Some of the key drivers for girls wanting to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills is having role models and support both at home and in the classroom. It is easier to imagine a career in the field if you see someone you can identify with who has an exciting role, has done groundbreaking research or founded a tech startup. The number of girls interested in STEM skills almost doubles when they have role models, compared to those who do not. Girls with role models are also more passionate about STEM subjects and are more likely to imagine themselves working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Fortunately, there are already many Nordic women who have successfully entered the tech industry and can take the lead as role models for future talent!
In the following, we have selected 10 truly inspiring Nordic women in Tech who have already achieved great respect, impact and results, while coming from very different backgrounds and spanning a wide range of expertise within the tech industry.
Helena Samsioe (SE), 33, Founder and CEO, GLOBHE
Helena Samsioe is known as the Drone Queen for founding GLOBHE, Sweden’s global drone service provider in 2015. Samsioe has bootstrapped the company into a revenue-generating business, running the world’s first AI drone delivery this year. The firm’s patent pending identifAI service helps the United Nations and other humanitarian actors better manage and identify natural disasters. Helena Samsioe studied Information and Communication Technology as part of a master’s degree in Disaster Management.
She has won a SKAPA award, one of Sweden’s largest innovation prizes created in memory of Alfred Nobel. In January 2020 she received the UAE’s Zayed Sustainability Prize, one of the most significant awards worldwide for affecting positive change and was awarded SEK 6 mio. to help further the aim of identifying and mitigating public health emergencies in the developing world.
Cecilia Qvist (SE), 46, Global Head of Markets, Spotify
As Global Head of Markets, Cecilia Qvist oversees Spotify’s global growth strategy – both in existing and new territories – with a focus on international expansion, product localization efforts and sustainable growth. Today Spotify, named one of TIME’s Genius Companies of 2018, has 217 million listeners and 100 million subscribers around the world.
In 2018 and 2019, Cecilia Qvist led the company’s expansion into more than 18 new countries, including Romania, Israel, Vietnam, India and several locations in the Middle East and Africa. Spotify now operates in 79 countries. Cecilia Qvist serves as a member of the board of directors of Catena Media and a member of the advisory board of Webrock Ventures. In 2019 she was chosen as “The Most Impactful Director” by Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer.
Tuva Palm (SE), 45, Executive advisor & Founder, Evolvery
Tuva is a technology and product focused strategy executive with great leadership skills and experience successfully growing and digitally transforming organizations and products at companies like Klarna, Nordnet and Oracle. She is currently active as an Executive Tech Advisor helping growth companies through their scale-up phases. She is on the board of directors in several expanding companies, such as Leo Vegas, Lunar Way, Regily, etc.
Furthermore, she is a recognized speaker and lecturer on areas spanning tech trends, product management, leadership/career, etc. Additionally, many know her as one of the hosts of STHLM TECH, the largest tech meetup in Europe, where she discusses tech trends with investors on a monthly basis and gives feedback to pitching start-ups on stage. In 2018 she was number 12 on the list of ”Årets Tech-kvinnor”, or “Tech Women of the Year”, by Veckans Affärer.
Denise Persson (SE), 44, CMO, Snowflake Computing
Denise has 20 years of technology marketing experience at high-growth companies. Prior to joining Snowflake, she served as CMO for Apigee, an API platform company that went public in 2015 and was acquired by Google in 2016. “Working in tech, you have to really love change. You’ll have to want to be a part of improving things and solving big problems. It’s incredibly fast-paced work, and you’ve got to love that level of change and engage with it every day”, she says.
She holds a BA in Business Administration and Economics from Stockholm University and an MBA from Georgetown University
Anita Schjøll Brede (NO), 34, CEO & co-founder of Iris.ai
Anita Schjøll Brede cofounded the semi-automated scientific review tool Iris.AI in 2015. The company raised $2.4 million in December 2017 and is today used by everyone from Denmark’s Leo Pharma to the University of Helsinki. In 2019 Brede expanded the business to launch Project Aiur – the “blockchain for scientists” – designed to democratize academia. A two time TEDx speaker, Schjøll Brede teaches Artificial Intelligence at the Singularity University.
Brede is a board member at Norway’s Katapult impact tech accelerator and was previously CEO of startup incubator uLabs Venture. In 2018 she was included on Forbes’ list of “The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech”.
Isabelle Ringnes (NO), 31, Co-founder, Equalitycheck.it
Isabelle Ringnes is co-founder & Chief Product Officer of Equality Check.it, a platform for crowdsourced anonymous rewiews about equality in the workplace.
She hosts the bi-weekly podcast Future Forecast, is a faculty member at Singularity University Nordic, a Board member of the investment app Kron and Dermanor, co-author of the book “Hvem Spanderer” and a public speaker about leadership, diversity in tech and exponential technologies. Isabelle holds a Master’s Degree in Media Management.
In 2015 she founded TENK in 2015, a Technology Network for Women in Norway aiming to inspire girls to lean in and contribute to shaping our world’s future with technology.
Christine Spiten (NO), 29, Senior Corporate Advisor, Plastic & Circular Economy at WWF
Norwegian engineer Christine Spiten cofounded the underwater drone company Blueye Robotics in 2015. Spiten was interning at marine giant Kongsberg when she first used underwater ROVs and was inspired to develop drones controlled by smartphones. Blueye Robotics has raised $6 million to date. The company’s Pioneer drones can dive to depths of over 150 meters (around the height of London’s BT Tower).
Spiten took robotics classes at UFRJ in Brazil as part of her engineering M.Sc in Industrial Economics and Technological Management. She sits on the advisory board of environmental research initiatives REVOcean, Passion for Ocean as well as Norway’s government-led digital business board Digital 21. Christine holds a Master of Science from Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Nana Bule (DK), 41, CEO, Microsoft Denmark & Iceland
Nana joined Microsoft in 2002, holding various leadership positions in commercial sales and product marketing. She has been part of the Executive Board since 2013 – most recently in the role of Director of Marketing & Operations (COO). In addition to her position as CEO at Microsoft Denmark, Nana serves as a board member of EnergiNet, Arla and Wonderful Copenhagen and is also a member of the DI Board of Directors and the Corporate Policy Committee.
Nana graduated from Copenhagen Business School and Copenhagen IT University and holds a Board Governance qualification from IMD. She is also active within the startup ecosystem as a consultant for entrepreneurs and investors.
Lene Sjorslev Schulze (DK), 41, CEO, Microsoft Denmark & Iceland
Lene Schulze has spent the past 15 years in Silicon Valley working for and advising startups and corporates, connecting them to this unique innovation ecosystem.
Today Lene leads all US based activities for BLUETOWN. Her responsibilities include building partnerships with some of the world’s largest tech companies and driving new, global revenue opportunities.
Lene started her career in Silicon Valley with the Danish government, co-founding their first Innovation Center abroad and, through that, building programs for startups including SCALEit, and joining Nordic colleagues to initiate the Nordic Innovation House in Palo Alto.
Lene also teaches a course on Silicon Valley, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at INSEEC U, and she is on the board of the Scandinavian School and Cultural Center in San Francisco.
Mette Lykke (DK), 38, CEO, Too Good to Go
Mette Lykke is the CEO of the anti-food waste company Too Good To Go since 2017, where she leads more than 300 employees. Through the app, Too Good To Go connects its users with delicious unsold food from a variety of shops and restaurants all over Europe. The app has more than 12 million users and the service is available in 11 countries. Before joining Too Good To Go, Mette Lykke cofounded the sports app Endomondo in 2007, which was sold in 2015 for half a billion Danish kroner to the American sports brand Under Armor, where she was senior vice president until 2017.
Mette holds a Master of Political Science and has previously been a researcher and journalist at Jyllands-Posten and a consultant at McKinsey from 2006-07. In 2018 she was elected to the publisher’s Gyldendal’s Board of Directors.