Visionary Women in Technology Across the Globe Recognized by Booking.com at 2019 Technology Playmaker Awards
Celebrating the achievements of women in the tech industry, the winners of the second edition of the awards came from Ethiopia, Finland, France, Mexico, Nigeria and the United States
Amsterdam, Netherlands – MARCH 14, 2019 – Booking.com, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies and a digital technology leader, has announced the recipients of the 2019 Technology Playmaker Awards. Now in its second year, the awards recognize women across the global technology scene who are trailblazing new paths, creating innovative products and experiences, positively impacting communities and inspiring future generations. At a gala ceremony held in London, UK, last night, eight prizes were awarded, including seven individual category awards, one employer award, and the overall 2019 Technology Playmaker of the Year award.
The winners include a Mexican entrepreneur who has created a detection system to locate survivors following an earthquake; the founder of an NGO aiming to lift Nigerian girls and women out of poverty through technology education and empowering teachers as change agents; the creator of a device that allows women to test for cervical cancer at home; and the leader of a global movement to teach girls coding, AI and robotics. Each category winner received a $5,650 prize, and the Technology Playmaker of the Year, who was selected from among the individual winners, received an additional $11,300. The seven categories recognized the tech contributions of women in areas ranging from positive business impact, innovative use of digital tools and emerging technologies, community impact and sustainable practices, rising tech talent, and an organization that is demonstrating a commitment to achieving gender diversity in IT and technology.
Linda Liukas, Finland-based founder of Rails Girls, was named the 2019 Booking.com Technology Playmaker of the Year. This award is given to the individual category winner who judges felt has made the most impactful contribution to innovation in technology and driven social change at a global level. In addition to founding Rails Girls, a global movement that is teaching young women to program in over 300 cities worldwide, Linda is the author and illustrator of Hello Ruby, a children’s picture book series translated into 25 languages about the world of computer science.
The 2019 Booking.com Technology Playmaker Award winners are:
● Community Impact – Martha Omoekpen Alade (Nigeria), founder of Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN), an NGO using technology to drive socio-economic empowerment in Nigeria in order to help 20,000 women and girls out of poverty by 2022
● Role Model – Linda Liukas (Finland), founder of Rails Girls
● Business Leader – Beena Ammanath (US), Global VP of AI, Data & Innovation at HPE and Founder and CEO of Humans for AI, a non-profit focused on increasing diversity in tech through the use of artificial intelligence
● Young Technologist – Betelhem Dessie (Ethiopia), founder and CEO of Anyone Can Code (ACC) in collaboration with iCog Labs, empowering children and young adults to innovate via coding, AI and robotics with the aim to solve society’s problems through technology
● Tech Innovator – Sophie Hombert (France), founder of Aglaé, the first luminescent plant company of its kind, developing a biodegradable nutritive serum that gives plantsa luminescent effect
● Digital Leader – Jill Zeret Jiménez Rodríguez (Mexico), founder of Zytreon Tecnología Infinita, a technology firm that launched a detection system to locate survivors following an earthquake
● Employer Award – 1 Million Women to Tech (US), a global online technology education program dedicated to reaching one million women with free coding education by January 2020.
“We received an exceptionally high caliber of nominations from every corner of the world, and it is my pleasure to congratulate all of our inspiring finalists and winners. Their stories highlight the breadth and scale of achievements that women at all stages of their tech careers are making every day,” said Gillian Tans, CEO at Booking.com. “We recognize the need to shine a light on role models in the tech industry, and set out to create a forum that brings together leading female technologists from different backgrounds to exchange ideas and perspectives and build connections with the aim to inspire future generations and achieve equal gender representation for women in tech.”
"I'm completely blown away to receive both the Role Model and overall Technology Playmaker of the Year 2019 Award. Initiatives like this help women feel seen and more widely recognized in general, as well as help to forge important and lasting relationships among like-minded, brilliant, world-changing women who work in the tech industry,” said Linda Liukas, winner of the 2019 Booking.com Technology Playmaker of the Year award. “Technology for me is about self-expression, creativity and joy. Women have so much to offer to the tech world and often make the mistake of trying to fit in too much. The moment I decided to step into my own possibility and curiosity, I started to build a career that looks like me."
This year, the awards were open to global nominations, building on a European focus last year, and drew hundreds of entries from over 60 countries.
The awards ceremony and gala dinner on March 13th included speeches from Eileen Burbidge MBE and partner at venture capitalist firm Passion Capital, and Hadeel Ayoub, CEO of BrightSign, an assistive technology start-up that created a smart glove to help non-verbal people to communicate. Hadeel was recognized as the inaugural 2018 Technology Playmaker of the Year.
The judging panel was chaired by Gillian Tans and included leaders from global tech companies, academia and start-ups including Skyscanner, WeTransfer, Amazon Web Services, Spelman College, Delft University of Technology, NeuralBay, Wormhole and All Turtles, as well as representatives from the European Parliament and the Financial Times.