SHEleader@digital 2020 in a special online/on-site format: meet female leaders from the digital industry

Тhis is the blog of the open network EDIT, launched by MOVE.BG. The articles are also available on the official website of MOVE.BG.

There are only a few days left until the second edition of the international conference SHEleader@digital 2020, which will take place on September 17th and 18th in Sofia. This year the forum will be held in a special hybrid – online and on-site – format, due to the coronavirus. The conference will be opened for an on-site visit by a boutique group of spectators at Music Jam in Sofia in compliance with all COVID-19 measures, as well as to be watched online from all over the world. SHEleader@digital 2020 will be kicked off by Sasha Bezuhanova, Founder of MOVE.BG, and the EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who is the patron of the event. Among the participants are Chiara Corazza, Managing Director of Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, new media artists Antoni Rayzhekov, and Lubomila Yordanova, founder of Berlin-based #greentech startup PlanA

Business leaders, innovators in the fields of green projects and the arts, as well as political representatives will meet on SHEleader@digital to answer key questions related to the role of women in the digital era:

  • how automation is changing the business;
  • what is the role of women in the age of digital transformation;
  • why there are not enough women in deep technology and the digital economy;
  • how to overcome inequality between men and women in the digital industry;
  • what are the industries of the future;
  • what is the education of the New Age?

“The transforming digitally-connected world we live in requires the collective mind and professional contribution of all talented women and men who take the lead to experiment with innovative ideas and validate new solutions. In the New World, women have to play an even more significant role than today with their participation in the digital economy of Europe and the world,” said Sasha Bezuhanova.

“SHEleader digital brings together female leaders from Europe to find solutions to this imbalance together, to look for dimensions of authentic women’s leadership and to build a bridge to the new generation of female entrepreneurs.”

The conference will take place in two days, with seven discussions on Day 1, including four special panels: leadership, digital, green, and art as well as two inspiring chats. Day 2 is dedicated to personal development through four special workshops, which will be held on-site at MOVE.BG.

SHEleader@digital 2020 is organized by the Bulgarian Center of Women in Technology (BCWT), MOVE.BG and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. The official partners are the World Bank, Visa, Dell, VMware Bulgaria, Cisco, Progress, Uber, Lidl Bulgaria, Experian Bulgaria, HeleCloud, and Easy Consult.

Why Bulgaria is a good example?

Women continue to be underrepresented in the digital industry on a European level: female IT professionals in the European Union are only 1.5 million out of 8.9 million. Or – only 17%. Bulgaria is the leader with 28% and that is why it is appropriate for our country to host such an international conversation. 

The technology revolution and the period of a fundamental transformation in which we live pose a number of challenges that need to be addressed urgently. According to a report by McKinsey automation deepens inequality between men and women in the digital industry in the EU. However, Europe could generate an additional € 16 billion annually to its economy if this challenge is addressed.

SHEleader@digital 2020 will focus on seven perspectives for women’s contribution to tomorrow’s economic processes. The forum stipulates that women can play key roles in managing the deep tech economy not only with engineering but also with management functions. And also that they have the potential and talent to take on more leadership roles in the industries of the future and in those related to green transformation.

The event will also discuss the participation of women artists in the new territory, born of the meeting between technology and art, which is less burdened with the understanding of traditional male-female roles.

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;
  • 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!