Hidden Figures Award
Celebrating and awarding women in STEM field, who have done amazing work and are our role models for future generations.
These are the winner of the
Hidden Figure Awards 2023
Congratulations to the winners of the Hidden Figure Award 2023 and all the nominees in each category.
These were the nominees of 2023
We believe that these Hidden Figures need to be awarded for their efforts, work, achievements and most of all for their contribution as women in STEM.
They don’t appear in newspapers, they were never nominated for an award and let alone received the Nobel prize.
- This award is only for women
- Everyone can nominate, even the nominee herself
- The nominee has never been a finalist for or has received an award before
- Nominees and the reason for nomination must be related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics)
Empowered Woman Award
Startup / Innovation
DBI Transformation Director in Zurich Insurance.
Sinja is an inspiration for women in tech – anyone who has ever worked with her is in awe of her ability to simplify complex technical (and people!) challenges and successfully coach teams to find solutions.
She is 100% impact, 0% ego – which explains the strong followership she has been able to build in her former roles as Deloitte Risk Analytics Consulting Lead and Agile Coach, as well as in her current role as Transformation Lead Zurich Data & BI.
Sinja combines tech expertise with deep insight and empathy for how organizations and people tick. Combining these two, she is enabling global, complex organizations to get real value from data and tech. And she is blazing a trail for women in those organizations by acting as a role model for integrity.
Julia is an amazing peer in the technology / VC space. She has a PhD in computer science and has worked in various senior roles bridging business/technology – very hands-on and result oriented. She is a true inspiration to junior (female) tech people.
Julia is an inspiration as a tech leader who is always there to help and will push the best solution successfully in “political” organizations. She can be a great role model for any female STEM professional.
Julia could have been the female entrepreneur role model people are looking for when starting out their careers. Back then, you mostly saw male company founders, investors and entrepreneurs. This is still true today but changing slowly but surely.
Dr. Sanjana Rao is extremely passionate about making women’s health accessible to all. She has a strong entrepreneurial spirit while at the same time being driven by the social cause. With a background (Ph.D. and Post Doc) in Biological Sciences, she brings to the table her scientific and research expertise in developing the business which has the main goal of making health information and solutions accessible to women. Her enthusiasm to work in this area shows in her willingness and openness to learn things along the way, like social media, product development, marketing and sales. She has great networking skills which is important as a founder. She makes sure to stay updated with the latest information in this area to be able to stay a step ahead in the field. Finally, she is extremely caring, sensitive, and empathetic to fellow co-workers as well as clients’ needs which is paying off in developing Miyara as a company and business.
Miyara is a start-up that is a preventive health and wellness platform for women. The first focus of Miyara is women in midlife. Similar to hormonal changes affecting women with fertility, pregnancy and postpartum, during midlife (prior and post-menopause), the drastic drop in some hormones causes major changes. Till the body can adapt to these changes, there are 34+ symptoms that can affect them at varying degrees. Additionally, how health and lifestyle are maintained through this stage can bear a lasting effect on aging health. Unfortunately, though they may experience some symptoms, they are not completely informed about how to manage them and lead healthy, productive lives through them.
Miyara provides a one-stop solution to these women from being a guide for these women to be able to understand their bodies (including mental health) and their symptoms to provide solutions in the form of services and products. Apart from working directly with women, Miyara works with corporates to provide awareness, sensitization and preventive health and lifestyle change solutions to help women thrive in their careers and help companies retain these women.
Dr. Sanjana Rao has been determined, motivated and exemplary in working towards building Miyara. The team had to pivot multiple times to reach where they are today in their focus and now they are delivering immense value to the customers due to her hard work. Working in a bootstrapped startup and being a founder has put immense pressure and sacrifice to build this social enterprise. Sanjana’s motivation has been the driver of this.
This award will help her get the due recognition with which she can be extra motivated to continue with the work despite the ups and downs of being a startup founder. This will also help motivate more women to take this step towards building social enterprises and knowing they can succeed. It will additionally help Miyara get recognition in turn helping Dr. Sanjana in her work.
Nour el Houda Bourbia
“Houda is a dedicated and motivating person who has encouraged me to achieve goals that I did not think I could achieve. She built me up when I didn’t believe in myself. She has given me new opportunities and introduced me to people who can help me with my goals. She believed in me when even though I did not believe in myself. She encouraged and challenged me at a time when I was trying to find myself and always kept me aware of what I could achieve in life. I could always rely on Houda. She always made time for me and listened to me and made sure I kept progressing. She voluntarily took me under her wing as her coachee and has been a strong role model for me over the last few years.
She and her sister also put this quality into practice in their NGO “Backpack2School”. They support teachers in their training so that they can teach students from all backgrounds in the best possible way. In a world where a traditional classroom is becoming more and more diverse, they have seen the importance of this aspect. As a child of migrants, I know how important it is that teachers know and understand the needs of all students. For me, Houda is not only a role model as a woman in STEM, but also as a human being in life.”
Nesrin and Houda Bourbia were born in Algeria and migrated to Switzerland at the age of eight. They experienced integration into a new society firsthand and understand the importance of inclusive classrooms. In 2018 they founded backpack2school to realize a program that aims to prepare the teachers of tomorrow for the increasingly multicultural classroom. The founders want every single child to have the opportunity to thrive in the
classroom, irrespective of their background.”
In my eyes, Houda is not aware of how much she does for society as a whole. She puts a lot of heart and soul into Backpack2School which shows a lot of grace. In addition, Houda always wants others to shine and feel great about their own achievements. It is about time that she shines and that she feels good about everything she achieved so far. An award would finally give her the recognition she deserves.
The Award prizes will be proudly supported by:
Are you a great supporter of Hidden Figures? Support the award and become a sponsor of this year’s Hidden Figures Award Ceremony! Reach out to us to learn more about the opportunity!
Award Celebration & #wetechtogether Conference
Presents and products offered by our prize sponsor
More to come!
23rd of July 2023
Nominate your Hidden Figure
18th of August 2023
Announcement of finalists
29th of September 2023
(*all finalists will receive complimentary access to the #wetechtogether conference 2023)
Reach out to us by email!
Regional Director (Europe), Network and Partnership,
@ Singapore Global Network
Lead Application Engineering
@ Zürcher Kantonalbank
@ Zurich Insurance
Head Digital Strategy & Experience
Chloe Wegman completed her technical apprenticeship in chemistry at EPFL in 2019 as one of the top of her class. During her final year project she started working in the development and scale up of Bloom Biorenewables technology. She quickly exceeded expectations in her role and distinguished herself as highly reliable and diligent with a positive attitude towards hurdles and problem-solving. She goes the extra mile to bring tasks and projects to success. She is meticulous in her daily work and directly communicates challenges without hesitation – an extremely valuable trait for a production team member in the chemical industry. Her main expertise ranges from technical support in production processes to novel product characterization and development.
She has also taken the role of safety delegate at Bloom’s R&D centre in which she supports and encourages safe laboratory practices and a comfortable working environment. Chloe has a welcoming and empathic personality and has strongly helped create open communication and an inclusive environment within the company, which has led to her nickname “chief happiness officer”.
Muriel currently works as Automation Expert and Managing Director in a consulting company specialized on automating business processes.
In her current company BE-terna, where she grew from consultant to Managing Director, she helps people embrace technological change (e.g. process automation) and paves the way for women to build their careers in tech. Specifically, she has recently initiated a mentoring program for female talent within BE-terna (>1000 employees). In her main area of responsibility, the Automation team (>30 employees), she has shaped several best practices like a career coaching program for all employees (successfully running since several years) or an employer branding and recruiting process that accounts for the needs of women.
Preterm birth is still one of the biggest challenges in modern obstetrics, not only in developing countries but also in developed countries. And as in many other areas of women’s health, innovation in antenatal care is progressing far too slowly.
This was Sabrina Badir’s motivation and incentive to act to help solve a problem that affects many pregnant women around the world. During her PhD at ETH Zurich, Badir developed a device that measures the stiffness of the cervix during pregnancy, an important parameter in assessing the risk of preterm birth.
After completing her PhD in biomechanics in 2015, she was awarded the Pioneer Fellowship to translate her academic research into a medical product and founded Pregnolia a year later. Badir’s vision is to use her medical device – the Pregnolia System – to create a new standard for detecting preterm birth to improve pregnancy care for millions of women around the world.
When she took on the role of CEO of Pregnolia, she was a scientist (and not yet an entrepreneur) who had no idea how to build a business. She had to acquire this know-how through various professionals and thus refined her excellent networking skills.
Her ability to convince investors and gain their trust, raise money and build a network of supportive doctors, clinics, midwives, health insurers and other stakeholders is her unique expertise.
Pregnolia AG, a spin-off of ETH Zurich, is now a Swiss medical technology company with 15 employees. The team around Badir has developed the world’s first CE-marked and patented medical device for measuring cervical stiffness.
Anais is an absolutely amazing person, engaged on different levels to make a change in the society through tech and education. As head of partnership @42Lausanne, she made reality a new way of teaching tech to students from any backgrounds in Switzerland. She travelled extensively and is recognized for her expertise in several domains such as education, innovation management and digital transformation. She is multi-talented and also a professional photographer and story-teller. Her curiosity and vivacity, her people-centric approach, her amazing capacity of connecting dots and linking people enables her to always find new ways of doing things and empowering people. 42Lausanne is a break-through organization teaching tech in a completely new way: it is all about peer-work and review, no teachers, gamified curriculum – it is a paradigm shift in the way we imagine and design the future of teaching. She has been carrying this project since the beginning, without her passion, engagement and commitment, nothing would have been possible.
Damla is on the verge of completing her studies in Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich and is already a dedicated advocate for gender equality in the tech industry. Her vibrant and supportive personality serves as a constant source of motivation and a “can-do” attitude for those around her. As the president of LIMES, she leads a team of 15-20 female and other underrepresented engineering students at ETH Zurich. Under her leadership, she has increased the visibility of the committee and transformed it into a more inclusive platform. She has also organized various events and acted as a mentor for new students.
Damla is also a Lead Coach at mint & pepper. As a woman who conducts robotic workshops in schools, she helps break gender biases in tech and encourages children, particularly girls, to pursue careers in STEM fields.
LIMES is the women* student committee of AMIV, the association for students studying Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (D-ITET) and Mechanical and Process Engineering (D-MAVT) at ETH Zurich.
Beyond networking, LIMES also strives to inspire and motivate high school students to pursue technical career paths. They organize events such as the annual “Schülerinnen*tag”, which is designed to inspire female high school students to choose STEM paths.
Switzerland, the home to numerous STEM giants, is also the abode of Safia, a dedicated computer scientist who now successfully leads a Global Tech program in a top pharma company, a mother of three and a Woman in Tech who generously lives to help other women rise in STEM.
Safia is founder and president of the Swiss Chapter of Women in Tech, an international organization with a double mission: to close the gender gap and empower 5 million girls and women to embrace fields linked to technology by 2030. Safia has played an exceptional role in the establishment and growth of the Swiss Chapter, which has so far not been acknowledged. Based on all of the above, Safia Agueni is an exceptional woman who deserves the recognition and honor of being nominated for the Hidden Figures Award 2023.
Chui Fung Chong
Chui Fung is an unassuming, dedicated and inspiring leader in the medical field and has accumulated decades of experience. She is charismatic and kind-hearted, often volunteering her time to give back to the community and mentoring younger professionals even though her work is incredibly demanding. She now sits on a few boards such as the European Women on Boards (EWOB) and Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA), committed to pushing for greater female representation in her field. She is Translational Medical Lead (Oncology) at Roche. She leads teams in R&D across Europe and Asia as part of her portfolio.
Isaline is one of the smartest women I ever met and she strongly believes in empowering women. As a result, many of her unpaid activities are related to that. She was able to become a very successful consultant in our domain. Her brain never stops and her capacity of analysis is clearly above average.
Isaline opened her own consulting company in SEO. However, in her “free time”. She works on SEOnerdSwitzerland which is an association that has a goal to make SEO knowledge accessible to everybody. What makes it special is not just the fact that it’s the largest SEO event in Switzerland but also that we work to make sure that women are visible. Her engagement for this is tireless. Moreover, she went an extra mile to make the association be also well-known in the Swiss German part of Switzerland. Making sure that she was able to have Swiss speakers in our in-person events.
Isaline is an SEO consultant and an entrepreneur running her SEO consultancy Pilea.ch since 2019, specializing in multilingual websites. Isaline navigates the tech and the entrepreneur fields with grace showing that it’s possible to grow a business beyond gender. Isaline is caring and attentive to her surroundings. She is both able to communicate her enthusiasm for her field of expertise as a public speaker and set a stage to support someone who is a speaker for the first time
Lina is a research and development engineer in the field of hydrogen storage systems at Voith Turbo. She is responsible for the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations as well as part of the SCRUM-Team for the development of the Voith hydrogen storage system. Since the very beginning she was fascinated and very interested in renewable energies, how this could be used in our society to have a better environment and all the innovative technologies behind it. Furthermore, sustainability is a very important aspect in her everyday life.
In addition to her technical skills, her involvement in mentoring students, through several classes she taught about hydrogen storage systems at the University of Stuttgart, and collaborating with external firms, suppliers, and customers highlights her commitment to knowledge sharing, fostering partnerships, and creating a supportive ecosystem within her company and industry.
Lina´s achievements and expertise in CFD simulation, hydrogen storage systems, and hydrodynamics illustrate the valuable contributions women can make in engineering and technology fields. Her profile serves as an inspiration to other women aspiring to excel in technical roles and reinforces the importance of diversity and gender equality in driving innovation and progress within companies and industries.