Last Tuesday, Sept 11th, in Madrid, a jam-packed auditorium celebrated women’s digital leadership in the event II Inspiring Women Leaders in the Digital Era. Last Tuesday, panel after panel and speaker after speaker, female protagonists in technology from almost every industry and walk of life shared invaluable insights. Last Tuesday an alien that had landed in the auditorium would have found it impossible to believe how far women are from the 50% reasonable share of leadership positions in the digital space.
Inspiring Women Leaders in the Digital Era is engrained with the IE spirit from its inception, its founder Teresa Alarcos being an IE Alumni. IE’s Area 31 hosted the first edition last year. It was the most crowded event we had ever celebrated in the 5 years since the inauguration of the space. In this second edition, the IE community was actively present as well. Several IE Alumni and professors where among the speakers. For the second year, I was thrilled to be invited to take the stage. Following an incredible discussion on Blockchain in the first panel, it was my honor to introduce the panel Thinking of Disruptive Startups and Investors. IE Alumni Marta Esteve (Soy Super) and Elena Ibáñez (Singularity Experts) participated in the panel together with six other outstanding technology entrepreneurs. They discussed the latest technology breakthroughs affecting their projects and main challenges they confront every day. Men who work with us hand in hand were there as well. I had the pleasure of running into IE professors, Joe Haslam, Antonio Fontanini and Juan Díaz Andreu, who attended the event in the audience.
Being a professor, the discussions I was most looking forward to where those related to talent. In the entrepreneurship panel, Marta Esteve highlighted the difficulties in finding people with the necessary skills that might be a good fit for the project and Elena Ibáñez, whose startup focuses on preparing people for the jobs of the future, mentioned this as a key challenge as well. Later, the panel discussing the impact of AI in Future Jobs stressed the importance of female participation in STEAM careers. This is important not only from the perspective of enhancing women’s professional opportunities but also, as the Director of the Institute for Women and Equality put it, to prevent technology from replicating gendered stereotypes. In addition, careers most intensive in empathy and creativity will be critical, calling for a reconnection with the basics (emotional intelligence, humanities, the arts…) for both men and women. IE heavily embraces both elements through the proactive effort in attracting women to technology programs and the focus in Humanities. Female digital leadership intertwines well with the IE spirit.