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Recognizing Excellence: Vote for the Most Inspiring Women in AI in CEE

Vote for the Most Inspiring CEE Women in AI
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The CEE region has numerous talented women making significant contributions to the development of AI – and it is always important to recognize and celebrate their achievements and create opportunities for more women to enter the field.

Therefore, we are excited to introduce our 2023 The Recursive Award – Most Inspiring Women in AI, whereby we invite our readers to have a say in recognizing the contributions of women in this field.

Through this initiative, we aim to raise awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusivity in AI and encourage more women to pursue careers in this field. It is crucial to have a diverse range of voices and perspectives represented in the development of AI to ensure that the technology is inclusive and beneficial to everyone. Check out our  list of nominees and their achievements:

Svetlana Kordumova

Svetlana Kordumova is the founder and CEO of Pixyle, a startup that uses AI-powered solutions to identify fashion apparel in images. A PhD in multimedia and artificial intelligence from the University of Amsterdam, she has taken part in numerous AI projects over the past few years that combine science, technology, and fashion.

Martina Silov

Martina Silov is the executive director of the Croatian AI Association. Her main focus in the association is to make the concept of tech optimism more known in Croatia, while promoting it through CroAI meetups, gatherings and European projects that are focused on high tech.

Hajdi Cenan

Hajdi Cenan is the co-founder and CEO of airt, a deep tech startup whose deep learning platform helps companies predict their end customers’ behavior. In her other roles, Cenan is a co-founder of PWMN Croatia, the association that promotes equality and gender-balanced leadership; a Vice President of the Croatian AI association, and also serves as the President of the Croatian Startup Ecosystem Association.

Julia Hoxha

Julia Hoxha is the co-founder and CEO of Zana Technologies, a conversational AI technology startup whose digital solutions aim to innovate and improve healthcare by using ML and AI technology. A PhD in computer science and engineering, she is a former postdoctoral research scientist in Medical Informatics at Columbia University, and former research associate at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

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Elitza Stoilova

Elitza Stoilova is the co-founder and CEO of Umni, a no-code platform that allows businesses to create, manage, and train AI chatbots for their websites. Stoilova has a 20-years long experience in hospitality, and as a CEO of Umni, she combines her experience as director of sales and marketing, a general manager, and a destination marketing consultant.

Denise Xifara

A PhD in Statistical Genetics and MMath in Mathematics & Statistics from Oxford University, Denise Xifara has worked in academia at Oxford and won multiple awards from the American Society of Human Genetics and the Leventis Foundation. Xifara has taught code, AI and other technical skills to corporates and also worked with numerous startups, building AI, blockchain and chatbot applications.

Iva Gumnishka

Gumnishka is the founder of Humans in the Loop, a social enterprise specialized in data annotation for the computer vision industry, whose employees perform manual labeling and verification to train machine learning models. She is also the founder of the company’s charity arm, the Humans in the Loop Foundation, which uses the profit generated by the social enterprise in order to provide training and support to workers who are all refugees and conflict-affected people.

Andreea Plesea

Plesea is the co-founder of DRUID AI, an end-to-end platform for AI-driven conversational business applications. A PhD in Business computer studies with focus on artificial intelligence- semantic web, with an extensive experience in developing custom software for B2B systems and management, mainly using Microsoft technologies.

Konstantina Psoma

Konstantina Psoma is the founder of Kaedim, a startup that provides game developers with modeling software that can rapidly convert 2D images into 3D models and leverages the power of AI systems to make 3D asset creation frictionless, fast and accessible. Athens-born Psoma studied computer science with innovation in the UK, and later took up multiple projects on 3D modeling, character and set design and 3D animation.

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Raluca Apostol

Apostol is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Nestor, a people intelligence platform that helps organizations engage, develop, and retain talent in the new hybrid world. A PhD in machine learning, Aposol leads the research and product development at Nestor, has extensive experience in the software industry, and her AI research work has also been referenced by Intel and LG.

Dzhuliana Nikolova

Dzhuliana Nikolova is a technical co-founder of OneUpOneDown, a platform that provides mentorship experiences for women in business and tech, powered by AI-matching technology. Nikolova studied landscape architecture in Bulgaria before moving to London where she completed her second masters degree in graphic design.

Manja Bogicevic

Manja Bogicevic is one of the data science entrepreneurs in Serbia, as a co-founder and CEO of, specialized in empowering digitalization in the energy sector. Bogicevic’s vision is to help executives and engineers in optimizing production and minimizing downtime with machine learning.

Sofiia Shvets

Sofiia Shvets is the CEO of Let’s Enhance, an Ukrainian start-up which develops an online service driven by AI and one which allows improving images and zooming them without losing quality. Shvets vast experience includes working for Google, and is passionate about the application of machine learning to real life problems.


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Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.