Top European Women in Tech Recognised

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.

  1. 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 founder of Raise Women’s Awareness Network – RWAN. 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 2017-18 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.

2017-18 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 2017-18 European Digital Impact Organisation of the Year Award, as announced by Ms. Michela Palladino, Director of European Policy at Developers Alliance.

The 2017-18 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!

2017 European Ada Award Finalists Named

Congratulations to the finalists of the 2017 European Ada Awards, a global initiative recognizing outstanding girls and women in digital studies and careers across Europe, and the organisations who support them! Join us on 30th of November at BeCentral, Cantersteen 12 in Brussels to the 2017 European  Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles Celebration where the winners will be announced!

2017 European Digital Women of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Cat Lamin – Consultant at Pi-Top (United Kingdom)

Cat is a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Teacher. She initiated an event called Coding Evening for Teachers in UK that  brings together teachers, coding professionals and tech enthusiasts and allows them to work together to discuss ideas for the classroom. Her independent work has led to her being invited to Brazil to train and speak to a number of Brazilian teachers about the importance of computational thinking and basic computer science skills. She is a role-model for young, female coders and a lot of her outreach work includes working with groups that are actively encouraging girls to get involved with coding, including girls-only CoderDojos in London.

Pascale Van Damme, Vice President and General Manager at Dell EMC Commercial Belux and Head of EMEA NATO & NATO Alliances, President Agoria Digital Industries (Belgium)

When she started at Dell, Pascale was the only woman on the local leadership team. Tackling being female leader challenge in a positive way along with the learning experience is what motivated her to start building alliances to raise awareness around gender equality and bring about change. Pascale has been active for years in mentoring young women, speed-dating with students and coaching female entrepreneurs. She is a role model to women thinking about entering a career in the digital world and to those who have started a career within Dell.  She regularly “talks the talk” and “walks the walk” regarding the skills needed for a career in tech, at high-level events such as the NATO’s annual cyber symposium NIAS where as a speaker she raised awareness around the need for female talent in cybersecurity along with diversity and inclusion in any future-oriented organization.

Egle Ciuoderiene, International Cooperation Advisor at the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology (Lithuania)

Egle inspires people of all ages to take part in the ICT industry through whatever means, despite any boundaries imposed by the society. She continuously shares her experience in breaking the industry’s boundaries through interviews and personal communication. Egle always emphasises that girls should not be afraid of the digital occupations, as she herself has made a successful transfer from a humanitarian background. Egle shares her experience and motivates women to partake in the fields of Computer Science – she has recently joined the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology, which aims to create, develop and disseminate scientific knowledge and expertise about in the field of technology and innovation.

2017 European Digital Impact Organisation of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Teen-Turn (Ireland)

Teen-Turn works with companies throughout Ireland to cross the digital divide by providing hands-on work experience in technology career environments to teenaged girls from disadvantaged communities in order to address the industry’s social inclusion, gender disparity and skills shortage challenges.

Girls’ Day (Germany)

Girls’ Day is an organization that invites technical enterprises, enterprises with technical departments and technical training facilities, universities, and research centres to present themselves at an open day for girls called Girl’s day.

StartHer (France)

The mission of the French group is particularly to thrive women into the technology sector and to encourage diversity in a traditionally male environment. StartHer organized many events throughout the years, either in the form of a mini-conference around a specific topic with people who work in the tech sector or through a Happy Hour of pure networking to facilitate trade within the networks.

2016-2017 European Digital Girl of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Under 10 year-old category

Helena Staple (United Kingdom)

Helena is a regular member of a CoderDojo Ham, a volunteer-led free coding club for youngsters based at Kingston University London. After becoming proficient in Scratch she moved on to learning Python. Over the last year she has developed a strong interest and commitment to mentoring younger children learning Scratch. From a shy start she has grown in confidence and communication skills, and is now at ease helping children considerably older than her. She created a wonderful project to make a personalised interactive Birthday Card in Scratch and developed a great instruction handout entirely on her own. This has become one of our most popular Scratch activities. Older children trying it are constantly astonished that it was made by such a young ninja!

Zara Ilyas (Ireland)

Zara has attended CoderDojo since the beginning and came to every Robotics session. She has an insatiable passion for technology and learning, and is a reliable partner and an inspiration for other young girls that share the same interest.


Ruby Scott Kenny (Ireland)

Together with her good friend Zara, Ruby is a regular participant to the CoderDojo events, inspiring other girls and her professors alike. She is always keen to support her colleagues  in understanding technology and always interested in learning more.


11-14 year-old category

Aoibheann Mangan (Ireland)

Aoibheann Mangan has been working hard promoting technology and coding for girls over the last number of years delivering workshops in her local education centre and school. She has been a mentor with Coder Dojo in Cloghans Hill Coder Dojo and Robeen coder dojo for the last 2 years delivering workshops to lots of boys and girls many of whom have no internet or computers at home. Aoibheann has encouraged girls to give it a go and do their best and made several workshops girls only events where she has shown them that girls can do anything they want when it comes to digital skills. Aoibheann has campaigned in Ireland for better internet for rural Ireland highlighting how unfair it is for young people growing up with no broadband.

Charlotte Johnson (United Kingdom)

Charlotte has really enjoyed the fun and skills at CoderDojo Scotland. She had a great experience at Coolest Projects 17, at CodeEU17 and was named one of three coding rising stars in UK 2017. She partnered with one of her coding colleagues with whom she is working on a project for Coolest Projects 18.


15-17 year-old category

Maeve Galvin (Ireland)

Maeve has won her age category in the Tech Week Ireland Scratch competition for three years running. She is now a mentor teaching younger children Scratch in her local CoderDojo, giving up her free time every weekend and preparing lessons every week.


2017 European Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles Celebration:

2017 European Ada Award Winners will be announced at the fifth annual European Ada Awards Ceremony on 30 November 2017 at BeCentral, Cantersteen 12, ahead of the celebration of the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace!  Public attendance is welcome but registration at this link is required!

2017-18 Ada Awards Launched at Digital Agenda Assembly

On 16 June 2017, in celebration of the 2017 European Digital Assembly taking place as part of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners are proud to launch online nominations for the fourth annual edition of the European Ada Awards, a long-standing pledge to the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition for Europe.

The European Ada Awards recognise top girls and women in digital studies and careers in Europe, and organisations impacting the ecosystem to increase participation of girls and women in tech.

To nominate candidates for the 2017-18 European Ada Awards, please visit the links below:

Questions and interest to support the Ada Awards may be directed to DLI here. National partners are actively being sought to roll out the Ada Awards across Europe and around the world.

The Ada Awards are an initiative of the Digital Leadership Institute in partnership with CEPIS, DIGITALEUROPE, ECWT
and European Schoolnet.