Even the biggest thunderstorm in years could not dampen the spirits of a determined group of women in Munich who braved the weather to attend the Women in Big Data (WiBD) event on June 22nd. Despite the meteorological challenges, over a hundred people, primarily women, flocked to the offices of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Munich, illuminating the evening with their fervor for innovation, data, and technology.
The sponsors of the event were AWS Women at Amazon and the SAP Business Women’s Network (BWN), further underscoring the importance of inter-company collaboration in fostering diversity. The attendees, a mosaic of seasoned professionals, young entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts, congregated around 6pm in the AWS Co-lab space for a networking session that was as illuminating as it was engaging.
At 7pm, Nahia Orduna, Senior Manager in Solutions Architecture at AWS and a co-founder of the Women in Big Data Chapter in Munich, took the stage to introduce the event. Nahia’s journey itself is a testament to the transformative power of such initiatives. Her first interaction with AWS was as a speaker at a previous WiBD event. A year later, she found herself as a part of AWS, and now she is steering the event she had once attended as an external guest. Nahia regaled the attendees with stories of the origin of the Women in Big Data organization group, its evolution over the past five years, and the importance of having a supportive partner network. Monika Ryll, Principal Project Manager at SAP and core member of SAP BWN took the stage to talk about SAP Business Women’s Network: the origins, their astonishing numbers in terms of representations and chapters, and the impact they are making at SAP. Nahia and Monika´s anecdotes offered insights into their journey, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
Following Monika´s address, the first keynote was delivered by Vivian Luechau-de la Roche, the Senior Vice President and Global Head of SAP Mission Control Center. Her talk centered around utilizing new technologies such as AI and Machine Learning to shift support from reactive to predictive. Vivian underscored the importance of implementing innovative technologies and their potential to revolutionize customer support in the tech industry. She further addressed the balance of maintaining calm in her critical position and the vital role diversity plays in her team.
Next in line were Olga Calvo, Principal Customer Solutions Manager at AWS, and Ruth Enrique, EMEA Field Enablement Lead at AWS. They embarked on a conversation about fostering a culture of innovation. Drawing from their experience at Amazon, they highlighted aspects like the company’s leadership principles, the concept of “two-pizza-teams”, one-way-doors, and flywheels, that make Amazon an innovation powerhouse. Their offer to conduct similar innovation workshops in other companies for free generated considerable interest amongst the audience.
As the talks concluded, Nahia Orduna re-engaged the audience with an interactive game. The attendees were quizzed about the topics discussed during the event via an online tool, providing a fun wrap-up to the evening. The lucky winners earned themselves a coaching session with tenured women in tech such as Vivian, Olga, and Ruth, giving them a unique opportunity for mentorship and learning.
Post-event, the gathering migrated back to the networking area, where conversations flowed freely for a couple more hours. Discussions ranged from career prospects to exchanging opportunities and debating Machine Learning use cases, reflecting the broad interests of the group.
The event was a seamless blend of technology, innovation, and empowerment, thanks to the diligent efforts of the hosts at AWS and Women at Amazon Germany (with Florian Böhme as Executive Sponsor, Asena Kanat as Head of Women at Amazon Events Workstream, and Tonia Schneider as Head of Communication stream) and the co-sponsors from SAP BWN (Rosemary Ismalou, Isabelle van de Merckt, Eva Eisenmann, Monika Ryll, Katharina Klein, Tímea Müller-Sótér, Teuta Stefi, Laryssa Fonzo…), together with Women in Big Data Munich core team members as Kendy Rannenberg, Katerina Andreeva, Jomy Jose, Anisa Stefi, Elizaveta Bugaeva.
AWS and SAP’s partnership, extending to diversity and sustainability, played a vital role in orchestrating this successful event, as they did in a previous Women in Big Data event in April.
The Women in Big Data event was more than just a gathering; it was a celebration of the strides women have made in the field of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.