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Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

A painting of Ada Lovelace.

As we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day and the achievements of women in STEM we have been speaking to the team from the Ada Lovelace Festival in Berlin. Our Marketing Executive Mona, will be moderating the tech stage on 20th October, be sure to follow the livestream and FDM’s social media so as not to miss out.

Theres Schröder, Project Manager of Ada Lovelace Festival, EUROFORUM Deutschland SE

Why did you choose to create an event around Ada Lovelace, a British mathematician born in 1815?

We wanted to pay tribute to a pioneer and in tech there’s no better role model than Ada. She wasn’t only the first female programmer but the first programmer ever.

As you are one of the organisers of the Ada Lovelace Festival in Berlin, taking place on 19-20th October, please share with us your motivation and your vision behind the event.

When the first Ada Lovelace Festival took place in 2015, we wanted to provide a platform for women in tech to share their experiences and success stories. Women who work in this field had no place to come together, so we built this unique event. Over the last three years we managed to build a strong community which is full of admirable and inspiring women.

We are also finding that many companies, especially tech companies, are making diversity a big part of their growth plan.

Why did you chose a format of main stage talks, workshops and small discussion groups?

The setup with different stages and parallel program is inspired by music festivals to give everyone the opportunity to choose only the topics they’re most interested in and create their individual festival schedule. As we all know, tastes are different, so are the professional background and focus of our attendees. With this format, we try to give everyone the opportunity to hear what is relevant to them.

You are “connecting women in computing & technology” – does this mean you are hosting a women-only event? What kind of audience are you expecting?

Our emphasis lies on connecting women in computing & technology and to draw attention to the fact that they haven’t been represented adequately in the past. We do welcome men to join us and find there are plenty who share the vision – both on stage, in the communities and as delegates. Men and women are welcome to join!

Which speaker/talk is not to be missed at #ADA17?

The whole festival shouldn’t be missed! We have a great mix of speakers and backgrounds. But if I have to name a few, I would say Andra Keay, who works in robotics, Magdalena Rogl who is Head of Digital Channels at Microsoft and Maxine Williams who is Global Head of Diversity at Facebook.

Anything you’d like to add?

There are a few tickets left of #ada17 and we would love to see some of you there!


Anne Kauth, Manager Professional Development and Partnerships, The Minerva Project

What is your motivation to speak at the ADA17 festival?

I am inspired by the global community of women in tech convened by Ada each year and want to share learnings from Silicon Valley while expanding my exposure and thinking on critical interventions happening beyond the Valley in STEM and computing, in my specific field, higher education.

Please tell us a bit about your own talk/ presentation.

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in solving the education to career skills gap, as well as creating opportunities for underemployed young people and adults in ways not before possible. We at Minerva are focusing on how best to leverage technological developments to accelerate the learning outcomes and trajectories of university students from all global regions- I look forward to our panel discussion of the current state and future aspirations for ed-tech.

What differentiates the Ada Lovelace festival in Berlin from other digital events?

Ada is unique in creating space for a diverse group of participants to contribute to a well-defined thematic focus, with the opportunity for authentic conversations and connections throughout the festival. I’m looking forward to experiencing it for the first time at #ADA17!

Which talk, apart from your own, is not to miss at #ADA17?

I am a great admirer of Maxine Williams’s work at Facebook, so I’m very much looking forward to her session.


Agnieszka M. Walorska, Founder & Managing Director, Creative Construction

What is your motivation to speak at the ADA17 festival?

I already spoke once before at ADA two years ago. The quality of the talks were really great. They’re the best proof against the opinion that it’s impossible to find qualified female speakers for some topics (one hears it a lot as an excuse for having a low percentage of female speakers in some of the tech conferences). Also, I couldn’t think of a better conference to present my talk for the first time.

Please tell us a bit about your own talk/presentation.

It’s the first time for me to have a talk about feminism – my talks usually have nothing to do with my gender. In the context of automation and artificial intelligence, the gender stereotypes might need to be re-evaluated. I don’t want to reveal everything here as I want people to come listen to my talk, but in my opinion we can see the AI as a chance in redefining the characteristics typically attributed to women. I want to start a discussion about how AI might influence the job market in general and the professional situation of men vs. women in particular.

What differentiates the Ada Lovelace festival in Berlin from other digital events?

It’s not a sausage fest! I usually don’t enjoy conferences as they are a lot about egos. I’m an introvert and I don’t like showing off all the time, so I’d rather enjoy more intimate conversations about topics that are important to me. I have the impression that it was easier for me at a conference driven by ladies.

Which talk, apart from your own, is not to miss at #ADA17?

I’ll personally try to go to all the AI-talks. I can imagine that the one by Leah Blessin on how AI will transform the future workforce will tackle a few similar topics to the ones I’ll talk about. I also don’t want to miss “Die Astronautin”: First female German Astronaut and the panel on affective computing.

Anything you’d like to add?

I’m very much looking forward to the conference – I also hope for a few more male visitors than the last time!

Are you interested in training for a career in IT or business intelligence? You can do so on our award-winning Graduate Programme, Ex-Forces Careers Programme or Getting Back to Business Programme.

Featured image credit: Photo by Susanna Dahlgren [Public Domain]

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