On Monday the 4:th of November, we once again open applications to our annual LeoRegulus Award. LeoRegulus Award is initiated by LeoVegas and grants SEK 100,000 to an organisation, initiative, or person who is actively working to increase the awareness of or interest in tech among women and who are striving towards a higher degree of diversity & inclusion within the tech-sector. We took the opportunity to check in with our LeoRegulus Award winner from 2018, Maria Norberg from Teknikkvinnor, to see what impact the award has had for them during the past year.
Hey Maria Norberg, you’re one of the founders of Teknikkvinnor. How did you get started and what does your organisation do today?
Teknikkvinnor started as a Facebook group in September 2017. During the first two days the group exploded with 5,000 members, without us really doing anything. We were completely mind blown but realised that we were on to something important and powerful. Very quickly we were recognised by the media and soon companies were expressing their interest in not only what we were doing, but also wanted to be in contact with our network members. Very early on in our journey we started doing events and workshops with companies who we determined had a genuine commitment and interest in working with gender equality & inclusion, not those who merely intended to “throw money” at the problem.
Today, we are active in mainly three areas. Our foundation is built on our vast network and is our most important asset. Secondly, we hold workshops, lectures and set up learning & development programs for companies wanting to really focus on gender equality & inclusion. We also act as advisors to management teams who drive the diversity & inclusion agenda within their own company. In short, we act as a bridge between people and companies with the goal of achieving change. We are three full-time employees and have fourteen people who work on volunteer basis driving our local networks.
Why do you think Teknikkvinnor has been so successful to date? What makes you stand out from other organisations?
From day one we have truly listened to our network and acted on what they actually want. We combine this with having an attitude of always testing new ideas and continuously asking ourselves “what is the worst thing that can happen”. The more we test (and fail!) the more we progress and learn. That’s how “Teknikkvinnor Jobs” came about, a group where companies can advertise their open positions. Teknikkvinnor also has a network for managers (in Swedish: Teknikkvinnor Chef), where women who are managers within the tech-sector can share experiences, network and grow together.
Our Facebook group is extremely active and it’s really our members who drive the content in the group. This tells us that the need for these types of groups is strong. Although our online forums are incredibly important on a day-to-day basis, we also have local network meetups. Today, we have local representatives working on a volunteer basis with setting up network meetups all over Sweden, covering all of the major cities but also several smaller ones too. All groups meet up to nine times per year and our events are very popular.
Last but not least, one of our key philosophies is that we need to work with both men and women in gender equality & inclusion matters and together determine how we can change things. If we aren’t involving the majority of the tech-sector, i.e. men, how can we ever accomplish change? Change will only ever happen if we all work together.
It’s been almost a year since Teknikkvinnor won the LeoRegulus Award, where you received SEK 100,000 for your fantastic and very important work with increasing gender equality & inclusion within the tech-sector. How has winning LeoRegulus Award impacted Teknikkvinnors work? What has the prize money been used for?
The LeoRegulus Award has given us a safety net, which has been invaluable. Winning the prize has allowed us to work on projects that we feel are fundamentally important, instead of being forced to only focusing on activities that brings revenue. It’s been great to be able to do both! During this year we have chosen to engage in a Vinnova-project, in collaboration with Luleå University and Luleå Science Park, which focuses on creating a digital tool to increase inclusive communication. We have also been able to reach out to organisations with similar agendas to us in order to identify how we can collaborate together. We see no reason to view other similar organisations as competitors, after all we are all striving towards the same goal. At Teknikkvinnor, we truly believe that we only have things to win from collaborating.
Thanks to the extra funding, we can also spend more time on speaking about gender equality & inclusion, writing articles and overall spreading our knowledge in a non-profit way, for example holding lectures at various universities across Sweden. Of course, we have also spent a lot of time working with our local networks which are incredibly important to us.
Applications for LeoRegulus 2019 open on the 4th of November and you, as the previous winner, will be in the jury together with Ather Gattami (CEO & Founder Bitdynamics), Gustaf Hagman (CEO & co-founder LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group) and Tuva Palm (Executive Tech Advisor & Board Director). Regarding the jury work, what are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to seeing what organisations apply and reading the motivations in their applications. I really hope to see some fresh faces and organisations I haven’t heard of before. What I’m looking forward to the most is having a kinship and connection with the LeoRegulus 2019 winner and very much hope we are able to collaborate and support each other in the future.
For all the fantastic organisations supporting more women and diversity in the tech-sector, what would you like to say to those who are thinking about applying?
Just do it - there is absolutely nothing to lose! Have the courage to be authentic & personal in your application. Let your organisation’s personality shine through, because after all that’s what makes you unique. Finally, make sure to describe the effect of what you have been doing and what results it has given so far.
For further information, please contact:
+46 (0) 768 95 0101
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