Telecentre Europe Awards 2016 Entry: Digital Changemaker

Cheryl Miller

Country: Belgium

City/Town: Brussels

Work Place: Digital Leadership Institute

Position: Cofounder and executive director

Years in service in current organization: 3

Nominated by: Wim Van Dijck

 

1. WORK EXPERIENCE

Cheryl has a 20-year track record leading international teams in tech and ICT sectors, and has been actively promoting digital inclusion for girls and women since 2010, as cofounder and Technology Chair of "greenlight for girls," and as Belgian contact point for the European Centre for Women and Technology. In 2014, Cheryl and her partner, Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, cofounded the Digital Leadership Institute in Brussels (dlii.org) whose mission is to promote inclusive digital transformation around the world by increasing participation of girls and women in digital studies and careers.

2. CONTRIBUTION TO DIGITAL INCLUSION AND EMPOWERMENT

Cheryl coined the acronym "ESTEAM" (STEM plus Arts & Entrepreneurship) to describe the scope of DLI activities which focus on four pillars: Education & Skills Development; Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Advocacy & Awareness-building; and Consulting & Research. These activities target two main communities: Girls under 18 years of age, and women.

Cheryl is responsible for developing and deploying world class initiatives - with greenlight for girls, ECWT and DLI - that target these key demographics and actively increase participation of girls and women in digital areas. DLI activities draw on best practices that:

  • Develop skills in a hands-on, result-oriented & value-driven way, emphasizing entrepreneurial & technical skills that promote (economic) independence;
  • Recognize & reward female role models in digital fields;
  • Cultivate a sense of community among girls & women in digital studies & careers; and
  • Promote mentorship & knowledge-sharing, including around best practices.

3. LEADERSHIP, COOPERATION, AND RESOURCE MOBILISATION 

Over the past six years, Cheryl's dedication to inclusive digital transformation, particularly for girls and women, has been recognized by the European Commission, European Parliament and United Nations. She has advocated on this topic with European heads of state, past and present Presidents and Vice Presidents of the European Commission, Ambassadors, UN Secretary Generals and decision-makers at the highest level in private industry. For many in Brussels and beyond, Cheryl's name is synonymous with promoting "girls & women in tech."

Cheryl has succeeded in rallying diverse and far-flung stakeholders behind the mission of the Digital Leadership Institute and the broader vision of increasing economic and social independence for girls and women the world over. The combined effort she has managed to engage among her teams, networks of volunteers and supporters-from operational to top management in public and private sector-numbers in the 100s of organizations and 1000s of individuals.

4. SOCIAL IMPACT

Cheryl's work is about a movement. Every activity she has developed is embedded with best practices that aim to reach an individual in the most remote and difficult place with the message that digital skills can improve life for her and those around her. One DLI event reaches 5 to 500 girls and women. Over the course of six years - from Bangalore to Brussels to Brasilia - Cheryl and her teams have reached thousands. Most importantly, those girls and women have reached others.

A partial listing of initiatives developed and deployed by Cheryl and her teams:

  • greenlight for girls - greenlight Day - global STEM events for girls;
  • Ada Awards (Europe and Africa) - Digital Girl of the Year, Digital Woman of the Year, Digital Impact Organization of the Year;
  • g-Hive.org - global ESTEAM discovery community for girls;
  • Digtalmuse.org - "Girl Tech Fest" - global ESTEAM events for girls;
  • inQube.eu - "Move It Forward" female digital starter weekends - global ESTEAM community & events for women.

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