This is a school like no other, with an agenda like no other, and we are excited to share it with you. Your days will be inspiring and stimulating from morning till night, offering endless opportunities to learn, bond, explore and grow. Have a look through the day-by-day programme below, for a glimpse at what lay ahead. Hopefully, it will inspire you to apply for the Winter School.
Welcome to Lisbon! Participants made themselves comfortable at the beautiful, eco-boutique hotel located in the city centre. Run by a local family, it embodied an award-winning concept built on the basis of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Its staff made participants feel at home and helped them enjoy a perfect kind of harmony after the full days at the School.
Once settled, delegates joined colleagues at the Welcome Cocktail Reception and got ready for Lisbon’s most stunning sunset views.
Now that delegates had met their fellow participants, they enjoyed an energising breakfast together and a short walk to the School. The programme started sharply at 09.00h.
Before diving into two core course modules, Leadership and Public Speaking, delegates heard from several public figures making a change in the fields of equality, business and politics. A panel of women working in technology and cybersecurity broke down stereotypes and explained, from their personal experience, why these fields are for womenas well.
Both the coffee and lunch breaks gave an excellent opportunity to network and ask speakers further questions. Remember: every minute spent at the School is a minute that can help define your future and gather the strength needed to embrace further challenges.
The afternoon was a time for adventures. Grouped in teams, delegates were invited to participate in a treasure hunt that took them around the most inspiring landmarks of the Portuguese capital. The day finished at a traditional restaurant, where students learnt from the female entrepreneurs that are shaping Portugal’s innovation landscape, while tasting a selection of local delicacies.
After the previous day’s eventful programme, a new day started – and it was even more exciting.
From discussing the opportunities of the digital era to evaluating the role of women in shaping new technologies, Wednesday’s schedule led students to another core module: coding. And not just coding, but coding at one of the best schools in the world. Once algorithms had become a new friend we went for a little getaway. Our villages are the heart of our continent, and as such we wanted to give students the opportunity to explore one of Portugal’s hidden gems: Mafra. There they learnt the value of local development and the possibilities that technology offers to bridge the rural-urban gap.
And from local to global: after the insightful experience in Mafra, on Thursday we examined the importance of leading with purpose for a sustainable, inclusive world. Participants heard first-hand experiences from women and men in the frontline, and how they overcame extremely difficult situations. Their persistence inspired us to push forward, no matter how hard life may get.
Discussions on new media and nanotechnologies occupied the afternoon, while the last part of the session was dedicated to the group project. More on that later - but students were asked to start thinking about the concept of “Leave no one behind” that would help with part of the work already done.
Following such an eventful day, the best way to end it was by taking part in some meditation and mindfulness workshops at a picturesque garden. Participants changed into their most comfortable clothes and came prepared to relax and let go.
Last but not least, before closing the academic programme we heard from female leaders on how they are contributing to Europe’s economic recovery, and a cybersecurity masterclass provided us with the last of the core competencies needed to shape the digital era.
Finally, the time came for the teams to present the projects they had been working on throughout the School days. The public speaking and leadership techniques that they learnt at the beginning of the course helped them to get it right, and inspire others with their vision.
In the afternoon, students (finally!) had some free time. But colleagues and lecturers were waiting later at one of Portugal’s national palaces for an unforgettable Farewell Gala. Students dressed up, brought their cameras, and got a small speech ready in case they were one of the prize awardees – this “Eurovision for Women in Tech” didn’t end until talent had been properly recognised.
The final night was like a dream and now it was time to wake up and go to the airport.
Students had made friends for life, and learnt the important building blocks needed to lead, and take their careers to the next stage. We are confident that they will meet again in a few years – and when they do, they will all be proud of how far they have come!
We thank them wholeheartedly, for having joined the programme. We hope that they enjoyed it, and we are already looking forward to the next edition.
We wished safe travels and best of luck to our dear future leaders!