Team of the month: February


Burda has great teams working together to develop new ideas and drive projects forward. In this series, we present such departments from across the Burda Group. This month: The DLD team around founder and curator Steffi Czerny. The most important thought leaders of our time recently met at DLD Munich under the motto "Dare to Know". Chief Commercial Officer Alessia Sinzger tells us how to manage this huge community and which trend topics are still on the agenda for 2024.

With DLD (Digital, Life, Design) the international conference and innovation platform, you have set a real milestone for Burda. What has been your greatest team success to date and why?

The team's greatest success can't be attributed to a single event, but rather to the fact that we've been ahead of our time for almost 20 years now. It started with Mark Zuckerberg and Lady Gaga in 2009, and it certainly won't end with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who attended our DLD event co-hosted with the Technical University of Munich last summer. This can only be achieved with a well-coordinated and dynamic team that trusts each other. 

How did DLD go in January, what conferences are coming up this year and what are your priorities for 2024?

At DLD Munich 24, we welcomed 1,800 participants from 38 countries, 200 speakers and 100 international journalists over 3 days. We managed all of this with a team of just 8 people, plus valuable press and on-site support from our colleagues in Corporate Communications and the Dr Burda staff. This is a great success for us, considering that comparable international events are organised with much larger teams. 

In January, under the motto "Dare to Know", we focused on the great need for knowledge and sense of reflection that people are currently feeling, i.e. we must question things: How is technology affecting us? What is technology doing to us? We asked experts such as Gary Marcus (AI expert, scientist, entrepreneur), Werner Vogels (CTO Amazon), MEP Eva Maydell, musician and artist Holly Herndon, Aenne Burda Award winner Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Club of Rome) and Kenneth Cukier (Deputy Executive Editor Economist) and got some really exciting answers. The aim of the year is to apply this motto to other topics. 

For example, we have a DLD event on the topics of sustainability and lifestyle planned for mid-September. But we also organise smaller events and dinners throughout the year that bring our community together on a regular basis. In March, for example, we are hosting a dinner in Brussels to discuss the impact of the European AI Act on companies and the media. We are also planning further DLD meetings in innovation hotspots around the world, together with our colleagues from Burda Principal Investments. With the support of our local partners, we also want to further establish our contacts in the important digital centres of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Last November, for example, we hosted a dinner together with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, which we are now continuing on a digitalisation trip with a delegation from Germany. We are hosting this event together with our partners and neighbours in Arabellapark, the UniCredit Group.

DLD has a huge address book of contacts with international experts and thought leaders from all areas of society. How do you manage to maintain this mega-network?

The DLD community doesn't just thrive on the important conference formats. We organise many smaller DLD Connect events throughout the year that bring our community together and expand it in relevant ways. Constant dialogue and real face-to-face encounters are particularly important to us in times of digital communication options. The fact that the DLD network has not imploded and now spans the globe is also due to our openness and that of our participants and speakers, who repeatedly share their own networks, recommend us to others and regularly challenge us. 

As a team, we always strive to be good hosts. This includes getting to know our speakers, participants and partners extremely well, making unexpected connections with each other that bring real value to our guests and Burda colleagues. For many, this makes DLD a LOVE brand/community: our friends and supporters know that they will not only get exciting talks and good food here, but also meet people whose acquaintance and friendship are very valuable. This is a vibrant community that has grown over the years. It has its own special DNA and dynamic. Together, we can achieve a lot in an uncomplicated way.  

Division within the team: Who is responsible for which task?

  • Steffi Czerny: Managing Director and DLD Curator
  • Heiko Schlott: Head of Operations & Conference Programme

  • Alessia Sinzger: Chief Commercial Officer  

  • Felicitas Ludwig: Event Management & Business Operations 

  • Franziska Schiegl: Communication & Invitation Management 

  • Mark Fernandes: Executive Assistant & Project Management  

  • Clemens Fetzer: Digital Project Management (Website, CRM, App) 

  • Melissa Faber-Castell: Head of Marketing

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