The second edition of the international SHELleader@digital conference will take place on September 17 and 18 in Sofia.

What roles women would play in the age of automation? How the biases that the digital industry is terrain for man would be overcome? Why green and art economies are female empowered path? Why Bulgaria is the place to lead this conversation?

SHEleader@digital gives answers to those questions. The conference shows the solutions and proves that women will play a key role in the future economy and society.

The second edition of SHEleader@digital 2020, which will take on September 17 and 18in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, will be focused on women’s roles in the age of automation. The initiative will bring together more than 300 business leaders, policymakers, startup founders, artists, and green-minded people to create together the story for the prosperous future with a feminine stamp. The original dates of the conference were March 19 and 20 but it has been postponed for September with the respect of measures to limit the Coronavirus effects.

SHEleader@digital 2020 is organized by the Bulgarian Center of Women in Technology (BCWT), MOVE.BG and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. The Conference will be held under the official patronage of Mrs. Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The official partners of the event are the World Bank, Visa, Dell, VMware Bulgaria, Cisco, Progress, Uber, Lidl Bulgaria, Experian Bulgaria и HeleCloud.

Why in automation?

The automation is deepening the divide between male and female professionals in the digital industry, a McKinsey study states. According to the analysis, between 40 million and 160 million women globally may need to change jobs in the age of automation, often into higher-skilled jobs. It is nearly one-quarter of all women employed today.

On the other hand, Europe could generate an annual increase of EUR 16B if the digital divide is overcome. But the reality is different today – the average percentage of women and girls in the ICT sector in the European Union is as little as 16.1%. Bulgaria ranks first among the Member States with 27.7% and leads the list for female IT professionals with 30%, almost double the 16% average for the countries in the EU.

There are numerous ongoing initiatives on corporate, government and policy level but the progress is still dissatisfactory.

SHEleader@digital 2020 will bring together key female leaders from the business sector, non-profits, and public institutions from across Europe to engage in a dialogue on how we can effectively address those challenges and more importantly, it will set the tone to act upon solving them. The conference will have four panels – Deeptech, Leadership, Digital Art, and Green – as well as one-on-one format, a fireside chat, and a special closing session.

SHEleader@digital 2020 will be opened by a special art part: a performance by Maria Karakusheva and Ivan ShopovAmong our guests during Day 1 discussion formats will be:

  • Irma Mentzer – Head of IT, Sofia Shared Services Center, World Bank Group;
  • Eva Maydell – Member of the European Parliament, co-founder of Education 2030 initiative;
  • Zornitsa Roussinova – Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy;
  • Rachel Sheppard – Global Marketing Manager at Founder Institute;  
  • Lilia Messechkova – Sr. Director, Software Engineering at Progress;
  • Alexandrina Gindeva – Head of Global Delivery Hub at Experian;
  • Alex Popov – Site Lead at Uber Engineering Sofia;
  • Mariya Andonova – Manager Global Virtual Engineering DevNet at Cisco;
  • Zarena Kanchevа – Marketing and Communications Director Europe – Rakuten Viber;
  • Janet Todorova – Head of Expansion at Founder Institute;
  • Katerina Athanasopoulos – Regional Marketing Director for Central Eastern Europe at DELL EMC;
  • Diana Stefanova – Vice President of Global Site Strategy at VMware;
  • Krassimira Raycheva – Country Manager, Visa, Bulgaria;
  • Irina Obushtarova – Managing Director at TrendingTopics.bg;
  • Nikola Yanev – Head of Marketing at 11 Ventures;
  • Lubomila Yordanova – CEO and Founder of greentech startup PlanA.Earth;
  • Mariya Konstantinova – Investment Director at Superhuman Studios;
  • Gergana Stancheva – Co-Founder of green startup LAM’ON;
  • Sergey Petrov  – Founder of green high tech startup Pollenity;
  • Vera Petkantchin – Chief Operating Officer of JA Bulgaria;
  • Eva Vucheva – Co-Founder of ImpaktID;
  • Stefka Tsaneva – Cultural manager at Goethe-Institut Bulgaria;
  • Albena Baeva – Bulgarian artist, performer, interaction designer, instrument builder and Co-founder of Gallery Gallery;
  • Sergiu Ardelean – Co-founder & CEO of Artivive;
  • Antoni Rayzhekov – New Media Artist.

During Day 1 the conference will present the latest artwork of Albena Baeva – the interactive exhibition Life After: The Garden of Artificial Delights: is a browser-based triptych that resembles a tapestry of such a fantasy world consisting of 73 AI-generated elements, populated by 32 trans-species creatures.

Day 2 includes three special personal development workshops:

  • Peace, balance, and self-awareness: mindfulness meditation and yoga practice with  Swami Yoga Gagnana;
  • Therapy and meditation through modern dance techniques: movement and music to embody and provide a beat for your vision with Deyan Georgiev;
  • Wellbeing through our Lifestyle: Integrative practices for health, happiness, and balance through the support of essential oils with Biserka Yaneva and Katrin Kutsarova.

The conference will finish with the official after-party “Celebrating Women in Tech” at Puzl CoCafe.

Join us on September 17 and 18 and be part of the inspiring SHEleader2020 experience!