DLI Wrap-up 2016

Banner Year for DLI: In 2016, the Digital Leadership Institute directly reached over seven hundred girls and women with hands-on workshops and role model activities aiming to improve their ESTEAM* skills and promote their participation in strategic, innovative sectors of the economy — as creators, entrepreneurs and leaders.  We thank you for your support of DLI in 2016 and, with your help, we look forward to positively impacting the lives of more girls and women in 2017!

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Support DLI in 2017:  If you would like to support the ongoing work of DLI to promote inclusive digital transformation, which is reaching some of the most under-served communities in Europe, please consider donating to our institute or supporting us in other ways in the coming year.  US-based organisations can make a tax-deductible donation to DLI here.  Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on how to get involved.

Upcoming Events in 2017:  The following DLI events are coming up in 2017.  To keep up with the rest of our events, please visit our calendar or sign up for the DLI Newsletter.

2016 European Ada Awards smallUpdate November-December 2016:  On 8 December 2016 in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute celebrated the 2016 European Ada Awards recognising top girls and women in digital fields in Europe, and the organisations that support them.  The event was hosted by GE Garages in the context of European Vocational Skills Week 2016, and supported by top decision-makers from public and private sectors across Europe, including Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Ms. Eva Paunova, Member of European Parliament, and Ms. Beata Stelmach, CEO of GE Poland.  DLI and its partners awarded the 2016 European Digital Girls of the Year, Digital Woman of the Year, and Digital Impact Organisation of the Year.

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 November and December 2016, 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


8 November – “Promoting Digital Skills for Girls” Webinar: Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, was a special guest for an 8 November webinar on “promoting digital skills for girls,” hosted by the Innovation in Education Unit of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Art and Culture.


wehubs17 November – “Enterprising Women in TechWeHubs Closing Event (Brussels): On 17 November in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, judged the final pitch competition and contributed to an expert panel on “best practices in promoting female entrepreneurship,” in the context of the closing event of the WeHubs project for women web entrepreneurs in Europe.


debaets debates21 November – “Make America Great Again” – Debaets Debates (Brussels): On 21 November in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder,  joined a high profile public debate on the topic of “Make America Great Again” hosted by Ms. Bianca Debaets, State Secretary for the Brussels Capital Region, and moderated by Mr. Rik Van Cauwelaert, journalist for De Tijd.


sme-assembly-201623-24 November – “Helping Europe’s Entrepreneurs Reach New Heights” 2016 SME Assembly Slovakia (Bratislava): On 23-24 November in Bratislava, Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Cofounder, contributed to a high-level roundtable on “Entrepreneurship Education” at the European Commission’s annual SME Assembly, taking place as part of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council.


thinkdigital29 November – Think Digital “Shaping the Digital Future of Europe” (Brussels): On 29 November, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, moderated an expert panel on “Shaping the Digital Future of Europe,” including Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Ms. Kaja Kallas, Member of European Parliament, which took place at Egmont Palace in Brussels as part of the first Think Digital summit.


logo_sfg1 December – A Journey into European Factories of the Future (Graz, Austria): On 1 December in Graz, Austria, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, delivered a closing keynote on the topic of “Industry 4.0” for the event “A journey into European Factories of the Future,” organised by SFG.


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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Belgian Minister De Croo Recognises Top Girls and Women in Tech

On 8 December in Brussels, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo recognised top girls and women in digital fields in Europe and underscored the need for positive role models, coding curriculum and communities of excellence to encourage youth toward digital careers. “Young people need inspiration,” De Croo said in remarks at a ceremony for the 2016 Ada Awards, named for Lady Ada Lovelace the world’s first computer programmer. “That inspiration comes from seeing excellent people at work, like the girls and women recognised by these awards.”

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Alexander De Croo, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for the Digital Agenda

De Croo’s comments came on the heels of news that women make up fewer IT professionals than ever in Europe despite skyrocketing demand for digital expertise. “Over the last ten years, demand for tech specialists in Europe has grown eight times faster than other fields, but women hold just sixteen percent of these jobs,” explained Cheryl Miller, cofounder of Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute and organisers of the Ada Awards. “By 2020, one million IT jobs will go unfilled because the skills are not available in the marketplace,” Miller continued. “So by engaging women, we can potentially double the number of tech experts in Europe, increasing European competitiveness and making sure girls and women do not get left behind in the digital disruption.”

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Fireside Chat: Niamh Scanlon (14yo Ireland) – 2015 Digital Girl of the Year, and Rosanna Kurrer/DLI

Nuria Oliver, winner of the 2016 European Digital Woman of the Year Award, noted that digital disruption risks exacerbating the lack of diversity in tech, but also holds promise for positive change. “The percentage of girls and women in technology in most Western countries is simply not acceptable,” Oliver observed. “But in the future, we will only be able to address problems like global warming and the ageing population with the help of technology. So we need all our diverse human capital on board: to optimise innovation potential and to increase our chances of success in these important fields.”

According to Beata Stelmach, CEO for GE Poland, workforce diversity and digital transformation are two opportunities that GE, hosts of the 2016 Ada Awards ceremony, is explicitly leveraging for success. “We see GE as a 124-year-old software startup,” said Stelmach. “And with this thinking, we seek to pioneer a digital industrial sector that could contribute as much as $1.7 Trillion to European GDP annually by 2025.”  In order to fully exploit the opportunities that digitisation brings,”it will be key to engage the entire European workforce,” she added. “And women in particular.”

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Disrupted Workforce Panel: Cheryl Miller/DLI, Beata Stelmach/GE, Andrea Parola/eSkills Association, Esther Roure/CISCO, Eva Paunova/MEP

Cerys Lock and Gabrijela Juriç, winners of the 2016 European Digital Girl of the Year Award, echoed the message of Deputy Prime Minister De Croo.  Fourteen-year-old Cerys, feels that more computer science curriculum in school would be critical to get young people, girls included, engaged in the digital transformation. She reflected on the era of the Commodore 64 and said “forty years ago that computer was popular and got people into coding.  We need something similar today, like the Raspberry Pi, that I personally am a huge fan of.”   Gabrijela, also 14, added:  “I am just proud that what I am doing actually matters to people in the sector. That really inspires me to keep going.”

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Digital Girls of the Year 2016: Gabrijela Juriç (14yo – Croatia) and Cerys Lock (14yo England)

Deputy Prime Minister De Croo summed up the awards event:  “When someone is good at something you need to show it and congratulate her for what she is doing,” he said.  “That is why the Ada Awards and the work of DLI is important:  You need to show examples, and these young ladies are just the kind of examples we all need to see.”

The 2016 European Ada Awards were presented in the following categories to the noted recipients:

2016 European Digital Woman of the Year:  Ms. Nuria Oliver, Spain
2016 European Digital Girl of the Year:  Miss Gabrijela Juriç, Croatia (14 years old)
2016 European Digital Girl of the Year:  Miss Cerys Lock, England (14 years old)
2016 European Digital Impact Organisation of the YearCyberMentor, Germany

The Ada Awards are an initiative of Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute in partnership with the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), DIGITALEUROPE and European SchoolNet. The awards are named for Lady Ada Byron of Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer.  They are an official pledge to the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in Europe.

The Digital Leadership Institute is a Brussels-based think tank whose mission is to promote inclusive digital transformation.

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