Speakers’ corner: 12 Experts answer the media on 21st century  balanced leadership topics

Interested in exploring 21st century topics on balanced leadership and decision-making from a wider-angle lens? Contact our 12 seasoned experts, international entrepreneurs, professionals and specialists. They infuse new perspectives and energy into our mission, and will answer your questions. 

Contact our experts:
Directly on emails mentioned in each bio
T
hrough our media manager : press@sofiafoundation.org  +32 475 70 83 10




Ida BEERHALTER

Expert on women in governance, in family-run businesses, or heading women-led start ups - US, Europe, Middle East

Ida Beerhalter heads IOME, a private investment partnership of women principals from the Gulf region with its head office in Riyadh, KSA.
 Ida also serves as Board member, trustee, advisor, and expert to various for-profit and not-for-profit organisations around the globe

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(Astia USA, Omnia Strategy, WIP – Women in Parliaments, Global Forum, G20 Foundation, Bellwald Partner GmbH, Impact Investment Partners, MedXperts, Yunus Social Business GmbH etc.). She specializes in a broad range of issues including social business, entrepreneurship, impact investment, gender inclusiveness, women empowerment, investment in emerging markets, and wealth management, family governance and succession planning.

Languages spoken: English and German.

Questions to ask Ida:

  • How do women entrepreneurs, wealth managers and investors create an impact globally?
  • How do successful business women in the Middle East live and work?



Myriam CRÉTÉ O’CARROLL

Media and brand-content expert, conscious media advocate

Myriam is a communications and media expert with significant brand-marketing experience. She is the founder of Smart Content, a boutique media consultancy working with organisations marketers and media organisations to maximise credibility, visibility and profits through brand-content initiatives and media partnerships.

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Myriam is passionate about meaningful content as the baseline for successful broadcasting. Her work includes supporting media development charities in Africa and the Middle East with mentoring programmes for broadcast and radio organisations (Algeria, Tunisia, Bahrain, Jordan, Dubai and Benin). She is also the UK correspondent of Reporters d’Espoirs an international organisation engaging in the promotion of transformational media. As an advocate of gender equality, Myriam raises the voice of inspirational female leaders through her radio programme Femmes de Valeur (Women of Value).

Languages spoken: English and French.

Questions to ask Myriam:

  • How inspirational women in the media help overcome stereotypes and promote gender parity.
  • How authentic and meaningful media content can transform the world.
         

Nathalie DUMONT

Expert in media & healthcare reporting

Nathalie is a medical journalist running her own communications agency specializing in the health and food markets. A trained pharmacist before establishing herself as a major editor in the Belgian health press, she is passionate

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about transparent communication on healthcare and health-related topics. Nathalie wants scientific information to be accessible to the public at large. She supports the promotion of health education, and helps increase general awareness of health issues. Her mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. Nathalie is also an advocate of women’s increased exposure as subject matter experts to the information media.

Languages spoken : French & English

Ask Nathalie Dumont:

  • How can women and women’s networks support health education and accurate health care reporting?
  • How wan we increase the exposure of women experts in the fields of research on health care to the information media?


Ann FRISCH

Expert in finances, risk managment, industrial services, and energy

Anne Frisch is an accomplished CFO with 25+ years experience at senior level of international listed companies. She has led multinational turnarounds and organizational transformations, and managed cross-cultural teams and multimillion investments in times of both prosperity and global economic crisis

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Throughout her career, Anne has served as an active Board member of international joint-ventures in highly complex and political environments, and built expertise in the governance of joint-ventures and non-profit organizations. She is also Treasurer of PWN Global, a global non-profit professional women´s network of 3500+ members.

Anne Frisch holds an MBA from HEC Paris School of Management. She has also studied at MIT Sloan, Stockholm School of Economics, and McGill University in Canada. Her fields of expertise include Energy, Oil & Gas, Joint Ventures, M & As, Restructuring, and Risk Management.

Anne has lived and worked across Europe, America and Asia.

Languages spoken: French, English, German, Spanish.

Questions to ask Anne:

  • What is needed for more women to rise to the C-suite?
  • Why balanced leadership leads to better governance and decision-making.

         

Brigitte GRESY

Secrétaire générale du Conseil supérieur de l’égalité professionnelle – Experte de l’image de la femme dans les medias et à l’accès aux responsabilités professionnelle entre les femmes et les hommes

Agrégée de grammaire, elle enseigne quelques années avant de rejoindre le ministère de l’Industrie, à sa sortie de l’Ecole nationale d’administration où elle fut notamment directrice de cabinet du directeur des stratégies industrielles. Elle se consacre ensuite pendant plus de quinze ans aux questions de l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes, d’abord comme chef de service du service des droits des femmes et de l’égalité puis comme directrice de cabinet de la ministre en charge de ces questions. Nommée inspectrice générale des affaires sociales, elle a été chargée par les ministres de l’égalité de l’élaboration de plusieurs rapports :  l’image des femmes dans les médias en 2008 et la place des expertes en 2011 (commission sur l’image des femmes dans les medias) [...]

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l’égalité professionnelle entre les femmes et les hommes en 2009, l’égal accès des femmes et des hommes aux responsabilités professionnelles et familiales en 2011, une étude sur les stéréotypes masculins en 2012 et en décembre 2012 un rapport sur l’égalité entre les filles et les garçons dans les établissements d’accueil de la petite enfance. Membre de l’Institut européen de Vilnius sur l’égalité en 2010, elle est aujourd’hui membre du Haut conseil à l’égalité et secrétaire générale du Conseil supérieur de l’égalité professionnelle. Elle a publié chez Albin Michel, en 2009, « Petit traité contre le sexisme ordinaire » et en 2014, « La vie en rose, pour en découdre avec les stéréotypes ».

Ask Brigitte Gresy :

  • Stéréotypes et inégalités dans l’accès aux responsabilités professionnelles entre les femmes et les hommes
  • Pourquoi si peu de femmes dans les médias ?


Antoni GUTIÉRREZ-RUBÍ

Strategic communications adviser and political consultant

Antoni Gutierrez-Rubi manages a communications consultancy since 30 years, acting as an advisor to international business and political leaders, both women and men.

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He specializes in the analysis of new policies and trends regarding innovative social and business models. This includes the slow move towards leadership approaches focusing on advocacy for the feminization of political communication, gender parity, effective participation, and the empowerment of women in political, social and economic structures. Antoni also analyzes new scenarios and possibilities for advancing female leadership in the context of the networked society. The networked space provides accessible relationships, actions and approaches and thus more opportunities to build gender equality than the traditional analogic, vertical, hierarchical and patriarchal society does. It represents a myriad of opportunities for building, restructuring, bonding and creating strong networks of free people.

Antoni teaches on the Master programme for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain), as well as for other master programs on communication. His major publication is entitled Políticas. Mujeres protagonistas de un poder diferenciado, 2008 (Women politicians: Protagonists of a differentiated power).

Languages spoken: Spanish, Catalan and French. Antoni also replies to in English to written questions.

Ask Antoni: 

What characteristics and values can define a women's leadership model (in both business and political spheres)? How can it impact on power structures in organizations?

When looking at social patterns affecting women’s development, what are the main challenges women face when seeking to access positions of high responsibility in environments strongly dominated by clichés and stereotypes? Which sexist and discriminatory barriers still persist today?

Languages spoken: Spanish, Catalan and French (he can also answer questions in English if they are in writing)

         
         

Agnès HUBERT

EU Public policy maker and analyst – Agnes Hubert’s quest is about women finding participatory solutions to economic and social problems addressed inadequately by the market or the state

Associate researcher at PRESAGE (1) Science Po Paris and visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Agnes Hubert has a long experience in the advocacy of gender equality and public policies to promote women’s rights . As head of unit for Equal opportunities for women in the European Commission, in the golden years of European integration, she initiated EU support for gender parity in decision-making with an influent network of experts. Later, as an adviser to the President of the European Commission, she worked on new forms of governance and was instrumental in developing support for social innovation in relevant EU policies.

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Associate researcher at PRESAGE (1) Science Po Paris and visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Agnes Hubert has a long experience in the advocacy of gender equality and public policies to promote women’s rights . As head of unit for Equal opportunities for women in the European Commission, in the golden years of European integration, she initiated EU support for gender parity in decision-making with an influent network of experts. Later, as an adviser to the President of the European Commission, she worked on new forms of governance and was instrumental in developing support for social innovation in relevant EU policies.

An economist by training, she also graduated in Political Science and started her career as a journalist before joining the European Commission. She is the author of books (“L'Europe et les femmes, identités en mouvement”, ed. Apogée; and “Democracy and Information Society in Europe”, in Forward Studies series – Kogan page) as well as of influential reports on social innovation (Empowering people, driving change, social innovation in the European Union and Social innovation, a decade of change), youth, migration, advantages of Europe. She is a regular public speaker and writer on gender equality in the EU on social innovation and on well-being.

Ask Agnès:

  • Gender mainstreaming in the international non-profit sector: what are the trends?
  • Why is gender equality is not just a matter of justice and equality, but rather of efficiency and success?


Virginie ISSUMO

Women in philanthropy / Women in impact business and finance / Innovative female entrepreneurs in Africa and Europe


Virginie Issumo has earned a degree in Law, and a Masters degree in the Notarial Profession (UCL, Belgium). She has twenty years experience working with notary offices and estate planning departments of banks (Intesa and Socgen) in Montreal, Geneva, Paris, Brussels, Italy, GCC, Singapore, East Africa and Luxembourg. Since 5 years, she is dedicating time to philanthropy education and planning. Virginie is co-founder of non-profit organizations such as Coup de Pouce, Green Mango and WomenRoleinPhilanthropy established to create, fund or coach sustainable development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo supporting women’s empowerment in Africa – from bio agriculture to innovation and social entrepreneurship -, and the smart management of natural resources. 

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Virginie is co-founder of non-profit organizations such as Coup de Pouce, Green Mango and WomenRoleinPhilanthropy established to create, fund or coach sustainable development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo supporting women’s empowerment in Africa – from bio agriculture to innovation and social entrepreneurship -, and the smart management of natural resources. Virginie is also board member, trusted advisor, protector and philanthropy strategist for family holdings and not-for-profit organizations such as the European Women Lawyers Association, the African Biofuel and Renewable Energy Company and the International Polar Foundation Luxembourg. She is member of the Female Board Pool Luxembourg, Expertisa.lu, African Philanthropy Forum and the Maximpact platform. She is a lecturer at the University of Luxembourg (sustainable department) and at the HEC Liège.

Languages spoken: French, English, and Italian. Virginie has also notions of Dutch, Spanish and Lingala.

Ask Virginie:

  • How can women in community life and in business create sustainable and social profits ?
  • Which new dynamics can African women entrepreneurs bring to support sustainable development of this Continent?
         
         

Ali KHAN

Network coordinator at the European Foundation Center / Expert on building advocacy networks for gender equality throughout the philanthropic sector

Ali is network coordinator at the European Foundation Center (EFC), the international platform of 230 foundations of general interest, in Brussels. He manages a broad range of equality and socio-economic related networks of foundations. Ali has special responsibility for EFC’s work on gender equality and is dedicated to building advocacy networks for gender equality throughout the philanthropic sector.

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Ali is a Belgian national of Pakistani origin, he has previously worked for Eurocities and for the city of Antwerp on inclusion and labour market related issues. He holds a MSc in Applied Economic Sciences.

Languages spoken: English, Dutch, French, Urdu.

Ask Ali:

  • Gender mainstreaming in the international non-profit sector: what are the trends?
  • Why is gender equality is not just a matter of justice and equality, but rather of efficiency and success?


Virginija LANGBAKK

Global expert on gender equality and gender mainstreaming

Virginija Langbakk is Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality in Vilnius. She has a global track record of over 20 years in gender equality.

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Since 1997, she has worked as a gender equality expert and a trainer on gender mainstreaming, gender and politics, gender and media and local self-government. Among other areas, she was engaged in the development of gender-sensitive water management strategies in Kenya, improvement of equal opportunities of civil servants in Mongolia, empowerment of women in local authorities of Rwanda and impact of HIV/AIDS on gender in several countries of Africa. Virginija has managed multi-country training programmes and teams of experts on gender and human rights, violence against women (in Russia) and increasing skills of women to run for regional/ local assemblies in Kazakhstan, Estonia and Russia.

As a trained moderator of goal-oriented planning, Virginija has developed and trained civil servants and officials of various countries as well as NGOs in mainstreaming gender into the project cycle management, development of gender-sensitive indicators (in Ukraine, Armenia and the Balkan countries).

The task to establish the European institute for Gender Equality brought unique knowledge about the challenges faced while mainstreaming the cross-cutting issue of gender equality into the ‘neutral’ policy sectors of the EU. The work at EIGE increased her understanding of the challenges and approaches to gender equality among EU-28 and specificity of stereotypes and perceptions in various regions. She has good knowledge of various tools EIGE has developed for the EU, like the Gender Equality index, measurement of Beijing implementation in the areas, like Media, economy, national institutions and gender mainstreaming, employment, environment and decision-making.

A special area of interest for Virginija is coaching young women to support them in achieving ambitious goals.

Languages spoken: English, Swedish, Lithuanian.

Ask Virginija LANGBAKK:

  • What are your key insights on women’s roles, and challenges, in gender-sensitive political and economic strategies worldwide?
  • How could the European Union promote and showcase equality and gender parity?
  • Why is there a lack of value in leadership training for women that focuses on teaching women how to model their behavior after male examples?
         

Karin MAQUET

Corporate & SMEs - Karin is Belgian, lives in Brussels and is a passionate business catalyst.

She has 19 years of experience as Business Consultant. After graduation as business engineer from Louvain School of Management, she worked at PwC Luxemburg as auditor of banks and investment funds and was part of the “Women at PwC” group in Belgium. She led numerous projects in Europe and specialized in strategic diagnosis, project management and business case’s preparation in asset management.

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After 12 years at PwC, Karin founded Kammco, a consulting company that advises start-ups, growing companies and SME transfers to setting up the right balance between strategy, marketing, finance and organization.

Karin is vice-president of “Cercle Olympe Brussels”, a network of female professionals where she is in charge of developing cross-border synergies with other women networks. Involved in female entrepreneurship programmes and business angels’ networks, Karin won in 2012 the Trends Equiwoman award – rewarding Belgian women who combine their role as female entrepreneur and as woman in the society and family life.



Jesús GIL RUIZ

Expert on women in the Military

Lieutenant Colonel Jesús Gil is currently Chief at the NATO Office responsible for Gender Perspectives in Brussels. In his previous function, he worked at the Spanish Military Representation to NATO in Brussels, at the Spanish Ministry of Defence as Deputy Head of Protocol and Chief of Staff (Cabinet of the Spanish Minister).

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Jesús has also been deployed to Zagreb, as part of the European Community Monitor Mission in Former Yugoslavia, and in Mostar and Bosnia & Herzegovina as Political Advisor and Head of Office in Livno. Jesús’s significant expertise on women in the military has been translated into two relevant publications: “Women, NATO and the European Union” (in: The Role of Women and Gender in Conflict, Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies, Granada University, June 2012); and “The Gender Perspective in the NATO Planning Process” (in: The Comprehensive Approach to Gender Perspectives in Operations, Granada University, September 2013).

Languages spoken: Spanish, English, French.

Questions to ask Gil:

  • How can gender equality for women in the Military help overturn societal stereotypes at large?
  • Could inclusion of women in the military change the reason for war or raison d'être of wars ?
         
Sharon VOSMEK

Expert on gender equality for innovation and economi growth

Sharon Vosmek has been CEO of Astia, a global non-profit organization promoting high-growth women-led start-ups worldwide, since 2007. Ms. Vosmek has an unwavering passion and a uniquely well-suited background to drive forward the organization’s mission of propelling women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth.

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Under her guidance, the Astia community of investors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders has grown from 20 individuals in Silicon Valley; to more than 5,000 around the globe, representing every continent. A highly sought-after speaker, Ms. Vosmek has most recently spoken at the United Nations, the Milken Institute CA Summit, given lectures at numerous Universities most notably on the topic of building inclusive ecosystems at Stanford and MIT, was invited to participate in The White House Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference; the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and in 2011 she as a US Delegate to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Summit. Sharon is also a member of Astia Angels; on the Advisory Boards of two venture capital firms, StarVest Partners and Illuminate Ventures; the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Experts Advisor Group; the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors Advisory Committee; and on the “Making Value for America” expert advisory committee for the National Academy of Engineering.

Language spoken: English

Ask Sharon :

  • How may cultural conditioning play a role in how men and women present information differently as entrepreneurs?
  • How can shifts in entrepreneurial ecosystems clead to more robust levels of inclusive innovation?
  • Why is there a lack of value in leadership training for women that focuses on teaching women how to model their behavior after male examples?

Languages spoken: English



Madi SHARMA

Global Entrepreneur - Passionate about female entrepreneurs: “the multimillion euro opportunity politicians chose to ignore."

Despite having no qualification, being a survivor of domestic violence and being a single parent in poverty when she started her first business, Madi is today an international Entrepreneur, growing more entrepreneurs and determined to fight against inequalities in any field, but especially related to gender. The Madi Group is a group of International private sector & not for profit companies, and NGOs. Her philosophy is to create innovative ideas tailored to local action which can achieve global impacts beneficial to a sustainable society. www.madisharma.org

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Additionally Madi works on policy as a UK Member of The European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.

Madi is a sought after public speaker internationally, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship, female entrepreneurship, diversity; gender balance and her passion for corporate social responsibility CSR.  Madi is also a freelance journalist.  Her presentations, spoken from the heart, motivate, inspire and seek to make others consider their ability to affect change.  It is now tagged #MadiEffect

“You must be the change you want to see” Ghandi  - “no excuses” Madi

Ask Madi :

  • About the reality of female entrepreneurship, women on boards, domestic violence, child abuse, global gender inequalities, women in South Asia  …and how if we address inequalities in these fields we can have sustainable growth.
  • About policy in relation to the above issues , which is ineffective, hypocritical and rarely moves beyond words. There is no Democracy without Equality. 

Languages spoken: English

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