Portrait of Christelle Keefer

One of 10 Women Shaping the Future of Robotics in 2024

Motivation and Career Path 

I am honored to be recognized as one of the 10 Women Shaping the Future of Robotics by the International Federation of Robotics.

Growing up, my fascination with automation stemmed from my father’s work in the field. Watching machines perform intricate tasks seamlessly was both captivating and inspiring. This passion for robotics has driven me to continually seek knowledge, ask questions, and embrace every opportunity to learn and grow in this profession.

Equipped with a bachelor’s degree in human resources (HR) and a master’s in instructional design, my journey began in HR at an automotive plant, further fueling my interest in robotics and automation. Developing training programs for various companies deepened my curiosity about robotics, driven by its potential to revolutionize industries.

Fostering Future Innovators

What inspires me most in the field of robotics is the endless potential for innovation and the ability to make a tangible impact on society. My career has been a journey of continuous learning and evolution, fueled not only by my passion for technology but also by my commitment to inclusivity and diversity. As my profession advanced, I recognized the importance of creating opportunities for females, underrepresented and underserved communities, individuals with disabilities, and diverse cultural groups to explore and excel in robotics and automation.

Drawing from my background—having a deaf brother, a mother who is a teacher, growing up in a blue-collar, multicultural household, and navigating a male-dominated industry as a woman—I am dedicated to fostering a more inclusive environment through mentorship, building relationships, and raising awareness.

I am extremely fortunate to work for ABB, a company that aligns with my values, mission, and passion. ABB actively supports inclusivity and diversity through numerous programs and initiatives. They have established various committees to support underrepresented communities, women, and diverse cultural groups within the workplace. These efforts create an environment where everyone can thrive.

My commitment to amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups and paving the way for their successes in robotics and automation is evident through my involvement in various initiatives. This ranges from volunteering with the disability community since the age of eight, to serving on the A3 Robotics Technology Strategy Board, being a mentor in robotics clubs, and actively engaging with advisory committees.

Exposing students of all backgrounds to the endless possibilities of robotics has been a deeply rewarding aspect of my career. Watching young minds light up with curiosity and inspiration reaffirms my belief in the transformative power of accessible resources and encouragement.

My personal and professional passions became apparent when my daughter exhibited a profound interest in robotics. At age four, she was borrowing books from her school’s library about girls who code and robotics. By age five, she was programming ABB’s GoFa collaborative robot. At age six, she chose to participate in a robotics club, earning accolades. This is a testament to the impact of early STEM exposure and nurturing future innovators. Early exposure to STEM is crucial for societal advancement.

My approach to mentorship and relationship-building is rooted in compassion and a genuine desire to help others succeed. Learning together, relating together, and having fun is essential. I encourage individuals to try new things, discover their strengths, and celebrate their accomplishments. Witnessing the success of teachers, students, and colleagues is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career. By acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of people from diverse backgrounds, we enhance collaborative efforts and create a more equitable future in technology.


My journey in robotics has been driven by a deep passion for learning and innovation, but it’s my dedication to inclusivity that truly motivates me. I am deeply honored to work in a field at ABB that captivates me and allows me to make a meaningful impact across the world. I will continue my mission to reach the next generation of workers and ensure that people from all backgrounds are exposed to the endless possibilities of robotics.

To those in a position to influence, let’s unlock potential and cultivate a world where diversity thrives in technology.

To those beginning their career journey, if you have a passion for learning and the determination to pursue your goals, you can accomplish great things.

Find out more about IFR's initiative "Women in Robotics".

About the author

Christelle Keefer

Women in Robotics 2024

Global Business Development Manager - GI-Education, ABB Robotics

Contact IFR

Dr. Susanne Bieller

IFR General Secretary

Lyoner Str. 18
DE-60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1502
E-Mail: secretariat(at)ifr.org

Dr. Christopher Müller

Director IFR Statistical Department

Lyoner Str. 18
DE-60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-11 91
E-Mail: statistics(at)ifr.org

Silke Lampe

Assistant IFR Secretariat

Lyoner Str. 18
DE-60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1697
E-Mail: secretariat(at)ifr.org

Nina Kutzbach

Assistant IFR Statistical Department

Lyoner Str. 18
DE-60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1518
E-Mail: statistics(at)ifr.org