4 min.

Xena’s 10 Most Inspiring Women In Tech In Europe

Introducing Xena’s 2021 line-up of women whose work is shaping the future of tech

To mark Women’s Equality Day on August 26th, we’re celebrating 10 entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators in technology who are shaping tech and software engineering in Europe. Why? The tech and engineering industry may be dominated by men, but some of the world’s biggest tech giants and start-ups are run by women.

So what’s the big deal? This is the question Xena held firmly in mind when compiling this list. Digital technology has helped us reach more people at a faster pace to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. This is great news. The bad news? Women are still hugely underrepresented in technology. So today, we wanted to put the spotlight on some women who truly deserve to be recognised for their work in technology – the true Xena heroes. 

Caoimhe Sweeney

Content and Community Manager at Xena

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1. Rowena Patrao | CTO | Scout24 Group 

Anyone who has been keeping an eye on the new C Level Executives of the Berlin tech scene will recognise this name. Rowena has been in the tech industry for more than 17 years. She has experience working in the US, India, and Europe. She has been responsible for delivering key global projects at leading corporations including Microsoft, Amazon, and VMware. She’s also been recognised for her strong leadership ability, people and project management skills, and is now the newly appointed CTO of Scout24 Group in Berlin. 

Check out our recent interview with Rowena on How To Be A Female Leader In A Male-Dominated Space.


2. Natalia Panowicz | CEO | Codility

Natalia Panowicz is the CEO at Codility, a technical recruitment platform for teams to test the coding skills of developers and make evidence-based hiring decisions. She has held key roles since joining as one of the company’s earliest employees and expanded Codility from Europe into the US, securing $22M in venture capital along the way. 

Joining as one of the first five employees in the company, she quickly climbed the ranks and became CEO in 2019. Natalia continues to manage all the company functions. What’s her secret? We don’t know yet, but we’ll make it our mission to find out.



3. Andrea Fernandez | Co-Founder | Vitamin 

Andrea is a Fintech leader with extensive experience in Finance, Asset Management, Venture Capital, and Consumer Marketing. Her primary focus has been on developing and executing strategy for financial products in accelerated growth phases. After coaching women on finance and investing, Andrea noticed a pattern: women didn’t know where to start. This inspired her to start Vitamin. Her mission is to give every woman the guidance and tools to own their financial future. So where do we sign up? 

You can read more about Vitamin’s mission here. 



4. Ida Tin | Co-Founder & Chairwoman | Clue

Ida Tin is the Co-Founder & Chairwoman of Clue, a female health app that enables women with menstrual cycles to track their period, identify patterns in the symptoms they experience during different parts of their menstrual cycle, and predict future symptoms. The holy grail for all women. Are we right? 

Clue has more than twelve million active users in over 190 countries and is one of the most popular apps in the “Health & Fitness” category in the United States, Germany, the UK, Brazil, France, Mexico and many others. This is one app I can’t personally recommend enough. 


5. Victoria Engelhardt | Co-Founder & CEO | Keleya

Victoria Engelhardt is the Co-Founder and CEO of the latest “Pregnancy & Parenthood Companion” – Keleya. What’s Keleya you ask? Only the latest interface shaping the future of prenatal preparation. 

Keleya is a pregnancy app that provides support, workouts and medical advice, and is reimbursed by major German health insurances, such as SBK, BIG direkt gesund, and DAK. They have been awarded “Editor’s choice” by Apple and been downloaded more than 200K times. To top that, they have just closed their €3 million Series-A financing round to further develop innovative health solutions and to strengthen their product-ecosystem. 

Their mission is to change how women experience their parenthood journey. A true Femtech gamechanger. But don’t take our word for it, check out what our sister company Orange Quarter had to say here.


6. Alesia Braga | CTO | Smart Recruiters 

Another veteran for women in technology. Alesia Braga is the CTO of Smart Recruiters,  a Talent Acquisition Suite used by organisations to make the best hires. She is a results-oriented technical leader with over 15 years of experience and a proven track record for building and leading world-class software development, and maximising profitability through the delivery of exceptional product quality and service. 




7. Marjana Shammi | Head of Product Engineering | Ikea Group

Marjana Shammi is the Head of Product Engineering – Sustainability at Ikea Group.

Majana is an IT enthusiast with a unique blend of background in development, testing and leadership armed with Computer Science and Management of Technology degrees. She’s passionate about working with diverse teams to bring out the best of solutions. She loves navigating through chaos, enabling a vision that serves the greater good. 

“There’s an astounding feeling when I see teams thrive when engineering the chaos.” 

Has the engineering world ever sounded more exciting? We think not.  


8. Oana Iordachescu | Head of Tech TA | EU | Wayfair

Oana deserves a notable mention for her work as a passionate ambassador for Women in Tech initiatives, and as an advocate of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace. She is an experienced Recruitment Leader working in the internet industry and she has International experience in highly diverse environments.

We need more people like Oana fighting on the front line for more diversity in tech.



9. Georgie Smallwood | Chief Product Officer | Tier Mobility

Georgie is the Chief Product Officer at Tier Mobility. Her career has been one of constant hyper-growth from scaling Australia’s biggest marketplace at REA Group and transforming teams and business models in Hong Kong, then onto successful IPO’s in Germany with Scout 24, and leading the N26 product as CPO for over 2 years.

She is a passionate supporter of Women in Technology & Leadership positions and through her advising and investing roles she primarily focuses on Female founders and Co-Founders to drive equality of funding and diversity of thought in the technology space. This passion led to the founding of Auxilia – a network for current and future female founders.



10. Sjoukje Zaal | CTO | Microsoft 

The last corporation needs no introduction. But their CTO certainly does. Sjoukje Zaal is the CTO of Microsoft at Capgemini, Microsoft Regional Director and Microsoft Azure MVP with over 20 years of experience providing architecture, development, consultancy, and design expertise. She is a global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation. 

She loves to share her knowledge and is active in the Microsoft community as a Co-Founder of the user groups Tech Daily Chronicle, Global XR Community and the Mixed Reality User Group. Sjoukje is an international speaker and has wrote several books in technology. 

Can we get a round of applause here please?