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Falling Walls Circle – Plenary Table: Promoting Gender Equality for Innovation

Falling Walls Foundation | Monika Lessl, Tatjana König, Simone Menne, Londa Schiebinger, Kumsal Bayazit, Stefanie Molthagen-Schnöring


Promotion of gender equality drives innovation both in science and in industrial organisations. However, we miss to put our scientific knowledge into practice. We must find ways to innovate our recruiting, work processes and most importantly our understanding of leadership. Thus, in this panel we will explore the questions: How to implement gender equality to increase the quality of innovation? What else needs to be changed? And for that matter, who needs to change: decision makers or policy makers shaping gender equality or those who are disadvantaged?


Falling Walls Circle Tables will give the spotlight to world-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics to shape the agenda of the future of science.

Monika Lessl

Bayer Foundation

Monika Lessl is Executive Director of the Bayer Foundation and Head of Corporate R&D and Social Innovation at Bayer AG. She is a member of Bayer’s Global R&D Executive Committee and the Global Medical and Regulatory Governance committee. Her focus is on driving organizational and societal transformation by strengthening the role of science and promoting innovation and sustainability through strategic initiatives, governance processes and partnerships.

She is a Board member of the Futurium, Berlin’s museum of the future and acts as a jury member of the European Innovation Council and the German Ministry of Science and Education. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, a Diploma in General Management from Ashridge Business School, London and is a former fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation. Next to her research work she published a number of articles on collaborative innovation, entrepreneurship and business transformation in leading journals like Harvard Business Review. She and her team were awarded as finalists for the “Master of Reinvention Award” of the London Business School” in 2018 and “The best Innovation team award” by Fast Company in 2020.

In her former role as Head of Innovation Strategy she developed and led Bayer’s Innovation Agenda to strengthen Bayer’s Innovation capabilities and foster new business models. As Head of External Innovation Therapeutics at Bayer’s pharmaceutical division she was responsible for creating the external innovation strategy and leading global partnering activities. Prior to this, she was CEO of the Ernst Schering Foundation and led as a research team in the area of women’s health at Schering AG.

Simone Menne

American Chamber of Commerce Germany

Simone Menne started her career for ITT, later joining Deutsche Lufthansa. In 2012, Ms. Menne was appointed CFO and stayed in this position till 2015. She worked as CFO at Boehringer Ingelheim from 2016 to 2017. In both companies she was responsible for the foundation of the digital lab. Ms. Menne serves as non-executive board member for Henkel, Deutsche Post DHL, JCI and Russell Reynolds. She also owns an art gallery in Kiel, Germany and is the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e.V.

Londa Schiebinger

Stanford University

Londa Schiebinger is the John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science at Stanford University, and Founding Director of Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment. Gendered Innovations harnesses the creative power of sex, gender, and intersectional analysis to enhance excellence and reproducibility in science. She is a leading international expert on gender in science and technology and has addressed the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Korean National Assembly, and numerous funding agencies on that topic. Schiebinger received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize and Guggenheim Fellowship. From 2018-2020, she directed a European Commission expert group to produce: Gendered Innovations 2: How Inclusive Analysis Contributes to Research and Innovation. Recent publications include: AI can be Sexist and Racist—It’s Time to Make it Fair Nature (2018); Sex and Gender Analysis Improves Science and Engineering Nature (2019); Analysing How Sex and Gender Interact The Lancet (2020); Ensuring that Biomedical AI Benefits Diverse Populations eBioMedicine (2021).

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Mon | Nov 08, 2021 | 02.00 PM - 02.25 PM Berlin Time

Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversation with Londa Schiebinger

Kumsal Bayazit was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Elsevier in February 2019. She has held multiple positions with RELX Group since 2004, most recently as Regional President Europe, Middle East and Africa at Reed Exhibitions. Before joining Reed Exhibitions in 2016, Kumsal was RELX Group’s Chief Strategy Officer, responsible for driving strategic initiatives, technology strategy and portfolio management. Prior to that she served in several operational and strategic roles with LexisNexis. Kumsal also chairs the Technology Forum at RELX Group and is a non-executive director at LSL Property Services plc. Prior to joining RELX Group in 2004, Kumsal spent several years at Bain & Company in their New York, Los Angeles, Johannesburg and Sydney offices. Kumsal earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with honors.

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Mon | Nov 08, 2021 | 10.00 AM - 10.50 AM Berlin Time

Falling Walls Circle – Plenary Table: Green New Deal

Stefanie Molthagen-Schnöring

Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin

Stefanie Molthagen-Schnöring is Vice President for Research and Transfer and Professor of Business Communication at HTW Berlin, the largest university of applied sciences in Berlin. Her focus in teaching and research is on communication management, science communication and socio-political communication. After her PhD on the connection between corporate communication and culture she worked as a consultant in different communication agencies.

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