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, 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!” & Salesforce Selfie


FREE Android Training Toolkit

In the context of the Coding for Young People project, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners have developed a FREE Android App Training Toolkit for use and sharing by individuals and organisations interested in teaching Android using the MIT App Inventor platform.

In order to fully benefit from the Toolkit, please be sure to:

  1. Download the ‘Talk2Me” training presentation and watch the 50-minute “Talk2Me” training video. Use these to teach Android to your students, and feel free to share them with others!
  2. Download the training guidelines that include links to resources in English, Italian and Spanish!
  3. Fill out the Survey about your experience to let us know if we’re on the right track!
  4. Join the Coding for Young People Community to benefit from future resources from the project and its partners!
  5. Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can support you in any way in your mission to teach coding to young people!

Happy coding!

Featured Image: PC Magazine

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!

Support Our Women and Coding Survey

In early 2017, the Digital Leadership Institute joined a group of organisations from across Europe in the WOW Code2Confidence project, funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission, which aims to empower women by teaching them to code. In the two-year project, a team of five partners from the UK, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania and Belgium, will research the following questions:

  • How can coding inspire women to develop themselves, encourage them to take active part in the digital society, and allow them to access new jobs created by the digital transformation?
  • What are the skills and competences women can build from basic coding education?
  • How can outcomes around coding for women be improved upon?
  • How can digital skills be used by women for social and economic empowerment?

In the first stage of the project, DLI and its partners are conducting a survey that will form the basis for recommendations and future action around the scope of the WOW Code2Confidence project.

To contribute to our research on women and coding, please participate in the survey here!

Read the first WOW Code2confidence Newsletter here, and for more information about the project, or about other DLI work promoting women in coding, please contact us!

Women Refugees Move It Forward

mif eAs part of Code Week Europe 2016, on 15-16 October in Brussels, sixty young and adult women gathered at the Digital Leadership Institute’s inQube space for a Move It Forward “female digital starters” weekend in support of women refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe.  One quarter of event participants, ranging in age from 14 to 62 years old, were recent refugees to Europe, and the entire group shared over 25 different nationalities.

Through expert support and hands-on digital skills workshops over the course of a weekend, Move It Forward event participants built and launched their own technology-enabled initiatives to address the unique safety, health, education and economic challenges faced by displaced women across Europe and the MENA region.

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On the final day of the event, the most innovative projects with and for women refugees were selected for further incubation at inQube, and were recognized again later in the week at a European Parliament event hosted by KAGIDER, the Turkish women’s entrepreneurship association.  Projects included:

World-class technology partners who support DLI and inQube to deliver the Move It Forward startup weekends for women include Amazon Web Services, Onboard CRM and MIT AppInventor for Android. With continued support from these and other partners, DLI plans to organise MIF weekends in Istanbul, Athens, Sofia and other cities in 2017 in order to continue addressing global challenges that disproportionately impact girls and women, including women seeking asylum, women in media, cyberviolence against girls and women, etc.

Ms. Anna Zobnina, Chair of the European Network of Migrant Women, who gave a keynote and took part in the event, shared the following: “When extremism and poverty attack women, forcing them to flee their home, we should attack extremism and poverty by empowering refugee women to rebuild their dignified lives. And if we want to win, we have to be strategic and use the digital technology to fight violence and discrimination that women on the move face at every step of their journeys.”

Ms. Sanem Oktar, KAGIDER President said: “As the largest women’s entrepreneurship network in Turkey, KAGIDER is thrilled to ‘Move It Forward’ for female digital starters. We share the vision of economically empowering women to drive positive change in the world, and of enabling them to use technology to do that. We are therefore excited to showcase the successes of Move It Forward Brussels 2016 and to build on this with Move It Forward Istanbul in 2017.

The first Move It Forward weekend took place in January 2016 with support of the Brussels Capital Region. Four of the final projects received expert support from DLI for a period of five months, and several projects are continuing today. To build on its success in Brussels, DLI and its partners are now launching Move It Forward in other cities around the globe.

The two-day Move It Forward event is a flagship of the inQube female digital accelerator, a DLI initiative whose mission is to redress under-representation of women in tech startup.

Event Sponsors and Partners

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Coding for Young People at Digital Festival 2016

On 21 June 2016, as an official side-event of the first Digital Festival in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute will carry out a best practices roundtable on Coding for Young People in Europe and an Android coding workshop for young people, on behalf of the ERASMUS+ Coding for Young People project.

At this event targeting students, educators, administrators and policy-makers, expert panelists will lead a roundtable discussion on best practices in coding initiatives for youth from across Europe. The roundtable will be followed by an Android smartphone coding workshop for young people which is also open to members of the public (details below).  Participation is free of charge but both a ticket to the Digital Festival as well as a booking for the current event is required.

Draft Agenda:
14:30-14:35:  Welcome by Cheryl Miller, Cofounder, Digital Leadership Institute
14:35-14:50:  Coding for Young People Project Overview by Valentina Platzgummer, Consulta Europa

14:50-16:00:  Expert-led Best Practices Roundtable:

Moderator:  Ms. Cheryl Miller, Cofounder, Digital Leadership Institute

15:45-17:30: Android Coding Workshop for Young People:
Following the best practices roundtable, Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, Digital Leadership Institute Cofounder, and Friedger Müffke of, will lead a hands-on Android Coding workshop with MIT App Inventor, targeting young people ages 11 and up.  Participation in the workshop is free but places are limited so reservation is required.  In addition, attendees should bring their own laptop or contact the organizers if they need to reserve one (limited supply).

Coding for Young People Project Partners



Looking forward to a new year of learning!

A New Year’s message from Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Cofounder, Digital Literacy Lead & g-Hive Community Manager:

Hi girl-techies!

This year was a year of firsts for our organisation, and for our community. We got our own space in March, and started doing workshops on coding and electronics, using Scratch and Processing, as well as using interactive electronics and electric paint with the Bare Conductive Touch Board.

In the coming year, we plan on rolling up our sleeves and getting more active in organising a workshop series, for those of you who would like to take their learning experience to the next level. We will be introducing project-based learning workshops in coding and app development.  They will be taking place bi-weekly (every two weeks) on Wednesday afternoons. More information on these workshop series will be shared in January. If you have a preference for time and day, please don’t hesitate to send me an email with your requests.

I am also preparing a series of morning workshops for those of you who would like to learn basic coding skills, while enjoying a morning coffee with like-minded ladies. This will be a series of informal workshops called the “Techie Brekky Tuesdays”. You got it, we will be meeting on Tuesday mornings (every two weeks) for a couple of hours of group coding, coffee-sipping and croissant-munching techie-gigs. Again, more info on this on my next blogpost in January.

In the meantime, our female digital starter weekend “Move It Forward – tackling Cyberviolence and Online Hate Speech” has been moved to January 23-24, 2016. We have a line-up of great workshops scheduled for these two days, including a host of inspiring coaches who will help you with your projects and start-up ideas!

One more event that you might want to know about, we are teaming up with the IBM Bluemix team to organise a Bluemix Girls Night at inQube and offer a hands-on tutorial on their Bluemix Cloud Platform. Their team of engineers will be coming to our space and will lead hands-on exercises on real-world Internet of Things applications that could be deployed on the cloud. These tutorials will help us understand how cloud computing works, what the Internet of Things is, and how we can use “the cloud” to bring our start-up ideas to the next level. Visit here for more information, and to register for this event.

Here’s wishing all of you relaxing days during the holidays with your loved ones!

And let’s all stay techie-curious, and greet the new year with renewed energy to learn!

All the best,

Rosanna :)

Christmas Baubles with young Spruce tree branch. This file is cleaned, retouched and contains clipping path.

*Originally posted to on 21 December 2015

Erasmus+ Youth Coding Project Launch

Launch CYP

On 3 July 2015 in Brussels, DLI and its partners – Consulta Europa, PRISM & ATI (Spanish Association of IT Professionals) – launched Coding for Young People, a two year European Commission Erasumus+ Project that will collect and share best practices on innovative methods to teach coding to European youth, with a special focus on girls.

CYP PartnersFor more information about the Coding for Young People project, please contact us!


First-Ever Ada Lovelace Conference

On 10 December 2014 in Brussels, in honor of the 199th anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace – world’s first-ever computer programmer, woman and European – the Digital Leadership Institute held the inaugural Ada Lovelace Conference celebrating outstanding girls and women in technology in Europe and beyond.  The event, blogged by new European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip responsible for the Digital Single Market, was generously hosted by General Electric as part of the GE Garages initiative.  It included a high-level best practices round-table on “getting more girls and women into digital studies and careers,” and three hands-on digital workshops – on 3D design & printing, creative coding & “beautiful/electric Arduinos” – for girls ages six to sixteen.  The event enjoyed participation by over one hundred people, and was part of the 2014 European Hour of Code.

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