Once upon not long ago, there was a teenage child… This is how the third edition of the Fe+Male Tech Heroes conference began, with a fairy tale. Margot Nijkamp was under the spotlight for the opening of the conference. She is a hobby author, who personally wrote and read the fairy tale that echoed in the hall.
On June 14th, more than 300 women and men from the high-tech world gathered at the Fe+Male Tech Heroes conference at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven. Ranging from diversity and inclusion to personal development, participants could tap into the different worlds of the guest speakers. The talks were orientated towards female inclusion in the high-tech world.
The theme of the day was Shaping our future. Dreams and the future intertwine together to build up a better world for us and our families. While the future may seem scary for most of us, the speakers at the event did not seem to mind taking bold decisions. These decisions led them to success. They followed their dreams and reached for the stars.
The founders of the initiative, Ingelou Stol and Hilde de Vocht were just as excited as the audience. “This is amazing. It is the first time again in real life. Today we’ll dive into new technologies, career perspectives, and breaking the glass ceiling. But also, how to attract more women to IT. We will have workshops as well. The event will be really diverse,” said Stol.
Nazanin Shafiee is a Business Development Manager at SMART Photonics. Fitting with the opening tone of the conference, her conversation’s theme was magic. She spoke about the high-tech world being full of miracles that we make true because of our imagination. One of the things that she brought up was the sight and how she and her team managed to restore human vision using technology. “I believe the best way to shape the future is to create. To have a future that we want we need to imagine it and desire it,” said Shafiee.
Bei Wang gave a talk about the Metaverse. She is the co-founder of Straight Fire but also she addresses herself as a cultural broker. Being a cultural broker, she tries to reduce conflict between people from different cultures and plays the role of a mediator. Wang explained that the metaverse has “been developing way before the word became popular”. Additionally, she gave examples of what is the metaverse which includes Pokémon Go and Unreal Engine 5.
Isabel Moll was interviewed and discussed how more women could be attracted to IT. Moll is the Vice President and General Manager of DELL Technologies. “I hope I am a role model for women but generally young people,” said Moll. According to her, the trend of women not entering the tech world is changing because there are more ambassadors and role models that young girls can look up to. She is a pioneer in introducing the 4-day working week in DELL, the Netherlands, and “loves to change the status quo”. She also touched upon the topic of diversity and said that in order to be successful you need to have a diverse pool of talent.
Being the Commercial Chief Officer at Solar Monkey Nederland, Annemarie de Jong had to make different choices in her career way. She gave an inspirational speech that we are not alone, and it is okay to ask for help. “You don’t need to be able to do everything,” she said during her talk. Furthermore, she gave personal advice about the development of relationships and how this can impact career paths. “I’m so excited to be here today because we’re seeing the future. Because I live in the Hague and there are not so many women in tech there. And here you’re among peers and I am so proud to see so many women,” said de Jong.
All participants in the conference were welcomed to join a workshop of their choice. There were seven of them and they covered different topics. ASML, HighTechXL, and NXP hosted the workshops that were running parallel to each other. Amongst the subjects were The power of sisterhood in business, How to land my (next) job, and How inclusion helps your team to reach for the stars.
Angela Maas took the podium to be interviewed by Ingelou Stol and told her life story about fighting for the woman’s heart. Maas is a cardiologist and one of the most influential doctors in Dutch health care. She addressed issues in the contemporary health care system and shared advice on how to improve it. She was one of the first people in Europe to study how heart disease manifests differently in women. “If you look at health care, there are so many diseased and there are so many huge differences between men’s and women’s bodies. We need to practice gender-sensitive cardiology healthcare,” said Maas. Achieving her current status as an influential cardiologist did not come for free. During her academic and working experiences, she had to fight for it. “Patients got angry at me because I couldn’t give them answers about their condition,” said Maas.
When Maas was asked whether the measurement of the female heart is different from the male heart she answered: “Yes. It’s totally different. If you look at an ECT, the normal ECT is derived from male patients. And most women have an abnormal ECT because we’re not men. And there is another issue. We all have different sizes of breasts which also influence where the electronics are attached to. And you will see very strange developments. And young doctors think there’s something wrong because they cannot interpret yet the variations of a normal ECT,” concluded Maas.
The event was concluded with a panel discussion that focused on the power of networking. Part of the panel were financier and entrepreneur Simone Brummelhuis, entrepreneur Guus Frericks, and Beata Wandachowicz-Krason. They aimed to explain the importance of having a network, how to establish a resilient one, and where this could lead. “To make networking work, you need to give more than you take,” said Frericks.