Mean” – Designing Infographics & Data Visualisation with Tableau
  • 29 November-13 December: “Future of Fashion” – Fashion Technology and Wearables with Adafruit

 

For more information about the DMAS program or to register please follow this link or contact Ms. Valentina Calà.

14-15 October – Move It Forward female digital starters weekend with Women in Music and the Arts:  On 14-15 October at BOZAR, in celebration of Women Code Festival, European Code Week, the International Week of the Girl Child and Ada Lovelace Day, DLI will partner with the Brussels Women in Tech Platform and the Brussels Electronic Marathon to organise our fourth Move It Forward Brussels event promoting female tech startup by teen and adult women from across Belgium, with women in music and the arts.

For more information about the Move It Forward weekend please contact Ms. Katja Legisa.

15 October – Digital Brusselles Music Showcase at BOZAR with Brussels Electronic Marathon:  As the closing event of the Move It Forward weekend and Women Code Festival, Digital Brusselles is thrilled to partner support the Brussels Electronic Marathon with a musical showcase at BOZAR on Sunday, 15 October that is open to the public.  The showcase will feature women and non-binary artists from across Belgium as well as projects from the MIF weekend.

For more information about the Digital Brusselles Music Showcase with BEM17 please contact Ms. Katja Legisa.

 

16 October-30 November – “CyPro” Cyber Professional Training and Job Placement Program for Women:  In Fall 2017, DLI will launch the first cohort of its CyPro Cyber Professional Training and Job Placement Program for Women, an initiative that aims to increase participation of women with work experience in strategic IT fields such as cyber security, data science, cloud computing and CRM. Working with key content partners — including AWS, Cisco, and Salesforce — the program will offer participants an IT expert certification path in parallel with on-the-job work experience through paid placement in IT organisations.  The program will kick off with a free, expert-led, 6-week CyPro “First Steps” IT Career training series for women.  Delegates completing the entire program will be eligible for a globally-recognised IT Essentials professional certification.

CyPro “First Steps” Schedule & Instructors:

  • 16-20 October:  Intro to IoT with Ms. Mai Ensmann – Cisco Networking Academy Course Certificate
  • 23-26 October: Intro to Cybersecurity with Ms. Hiba Khalid – Cisco Networking Academy Course Certificate
  • 26-27 October:  Linux Unhatched with Ms. Hiba Khalid – Cisco Networking Academy Course Certificate
  • 6-28 November:  IT Essentials with Ms. Hiba Khalid – Cisco Networking Academy Certificate & CompTIA A+ professional certification
  • 29-30 November: AWS Technical Essentials with Ms. Hiba Khalid – AWS Educate Course Badge
  • 30 November 18:00-19:00 – CyPro “First Steps” Graduation Ceremony as part of 2017 European Ada Awards Ceremony at BeCentral in Brussels

For more information about CyPro, please contact Ms. Mai Ensmann.

21 October-18 November – Digital Brusselles Female Digital Starter Series:  Over the course of one month, the Digital Brusselles female tech incubator will host a free, four-part Female Digital Starters training series that will address themes unique to digital startup by women. If you have joined previous inQube events, these trainings will build on the skills have learned and help move you forward on your path to digital startup!  If you have not participated in past events, do not worry. The content of these courses is geared toward new and recent starters, and all participants will benefit to the maximum.

Female Digital Starters Schedule & Instructors:

For more information about the Female Digital Starters series, please contact Ms. Katja Legisa.

25 October – Digital Brusselles Female Tech Incubator Launch:  On 25 October at BeCentral in Brussels, DLI will launch the first female tech incubator in Europe, building on its pioneering five-year inQube work promoting female digital startup.  The Digital Brusselles incubator will support DLI’s world class “Move It Forward” weekends with ongoing tech and entrepreneurship training for community-members; provide a space for hot-desking, networking and events for female tech starters; and facilitate consultation with experts who will provide broad-reaching support for launching women-led tech projects into the Belgian startup ecosystem.

For more information about the Digital Brusselles launch event, please contact Ms. Katja Legisa.

 

30 November – 2017-18 European Ada Awards Ceremony: In celebration of the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, DLI will host the European Ada Awards in Brussels.  For the fifth consecutive year, DLI will recognise outstanding women and girls in digital fields across Europe, as well as organisations working to increase the participation of women and girls in tech. This year, the awards ceremony will take place on 30 November at BeCentral in Brussels, and nominations in the following categories are open until 30 October:

For more information about the 2017-18 European Ada Awards, please contact Ms. Loredana Bucseneanu.

To keep up-to-date about these and other activities organized by DLI, please consult our calendar and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  For press and media inquiries about Digital Brusselles or other DLI projects, please contact Ms. Katrien Geraedts.

Girl Coding Power at Salesforce Essentials

On 1 June in Louvain-La-Neuve, girls and women from across Belgium joined an all-female Android coding workshop organized by the Digital Leadership Institute in the context of Salesforce Essentials, a large-scale event reaching over 600 Salesforce enthusiasts. The workshop, carried out as part of our Digital Muse initiative in collaboration with Salesforce Belux and Salesforce.org, attracted participants ranging in age from ten to fifty-five, who benefited from hands-on coding lessons using MIT App Inventor and inspiring talks by Salesforce employees.

Ms. Cécile Kempeneers is a role model with plenty of role models!

Ms. Cécile Kempeneers, a Salesforce Belux Senior Account Executive who also co-organized a workshop at the most recent Girl Tech Fest Brussels 2017, shared with participants about her own role models and people who inspired her to enter a career in tech — including her grandfather, but also Elon Musk, Michelle Obama, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai.  Ms. Carmina Coenen, Salesforce Manager for Solution Engineering, also captured everyone’s imagination with a promise that coding and working with Salesforce would give them more options for an exciting and rewarding career.

Ms. Carmina Coenen inspires the Digital Muses

Workshop attendees showed a clear talent for developing their own Android smartphone application that translates speech from one language into spoken output in another language.  The talks by Ms. Coenen and Ms. Kempeneer also piqued their interest in career opportunities with Salesforce.

“We are excited to build on this interest by offering our community more curriculum on smartphone app-development and on becoming certified Salesforce CRM experts,” commented Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder.  “We look forward to pursuing this collaboration going forward, for the benefit of both Salesforce and for these amazing girls of all ages!”

DigitalMuse.org & Salesforce Selfie

 

DLI Update – April-May 2017

The DLI Board and Executive Team are actively involved in initiatives with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out below about our work in April and May 2017, learn here about future activities in which we are involved, and visit our calendar for upcoming events organised by DLI.

*entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics


14 April – Alma Radio “Digital Kids” Show (Brussels): On 14 April, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, joined Ms. Claire-Marie Healy from Alma Radio for a broadcast on the subject of “Digital Kids,” in the lead up to all-day Alma Radio coverage of the 2017 Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest organised by DLI on 29 April 2017.


10 May – Chatham House “Women in Trade” at European Parliament (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a 10 May meeting at the European Parliament on the topic of “Women in Trade” with contribution from Chatham House experts and members of European Parliament, which preceded an 11 May hearing on Gender Equality in EU Trade Agreements.


11 May – Trefpunt – Sterke Onderneemsters (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, joined a Trefpunt event, panel and speed-dating exercise, hosted by the “Sterke Onderneemsters” project, aimed a promoting women-led entrepreneurship, on 11 May in Brussels.


19 May – Digital Skills Fair at BeCentral (Brussels): On 9 June, Ms. Maria Alfonso, DLI Development Coordinator, showcased DLI activities at an all-day event promoting Belgian digital skills initiatives that took place at BeCentral in Brussels.


Be sure to visit our Calendar, Upcoming Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

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Let's Get Digital!

In honour of International Girls in ICT Day 2017, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners organised the second annual Girl Tech Fest Brussels 2017, a volunteer-run event with over 100 activities reaching 250 participants from across Brussels, encouraging girls toward study and career paths in ESTEAM:  STEM plus Entrepreneurship and Arts!

Thank you! 

With 25 workshops and a dozen “Digital Muse Lab” activities, the Girl Tech Fest took tons of effort and dedication from a lot of people to make happen!  We would like to thank everybody who contributed:

GTF Press

Our event got some attention!  Find out who was impressed right here!

Feedback

To help us improve Girl Tech Fest for the next time, please share your feedback here:

Stay in touch! 

For pictures of the event, news about upcoming activities and additional ways to stay involved in future DLI and Digital Muse events, please follow us here!

Thank you, and see you all again next year!

Meet Alexa, Your New BFF, at Girl Tech Fest 2017!

Ever wanted to build your own robot sidekick?  Get ready to meet Alexa, Amazon‘s cloud-powered virtual assistant and your new BFF, at the Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest 2017!

Teen girls attending Girl Tech Fest 2017 will have a chance both to meet Alexa, and to program the Echo platform that helps Alexa run!  Those joining the GTF Alexa workshop organised by Amazon Web Services* will learn to customize Alexa’s voice-recognition system and remotely launch activities, from playing music to sending email.   After that, the chances to make a life-long virtual friend are endless!

The learning opportunity will continue after Girl Tech Fest, too, as the girls will benefit from official membership in the Amazon developer community where they can make use of the Alexa Skills Kit and other online materials to help them continue exploring and creating.

If you can’t join us at the Girl Tech Fest, why not celebrate International Girls in ICT Day along with us by trying out the Build a Trivia Skill tutorial with your own young developer?

Special thanks to  Amazon Web Services for supporting DLI work to increase participation of girls and women in digital fields, and for partnering for our second Girl Tech Fest!

Alma Radio at Girl Tech Fest 2017

Ever wonder what it would be like to produce your own radio show or conduct interviews as a radio journalist? Joining us at Girl Tech Fest 2017, radio show host Claire-Marie Healy of Radio Alma’s ‘Attention, Bébé a Bord!’ will introduce the girls to the exciting world of radio! Broadcasting from the Girl Tech Fest itself in a radio studio, the girls will conduct their very own interviews with the many women in STEM mentors, volunteers and participants throughout the day.

A graduate of the London School of Economics, Claire-Marie advises on regulatory affairs for the GSMA on policies related to the digital economy. After becoming a mother to her daughter Valentina, she became aware of the need for parenting support. This realization inspired her own personal journey to create ‘Attention, Bébé a Bord!’ during which she drops the frills and taboos in the discussion around parenthood to conduct personal interviews with young parents and specialists. Curious to know more? Listen in to Radio Alma on Tuesday between 11-12 or check out the radio website and Facebook page!

Want to join in on the learning experience? Come help promote girls in ESTEAM!

Girls aged 11-15 can register here: bit.ly/GTFBru17

Volunteers can sign up at: bit.ly/GTFBru17v