Eva Diaz: Women Make the World Go Round

The #FemaleForward online campaign highlights women’s achievements that show how businesses and communities thrive when women take on bigger roles. One of our ambassadors is Eva Díaz from Spain.

Trained in Mechanical Engineering and with more than 20 years of experience in senior management, Eva is currently the CEO of Appogeo Digital, a Spanish Capital Company that develops mobility solutions. Born in 1962, she completed her gender identity transition process in 2015, being able to maintain her professional and personal activities during this process and becoming a role model for a new type of leadership. As a member of Ciudadanos, Spain’s liberal party and REDI, Network of Companies for Diversity and Equality, Eva actively promotes diversity, female empowerment and entrepreneurship as well as gender equality. Particularly the gender pay gap, which is still existent in almost all European countries, worries her:

“Spain is moving forward, but not in a structured way and without addressing the root causes of the problem.”

Spain has a modern legislation, but lacks a targeted strategy to overcome latent prejudices, customs and cultural traditions deeply rooted in society. Too often feminism is misused for political campaigning, although it is high time for taking real action: The rapid and highly complex digital transformation calls for a new, more feminine kind of leadership. Eva believes that “the integrative vision that women have through education and the ability to listen and generate networks” aligns with the digitally connected world. Digital strategy is equivalent to a collaboration and networks strategy to make successful decisions, it is essential take all players into consideration, the customer, the experts, and the environment. This must not be a uniquely feminine trait, but good leaders surely are both: willing to listen and ready to take well thought out steps and decisive action at the same time.

The basis for change is education. Knowledge is the key to self-determination and empowerment. Freedom one can say, comes about after a long and often not uncomplicated process of character formation.

“I believe that the woman that I am now is the combination of my professional experience, my personal gender transition process and an education based on personal effort and the struggle to achieve my goals”

says Eva. “My education taught me to get the most out of myself that I could become regardless of the barriers, my transition process has shown me that dreams are possible and above all it has taught me to commit to others and my profession has given me the ability to see the future with perspective and to meet and learn from great professionals.” Besides education, communication, like the FNF FemaleForward campaign, are of utter importance, according to Eva: “Making visible those women in main roles in their professional areas is absolutely basic to promote, in our young girls, the idea that, as a woman, they can get any dream they wish. To believe in yourself is key”.

Five years of the European Women’s Academy

Liberals Transform the Political Landscape for Women

When the first participants successfully completed the European Women’s Academy in 2016, just 26,8% of the parliamentary seats in Europe were held by women. In recent years, the political representation of women in European parliaments has steadily improved. Together with its partners at the ALDE Party and the European Liberal Forum, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation has been working for years to empower women in politics. The results speak for themselves.

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Mentor*innen

Challenge 1

Johannes Schmalzl

Hauptgeschäftsführer, IHK Region Stuttgart

Johannes Schmalzl, Jahrgang 1965, ist Jurist und trat 1996 in den Höheren Verwaltungsdienst des Landes Baden-Württemberg ein.

2005 wurde er zum Präsidenten des Landesamts für Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg berufen.

Er war von 2008 bis 2016 Regierungspräsident des Regierungsbezirks Stuttgart und anschließend Ministerialdirektor im Bundesministerium der Finanzen.

Seit November 2017 leitet er als Hauptgeschäftsführer der Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK) Region Stuttgart die Geschäfte der IHK im Einvernehmen mit der Präsidentin und nach den Richtlinien und Beschlüssen der Vollversammlung und des Präsidiums.

Challenge 2

Philipp Keil

Geschäftsführender Vorstand, Stiftung Entwicklungszusammenarbeit, Baden Württemberg

Philipp Keil ist seit September 2015 Geschäftsführender Vorstand der Stiftung Entwicklungs-Zusammenarbeit Baden-Württemberg (SEZ).

Nach einer Banklehre studierte Keil Wirtschaftswissenschaften, spezialisierte sich auf den Bereich Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik und schloss mit einer Diplomarbeit im Bereich CSR-Rating ab. Nach dem Studium war Keil bei Ernst & Young, unter anderem im Nachhaltigkeitsteam, tätig. Anschließend arbeitete er bei der Landesmesse Stuttgart, zuletzt als Abteilungsleiter im Bereich Nachhaltigkeit.

Bei der SEZ bringt er seine Expertise zu Themen der globalen Gerechtigkeit und nachhaltigen Entwicklung ein.

Challenge 3

Johannes Ellenberg

Gründer und Geschäftsführer, Ellenbergh GmbH

Johannes Ellenberg ist Unternehmer, Keynote-Speaker und ein bekannter Kopf der deutschen Startup-Szene. Schon während seines Studiums gründete er sein erstes, eigenes Unternehmen. Im Jahr 2011 gründete er den Verein Startup Stuttgart e. V., eine Community für Gründer aus der Region. Heute unterstützt Johannes Ellenberg sowohl Startups, als auch etablierte Unternehmen bei der Entwicklung digitaler Geschäftsmodelle. Zu seinen Kunden zählen sowohl namhafte klein- und mittelständische Unternehmen, als auch internationale Konzerne. Seine Erfahrungen
gibt er als Business Angel sowie auf der Bühne als Redner, Moderator und
Buchautor weiter. Johannes Ellenberg hilft Menschen und Unternehmen Ihre Ideen in die Realität umzusetzen. Er ist ein Mann aus der Praxis, was er mit einem Feuerwerk an konkreten Impulsen und Handlungsempfehlungen, in seiner Arbeit immer wiederunter Beweis stellt. Mit seiner leidenschaftlichen Art schafft er es, Menschen mitzureißen und für neue Wege zu begeistern.

Challenge 4

Dr. Axel Korge

Projektleiter, Fraunhofer Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation

Leitender Projektmanager am Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation (IAO) Der studierte Maschinenbauer, Jahrgang 1955, lebt mit seiner Familie in einem Vorort von Stuttgart. Er treibt gemeinsam mit Partnern aus Industrie und Wissenschaft die Themenstellung Arbeitswelt der Zukunft voran. Axel Korge entwickelt agile Organisationskonzepte und Methoden für kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen weiter. Mit einer partizipativen Vorgehensweise realisiert er Use Cases zur Gestaltung und zum wirtschaftlichen Betrieb von Industrie 4.0 und setzt vernetzte, kognitive Produktionssysteme gemeinsam mit den Beschäftigten um. Er hat die Erfahrung gemacht, dass die Menschen mitziehen und dass Produktivität, höchste Flexibilität und menschengerechte Arbeitsbedingungen keine unlösbaren Widersprüche sind.

Axel Korge ist der Überzeugung, dass in einer weniger hierarchischen Organisation riesige Potenziale für Unternehmen, Beschäftigte und Führungskräfte schlummern. Er blogt seine Erkenntnisse unter https://blog.iao.fraunhofer.de/tag/dialogarbeitswelt-4-0-in-baden-wuerttemberg/

Meet the Mentors

Challenge 1

Joscha Ritz

Head of Division, BDI/BDA The German Business Representation Brussels

Joscha Ritz is Deputy Head of the Brussels office of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). Before joining the BDI in 2012, he worked as Manager at the EU-office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Brussels.
Joscha holds a MSc in European Political Economy from the London School of Economics (LSE), a Master from Sciences Po Lille, France, as well as a Diploma in Political Science from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.

Challenge 2

Markus Löning

Managing Director and Senior Strategy Adviser

Markus is the founder and managing director of Löning – Human Rights & Responsible Business. He and his team help companies set up human rights due diligence processes to meet international requirements and standards.

Given his political background, he is an expert in strategic communication with various kinds of stakeholders. He has a global network of human rights, business and country experts.

Markus has been both a leader and member of the leadership of national and international political organisations and non-profit human rights organisations. Currently, he is a member of UNICEF’s German committee. He has been the chair of Liberal International’s Human Rights Committee, which brings together members of parliament and human rights activists from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. Furthermore, he is co-founder and chair of the NPO Finance and Human Rights a.s.b.l. 

From 2010 to 2013, Markus Löning was the German government’s Human Rights Commissioner and between 2002 and 2009 he was a member of the German Federal Parliament with a focus on European and development policy. Prior to his political career, Markus worked for 15 years in communications.

Challenge 3

Source: Freiburger Schule

Olaf Pruessmann

Director, Economic Affairs & Competitiveness, General Secretariat, Council of the EU

Challenge 4

Glen Hodgson

Founder & CEO, Free Trade Europa

With over twenty years’ experience in communications, public affairs and lobbying, Glen is the founder of the think tank Free Trade Europa, which focuses on promoting free trade, openness and the rule of law within the European Union and internationally. Glen also leads a stakeholder initiative on the platform economy in the Nordics.

Glen was previously responsible for the Nordics, Baltics and Central & Eastern Europe within an international communications agency. Prior to this he worked for the European institutions as well as governments, blue-chip international companies, start-ups and NGOs as a lobbyist, strategist and communications advisor.

Glen was also the Secretary General of a European trade association for five years. Today, Glen is a respected commentator on European affairs, as well as a frequent presenter, moderator and panellist at European policy events. Glen is also a trainer and coach on technology, migration, labour market, transport and sustainability policy as well as communications techniques for the public and private sectors.

Recommended Readings

In the following you will find some interesting basic and more in-depth readings, in preparation of our upcoming online hackathon « Engage Economy Europe21 », 22 September 2020.

Wolff, Guntram B. et. al: Rebooting Europe: A Framework for a Post Covid-19 Economic Recovery, Bruegel, May 2020.

Petropoulos, Georgios et al: Digitalisation and European Welfare States, Bruegel, 2019.

Becker, Sebastian: Digital Structural Change and the Welfare State in the 21st Century, Deutsche Bank Research, March 2019.

EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service: An initial mapping of structural risks facing the EU, July 2020.

Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies
Directorate-General for Internal Policies: The ECB’s Mandate: Perspectives on General Economic Policies, June 2020.

SME united: SMEunited’ Position Paper on the SME Strategy, July 2020.

Snower, Dennis: The Socio-Economics of Pandemics Policy, IZA Institute of Labor Economics, June 2020.