A passionate team stands behind FreeTech and works day by day with a lot of joy and energy on our vision.
Ibo is a Student Relations Manager and Management Assistant at FreeTech. He came to Germany from Syria in 2015. After one year of German school, he completed his training as an office management assistant at Axel Springer in Summer 2020. In his free time, he enjoys taking on new challenges, especially through sports.
As Strategic Innovation Manager at Axel Springer Ideas Engineering, Henrike is responsible for new innovation initiatives and strategic collaborations. As a result, she became part of the early FreeTech founding team and is enthusiastically driving its further shaping.
Before joining Axel Springer in 2018 as the CPO of SPRING, Henrike completed a Master of Science in Innovation Management at Linnaeus University in Sweden.
She started her career at Airbus Defence & Space and worked there for 6 years in international teams, including consulting and innovation. Even though Henrike has left the space industry, she remains an astronaut at heart. She has a weakness for Swedish pastries and enjoys being out in nature.
As deputy head of journalism training, Rudolf Porsch is primarily responsible for curricula and everything to do with money and contracts. Parallel to his law studies, he worked as a freelance journalist in Germany and the U.S. and in management positions at radio stations and daily newspapers. He likes to learn new things all the time (at the age of 50, he still has his MBA), loves direct communication and, as the father of three lively sons and a senior at FreeTech, always has an open ear for many a request, even unusual ones. That’s perhaps why friends call him Bobby. What he hates (and that was also the reason for him to become a journalist) is hypocrisy.
Justin is a co-founder of FreeTech and leads the Tech Program for young tech talents. She helps our students gain practical tech skills as well as learn how to develop tech-driven media innovations through interdisciplinarity.
After earning a degree in business psychology with a focus on information technology adoption, she lectured in digital media business and helped develop innovative study programs. During her trainee program at Axel Springer, she visited various editorial offices and tech units.
Justin was born in Berlin and is a true Berliner. In her free time she loves to escape the city to travel the world.
Niddal has been leading FreeTech as the Managing Director since September 2021. She cares deeply about the future of journalism. She joined from German Press Agency dpa, where she served as deputy Editor-in-chief and product and innovation lead, successfully developing new revenue streams with new editorial products.
She has a track record in making meaningful change happen and creating positive impact in newsrooms and beyond. She studied communications, political science and journalism in Mainz and Washington, D.C. and holds an M.A. (Magister Artium). She gained practical experience at UN, ZDF, CNN, Spiegel and Ketchum Pleon. She has worked at Axel Springer’s WELT from 2014 to 2019 in different leading editorial roles, boosting impact of Social Media, partnerships, newsroom innovation, distribution & paid content.
Niddal is married and has one child.
Uli is founding director of FreeTech and managing director of Axel Springer Digital Ventures GmbH. As a passionate intrapreneur, he seeks out new ideas and drives their implementation.After studying electrical engineering and earning a doctorate in engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt, he worked in R&D for Mannesmann and Vodafone. In 2001, he moved to Axel Springer. There he played an intensive role in the company’s digitization drive, including a long stint as CTO of the Electronic Media division.Uli is one of the founders of the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator and the Entrepreneurial School, a program for Entrepreneurial Leadership at ESCP Europe. He is a certified coach (INSEAD).
Uli can often be found on his racing bike, in the kitchen or in thoughts.
As Head of Digital Training & Development, Ekaterina is responsible for the development of various training programs, with the aim of further embedding technology topics in Axel Springer’s training programs. Prior to joining the FreeTech team, Ekaterina has held various positions within the Axel Springer Group over the past 7 years. Ekaterina is very passionate about technology and its impact on education. She is a true globetrotter and has lived in 3 different countries before settling in Berlin 11 years ago. Outside of work, Ekaterina spends most of her time with her family, discovering new countries and has an ambitious goal to learn how to play the cello.
Kristin works as Head of Academic Affairs at the FreeTech Academy. Together with her colleagues, she takes care of the teaching content of the journalism school, she supervises the students’ final projects and the cooperation between techtalents and journalism students. Kristin started her career as a producer for BBC, Sky News and NPR, for which she worked during her studies at FU Berlin. Shortly after, she started as a presenter and reporter for Bild.de. She covered politics, news and show before moving to FreeTech. She says, “All the women in my family are teachers, so it just feels natural now here at the academy to help young talent launch their careers.”
Marc Thomas, or simply Tom, is Founding Director of FreeTech and Head of Journalism Education at Axel Springer. He started out as a reporter, graduated from the Henri Nannen Journalism School in Hamburg, and meanwhile wrote for SPIEGEL, Stern and DIE ZEIT. In the years that followed, he worked as a department head, head of copy, managing editor and deputy editor-in-chief at Gruner + Jahr and the Milchstrasse publishing group. He has been with Axel Springer since 2001, was a member of the editorial board of the WELT Group before taking over the management of the “Axel Springer Academy” in 2010. His goal then as now: to provide young talents with the most progressive journalism training.
Tom’s hobbies among others: cooking, and to work off the consequences of countless, not always successful experiments: running.
As an assistant to the academy management in the field of journalism education, Katja supports our teaching operations.
In her first life she was a lawyer, then a student advisor in an English school. Afterwards she spent some time in South Africa, where she was able to teach a little German. Back in Germany she worked as an assistant for a so-called grasshopper, but this was a bit too exciting in the long run. So at the beginning of 2011 she moved first to the sales department, then to Axel Springer’s service division.
Quite unplanned, a real estate focus had crept into her CV and persisted. Since starting at the Academy, this issue has given way to a very lively task with highly motivated volunteers and tech students.
Grit is a management assistant at the FreeTech Academy. She coordinates the annual application process for the best talents at the journalism school, supports the Academy management, is the contact person for volunteers and lecturers, and oversees the “Axel Springer Prize for Young Journalism”. In 2009, she joined Axel Springer, where she initially worked for more than a year in the Group Organization/Corporate Development department and in the Management Board division of
Finance and Services before moving to the Axel Springer Academy in 2010. Prior to that, she worked for 12 years at the ProSiebenSat.1 broadcasting family in the Program Marketing department.
She loves traveling, sports AlpinSkiing/cycling/running – preferably with her family and friends.
If you want to do an editorial internship at Axel Springer SE, Jenny is the right person for you. In 2012, she completed her training as a media clerk for digital and print in-house and worked for several years as a digital manager at WELT classified marketing. After further stops (including at Corporate Communications), she moved to the FreeTech Academy in 2017 and has since focused on supervising interns.
Those who pay attention to a competent first impression have a good chance of getting a job in the editorial department or even volunteering at the FreeTech Academy. A big heart for guinea pigs could possibly lead to further plus points with Jenny. But don’t let the management find out 😉
Bente is an Innovation Catalyst at Axel Springer. During her dual studies in Business Informatics, she worked for a year in Tel Aviv and made many contacts in the local cybersecurity scene. After a short sabbatical as a cook, she started as a Cybersecurity Analyst at Axel Springer. She developed a concept to translate the opportunities that digitization enables into an actual innovation strategy. This convinced the Executive Board, who created her new position for this purpose, which she now holds.
She works closely with the FreeTech team to redefine journalism.
Bente enjoys cooking, eating and talking about food, and playing the piano (but not at the same time).