20-22 November

Our digital future - speakers


Ian Ward

Birmingham city council leader Ian Ward, has been a councillor since 1995. He served as deputy leader of the Labour group from 2005-2017 and was deputy leader of the city council from 2012-2017.

He has had political responsibility for many areas including budgets and finance, land and property and the development portfolio.

Keen to promote Birmingham both nationally and internationally, he spearheaded the successful 2022 Commonwealth Games bid, having already helped bring a number of high profile international sporting events to the city.

He has also promoted the physical activity agenda, supporting cycling, running and a range of free exercise initiatives across the city.

A former cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, he has also served on many cultural partnership bodies and numerous arts boards, including Birmingham Royal Ballet.

He has chaired the EUROCITES culture forum and is a member of EUROCITIES executive committee, taking a keen interest in promoting and strengthening Birmingham's European and international ties.


Ana González Rodríguez

Ana González Rodríguez is the mayor of Gijón, in the north-west of Spain which has around 300.000 residents. Between 2001 and 2008 she worked for the Asturian Equality Institute, and then moved to Madrid to work in the new Ministry for Equality. After two years she returned to Asturias. In 2019 she was elected the mayor of Gijon.

Her whole life has been dedicated to teaching and the struggle for equality between women and men, sometimes from political positions and others as an ordinary citizen.

Minna Arve

Minna Arve has served as the Mayor of Turku since 2017. During her career she has worked as the managing director of Turku Chamber of Commerce, party secretary of the Finnish National Coalition Party, full-time chairperson of the City Board in Turku, and Marketing Manager of HyTest Oy, a pharmaceutical company. As the mayor of Turku, she has highlighted major issues such as sustainable growth, urban inclusion, the prevention of social exclusion, and new means of industrial and business policies.