Europe, Interviews

Ingelou Stol – Communication Manager and Storyteller at High Tech Campus Eindhoven

We need a diverse group of people to design our world of tomorrow.

Ingelou Stol started her career as a journalist on the Dutch radio as a reporter and news anchor. She also worked as a documentary filmmaker. Since 2017 she has made the switch to the tech world where she now works as Communication Manager and Storyteller for the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, the smartest square kilometer in Europe. More than 12,000 researchers, developers and entrepreneurs work here on the latest innovations. Ingelou is also founder of the Female Tech Heroes initiative to create more diversity in the tech world.

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

Two years ago together with my colleague Hilde de Vocht I started Female Tech Heroes, a Dutch initiative to create more diversity in the tech world. The initiative was created at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, where I work for as Communication Manager and Storyteller. More than 12,000 smart people are working here on the technologies of tomorrow. In my daily job I help the people at the Campus to tell their story. How are their innovations going to change the world for the better?

We notice that diversity is extremely important for tech companies here, but can also be a struggle. We wanted to do something about that. Female Tech Heroes is a national platform with more than 2000 ambassadors (women and men) with the ultimate goal to create more diversity in the tech world. We put female and male role models in the spotlights and try to create more awareness about diversity. It is not just about more women, but about all kinds of diversity: gender, work experience, background and more. Research also shows that diverse teams are the most innovative.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

For years I worked as a journalist, reporter and news anchor (radio) for Dutch media. I loved it. It was my job to tell what was going on in the world.

Three years ago, I decided to make the switch to the tech world. Why? The impact that technology can have on our society is fascinating. And I really wanted to be part of that.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

At the High Tech Campus I see on a daily basis amazing things that will change the world forever. For example ‘Digital Twins’, an amazing concept where we make a 2.0 version of you, on which we can test medicines and treatments. Or think about the autonomous driving car. How will the world look like in 10-20 years with those cars? Or what about growing vegetables indoors using LED lights? More and more people are moving to cities. But where do their vegetables come from? What if we could grow them indoors, vertically above each other, using hardly any water or pesticides? It’s possible thanks to technology.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

More than half of our ambassadors of Female Tech Heroes indicate that they suffer from a male culture at work.

The tech industry is still a male-dominated world. The numbers differ, but barely 20 percent of people that work in tech are women. More than half of our ambassadors of Female Tech Heroes indicate that they suffer from a male culture at work. One of our ambassadors told us that she is regularly told that ‘a young blond women could not be a mechanical engineer.’ That’s just not okay.

Still not many girls choose a technical profile at school. Often also because the image they have of technology is that it’s only interesting for boys. And that’s so not the case! We have to change that image. Because wow, everything is possible with tech.

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech?

It’s changing. But it is not going fast enough. As Female Tech Heroes and High Tech Campus, we want to contribute to make this change go faster. To create more diversity in the tech world.

How? We need to show more role models. Technology is all around us, it will change everything we know. And we need to inspire young girls and boys that tech is awesome, and that you can have an amazing contribution to the world if you work in this industry.

We need a diverse group of people to design our world of tomorrow.

To inspire and show what’s possible in tech, we portrait amazing women and men in the Female Tech Heroes role model series.

Which was the best decision in your career?

The best decision in my career? That’s a tough one. I am extremely grateful for my background in journalism. It made me more determined, even more curious and ambitious. I was able to take those qualities with me to the tech world, which is completely different. Where there was a need for someone like me who can help give people a voice. To connect. And to contribute my bit to society. I am grateful for that and proud too.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

Creating your own personality, and daring to dream about things that are unattainable (or not) is what gives energy and spirit.

This question made me smile. I would say to my 14-year-old self: it’s okay. Just be yourself. Yes, now in high school that feels scary and is still difficult. But creating your own personality, and daring to dream about things that are unattainable (or not) is what gives energy and spirit. Go for it. Never forget to dream.

Ingelou Stol started her career as a journalist on the Dutch radio as a reporter and news anchor. She also worked as a documentary filmmaker. Since 2017 she has made the switch to the tech world where she now works as Communication Manager and Storyteller for the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, the smartest square kilometer in Europe. More than 12,000 researchers, developers and entrepreneurs work here on the latest innovations. Ingelou is also founder of the Female Tech Heroes initiative to create more diversity in the tech world.

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