One way to repel interesting people from attending a tech event these days is to have a speakers page dominated with headshots of white men. Not only does this reflect a lack of commitment to diversity, it indicates laziness on the part of the organizers as they blatantly neglect qualified women, people of colour and the LGBTQ community in the industry willing to be on stage. And yet, this kind of thing continues to happen – in Berlin, and in Germany.
Since the imbalanced representation of women speakers and panelists at tech conferences is still a problem, we wanted to put this issue back into the spotlight by compiling a list of entrepreneurs, tech executives, activists, and investors doing amazing work in the region. Although lists like this are helpful, we know they’re not the solution. What’s important is taking action.
This can mean emailing organizers about gender disparity in a speaker lineup and suggesting women speakers. Sharing your speaking experiences with aspiring speakers. Encouraging women to apply to conferences. Calling out organizers who aren’t treating women speakers like male counterparts (in terms of pay, for instance). Asking for money as a speaker and talking about asking for money with others trying to land gigs. Doing the research to find emerging voices. Trying harder.
There’s clearly still a lot of work to be done in closing the gender gap in the tech industry. However, one small step forward is ensuring women gain visibility at events and conferences. Without further ado, here’s our list of amazing speaking candidates:
Steffi Czerny is Managing Director of DLD Media and founder of the DLD Conference. Held in Munich, DLD is one of Europe’s most prominent conferences and is known to bring the brightest business, creative and social leaders together to exchange knowledge and ideas.
Ida Tin is CEO and co-founder of Clue, a female health and period tracking app that aims to help people better understand what’s going on in their bodies. One of the most progressive players in this space, the app has several millions of users across the world (last reported to be 5 million active users in 2016). Read our interview with Ida here.
Stacia Carr is Head of Engineering at Zalando, a Berlin-headquartered online fashion retail giant. Prior to that, she led engineering teams at companies developing consumer internet products and services with a focus on digital media distribution, like SoundCloud, Sony, listen.com, CMJ and kink.com.
Isabelle Sonnenfeld is Lead of Google News Lab for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where she works with journalists, publishers and media entrepreneurs to foster innovation in journalism. Previously, she worked at Twitter as its Head of News, Government, and Politics. She’s also co-founder of Role Models, a podcast aiming to inspire the next generation of women leaders.
Miriam Wohlfarth is Managing Director and Founder of RatePAY, a fintech startup offering online payment services. She has more than 17 years of experience in the online payment and sales space and was previously a country manager at international payment service provider Ogone (Ingenico Payment Services).
Sophie Chung is CEO and founder of Quno Medical, a digital health platform that provides patients with access to information on accredited doctors and clinics for short-term and complex medical treatments around the world.
Anna Alex and Julia Boesch
Anna Alex and Julia Boesch are the co-founders and Managing Directors of Outfittery, a curated personal shopping service for men. Founded in 2012, the company has raised over $59 million in funding and currently operates in eight European markets.
Antonia Albert is Managing Director and co-founder of Careship, a startup that helps families find a caregiver for their elderly loved ones. Albert founded the company alongside her brother Nikolaus Albert in 2015 after trying to find someone to care for their grandmother.
Sandra Mamitzsch is a Berlin-based political consultant, activist and Programme Director at re:publica, a conference tackling topics surrounding Internet and society. She is also a member of non-profits European Digital Rights (EDRi) and Digital Gesellschaft.
Nora Wohlert and Susann Hoffmann
Nora Wohlert and Susann Hoffmann are the co-founders of Edition F, an online platform, and community for women focusing on the topics of business, career and lifestyle. Founded in 2014, the site sees 600,000 unique users each month, with content mostly in German. Read our interview with the two here.
Lea-Sophie Cramer is CEO and founder of Amorelie, an e-commerce startup selling sex toys and erotic products. In 2015, the company conducted an experiment and plastered billboards with vibrators across Berlin. The move seemed to be in line with Amorelie’s aim to break taboos surrounding sex and sex toys.
Lisa Witter the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Apolitical, a global network for governments aiming to help public servants around the world connect with ideas, resources, and partners to help solve societal challenges. She is a serial entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and expert in the fields of communications, government, politics, philanthropy, technology, women’s issues and behavior change.
Miriam Neubauer is CPO and co-founder of foodtech startup heycater!. Backed by 500startups and Atlantic labs, heycater! is an online platform helping businesses order catering. Prior to that, she worked in product and marketing at startups like GoButler and Freeletics.
Maru Winnacker is a serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Project OONA, a luxury handbag brand that sees its designs handcrafted in Germany. She is also on the Foundation Board of the Bayer Foundation and a member of the HVB Women’s Council Berlin of Hypovereinsbank Unicredit.
Lea Lange is Managing Director and co-founder of JUNIQE– an online marketplace for wall art, home decor and stationery – where she heads curation, merchandising, content, creative, branding and PR teams. Since its founding in 2014, the startup has raised over €20 million in funding.
Jana Tepe and Anna Kaiser
Jana Tepe and Anna Kaiser are the co-founders and co-CEOs of Tandemploy, an online platform developing HR technology for job-sharing and flexible working models. They often speak on the future of work and how digitalization is changing the world of work.
Stephanie Hankey is Executive Director and co-founder at Tactical Technology Collective, a Berlin-based non-profit aiming to create awareness on issues relating to digital security and the policies of data for individuals, organizations and activists. She is an activist who has been working internationally at the intersection of technology and human rights for the last 20 years. Read our profile on Tactical Tech here.
Lisa Lang is CEO and founder of ElektroCouture, a startup that aims to close the gap between the fashion and technology industries through collaborations, consulting and workshops. She is also an investor member of the Jury and mentor for the Fashion Council Germany & H&M Fellowship Programme.