Web Summit reaffirms commitment to Impact 

Matthew Taylor's avatar
Matthew Taylor

New all-women steering committee to oversee Impact initiatives across startups, partnerships and investors programmes. 

Web Summit strives to empower its team and community to work towards a more sustainable future through its impact programme which is dedicated to contributing to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

While Impact has always played a pivotal role in Web Summit’s work, it is now moving to a new and exciting stage, through the establishment of the Impact steering committee, led by Karena Walsh, head of Impact Partnerships at Web Summit, alongside an all women team including head of startups Margarida David, VP of community Carolyn Quinlan, VP of communications Katherine Farrell and speakers director Alice McDermott who has built the bedrock of Impact for years. 

The Impact Steering Committee was established to advance the initiative across all aspects of Web Summit. The work of the committee ensures Web Summit’s efforts are holistically growing and that all attendees, startups, investors and partners can leverage and engage the Impact network at Web Summit.

“Impact at Web Summit is dedicated to contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  In particular we celebrate companies and mission-driven organisations that are focused on safeguarding the climate, diversity, equity and inclusion, and education. Impact has been successfully building across our events for many years. We’re delighted to double down on our commitment to Impact in 2024. Our aim is to make Web Summit events as forward thinking and solutions focused as possible; highlighting startup innovation, community mobilisation and corporate transformation to support global sustainable development,” said Karena Walshe, head of Impact partnerships and chair of the Impact steering committee.

For years, Web Summit has used its platform as an event company,  a convenor of leaders and innovators to highlight technology that is addressing the world’s most serious issues like climate change, education, human rights and more. In 2017, Planet:tech stage was established, which drew speakers like Vice President Al Gore to make his now famous state of climate change address to the tech world. 

In 2020, Web Summit doubled down by bringing hundreds of tech for good startups through its newly formed IMPACT initiative, partnering with organisations like the United Nations’s Race to Zero and Richard Curtis’s Make My Money Matter to promote promising startups that were directly addressing Impact issues. The Web Summit 2030 Sustainability Strategy was established in 2020 to spearhead this mission even further.

Main image of Karena Walshe, head of Impact Partnerships at Web Summit: Gerry Mooney/Irish Independent

A person (Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher) pictured in front of a wall that features the Web Summit logo prominently in several places. Katherine is seated behind a small microphone. This is a press conference at Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon.

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