Featured image of post Embedded World 2024

Embedded World 2024

Reflecting this years Embedded World Exhibition as a business visitor and table captain at the #women4ew networking event

While I’m a regular visitor of the Embedded World Exhibition, this year was different. I had not only a more business-focused visit with lots of meetings with old and new partners and customers, but I also had the chance to serve rather spontaneously as a speaker, or better “Table Captain,” at the second edition of Embedded World’s women networking event #women4ew. Thus, I want to recap both parts separately and make a reference to what changed in contrast to my experiences outlined in the recently published post on International Women’s Day.

# women4ew

While I usually speak as a technical expert at conferences, taking on the role of a role model and Table Captain was a new challenge for me. I stepped in at short notice for a speaker who was unable to attend. So, I only had one day to prepare a topic and abstract that I felt comfortable with and that would make an impact for the women in the discussion. Here is the result:

Making strengths and skills visible, overcoming prejudices: Self-confidence in technical professions
As a female engineer, it is not always easy to assert yourself in such a deeply technical environment as embedded systems and electronics. Instead of a leap of faith in your own competence, you often experience skepticism and reservations in contrast to male colleagues. How do you deal professionally and competently if you are initially considered to be “the insignificant appendage of marketing” in meetings with customers, business partners or colleagues? How do you manage to maintain a positive attitude towards new interlocutors over the years? And what kind of support do we want from our colleagues and how do we sensitize them to this? We want to share experiences and discuss possible strategies around the table!

  • How do you approach (new) customers, colleagues and business partners competently and confidently and what strategies do you use to engage in discussions on an equal footing?
  • How do you deal positively and constructively with mutual expectations, what experiences have you had (positive/negative)?
  • How do you present your skills to the outside world and take leadership/responsibility for topics that you enjoy?
The constant need to prove yourself as an female engineer is frustrating and demotivating. My vision is that we can communicate with each other in the world of work without reservations and at eye level in order to develop our full potential. Cite at the Embedded World website

As written, it was a new experience for me to speak in such a context, share my experiences and strategies, and moderate a group. I believe such a format thrives on discussion and exchange. While my tips may not resonate with everyone, I hope that through these discussions, all participants could find something meaningful for themselves, even if it’s just the realization that they are not alone in their experiences.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the event and am delighted to have been a part of it, I have one wish. Looking to the future, I hope to see more women directly involved in technical roles within the embedded systems industry, serving as speakers and role models. While career advancement and the current trending topic of AI are certainly valid, I do not intend to invalidate my fellow Table Captains or replace their topics entirely - in fact, I would have liked to hear their pitches myself! However, I believe that having more technical role models could have an even more positive impact, particularly for young women in the industry.

Furthermore, I am optimistic that we can eventually overcome the current male dominance and the associated challenges in the industry. I envision a future where women feel more confident in networking, approaching it with the same ease as men, potentially making events like this unnecessary. Until then, I am grateful for events like #women4ew and eagerly anticipate many more editions.

Group picture of the female speakers

# The Exhibition

I don’t want to delve deeply into the trade fair itself, but rather share the personal changes I made during this year’s visit and the impact they had on my experience, especially in comparison to the experiences I shared for International Women’s Day.

The first significant change was that my approach to the trade fair this year was marked by a clearer business focus. Accompanied by colleagues, our purpose was not merely to observe the latest trends and developments but to engage with both new and established business partners and clients. With scheduled appointments and clearly communicated objectives in front of the exhibition, the atmosphere and expectations were entirely different compared to the negative encounters I had previously described. Establishing contact in advance and being able to familiarize ourselves with our conversation partners made it much easier to engage on an equal footing and conduct ourselves in a professional and purposeful manner.

Furthermore, on the second day, I ventured alone without any appointments, but I was unmistakably identifiable as an embedded enthusiast through my Yocto t-shirt. This combination proved to be quite effective for me. However, the act of being alone is indeed a factor not to be underestimated, as situations where the conversation eventually only revolved around my companion could not arise. In this setting, I also had many enriching conversations at the booths and gathered several inspirations.

In conclusion, I can confidently say that my visit to the embedded world this year was a resounding success, and I will particularly cherish the role of being a table captain as well as the engaging conversations at the networking event.