By Manon Hormes
Ingelou Stol is the High Tech Campus’ storyteller and founder of Fe+male Tech Heroes. With experience as a journalist, reporter, and news anchor for NOS op 3 and KRO, amongst others, Ingelou is the ideal person to help companies and techies tell the world how their innovations are making the world a little better. A frequent and one of the first 5G Hub collaborators, Ingelou helps inform the community about what 5G really is and does.
I’m involved in this special collaboration from the sidelines. I had the opportunity to present the opening of the Hub in early January 2020, and so I was involved at an early stage. I also present videos and podcasts to explain exactly what 5G does.
I’ve learned a lot about 5G in the past years. It’s in my nature to keep asking questions until I understand exactly how things work so that I can do the translation. “How do we explain this to the rest of the world?” That is the challenge for me.
I think one of the best cases to tell about is the Connected Ambulance. Thanks to a reliable connection with hardly any delay, 5G makes it possible to stream all information on-site to a doctor in the hospital. So when every second counts, 5G allows you to save lives.
These stories clarify a lot about 5G; there is so much ambiguity. Many people don’t know about it. “Is it even safe? How does it work exactly? What can I do with it?” I try to answer questions like that.
I really like the goal of the Hub. In Eindhoven, people want to work together. And that’s also the unique part of the 5G Hub: collaborating with diverse companies to create the biggest impact. The opening promised a flying start, but Corona threw a spanner in our work. Despite that, companies really kept finding each other.
Dealing with the pandemic is a big challenge for the Hub since we prefer to bring people together, of course. Fortunately, it’s about 5G and the connection you have, not only in real life but also remotely. I think it has worked out particularly well, and we just kept going; projects have been started, people have been educated and brought together, and companies have found each other.
We can no longer be with a hundred people in one room but rather on a smaller scale, so the digital atmosphere comes together. The fact that these collaborations are possible and successful fits completely within the character of the High Tech Campus and the 5G Hub – the open innovation idea. So many different professionals work here, and all sorts of things are shared. These meaningful collaborations are very appropriate for the Hub.
For example, a nice webinar we organized about the 5G Hub and the inspiring possibilities of 5G. We really wanted to bring a lot of people together to learn more about the initiative and collaborate. But of course, because of COVID-19, that couldn’t be done in real life. So we came up with a solution for that. We streamed a webinar with various speakers live from studio Einstein in our Conference Center at the High Tech Campus. That’s how we ended up reaching almost 1000 views. That wouldn’t even have fit on the seats in the auditorium. So that’s awesome.
As I said, I’m mostly involved from the sidelines. But I do have a very nice role, where I get to do my part at these moments and make a difference. I think it’s really valuable that the 5G Hub is getting the attention it deserves.
It’s kind of funny. For example, according to my parents, I used to hand out books to our family and friends at birthday parties. “We’re going to take turns reading a bit now,” I then said very seriously. Haha! I find that kind of typical to hear. According to my mother, I was always reading and explaining, so maybe it’s not so strange that I became a journalist.
I will always be a journalist in heart and soul. But I have discovered that to be one, you don’t have to work only for a news medium, but that you can also use your qualities in new worlds, like in my case, in the tech world.
My own curiosity. I always really enjoy diving into new things, in things I don’t know anything about yet. So I keep reading or asking questions until I understand it so well that I can explain it clearly to someone else. That just makes me very happy. That used to be my job, and it still is: converting complex things into understandable language. I work on that every time with a lot of passion.
Assisted and supported by their enthusiastic team, Ingelou and Hilde host the famous Fe+male Tech Heroes Dinner yearly.
Diversity is a hot topic for many companies. In addition, we find that women working in tech are looking for like-minded people. Because many still feel lonely in that male-dominated tech world. We started doing something with that.
In 2019, we started small. Within one year, we grew from zero ambassadors to almost two thousand. Former euro commissioner Neelie Kroes, as a Fe+male Tech Hero ambassador, helped us enormously with that.
We now organize mentoring sessions, conferences, and dinners throughout the year where people can be inspired and learn from each other. People offer to speak and share knowledge because they think it’s so great. The speakers who get on stage are always very proud to tell what they are doing. It’s all very approachable; all the conferences are free, and anyone can attend, whether you’re a student or a senior.
It’s really about diversity. Since this year, there is also a plus in the logo; Fe+male Tech Heroes. Because it’s not about just women, it’s about diversity. And diversity (in gender, work experience, background, and more) is something we create together. That is, I think, my biggest accomplishment in my time at the High Tech Campus. How quickly the network has grown, how the community is eager to contribute, and how many people leave the events inspired. That is fantastic for us to see.
It would be really cool to connect Melinda Gates to Fe+male Tech Heroes in a way as she makes a case for equality: she started the Equality Can’t Wait initiative in the United States. It would be a dream to get her to the High Tech Campus to speak for the tech talents in the Netherlands – men and women. That would be amazing.