The DFF Hard Core Team

Meet the team of the Digital Freedom Festival who helps to spread the spirit of the digital freedom further and believe that only in an open cooperation between startups, corporations, policy makers and lifestyle we can really discuss how to bring the benefits of the digital culture to every member of society.


Uldis Leiterts

Co-Founder and Strategy


Uldis is someone who doesn’t believe it until he’s seen it. A passionate photographer, Uldis has traveled to over 50 countries around the world, which included trekking across Iran (twice), and reaching the summit of Asia’s largest volcano the Damavand.

Uldis is an experienced and awarded entrepreneur, designer, and co-founder of distinguished startups such as, a conversational interfaces for marketing automation, and, an interactive data visualization tool. He’s mentored startups in several regions as part of the Pirate Summit and Pioneer Festival.


Dagnija Lejiņa

Co-Founder and CEO


Dagnija is a passionate communications professional with a special interest in technologies, startups and community engagement. In addition to creating the Digital Freedom Festival, she is a Co-Founder of the boutique reputation management company “Lejiņa and Šleiers”, and is a co-founder of “Riga Venture Summit” and the Latvian Startup Association.

In the past, Dagnija has led communications at the largest Nordic bank in Latvia – Nordea, also coordinating communications in Poland and the Baltic countries. She has gained experience in public affairs while serving as Press Secretary and Communications Advisor to the Latvian Foreign Minister.

Whether it’s hiking in the Himalayas or exploring the thick jungles of southeast Asia, Dagnija has never denied a challenge and aims to push herself to unknown horizons. At the same time she looks for ways that she can help others to achieve their goals by connecting people and building purpose driven communities.


Juris Šleiers

Co-Founder and Lifestyle


An experienced journalist, editor and columnist, Juris is a Co-Founder of “Riga Venture Summit”, the Latvian Startup association and Co-Founder of the NGO Nordic Reputation Hub and flagship event “ReputationTime” conference. In addition to organizing events, Juris actively attends tech conventions and never misses opportunity to dive into the after parties.

Juris was Editor in Chief at Klubs, the largest men’s lifestyle magazine in Latvia for 10 years. He has experience in premium corporate publishing as the Editor for Audi Magazine and contributed to Mercedes Benz corporate publications. Juris has been published in local lifestyle magazines such as Klubs, Santa, Pastaiga, Deko, as well as international brands: Cosmopolitan, FHM, Shape, AutoBild, SNOB, Robb Report.

Wine, cats and writing. That’s Juris, if you had to describe him in three words. Juris enjoys long-distance running, and every now and then conquers mountain summits, such as Kilimanjaro. Juris believes in balance – if you drink fine wines and eat good food, then you have to stay in shape. He’s adopted the ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude in both his personal and professional life.

If you’ll be joining us at our after-parties, you’re guaranteed to see Juris in the spotlight orchestrating all the fun.


Kate Mažāne

Managing Director


Kate is an energetic personality and prefers to be active. She loves outdoor running and completed her first half-marathon in 2017. She has participated in folk dancing since the age of 4 and now dances in “LĪGO” – one of Latvia’s most well-known folk dancing groups. Besides dancing, she actively engages in other physical activities such as fitness and hiking, among others.

Kate has more than 10 years of experience in Marketing and PR Project Management, particularly in the IT industry. She was Project Manager for cooperation with the Digital Freedom Festival on the partner side for two years, but has now joined the DFF team as Managing Director.

She is passionate about new technologies and believes that by adopting technologies wisely has many benefits and uses. Kate now is responsible for fitting all “the pieces of puzzle” together to make the Digital Freedom Festival exciting and valuable both for attendees and partners.


Ieva Keviešena



Ieva is a passionate foodie, who officially makes the best chilli con carne in Rīga. She’s an enthusiastic hiker, having completed a hiking tour in the French Alps and climbed to the top of the photogenic Angel’s Landing in Utah. Also avid sports fan and Murjani Sports Gymnasium graduate. Ieva has more than 14 years of experience in project management and leadership in tourism and PR industries.

Ieva is responsible for speaker management and knows the ins and outs of the Digital Freedom Festival and constantly keeps her fingers on the DFF’s pulse.  Nothing goes unnoticed past Ieva’s eagle eye.


Ritvars Podziņš

On-Site Manager


Ritvars doesn’t really enjoy speaking about himself he rather let his accomplishments do all the work. What we know – he has experience in event management and PR. He is passionate about making user experience at the events he is organising unforgettable.

We have heard that persuasion and negotiation skills are his best tools for “Get things done” attitude. But in reality, in the phase of event production, his job is to make phone calls and write e-mails so every little detail come together at the time of the big show! Also, he seems down-to-earth guy who is interested to learn more about digital marketing tools.


Inga Tauriņa

Press Secretary


Inga likes to challenge herself in all aspects of life. She has climbed Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, bungee-jumped over Zambezi River in Africa and has gone skydiving in Lithuania. Professionally she is not afraid to plunge into uncharted waters, having recently started to work in the startup and tech environment.

After working for the Latvian government in areas such as defense, foreign affairs, justice and banking, Inga is ready to embrace the world of tech with open arms. As a social anthropologist by education, she is very curious about diversity of human world, and how tech has thus far and is yet to affect our way of life.

Inga is the eyes and ears of the festival when it comes to media relations and press. She is in charge of attracting local and foreign media attention, getting them on board as partners and won’t let journalists to lose a focus.


Rūta Liflande

"Swiss Army Knife"


Advanced in switch-tasking. If there is a problem, Rūta will find a way to solve it. 

For the last seven years Rūta has worked and gain diverse and unique work experiences: she has organized sport games, worked as an archery instructor, have worked in the HR field, still working as a steeplejack, helps organising public speaking training events with Public speaking institute “Oratore”, just finished professional bachelor in HR management and has started her way in organising tech events and conferences.

She is a real sports enthusiast, has been participating in countless different sports competitions, collected 108 medals and counting, never said no to a sport activity no matter what the weather is. And just climbed mount Elbruss. She seeks challenges, adventures and new career peaks to reach.


Viktorija Graudiņa



Viktorija has traveled around the world and lived in 4 different countries. She has worked in PR since 2007 and is an experienced translator (and allegedly fluent in Spanish after a couple of drinks).

An athlete at heart, Viktorija has competed in top tier competitions and worked as a gymnastics and cheerleading coach with several universities, and is a founding member and current president of the Baltic Cheerleading Organization. She is also passionate about world history and involves herself in politics, occasionally running for local office to try to foster improvements and make the world a better place.

Although Viktorija is new to the tech world, she’s excited to gain new knowledge, especially on this year’s Green Tech topic.


Sabīne Bistrova

Social Media Strategy


Sabine is an excellent example of an ultimate team player and universal soldier 2 in 1. She is proud of her leadership skill – she is a former manager of a store within Top 50 most successful retail franchises in the Europe – Mango. She also participated in the opening of three Mango franchises in the Baltics, handling merchandising in the process – that’s almost 300 square metres of fashion clothing!

She is passionate about project and events management – she is a former events manager at the legendary London-style bar XIII here in Riga.

Sabine is in charge of visual design both on-site and virtually. And also a helping hand in many operational tasks.


Māris Antons

Digital Strategist


Māris is a self-taught practitioner of digital communications and marketing. He manages a digital store, gives lectures on digital development and is currently trying to figure out fishing on a weekly basis.

Māris started his career in digital advertising as social media project manager. Since then, he’s held various, well connected roles, all are related to communications in the digital world. Managing a small agency, launching an online shop as a nation-wide manager, being on the board of Latvian Association of Public Relations, teaching digital marketing to marketing professionals and advancing the field of performance marketing in Latvia are just some of the things Māris has done over the past six years.

As a part of DFF team Mr. Antons oversees digital communication channels with a focus on reaching  the wonderful people who should attend DFF.


Kristīne Tarvida

Community Manager


Kristīne is a passionate intercultural communicator who is very interested in technologies, especially AI related stuff and startups. She has managed several hospitality franchises in the Mediterranean, helped with Marketing and QA for AI system development in Latvia and organized a dozen conferences and other PR events for IT companies, universities, and classical music fans.

Kristine likes exploring technology innovations, paint, read good books and she can burn like fire when standing her ground about things she believes in. Kristine is a witty and creative thinker who once sold a broken window just because it was a challenge. As well she could build a bathhouse with one hand just from watching YouTube videos while painting a reproduction of Salvadore Dali’s “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” or Boris Vallejo’s “Sirenes song”. We are suspicious that she might be a legit descendant of Leonardo da Vinci and if you ever doubt that, she might blow your mind away with her deeply philosophical argumentation. You might also find some traits of Chuck Norris.

Always curious, always challenging status quo and going beyond limits, always investing in self-development.

Kristīne manages DFF’s community relations with Baltic & European tech communities (partnerships, cross promo) and develops inspirational & educational content about DFF 2019 program in relation to Health Tech, Green Tech & Lifestyle


Nikola Matjušenko

Zero Waste Ambassador


Nikola is an enthusiastic public relations and communications project manager with a strong management grasp and a bright creative spark. Nikola has gained professional experience in the public sector as well as in non-governmental organizations and the private sector as in-house communication project manager in such companies, as Carlsberg Group, RISEBA University, Foreign Investors’ council in Latvia and others.

Nikola holds a Bachelor degree in from the University of Leeds, the UK, and has participated in the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympic Games as a volunteer. Currently she is studying for a Master’s degree in Communication Science at the University of Latvia. Nikola’s professional and academic interests are related to the role of communication in technology and innovation industry and the development of the startup ecosystem in Latvia.

Former professional sports dancer, Nikola, fights hard for the desired result and set goals with an unmistakable sense of tact and elegance. She loves traveling the world, actively engaging in various socio-cultural activities. Nikola is a Digital Freedom Festival #ZeroWaste ambassador and a strong believer, that to change the world one must start with changing himself.


Jēkabs Dambergs

Startups & Investors


Jekabs can be described as philosophical mathematician, combining his rational analyst background with creative thinking personality. Passionate about human capabilities and breaking self-imposed limits. He always strives towards new exciting challenges, that help people grow individually and make society better as a whole. Besides that he loves sports, improv theater, hiking and swimming in winter.

He has a vast experience in Startup ecosystem, gained by working with Startups, taking Community Manager role in international deep-tech accelerator and serving as Executive Director at Latvian Startup association. As well as being Founder himself at his company Improwise, that helps companies build collaborative and encouraging work environments, using improv methodology.

Jekabs is responsible for partnerships with Investors and Startups, working hard to bring the best experience attending Digital Freedom Festival.


Elīna Junolainena

Assistant to Investor & Startup Relations Manager


For the past 10 years Elīnas experience is a mix of everything – PR, marketing, social media, copywriting, email marketing, website support, digital, CSR, customer service, HR and internal communication. A universal soldier, you can say. The same goes for the industries (agencies, in-house, retail, IT, distribution).

Elīna lives with a motto “Every single day matters” and “Say Yes”. That means exploring new opportunities and challenging herself for the unknown and untried, for example, volunteer for the music festival, go hiking, do the karaoke, dye pink hair, solo-travel or learn to play kantele just to surprise colleagues at the Christmas party.


Oļegs Ņikitins

Space Manager


Oleg is a workplace strategy consultant, and day-to-day he helps businesses create environments that encourage employees to work effectively, through changes in physical space. A few years ago Oleg successfully launched the award-winning coworking space Teikums and since then has moved to assist corporate clients in achieving that much sought-after innovative vibe in their offices.

Oleg shifted to strategic design of spaces after an extensive career in event management. In fact, it was event planning, and specifically scenography and set design, that led Oleg to focus on how space design and strategy influences human behavior, and how space can shift emotions towards a desired outcome. And while in office design such outcome is linked to well-being, space design in events should lead to emotional connectivity and momental bliss.


Laima Kazeka

Assistant Managing Director


Laima has lived in more than 6 countries (stopped counting after 5) and gained various knowledge in different sectors. Has a BA in Finance but after a short work in a bank realized that it is not a field for her, therefore she moved away to the Netherlands and did master studies in consulting and in between was working as a consultant for biggest universities in the Netherlands. And surprise surprise, that was obviously also not a dream position.

For the past few years, she works as a project manager and dedicates her free time to develop her skills and learn new ones, for instance, photography has become one of those.
Laima calls herself a creative creature because she is able to adapt to almost any situation and do whatever is at hand to reach her goals. She has organized events for more than 10 years, starting with NGOs, conferences, and ending with friends and relatives weddings.

Last year received an award from “Red Cross” for being unselfish and helpful towards other people. She has a spark in her eyes whenever she is part of something great and big.


Līga Lapsa

Content Creator


Liga’s favourite saying – Doing things changes things. Not doing things… leaves them exactly as they were. 🙂

She is always active, always taking on a new adventure. Although she has a strong background in Law, Liga’s passion is marketing. Constantly amazed by the opportunities that the 21st Century has to offer in e-commerce and digital world, Everyday she learns and improves. Liga is always looking for a dynamic challenge and adding new knowledge to her everyday work.



Happy Spirit


Have you ever just watched cat videos for 2 hours? We have too.

The internet’s most popular animal is here with some awesome cat accounts to relieve your stress and bring some positivity to your daily life. When you feel positive, you are more productive and make better decision, it’s science!

Come on, just take a short break…