India Wins Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards 2020

Award designed to celebrate women and encourage greater diversity in the tech sector

  • ElsaMarie DSilva, Founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation, India has won the award in the Social Impact category for creating an online crowdsourced platform that documents incidents of sexual harassment and abuse in public places
  • 11 winners named in 10 award categories designed to celebrate women and encourage greater diversity in the global technology sector

Booking.com, one of the world’s largest online travel companies and a digital technology leader, announced the winners of its Technology Playmaker Awards 2020, an initiative launched in 2017 to recognize the achievements of women in tech and celebrate diversity of all kinds across the global technology sector. Winners were selected from among 45 finalists spanning 20 countries.

With the world in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, due to the impact of coronavirus (or COVID-19),  recognizing change-makers and inspirational forces making a difference to individuals and communities, both global and local, takes on special significance. This year’s winners represent five continents and come from Argentina, France, India, Nigeria, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. From a business leader revolutionizing women’s health and lifestyle through smart technology, to a FinTech entrepreneur redefining online security and payments through biometrics, and a software developer empowering African women technologists through training and mentorship, the winners represent the achievements that visionary women are making in technology every day. With a number of impressive nominations for initiatives contributing to solving community, sustainability or societal issues, two winners have been awarded in the Social Impact category this year.

“With nearly 850 nominations received this year, selecting 45 finalists and whittling that down to ten winners and one Technology Playmaker of the Year has certainly been a challenging, but inspiring process for the judging panel. That reflects not only the high quality of entries we’ve seen, but also the scale of impact and influence that women are having in the global tech industry,” said Gillian Tans, Chairwoman at Booking.com. “While we are unable to celebrate the winners in person this year as we had planned in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, at this time of such great global uncertainty, it remains more important than ever to recognize those who are making such lasting and impactful contributions in technology, as well as  inspiring each other.”

The winners of the Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards 2020 are:

  • Social Impact – ElsaMarie DSilva, Founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation, which created an online crowdsourced platform that documents incidents of sexual harassment and abuse in public places (India); and Sheila Harkatz, Founder of Mujeres En Carrera, a platform providing financial education to women and girls in Latin America (Argentina)
  • Champion of Change and Technology Playmaker of the Year 2020 – Leanne Robers, co-Founder and co-CEO of She Loves Tech, an accelerator program which has helped over 2,000 female tech entrepreneurs and women-impact tech start-ups (Singapore)
  • Rising Technologist – Hannah Blair, only three years into her tech career, she is a Senior Front-end Developer at Defty, a website building software, and co-Founder of vrcalm, an uplifting Virtual Reality experience created to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia (United Kingdom)
  • Role Model – Ada Nduka Oyom, Founder of She Code Africa, an organization that provides skills training, mentorship and support for African women in technology, and co-Founder of Open Source Community Africa, a group for open-source enthusiasts across Africa (Nigeria)
  • Entrepreneur – Seema Khinda Johnson, co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Nuggets, a blockchain payments and ID platform that is redefining online security and privacy through biometrics (United Kingdom)
  • Academic Achievement – Reina Camacho Toro, a particle physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), who is also modernizing the Latin American education system with the first free virtual courses on particle physics through an online education platform she co-founded in 2014 (France)
  • Employer – Sparta Global, a UK training and consulting company whose dedicated Diversity and Inclusion function is investing heavily in female technology professionals to unlock their potential (United Kingdom)
  • Business Leader – Tania Boler, Founder and CEO of Elvie, which aims to improve female health through smart technology and connected lifestyle and health products (United Kingdom)
  • Technology Innovator – Funmi Adeumni, co-Founder and CEO of Bright Technologies, an internet service provider that launched an app through which customers can make card payments and conduct online  services (Nigeria)

To select the Booking.com Technology Playmaker of the Year 2020, the judging panel reviewed the individual category winners for one stand-out entrant demonstrating leadership, technological innovation, impact and serving as a role model.

The award has been granted to Singaporian tech visionary and “tireless agent of change” Leanne Robers, co-Founder and co-CEO of She Loves Tech, for her efforts to bridge the gender gap for women in technology. She Loves Tech was founded in 2015 as a global platform to bring together entrepreneurs, companies and investors to create more opportunities for women tech entrepreneurs. Additionally, by hosting the world’s largest tech startup competition focused on women-led or women-impact businesses, Leanne is eliminating the misconception that “women don’t build good tech startups.” Leanne and her team have helped support and scale more than 2,000 women-impact tech startups, and provided mentorship and skills training in more than 20 countries.

“We launched the awards three years ago as a platform for women to be celebrated for the important and far-reaching work they do across the tech industry every day,” said Tans. “Today, the under-representation and under-recognition of women in tech remains as prominent as it was then, but I am pleased to see that gender diversity is increasingly becoming a key part of business discourse and the global agenda. At Booking.com, we look beyond just numbers to focus equally on inclusivity and belonging, and ensure that technology is an industry that is open and welcoming to all.”

Each winner received a prize of €5,000 (INR 4 lakhs approx) within the overall winner received an additional prize of €10,000 (INR 8 lakhs approx).

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