Booking.com has revealed the winners of its first Technology Playmaker Awards which recognise the role of women in technology.
Ten awards were presented at a ceremony in London last night in front of 300 guests during International Women’s Day.
The awards included eight individual category winners, one corporate winner, and a grand prix for the Technology Playmaker of the Year 2018 which went to Hadeel Ayoub, founder of wearable technology start-up BrightSign.
The awards recognised innovative and inspiring women in technology and organisations that have demonstrated a commitment to gender equality in the workplace.
Winners were recognised from 11 countries across Europe working in areas like Artificial Intelligence and blockchain, education and the energy sector.
The inaugural playmaker awards attracted five hundreds entries which were assessed by a panel of judges drawn from the technology industry, media and academia.
Booking.com chief executive Gillian Tans said: “The breadth and quality of nominations for our first Technology Playmaker Awards has been truly remarkable, and I would like to congratulate all our winners.
“Our finalists and winners come from diverse backgrounds and are real game-changers across the European tech scene.
“These exceptional women are transforming the way technology can be used to drive real impact across industries, businesses and communities, and I know that their success will inspire other women to follow in their footsteps.
“So far, the response from the European tech community has been incredible and this has given me even greater optimism about the role women will continue to play in driving technology innovation, and in our collective ability to build a more diverse and gender-balanced future for the industry.”
Ayoub’s accolade of booking.com’s first Technology Playmaker of the Year reflected the contribution she has made to technology innovation and social change on the European tech scene.
A designer, programmer and researcher in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) & Assistive Technology, she launched BrightSign, a wearable technology start-up developing innovations to facilitate communication for individuals with non-verbal disabilities.
Each category winner received a monetary prize of €5,000 and the overall Technology Playmaker of the Year was awarded an additional €10,000 grand prix prize.
The award ceremony featured a welcome address from Tans and a keynote speech by Randi Zuckerberg, chief executive and founder of Zuckerberg Media.
The awards judging panel was chaired by Gillian Tans, and included senior executives from leading tech brands, including Ruth Chandler, chief people officer at Skyscanner, Didier Rappaport, chief executive of Happn, Lisa Hillier, chief people officer at Just Eat, Marili ’t Hooft-Bolle, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of WeTransfer, and Jon Reynolds, co-founder at SwiftKey.
The judging panel also featured Eva Maydell, member of the European Parliament, Maija Palmer, digital and communities editor for the Financial Times Special Reports, and John Schmitz, dean of faculty of electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science (EEMCS) at Delft University of Technology.
The Booking.com Technology Playmaker Award 2018 winners:
• Entrepreneur of the Year – Kaidi Ruusalepp, chief executive and Founder of Funderbeam, a global stock exchange start-up built on the blockchain.
• Rising Star of the Year – Kerstyn Comley & Suzi Godson, Founders of MeeTwo Education Ltd., a unique early intervention solution to adolescent anxiety. Dr Comley is an education technologist and engineer, while Godson is a psychologist, journalist and graphic designer.
• Role Model of the Year – Anne-Marie Imafidon, Co-founder and chief executive of Stemettes, an award-winning social platform dedicated to inspiring and promoting the next generation of young women in the STEM sectors.
• Innovator of the Year – Bethany Koby, Co-founder and chief executive of Tech Will Save Us, a technology start-up creating STEM play experiences that empower children to learn about technology and coding through play.
• Sustainability Innovator of the Year – Floortje van Bovene, Founder of Spectral, an Amsterdam-based tech development and system integration company in the smart energy domain.
• Digital Leader of the Year – Kathryn Parsons, Co-founder and chief executive of Decoded, a London-based tech start-up which aims to increase digital literacy. Parsons is a passionate advocate of introducing coding as part of the school curriculum.
• Community Impact Award – Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and chief executive of BrightSign, a wearables start-up providing assistive technology for people with non-verbal disabilities.
• Business Leader of the Year – Zoe Cunningham, Managing Director of Softwire, a software engineering firm based in the UK.
• Employer of the Year – Intuit, an accounting software firm which has demonstrated its commitment to making workplace equality and inclusion integral to its values and its business.
• Technology Playmaker of the Year grand prix winner – Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and chief executive of BrightSign.