This October I had the privilege of traveling to the Dominican Republic to speak at EBE Dominicana where I shared the Tech By Superwomen story and spoke about how to use social media to build movements for brands.
I met the dynamic and inspiring organizer of EBE Dominicana, Yessely Lopez.
What follows is a profile of this rising tech superwoman — read below for how she pulled off an incredible feat and the role she sees for tech in the Dominican Republic.
The 140 (or so) on Yessely:
Entrepreneurial and passionate about e-commerce and digital marketing, Yessely currently lives in Madrid where she is finishing her PhD in Public Relations and Advertising 2.0. She is the organizer of EBEDominicana, the biggest digital culture event in Dominican Republic — she is also working on projects to establish a digital foundation in her native country, the Dominican Republic.
Her latest anthem:
Too Good To Lose – Rebecca Ferguson
Her favorite qoute:
You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration. – James Allen
EBEDominicana was the first major tech conference in the Dominican Republic, correct?
Yes, this is the first time that a Digital Culture event of this size was organized in the Dominican Republic — the result was a strong event that attracted the presence of national and international companies who participated in this first edition, including Google, Fox, Batanga, MarketingDirecto and 30 more. The success of EBEDominicana was the result of the work of an entire team, including my partners and collaborators.
What inspired you to bring EBE to the Dominican Republic?
When I decided to come to Madrid to study in 2009 I already came with the intentions to take back to Dominican Republic all that could provide knowledge and value in the digital and business fields. I had the chance to experience EBE Seville and while I was living this amazing experience I kept visualizing the input that this could bring to my country. What happened totally exceeded expectations — EBEDominicana is still a topic of conversation, awaking minds, ideas, projects — and achieving this was one of my principal goals.
What is the current state of tech in Dominican Republic?
Dominican Republic is one of the countries with the highest level of penetration and use of the elements of Digital Culture. The mobile penetration in the country is up to 94%, one of the highest in the whole region. On the Internet side, the penetration level is up to 40% and 50.9% are women. For example, according to INDOTEL, in 2012, the telecommunications sector in the country registered a growth of over 843,000 subscriptions to internet service contracts and 8,934,196 lines and mobile phones.
Yet, the use that is given to the Internet turns out to be superficial and mainly unproductive, because, as HM Consulting explains, most of the visits are registered in portals or social networks and email services, Facebook being the most visited site on the internet by Dominicans.
After Facebook, Google is the most visited virtual site by Dominicans, searching pictures, news, videos, etc. mostly informative news about celebrities and entertainment.
Art, e-commerce, culture, digital marketing, among others, are areas that are in a process of fast growth. That is why EBEDominicana offered a unique opportunity to meet and maximize the opportunities in these spaces.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities?
Dominican Republic has gradually been introduced to the world of technology. With this event we could see the rise of important startups that have been created in the last couple of years and a significant number of young people motivated to undertake innovative projects.
However, as our Vice-President Margarita Cedeño de Fernandez said at the opening of EBEDominicana, we must dedicate our efforts for the final closure of the digital divide, connecting all of our citizens to the world of opportunities, the Internet; Improve digital formation citizenship; Increase accessibility bringing high-speed internet to every corner of the country, at affordable prices and with high quality; Enhance digital entrepreneurship and business innovation. It has been said in recent studies that one of the opportunities in Latin America is the growing e-commerce sector, which indicates that it is an opportunity to develop, as well as the promotion of digital entrepreneurship.
What advice do you have for women in Tech who want to accomplish something on a grand scale that has never been done before?
Passion is the most important element needed to do great things, because it allows you to stand up every time you fall. Get together with other women who share the same vision and work with this group to build a great team. The next thing is to be sensitive to the real needs of human beings, right now this technology is being used to develop products that meet whims rather than real needs and this is a great opportunity to do things that have not been done yet and that contribute to improving the world.
What’s next for you?
Right now I am focused on finishing my PhD and working on the second edition of EBEDominicana. I am also creating the first Digital Business School for citizens of DR so they can get training without having to leave the country. Additionally, I am developing a digital skills training program that will help teachers of primary and secondary school.
To connect with Yessely, follow her on Twitter: @yesselylopez.