Europe's First Digital Innovation Centre for Girls and Women

On 9 March in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute and 150 of its closest friends and supporters celebrated International Women’s Day with the grand opening of DLI‘s Digital Innovation Centre for Girls & Women, a first of its kind in Europe!  This very special occasion was marked with fun, hands-on digital activities for all agesa high-level roundtable with Brussels, Belgian and European stakeholders, and a reception for all in attendance.

IMG_3131To kick off the evening, DLI volunteers and partners took over the entire, new 100m2 space to give young and young-at-heart members of the DLI family a try at hands-on digital activities with the following themes:

  • 3D Design & Printing
  • Digital Music & DJing
  • Bits, Bytes & Machine Code
  • Silly Robot Missions
  • Play Your Musical Fruit

In particular, the Bits, Bytes & Machine Code activity – a card game for all ages designed by Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Digital Literacy Lead and g-Hive Community Manager – was a popular (and loud) crowd favorite.  It required players to calculate in bits and bytes, and showcased the digital natives in the group, who nimbly trounced their analog ancestors to much vocal lamenting.dli launch ribbon

The Digital Activity Stations then gave way to an official DLI Opening Ceremony graced with a beautiful video message from Ms. Bianca Debaets, State Secretary of the Brussels Capital Region for Equal Opportunity and ICT, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by Miss Manon Van Hoorebeke2014 European Digital Girl of the Year, and Ms. Esther Roure Vila, 2014 European Digital Woman of the Year.  chat

The evening’s activities were rounded out with a high-level discussion on the topic of “Women Driving Digital Innovation,” with unique and insightful interventions by the VIPs in attendance, all amazing role models for girls and women in technology:

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As a magical closing to an exciting evening, Ms. Pascale Van Damme, Managing Director of Dell Belgium & Luxembourg and 2014 “ICT Woman of the Year”, surprised the convened guests with dedication of forty Dell laptops to DLI saying “this is a contribution to help ensure the DLI Centre gets off on the right foot and is able to achieve its mission which we support very much.”

Thank you, Dell!  And thank you to all of our DLI community and supporters for such a wonderful and memorable DLI opening event!

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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Digital Leadership Academy Launch

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Digital Leadership Academy, the very first initiative of the newly-formed Digital Leadership Institute!  In its first year, the DLA will carry out a year-long training program for future female digital leaders, starting on 23 April 2014 in Brussels, in celebration of International Girls in ICT Day!

DLA

Digital Leadership Academy
The Digital Leadership Academy aims to close the ICT skills gap and increase the number of female entrepreneurs and leaders in digital sectors in Europe and beyond, by delivering digital and leadership skills to young and career-age women. The DLA approach combines cross-generational mentoring and technical, business and leadership skills development with the goal of building a resilient community of female digital leaders, confident and prepared for long-term, fruitful careers in digital sectors.

The DLA approach is unique because:

  • Topics addressed meet a real need;
  • Content provides both theoretical background and practical experience; There is opportunity for self-reflection and interaction;
  • Motivation is stimulated; and
  • People have fun.

2014 Digital Leadership Series
In 2014, DLA will launch an inaugural Digital Leadership Series consisting of twelve seminars (two hours each) taking place from April to December in Brussels for a group of twenty teen- and career-age women. The series will be split between fun, hands-on, result-oriented workshops that deliver practical, creative, digital skills, and leadership and business seminars that address personal and professional skills for success.  All courses will be led by a team of DLA digital, business and leadership experts.

Practical
The 2014 Digital Leadership Series will be carried out from April to December* in Brussels. Places are available for individuals wishing to take part in the program and organisations wishing to sponsor young women or women in transition to participate in the series.

Please contact us if you would be interested in becoming a DLA 2014 candidate, if you would like to sponsor a participant in the DLA 2014 class, or if your organisation would like to support the Digital Leadership Academy!  More information about the 2014 Digital Leadership Series may be found here.