Booking.com announced the winners of its inaugural Technology Playmaker Awards. At a special gala awards ceremony in London attended by over 300 technology leaders and individuals who champion women in tech from across Europe, ten prizes were awarded. These included eight individual category winners, one corporate winner, and a grand prix for the Technology Playmaker of the Year 2018.
The awards were created to recognize innovative and inspiring women in technology who are transforming the European tech scene and serving as role models for the community, as well as to honour organizations that demonstrate a relentless commitment to gender equality in the workplace.
From hundreds of impressive entries, winners include the creators of an app providing early intervention for adolescent anxiety, the inventor of a smart energy platform which uses Blockchain and AI to revolutionize how we consume energy, and digital leaders who have made strides in STEM education and in inspiring girls and women to embrace technology. Leading women in tech were recognized from 11 countries across Europe.
Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and CEO of BrightSign, became the first Booking.com Technology Playmaker of the Year, which is awarded to the entrant who judges felt had made the most impactful contribution to technology innovation and social change on the European tech scene. Hadeel, a designer, programmer and researcher in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) & Assistive Technology, was recognized for her launch of BrightSign, a wearable technology start-up developing innovations to facilitate communication for individuals with non-verbal disabilities.
The Booking.com Technology Playmaker Award 2018 winners are:
- Entrepreneur of the Year – Kaidi Ruusalepp, CEO and Founder of Funderbeam, a global stock exchange start-up built on the blockchain.
- Rising Star of the Year – Kerstyn Comley & Suzi Godson, Founders of MeeTwo Education Ltd., a unique early intervention solution to adolescent anxiety. Dr Comley is an education technologist and engineer, while Godson is a psychologist, journalist and graphic designer.
- Role Model of the Year – Anne-Marie Imafidon, Co-founder and CEO of Stemettes, an award-winning social platform dedicated to inspiring and promoting the next generation of young women in the STEM sectors.
- Innovator of the Year – Bethany Koby, Co-founder and CEO of Tech Will Save Us, a technology start-up creating STEM play experiences that empower children to learn about technology and coding through play.
- Sustainability Innovator of the Year – Floortje van Bovene, Founder of Spectral, an Amsterdam-based tech development and system integration company in the smart energy domain.
- Digital Leader of the Year – Kathryn Parsons, Co-founder and CEO of Decoded, a London-based tech start-up which aims to increase digital literacy. Parsons is a passionate advocate of introducing coding as part of the school curriculum.
- Community Impact Award – Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and CEO of BrightSign, a wearables start-up providing assistive technology for people with non-verbal disabilities.
- Business Leader of the Year – Zoe Cunningham, Managing Director of Softwire, a software engineering firm based in the UK.
- Employer of the Year – Intuit, an accounting software firm which has demonstrated its commitment to making workplace equality and inclusion integral to its values and its business.
- Technology Playmaker of the Year grand prix winner – Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and CEO ofBrightSign.
Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans said, “The breadth and quality of nominations for our first Technology Playmaker Awards has been truly remarkable, and I would like to congratulate all our winners! Our finalists and winners come from diverse backgrounds and are real game-changers across the European tech scene. These exceptional women are transforming the way technology can be used to drive real impact across industries, businesses and communities, and I know that their success will inspire other women to follow in their footsteps. So far, the response from the European tech community has been incredible and this has given me even greater optimism about the role women will continue to play in driving technology innovation, and in our collective ability to build a more diverse and gender-balanced future for the industry.”
The award ceremony included a welcome address from Gillian Tans and a keynote speech by Randi Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Zuckerberg Media.
The awards judging panel was chaired by Gillian Tans, and included senior executives from leading tech brands, including Ruth Chandler, Chief People Officer at Skyscanner, Didier Rappaport, CEO of Happn, Lisa Hillier, Chief People Officer at Just Eat, Marili ’t Hooft-Bolle, COO and CFO of WeTransfer, and Jon Reynolds, Co-founder at SwiftKey. The judging panel also featured Eva Maydell, Member of the European Parliament, Maija Palmer, Digital and Communities Editor for the Financial Times Special Reports, and John Schmitz, Dean of Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) at Delft University of Technology.
Each category winner received a monetary prize of €5,000 and the overall Technology Playmaker of the Year was awarded an additional €10,000 grand prix prize.
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