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Speaker Biographies

Full speaker biographies will appear here shortly, please check back regularly for updates.


Mariya Gabriel

Mariya Gabriel

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, European Commission


Bulgarian nationality. Married with one child.

2017-Present: European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

2009-2017: Member of the European Parliament, EPP/ GERB (Citizens for European development of Bulgaria)

2014: Vice-President of the EPP Group in the European Parliament

2014 – 2017: Member of the European Parliament, EPP/GERB

• Member of the Committees AFET, LIBE, FEMM
• Member of the Delegation to the Joint Parliamentary Assembly ACP- EU
• Member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean
• Member of the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb and the Arab Maghreb Union
• Deputy-member of the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula

2016: Chief observer of the EU election observation mission to Gabon

2015: Member of the National Executive Council Women; GERB Bulgaria

2014: Chief of the EU Election Follow-up Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo

2009 – 2014: Member of the European Parliament, EPP/GERB

• EPP Group coordinator for the Committee FEMM
• Member of the Committees AGRI, LIBE, PETI, CRIM
• Member of the Delegation to the joint parliamentary assembly ACP-EU

2012: Vice-President of the EPP Women

2011: Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo

2008-2009: Parliamentary secretary to MEPs from GERB political party within the EPP Group

2007 – 2008: Research assistant, Institute of Political Studies, Bordeaux, France

2005 – 2008: Research Assistant, Institute of Political Science, Bordeaux, France – Laboratory SPIRIT, European Program EQUAL, 2004-2008, “Values and Economy – nondiscrimination in professional activities and social economy”

2004 – 2008: Research Assistant, Institute of Political Sciences, Bordeaux, France – International Research Program on “The parliamentarian representation at national and European levels (PARENEL)”

2004 – 2007: ATER (Attaché Temporaire d'enseignement et de Recherche), Institute of Political Science, Bordeaux, France

2002 – 2003: Master in Comparative Politics and International Relations PhD Academy for Political Science, Bordeaux, France

2001 – 2002: Certificate in Political Science, IEP Institute for Political Studies, Bordeaux, France

1997 – 2001: BA in Bulgarian and French Languages in Paisii Hilendarski Plovdiv University, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

1997 – Secondary Language School Dr. Petar Beron, Kyustendil, Bulgaria

Yvonne Agyei

Yvonne Agyei

Chief People Officer,


As Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, Yvonne Agyei is responsible for the overall employee experience at This includes overseeing the company’s global human resource efforts to ensure best-in-class recruitment, training and onboarding, employee engagement and relations, learning and development, performance management, and staff recognition programs for over 17,000 employees in 187 offices worldwide.

Prior to joining in October 2016, Yvonne worked at Google, where she started her career in 2003, when the employee base was only 1,200, helping it grow to over 60,000. While at Google, Yvonne gained an understanding of the crucial role HR plays in the growth of a highly dynamic company. She was responsible for designing, developing and managing a variety of programs to attract top talent, including new graduate recruiting, internship programs, scholarships, alumni relations, participation in academic conferences and a variety of diversity and talent inclusion initiatives.

Yvonne holds a BA in Psychology from Stanford University and Master’s degrees in both Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University and International Relations and Affairs from Tufts University – The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Malavika Vivek

Malavika Vivek

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Girls Make Apps


Malavika Vivek is a high school senior at the Middlesex County Academy and cofounder of national nonprofit Girls Make Apps, a US-based initiative founded in 2016. Till date, Girls Make Apps has inspired hundreds of girls and women from middle school through college to enter the world of tech through free workshops, programs and hackathons all across the country from New York to California. Malavika is also the Director of Programs at ProjectCSGirls, an international nonprofit, and manages chapters in over 9 countries including Tunisia, India, and Gambia. She has been honored as a Stanford University #include fellow for her efforts to bridge the diversity gap in tech and has also been featured for her work in Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and Huffington Post.

Kurt Schöffer

Kurt Schöffer

CEO, Auticon


Kurt Schöffer is the CEO of Auticon, an IT & compliance consulting business exclusively employing autistic adults as IT consultants. He was one of Auticon’s first investors and has been appointed CEO in 2013 to grow and expand the social enterprise. He is convinced that neurodiverse teams make a huge difference. Although building up a social enterprise is a major challenge he is intrigued by the idea of social projects in corporate environments, true to the motto: Donating money helps once; investments, active cooperation and knowledge transfer do it sustainably.

As an international entrepreneur Kurt possesses broad experience in global leadership in the areas of IT, energy and media: After completing his degree in business administration in Regensburg and starting out in controlling, he spent most of his career in leading positions in the computing industry, e.g. as CEO within an international Value Added Distributor for Enterprise Computing Solutions. He and his wife live near Munich, Germany. They have three adult children.

Helga Stevens

Helga Stevens

MEP, European Parliament


Helga Stevens is the first female deaf Member of the European Parliament and a member of the N-VA, which is the leading Flemish political party in Belgium. She was elected into the European Parliament in 2014, is Vice-President of the ECR group and Co-Chair of the EP Disability Intergroup.

Helga Stevens is a Member of the Civil Liberties, Home Affairs and Justice Committee (LIBE) and the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL). In LIBE she strongly focuses on migration issues and on making Europa safer for its citizens. She is also a co-rapporteur for the Special Committee on Terrorism. In EMPL and beyond she works on disability & equality issues.

Previously, in Belgium she had held a double political mandate, being a Member of the Flemish Parliament and of the Belgian Senate. She has also served as on the Ghent City Council for many years.

In 1993 Helga Stevens was the first deaf person to be conferred with a law degree in Belgium (Licentiate in Law) from the Catholic University of Leuven. In 1994 she obtained a Master of Laws degree (LL.M) from the University of California in Berkeley, USA. Currently, she is an honorary member of the Ghent Bar.

After working in a law office in Brussels she joined the European Union of the Deaf (EUD) as a staff person in 1996 and went on to become Director in 2000 and President in 2005.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith

CEO, Ada, The National College for Digital Skills


Biography to appear here shortly.

Khadijat Abdulkadir

Khadijat Abdulkadir

Founder and CEO, Digital African Woman (DAW)


Khadijat Abdulkadir is a social entrepreneur and holds a double Master in Business Engineering and Management Science. A certified SAP Software Analyst with experiences from corporations such as Aramark, Accenture and Microsoft.

Khadijat is passionate about promoting the rights of women in technology and sciences and more precisely teaching women to leverage technology for business sustainability.
Through Digital African Woman, Khadijat has acquired vast experiences training over 600 hundred grassroots entrepreneurs across Africa and Europe, equipping them with technical and business development skills to build and scale sustainable businesses. She is most passionate about empowering young women with the technology skills and tools necessary to be fully active innovators and entrepreneurs in the 21st century.

She focuses her projects on education, entrepreneurship, innovation and access for women especially in Sub-Sahara Africa and the European Diaspora. Her work has been featured in Forbes USA, Tropics Magazine SA, and People Centered Internet- Silicon Valley.

Hayley Sudbury

Hayley Sudbury

Founder and CEO, WERKIN


Hayley Sudbury is founder and CEO of WERKIN, a company dedicated to helping organisations manage, measure and scale career development and diversity programmes. WERKIN’s unique nudge technology enhances the visibility of diverse talent and transforms mentoring programmes into effective sponsorship. Hayley is a longtime mentor, encouraging young women to pursue STEM careers, is a regular speaker with Founders 4 Schools and sits on the steering committee of LB Women. Hayley was recently named on OUTstanding FT's 2017 Leading 100 LGBT+ Executives list and received the WeAreTechWomen’s 2017 TechWomen50 Champion Award. Hayley has engaged audiences at Turing Talks, SIBOS 2017 Toronto, Aviva Diversity in Tech, and Connecting Unicorns Berlin, among others, discussing the roles of technology and behavioural science in creating effective diversity programs. Hayley recently gave a TEDxShoreditch Talk, How to hack the workplace in 10 minutes, sharing how WERKIN technology helps leadership see past blindspots affecting who they see and how they manage.

Laurentiu Bunescu

Laurentiu Bunescu



Laurentiu Bunescu is the CEO of ALL DIGITAL, overseeing the strategic development of the organization, the development of existing and new partnerships, and the growth of membership. Laurentiu has been involved in the European telecentres movement since 2005. He joined ALL DIGITAL (then Telecentre-Europe) as Project Manager in early 2008, where he managed a number of projects including the annual Get Online Week (currently ALL DIGITAL Week) campaign.

Before ALL DIGITAL, Laurentiu started one of the first telecentres in Romania and became a facilitator and supporter of the Romanian national network of telecentres. With a strong background in the non-profit sector, Laurentiu’s early experience in Eastern European grassroots community development provides a major insight in understanding the network of community digital competence centres across the whole of Europe.

Cheryl Miller Van Dyck

Cheryl Miller Van Dyck

Founding Director, Digital Leadership Institute


In a career spanning 25 years, Cheryl Miller Van Dyck has held global leadership roles in blue chip companies in the transport, banking, telecom and IT industries in Asia, North America, Europe and Russia. As founder of the Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute, she has spent the last eight years leveraging disruptive technologies for the benefit of the world's most under-served communities. Cheryl's pioneering work is recognized by the United Nations, European Parliament and private sector organizations, and she is regularly invited to speak and author articles on the subjects of digital disruption, industry 4.0, entrepreneurship, innovation, education, digital inclusion, and the workforce of the future. Cheryl has presented at the United Nations in Geneva and New York, at the European Parliament in Brussels, and at global industry events like Mobile World Congress, TEDx, EmTech, OSCON, CPDP and FOSDEM.

Cheryl is member of the governing board of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition for Europe, member of the board of the Women's Entrepreneurship Platform, Brussels Ambassador to Startup Europe Week, three-time Belgian Ambassador for Code Week Europe, and Belgium Ambassador for Women's Entrepreneurship Day. She is on the board of several tech startups, and actively coaches and invests in early stage enterprises.

Cheryl has a degree in International Relations, Law & Organizations from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and a Master of International Business Studies from the prestigious Moore School of Business. She is an English native and speaks, reads and writes Japanese, Dutch, French, Italian and Russian.

Caroline van Weede

Caroline van Weede

Managing Director, Cable Europe


Caroline van Weede is the Managing Director of Cable Europe, a post she has held since December 2005. Before joining Cable Europe, Caroline worked for SFR (France) where she initially dealt with European Affairs and also chaired GSM Europe (2000 - 2001). She later headed SFR’s Business Intelligence Department.

Between 1994 and 1997 she worked for the European Commission (DG XXIII responsible for enterprise policy). Prior to that, she was an adviser at UNICE (now Business Europe) following closely the liberalisation of the telecommunications market. She began her career at Banque Paribas Belgium.

Caroline holds a degree in applied economics from the UCL (Université catholique de Louvain).

Ibrahim Ouassari

Ibrahim Ouassari

Founder, MolenGeek


Ibrahim Ouassari, 39, autodidact, Co-Founder & CEO from MolenGeek, with an atypical self-paved road because he left school at the age of 13. He is the head of Urbantech, a technological company that employs 15 people, with some of the biggest Belgian industries as clients.

He also developed Crowdfly, a recruitment platform.

He created MolenGeek to prove to young people that they are able to create a career in technology without the need for a school background.

In the beginning, MolenGeek started as a private initiative and an association created by five entrepreneurs where the main activity was to organize entrepreneurial events about technology in Molenbeek. The first event was launched in May 2015.

Today, Molengeek has become an ideation and coworking space, open since March 1 2016, where young people can work on their projects, exchange ideas and confront challenges; Information sessions for the domain of tech entrepreneurship in neighborhoods that are called “at-risk” ; Inspiring encounters organized by entrepreneurs ; Coaching from experienced people is given all year round in the coworking space and soon through a incubation program (will be launched on 24th October 2017); a place to learn coding, where young people can hone their digital skills in the presence of experts, a Coding School opened on March 6 2017, which counts today two classes and 35 students ; and finally, a trip to discover the tech ecosystem that exists all over the world, in order to bring MolenGeek the best practices, ideas and innovation in the subject of technology and entrepreneurship.

Corinna Horst

Corinna Horst

Senior Fellow & Deputy Director, Brussels Office , The German Marshall Fund of the United States


Corinna Hörst is senior fellow and deputy director of GMF’s Brussels office. She supports the executive director in all aspects of strategic planning, operations, personnel, management, and communication. In this capacity, she plays a central role in program planning, networking, and relationship building with the EU institutions, NATO and stakeholders from governments, media, business, as well as nongovernmental and think tank communities. She monitors and frequently comments on transatlantic relations and European affairs and is engaged in various women leadership development and diversity activities. She is president of the Brussels chapter of Women in International Security (WIIS) and and co-founder of The Brussels Binder, an online database of female policy experts. Her recent book “Women Leading The Way in Brussels,” co-authored with Claudia de Castro Caldeirinha (John Harper Publishing, 2017) looks at women leadership in Europe and Brussels, including vignettes of women who exercise leadership across different sectors in Brussels. Before coming to GMF in 1999, she was a teaching associate at Miami University, teaching American and world history and worked as assistant project manager at a publishing company in Germany. Hörst has a PhD and master’s degree in history and studied at Miami University in Ohio, United States, the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl

Director General, DIGITALEUROPE


Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl was appointed Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, the association for the digital technology industry in Europe, in April 2017. Formerly she has been Executive Board member of DIGITALEUROPE, where she also served as a member of the association’s high level Digital Advisory Council. Ms Bonefeld-Dahl has served as board member of the Danish Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of the Danish ICT association (ITB) where she has developed policy positions on Digitalisation of Business, ICT security, disruptive business models, telecoms and education.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl has more than 20 years of experience in the ICT industry. She previously held international positions for IBM and Oracle as well as with SMEs building business across Europe and China, and founded the cloud provider GlobeIT. She has deep insight into the digitalisation of Business and Society.

Siada El Ramly

Siada El Ramly

Director General, EDiMA


Siada El Ramly is the Director General of EDiMA – the European association representing online platforms. She has extensive experience in European public affairs and in particular experience in the European Digital sectors- having worked for the hardware and software industries in the past. Before joining EDiMA Siada was Secretary General of the European Software Association, Director of the AHIMA global services office as well as Senior EU Affairs Manager at Digital Europe.

Siada has furthermore worked for the content sector and the healthcare sectors. She also set up her own consultancy company that provides public affairs, association management and strategic advice to interest groups.

Siada holds an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) - University of London and a BA in Political Science – specialising in International Relations from the American University in Cairo.

Ilona Kish

Ilona Kish

Programme Director, Public Libraries 2020


Ilona Kish is a library avenger. As Director of the Public Libraries 2020 (PL2020) project team in Brussels, she leads a network of pioneering librarians from across Europe who are dedicated to the transformation of society through community engagement. PL2020 works to raise awareness of the immense potential of Europe’s 65,000 public libraries among EU policy makers; PL2020 works towards building stronger EU communities.

Ilona is a proud trustee of the UK Society of Chief Librarians and is currently serving on the Governing board for the Coalition for Digital Jobs and Skills hosted by the European Commission.

As the former Secretary General of Culture Action Europe (an association promoting European arts and cultural associations), Ilona has extensive experience in EU advocacy and campaigning, as well as a thorough working knowledge of both the operational and political functions of the EU institutions.

Veronique De Leener

Veronique De Leener

Founder and Director, Maks vzw


Veronique is the founder and director of Maks vzw since 1999. Maks vzw has 2 telecentres and runs all kind of activities in the field of digital inclusion with disadvantaged persons of all ages, using the peer to peer learning and learning by doing methodology. Maks vzw has participated in different European projects as a partner of Telecentre Europe.

Before working at Maks, Veronique was a director of a VET school, for youngsters between 15 and 20 years old (alternate working-studying). From 1982 till 1987, she was a teacher in the same school, teaching Dutch, French, and computer technology. Veronique is also a certified coach. In 2015-2016, she helped the Board of ALL DIGITAL (then Telecentre-Europe) as a financial controller and supported the staff of ALL DIGITAL in some practical aspects.

Max Son

Max Son

VP of Community, Code Your Future


Picture and biography to appear here shortly.


Paul Adamson

Paul Adamson

Chairman, Forum Europe


Paul Adamson is chairman of Forum Europe and founder and editor of E!Sharp, an online magazine dedicated to covering the European Union and Europe's place in the world.

He is a member of the Centre for European Reform’s advisory board, Rand Europe's Council of Advisors and the external advisory board of YouGov-Cambridge, a polling think-tank. He is a member of the board of advisors of the European Institute in Washington DC, the advisory board of the Washington European Society and the advisory committee of the EU chapter of Women in International Security (WiiS).

Paul is a Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, a patron of the University Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES) and a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.

He founded the consulting firm Adamson Associates, which was sold to Weber Shandwick and The Centre, which was later sold to Edelman.

In 2012, Paul was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to promoting understanding of the European Union”, a part of the Queen's 2012 New Year Honours Diplomatic Service and Overseas List. In 2016 he was made a Chevalier in the Ordre national du Mérite by the French government.

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