Win a ticket to the Future of Leadership Initiative Conference: "The Truth Behind Innovation"

FTL is going to the Future of Leadership Initiative Conference "The Truth Behind Innovation“ and three of you are coming with us! 

Oh happy day,  it’s giveaway time! Female Tech Leaders could not be more excited to announce a special giveaway in collaboration with the Future of Leadership Initiative (FLI). Here's the deal: we are offering 3 free (2200€ value!!!) conference passes to participate - alongside industry and thought leaders - as delegates of the Female Tech Leaders community in an English-speaking, open think tank on leadership and innovation.

The FLI Conference this year will focus on 3 key questions that are of particular importance in the context of digitalization:

  • How can I as a leader innovate myself to be a role-model for innovation?
  • How can leadership create the conditions that drive true innovation in complex organizations
  • How to create an effective and sustainable innovation ecosystem?

Amongst others you will hear keynotes and viewpoints of inspiring leaders like Jeff Burton (Co-Founder of Electronic Arts, and of course FTL Advisor), Dr. Hannes Ametsreiter (CEO Vodafone Germany),  Harvard Professor Barbara Kellerman (Author of the Book 'The End of Leadership'), according to the magazine Spiegel “Germanys most known strategy consultant” Antonella Mei-Pochtler, Cyber Architect James Law from Hong Kong, Silicon Valley expert and start-up entrepreneur Catalin Voss, and Konstanze Frischen from the social business incubator Ashoka in Washington D.C.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Here's how you win:

To enter, follow the steps below:

  1. Post a photo on your Instagram or Facebook account and in the caption answer the question "How can leaders encourage innovation?" (max. 25 words). Be creative – use photo, video, caption and don't forget to introduce yourself.
  2. Include the following hashtags in your post: #innovativeleadership #thetruthbehindinnovation #FTLvisitsFLI
  3. Tag the @femaletechleaders Instagram/Facebook account in your post
  4. One final thing: the post should be available to public (otherwise we can't find it)

This is an equal opportunity competition and is open to all genders. Travel costs to Tutzing (accessible with Munich S-Bahn) are not included. Authors of three most interesting (read: be original, tell a story) and creative posts will win the opportunity to participate in the the Future of Leadership Initiative Conference! All we ask in return is that you post live from the conference on the @femaletechleaders Instagram account and/or share your experience on the FTL blog (yep, this space right here!).

Giveaway will end on Wednesday, February 7th at 23:59. Winners will be announced here on the morning of Friday, February 9th and contacted via DM on Instagram/Facebook.

We are looking so forward to your posts and having your as representatives of the Female Tech Leaders community!

Explore entries

Instagram #innovativeleadership #thetruthbehindinnovation #FTLvisitsFLI

Facebook #innovativeleadership #thetruthbehindinnovation #FTLvisitsFLI


Questions? Leave a comment or email

Siemens next47 and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners Partners tackle topic of women in venture capital world at Female Tech Leaders workshop

Female Tech Leaders, an organization dedicated to empower its members by providing them with new skill-sets, organized its 4th workshop on October 17th 2017 under the theme “Women in Venture Capital”. This workshop was lead by coaches from next47 and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners (UVC Partners) and hosted by Siemens next47.


The workshop was designed for people in tech who are interested in connecting their technology background with their passion for start-ups. Moreover people who might have thought about founding a company or have had first experience working at a start-up or at a venture capital (VC) firm, were brought together.

Analysts and principals from both next47 and UVC Partners shared their insights into this industry. Vanessa Schmidt, an associate at next47, started off the workshop with her keynote presentation. Her general introduction shed light on what is going on in the VC scene when it comes to women role models. According to Prequi Special Report on Women in alternative assets, 11.5% of all senior positions at venture capital fund managers are occupied by women. Vanessa also explained that from the Midas List of the 100 world‘s smartest tech investors, only 6 women are on the list; 5 based in the U.S., 1 based in China. What is also interesting from Vanessa’s research findings, is that women who made it to higher ranks leave established VC firms and often found one-women or women-only firms. We can cite as an example, the VC firm Defy or the female only partners Aspect Ventures. To close her presentation, Vanessa offered some advice on how to get into the world of VC either by founding, working at a start-up or by starting a career in VC as an analyst or associate. Nevertheless the ways into a VC career are infinite.


A second presentation was given by Alexander Kiltz an Investment Analyst at UVC Partners, which is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in B2B technology startups in the fields of Industrial IoT, Manufacturing Technologies, Mobility and Smart City. Alexander focused on what UVC Partners achieved and are achieving by investing in upscaling companies of the aforementioned branches, like Konux or FlixBus, and undertook a closer examination of the daily challenges of VCs.


Participants were then able to participate in a hands-on practice session that included conducting a case study on what an actual VC review of a start-up idea should look like. With the guidance from Vanessa and Alexander, participants put themselves into the shoes of venture capital analysts. First, they came up with their own list of VC criteria for evaluating startup ideas - such as the team, the technology, and KPIs - to evaluate afterwards in teams the first pitch decks of companies now known as YouTube and Airbnb. Subsequently, an open discussion took place where participants shared their findings with the trainers and received feedback regarding their evaluations.

The workshop was closed by insights from two women venture capitalists reflecting on their individual paths into the VC industry. Itziar Estevez Latasa from next47 who joined Siemens VC in 2010, focuses on investments in advanced manufacturing and industrial technologies. Itziar shared with the audience her career path and personal experience as a women in VC. Our second guest speaker, Dr. Anne Kreile from UVC Partners shared her story on how she landed from a PhD in Neurosciences to an Investment Associate, by simply seeking new challenges.  

Itziar Latasa.jpg

To come to a conclusion, the great success of our workshop wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing and diverse participants! So we would really like to thank all the participants for their engaging conversations and discussion. Many thanks also go to next47 and UVC Partners for supporting Female Tech Leaders with their time and effort to organize and lead the workshop and to give a glimpse into the world of VC.


Full of new impressions, motivated by interested participants and empowered by our volunteer coaches, photographers and team members, we are already looking forward to our next event! See you there!

Female Tech Leaders visits the biggest start-up conference in Munich: Bits & Pretzels 2017

Have you ever dreamt about doing networking and workshops in a cozy and informal surrounding - maybe even with a mug of beer? Well Bits & Pretzels might be your dreamland.

Being an active participant of Female Tech Leaders events as well as highly inspired by a start-up community, I was lucky to win the FTL Giveaway for Bits & Pretzels tickets and attend the biggest start-up event of the year – Bits & Pretzels 2017.

On Sunday 25th, at 10:15 wearing my Dirndl (traditional Bavarian dress) I was lost in the crowd heading to Oktoberfest. However already than I felt special: I was prepared for a unique experience and indeed it was.


Once I entered the nice building of International Messe Munich – I was met by friendly volunteers who showed me the way to the reception desk. There I received the welcome kit: blue badge (with my name and the name and the stage of the start-up I was presenting and a blue bandage. Yes, my adventure starts right here! Right away I went to explore the location.


Quickly ran through the given options as a business person I understood I should plan and prioritize: and I went to (…have a coffee! A-ha-ha – No, Joke! :D) – I headed directly to the Center Stage where everyone else was rushing to – of course – 10:45: an amazing Opening Ceremony by well-known German celebrity speaker, musician and entertainer Stefan Raab was about to start. This one I cannot miss!

“Wow! 8 in 1 – Bingo!” - were my thoughts: “S-o-o… Where do I even begin?”

Central Hall and Presenters

As a representative of Bavarian Government Ilse greeted the participants and thanked the organizers for their unique contribution to development of start-up ecosystem in Germany. She underlined to be proud to host Bits & Pretzels in Munich.

Anyone who comes here is a winner or on the way to be one.
— Ilse Aigner

Indeed, Bits & Pretzels was now coming up to an international level. Ilse and other German speaking presenters were supported with live translated English subtitles that were following the speech on the screen. That impressive Innovation was a subject of use, entertainment and excitement not only for all attendees, but also for presenters, who were themselves amazed by how precise and understandable that system worked.

Following Ilse, Stefan Raab has shared his own authentic success. He shared with participants his failures emphasizing that success is not free from mistakes, hard work and try-again’s. He wished young entrepreneurs do not ever give up the idea to become a successful entrepreneur even if their business idea failed once or once again.

Never give up! Even if you fail: it’s your business idea that failed, not you! You are entrepreneur – and that can never fail.
— Stefan Raab

Start-ups Exhibition & Networking

At the lunch break I studied the crowd: all participants were identified into groups and each group had its own color of a badge. My badge was bluemeaning I belonged to newcomer/start-up group. Orange badges were given to the start-ups that already visited the conference last years. Investors had important not-to-be-missed red color. Volunteers and Team had black color. Media and Journalists were seen under purple. Visible and easy identification was a good start for small talks and empowered networking, which is what I usually (and successfully) managed to do during lunch.

Motivated by amazing food and talks I went to discover start-ups presented on the fair. Here the org. team had a good foresight to make the visitor travel path as easy and straight-forward as possible. The start-ups were divided by functional divisions (e.g., Lifestyle and Entertainment, Finance, Supply Chain, etc.). One felt like a little explorer: searching for a goldmine if you are an investor, for a great team to join if you want to be a part of a start-up and have required expertise, to share insights or to ask for a peer advice, if you also run a start-up. The atmosphere was very friendly, anyone felt comfortable since all of us were sharing the same passion and felt as we were writing a story: a story of entrepreneurship establishment. The diversity of presented start-ups was on the high level for any taste or business need: starting from complex supply chain process steps development apps and fintech ideas and ending with fitness trackers and chatting platforms, – each stand was unique, led by inspired young entrepreneurs and represented a definite future success story.


Representing Female Tech Leaders, I was able to tell about this blossoming organization too. Everyone who I was telling about FTL was inspired by the idea and wished us success and big future, which I gratefully give further: Thank you, Alev Canoglu, for making FTL happen and uniting us all – Female Tech Leaders - under such a great motto!

Start-up Pitch


Whatis a start-up event without the elevator pitch? Bits & Pretzels came up with special concept for that as well: in one of the exhibition areas, in corner the visitors feel like they suddenly got lost and opened a door to an Alaska House. The atmosphere supports suggested by décor mood but the competition is on: present your start-up idea and win a prize of a financial support to make the wish come true.

I have spent some time watching different presentations and trying to understand the key success factors of the presenters.

Every entrepreneur has three minutes present. Three investors who carefully listen, ask questions and evaluate the idea for the next round. The questions are quite straightforward: “what is your business model?”, “how large is your market is?”, “who are your customers?”, “how are you going to find them?”, “what is your expertise?”

Presenters are trying to be convincing, excited and present as much figures as they could on their stage of development. By the end of competition the best of the presenters - gets a great winner recognition and the funding of his / her idea.


Academy Stage

Another stage that is worth to visit for those who are interested in the theoretical part of entrepreneurship and are motivated to strengthen their knowledge about “how to do fundraising?” or how to do PR?” or get strategic advices on trends and models from industry leaders. The atmosphere here reminds university and motivates a good learning time.

Finishing my day with insightful talks from such well-known entrepreneurs as Rolf Schrömgens (Trivago), Wener Vogels (Amazon), Rene Rechtman (Disney) and of course Kevin Spacey, who shared with the audience the amazing news of him joining the Bits & Pretzels as a 4th co-founder.


To sum up I can say I was amazed by the atmosphere, gathered unlimited inspiration and was able to get an extremely unique perspective not only on entrepreneurship, business and networking, but also on my personal ambitions and goals. I would definitely advise all my friends and colleagues to visit Bits & Pretzels next year and as reminded by Werner from Amazon: work on the future now in order to invent and thus predict it the way you better want it to be.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
— Werner Vogels (CTO of

About the Author


Mariia Kazantceva is an IT Project Consultant at an international IT Consulting company. In 2015, she received a Master's in Management from the University of Mannheim. Outside of her professional life, Mariia is passionate about promoting diversity and entrepreneurship in business and society and is an active supporter of several related communities.

Contact: LinkedIn | Email

Don't miss our advisor Lin Kayser's opening words from FTL Speaker Night at Microsoft

On the evening of Tuesday, September 19, Female Tech Leaders welcomed a second at our second ever Speaker Night the Microsoft Germany offices in Munich. Female Tech Leaders has worked hard to continue establishing a local presence since our first Speaker Night in April. Lin Kayser, one of our three advisors, helps to guide our organization in the right direction so that Female Tech Leaders can best achieve our mission. One of Lin's has many skills is inspiring people through his words and actions, so FTL knew he was the one to open this Speaker Night, which the largest event we host.

Lin Kayser,  FTL advisor , welcoming the audience at the Speaker Night on September 19, 2017

Lin Kayser, FTL advisor, welcoming the audience at the Speaker Night on September 19, 2017

Lin quickly engaged the audience by raising the question that FTL receives often, "So why is an organization such as Female Tech Leaders still necessary in 2017?" We have come so far, but why is there still this gap? Lin tells us that it lies in the details, these moments and symbols that people brush off as trivial.

He shared personal stories about raising his young daughters with his wife and all the gender-stereotypes he encounters that make it unnecessarily difficult to embrace interests when they are constantly associated with particular genders. We should all consciously step back and look at how various situations and images are portraying how people should think, act and feel.

I hope you all find the courage to truly explore who you are, what drives you, where your passions lie. Because we need every single one of you to lead and drive this change.

Lin's message resonated with all of us in the room. Thankfully he shared the entire transcript of his opening keynote on his blog here.


About Lin Kayser

Lin is an entrepreneur, investor and one of our trusted advisors at Female Tech Leaders. He is involved in several ventures around robotics and other advanced technologies. In 2011, he established the Kayser Forum for Sustainability, nonprofit organization to raise awareness for environmental issues.

Contact:  LinkedIn | Twitter

How to get (female) speakers for your (tech) event

The words female and tech are in parentheses because this post was initially intended to be about finding women speakers for tech events. However, these principles can be applied to finding speakers of any gender for any kind of event.

I am a computer scientist from Munich, who founded a non-profit initiative called Female Tech Leaders (FTL), in the pursuit of getting more women and girls into STEM fields and getting those who already are in STEM into leadership roles. We want to achieve these goals by a number of various community projects, including but not limited to workshops, hackathons, courses and — so far our biggest category — speaker nights. These are events where (mostly) women in tech speak about technical subjects or personal talks regarding their career paths, challenges, and learnings about working in a male dominated field.

Last weekend, I was invited to the Women Techmakers Summit in Prague. I met some amazing community leaders in tech and learned a lot of valuable insights to take home to the FTL community with me. Our days were filled with talks about inclusion and community building, an interactive panel about collaborating with other communities, and a series of hands-on workshops meant to help attendees develop their community leading skills.

In one of the workshops, we were asked to brainstorm about how we could get more female speakers to give talks at events and tech conferences. Since most of my work and research at FTL deals with topics like this, I was very excited to exchange my experiences with my team. I don’t usually have a hard time finding female speakers, so after sharing the best practices I employ at Female Tech Leaders, my group asked me to write them down, making them available to other communities of (tech) conference organizers. It wasn’t the first time I was asked to do this, so I decided to oblige and share some of my knowledge in this post.

Alev at the Female Tech Leaders Speaker Night on September 19, 2017

Alev at the Female Tech Leaders Speaker Night on September 19, 2017

In the hopes that these practices will help other (tech) communities find more (female) speakers for their events, here they are:

1. Meet them at other events

While this one sounds quite trivial, you would be surprised how many people want to, but don’t approach speakers at events. People who talk at conferences want their talks to lead to new opportunities. Personally, I can attest that it is a compliment when someone likes your talk so much, they want you to come and speak at their event too. So get out of the building and go to the very next conference in your community, there is a speaker waiting for you to ask them.

2. Look up talented people in your area

Your next speaker does not need to have years of public speaking experience. You can find many talented men and women in your city who are really good at what they do, but the opportunity may not have presented itself to them yet. They also might need a little push! That’s where your proactivity comes in. Look up people who have done a cool thing and just message them! I’ve experienced that people are very flattered to be messaged about their accomplishments. If someone is unsure about speaking in public, even though you think their knowledge should be shared, you can try to be supportive by encouraging them — which brings me to my next point.

3. Encourage and empower (first time) speakers

Something that I like to do if a speaker has not given many talks before and is unsure about where to start: I meet up with them in person and try to support their creative process in any way that I can. Oftentimes, it is enough to meet for an informal coffee or dinner and just ask them a lot of questions about what they do. Be clear about what the topic of their talk should be, then ask them all that you want to know about it. If it is about something personal, or if they are accomplished in their field, then talking conversationally about exactly those subjects should come easy to them anyway. You will soon find out that simply by chatting with you, their talks start drafting themselves. Your speaker will go home and have lots of material to work with!

4. Help create speakers yourself by leading public speaking workshops in your community

There are so many men and women out there who would like to give talks but don’t know what to do to get started. You can help them by throwing a workshop. Find some talented speakers or even official coaches in your area and ask them to donate their time for a speaker training workshop! Ask participants to bring a (technical) topic they’d like to give a talk about someday and then work with them on the individual areas they wish to improve. This will help people overcome their fears and direct their questions to a professional in a safe and fun environment. You might empower someone to speak at your next meetup or even big conference.

5. Invite potential future speakers to be guests at your events

If you have a potential speaker who is still hesitant, give them a behind the scenes look of what’s going on at your conference. Introduce them to current speakers and audience members. If your events are made with love, they will soon feel the inclusive and safe vibes. They will notice how rewarding it is for your speakers to share their knowledge with your community and how much the audience appreciates to hear their talks. Help them feel that they are a part of it and it might encourage them to participate in your next conference.

6. Network and become known

This one is by far the most important point, so I will divide it into two parts.

6.1 — Go to a lot of events

Female Tech Leaders has become Munich’s go-to organization for most topics and events related to gender diversity in tech. I am in a very grateful position where now I don’t have to search a lot, but people actually reach out to me to introduce potential speakers! This didn’t happen overnight, though. I attended plenty of events, conferences and meetups, and tried to personally meet other community leads whenever I could. I walked up to many strangers at many events to get to know them and learn about what they do in the community. I tried to tell everyone I met about empowering women in technology and shared the passion for my cause. I exchanged contacts and helped other communities (e.g. Unicorns In Tech, Munich) with their meetups. Helping others out is not only emotionally rewarding, but will also make you a well known member of your city’s tech and startup scene, so go and engage with other people’s events!

6.2 — Introduce people to each other

Even if it does not directly benefit you in any way. When you talk to someone new and they tell you about themselves, their plans, hobbies or career moves, scan your mind for someone else you know who could either be of help for them, or just interesting to chat with. It takes two minutes of your time to write a quick intro message, but people don’t forget the person who connected them to someone that made a difference in their lives, or careers. Become a person who helps and connects people. They will think of you when they meet someone who might be of interest to you in return, such as a potential speaker.

Become known for your cause in your community and introduce people to each other, and soon the speakers will be coming to you.

Bonus: Try to see something worth sharing in everyone you meet

Your next speaker does not need be someone who is already in the news every day. It can be anyone. I’m a curious person, and I try to find something interesting and worth admiring in everyone I meet. Every person has a story, something they’re good at, or something that makes them special. I try to look for that and highlight it in people. I try to recognize and verbally acknowledge it if I like something about them. Not only does it lead to better relationships, but it also trains your eye to look for something awesome in everyone. This habit might just encourage someone to give a talk about something, someday. And if they do, I want to hear it.

We are always looking for new partnerships. To find out how to collaborate with Female Tech Leaders, please send an email to


About the author

Alev Canoglu is a student at the Technical University of Munich, pursuing her Masters Degree in Computer Science and the founder of Female Tech Leaders. Alev founded Female Tech Leaders to strengthen the ecosystem for women engineers, leaders and entrepreneurs and make STEM fields and entrepreneurship accessible to all generations of women.

Contact:  Email | LinkedIn | Twitter

This post is a repost and was originally posted by Alev on her Medium account on June 13, 2017.