tw/m+a:You have a challenging job and yet you immediately agreed to speak at the "She Means Business" conference. Why? Anne Kjaer Riechert: I am a strong believer in the power of connection, and that new opportunities arise when people with shared interests meet. I am always looking for new partners and new volunteers to get engaged with our work at ReDI School, developing tech talent and ensuring a more diverse workforce in the tech industry. I studied innovation and leadership, and both topics are something which I care deeply about. Diverse teams are proven to be more innovative and women are underrepresented both as top managers, entrepreneurs and in the tech field. Hence, I think it is important for me to invest some of my time to be a role model and inspire others.
In your keynote you will talk about your lessons learnt in setting up the ReDI School of Digital Integration. What lesson cannot be shared often enough? “If you want to go fast, travel alone. If you want to go far, travel together”. In other words, having a good team that is aligned in values and mission is vital to success.
PHOTO: KAY HERSCHELMANN
ANNE KJAER RIECHERT
Anne Kjaer Riechert, Danish, Co-founder and CEO of the ReDI School of Digital Integration. The coding school for refugees is a nonprofit digital school for tech-interested newcomers in Germany. www.redi-school.org
At ReDI School you are convinced that technology can bring people together to find new solutions to old problems. Do you have an example for us? At one of our recent hackathons with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the winning team was a group of ReDI students, alumni and industry experts who worked on developing a water sensor to secure safe drinking water in the NRC water tanks in rural Iran. The team has now gotten their idea accepted in to the Bosch Start-up Accelerator, where they have taken the idea to the next level and are working on developing a water sensor that can help farmers in sub-Saharan Africa better take care of their land, and hence improve food security. Some of our alumni in the group are indeed from Sub- Saharan Africa, and can therefore see opportunities to bring the skills they have learned at ReDI School to help people in their home countries. That is indeed a win-win-win situation!
Mark Zuckerberg visited ReDI School. What can Mark learn from Anne? Dressing more colourful? Just kidding. You would have to ask him that. He was super engaged in our work, and it was nice to meet his wife Priscilla Chan, as well. I am curious and follow their progress setting up their foundation and re-investing their wealth in doing social good. Facebook has been a great partner of ReDI School since 2016, and thanks to them there is now a Digital Learning Center in Berlin, where ReDI School and many other organizations working on digital education can teach.
The business newspaper Handelsblatt named you "Mutmacherin des Jahres 2018" (Encourager of the year 2018). Have a guess why?
I am extremely honored to have received this title. Especially with such an incredible introduction from Gispert Rühl, the CEO of Klöckner & Co. Mr. Rühl has been a great inspiration to me, showing that also the German establishment is willing to learn and change. Many times “unlearning” old behaviors that has lead to success in the past, is the hardest part of innovating. That takes a lot of courage. I am blessed to have had many brave role models to look up to. I am sure that is rubbing off on me, and I am thrilled if I can help inspire others to follow and find their inner calling.