Board Bios

Creativity is intelligence having fun! (Einstein)

Dr. Heather Cairns-Lee
President

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Heather has many roles in life: most centrally Mother, wife, daughter, friend, author, leadership professor, researcher, board member and volunteer. She has crafted life to enjoy the diversity of these roles, to continuously learn and grow with the opportunities life presents.

Professionally, she is Adjunct Professor of leadership at IMD business school in Lausanne, Visiting Fellow at the University of Surrey, Advisory Board Member of the School of Management in Fribourg and President of Business Professional Women (BPW) Lake Geneva. As a leadership development practitioner and researcher, Heather’s work encompasses the design and delivery of executive learning, research into leadership and organisational development, group facilitation and executive coaching. She focuses on sensemaking, communication and making the invisible visible through attention to metaphor and mental models. She dedicates energy to developing women leaders through coaching, leadership programs and writing about inspiring women to rebalance the gender gap in this area.

Invited to speak about her award-winning PhD research on how leaders make meaning through metaphor to BPW Lake Geneva in 2013, Heather enjoyed the warm welcoming community of diverse, open-minded women and became a member in 2014. She has been on the Board since 2015 as Membership Chair, Vice President and most recently as President.

She has lived and worked in the UK, Germany and Austria and has made her home in Switzerland with her husband and two daughters. Connection with family and friends is one of her biggest joys be it fun like skiing, wake-surfing or playing games together or sharing a glass of wine over a good conversation.

Here’s to great women: may we know them, be them and raise them!

Every day is an opportunity to make a new happy ending

Maureen Steele
Vice President

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Maureen is a coach, trainer, facilitator and author who has lived in six different countries and worked in more than twenty. Originally in retailing and marketing, Maureen then switched her career path to training. She initially partnered with an Austrian training company, exploring a wide range of training and communication tools. She developed her expertise as a coach using NLP, gained valuable experience in international franchising and continued to exercise her management skills as a director of the company. In 2006, she set up href="https://www.thetrainingbox.eu.com/" The Training Box. In 2011, Maureen published her first book “52 Brilliant Communication Tips” and in 2014, she co-authored “Coaching for Innovation”.

She loves working creatively, inspiring groups as well as individuals to tap into their inner resources and reach for their long-term goals. Passionate too about the need for good communication, she aims to increase her client’s appreciation of the fact that great communication skills are integral to being successful at every level especially when you wish to win hearts and minds.

Invited to speak at BPW Lake Geneva in 2014 with co-author Cristina Bianchi on how to demystify innovation, Maureen enjoyed the atmosphere of the Club, became a Member and joined the Board in 2019 with responsibility for Membership. She values the support, friendship and encouragement that BPW provides to all its members
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My life is my message (Mahatma Gandhi)

Dr. Judit Kozenkow
Finance

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Judit is lecturer, researcher and consultant of economic issues and mentor for university students. She has been member of the BPW Lake Geneva Club from 2017 and recently elected Treasurer of the Board.

Professionally, Dr. Kozenkow teaches Economics and Sustainable Development at EU Business School Switzerland and at Webster University Geneva. She also works as development expert and lecturer for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Her current research interest include digital revolution of the global economy and the role of digital technologies for sustainable development.

During the past 12 years of her career Judit served as research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and has worked for the Trade, Gender and Development Program at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. She was strategic advisor and lead risk manager in the Hungarian financial sector. Previously, in the US, Judit held a visiting fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC and served as project manager at leading American think tanks, including SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom. Dr. Kozenkow holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Corvinus University of Budapest with dissertation research at the American University, Washington, DC. On the personal side, Judit has a passion for all kinds of sports, her personal favorites are yoga, golf, jogging and Zumba. She is also a wine expert (WSET-2). She loves travelling and discovering new cultures, architecture and gastronomy.





There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living (Nelson Mandela)

Ruth Kearns Wollmann
Membership
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Ruth is a leadership development coach and trainer whose over-riding passion is to empower and challenge people to show up with authenticity, strength and purpose so they can take a stand for a better world wherever and whoever they are. This is not only her passion for her work, but also for her family and friends, for her voluntary work as a lay pastor, and of course on the board of BPW.

Ruth grew up in the UK, studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford and went on to do a PhD in Psycholinguistics at Cambridge before starting her career as a research psychologist. She went on to have a successful career as a Consumer Insights Professional and Business Executive at Procter & Gamble for 14 years, and then as Executive Pastor at the Swiss church ICF Geneva for 4 years before completing her professional coaching certification and starting her her own Leadership & Career Coaching business in 2017.

Ruth discovered BPW Lake Geneva when she was starting her entrepreneurial journey and working on her own from home for the first time. She was happy to find a supportive local community of like-minded professionals and is delighted to be able to serve on the board. She is proudly British & Swiss and lives in Vaud countryside with her husband and daughter. Nature is a source of inspiration for Ruth. She loves to prepare for her day by taking a daily morning walk, and can also be found snowboarding, hiking and watching nature documentaries with the family at weekends.

"Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live." Anne Sweeney


 

It's never too late to do something new

Maria de la Hera
Events

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Maria is a mother and grandmother of two, who very early realized that life is too short to and that offers many different possibilities and choices.

With an education in Literature in her pocket she left her native Spain to discover other horizons and started a career in Business in the retail and Luxury area. With more than 25-year experience in International Marketing, Sales and General Management positions in the Luxury and Consumer Goods industries in leading international companies, Maria has enjoyed working in an international multi-culture environment. An effective decision maker with high organizational skills and result oriented mind. Strategic thinking and Board experience. She has held top Executive positions at Bulgari: Worldwide Managing Director Commercial Perfume Business, Worldwide Managing Director Travel Retail Business, Latin America and Iberia President and General Manager. She also brings experience in the High-End Watch Industry as International Marketing Senior Director Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta Haute Horlogerie (Bulgari Group).

Passionate about Value-Ceation, Transformational Change and Sustainability, she became a Certified Board member and, in 2019, she decided to give a change to her career to concentrate in her activity as a Board Member. She is member of the Board of relevant companies in Spain, in the wine and Cosmetic sector with special focus on Sustainable Transformation.

Also, she has joined as an entrepreneur a women-friendly, well-being company with the aim to help women to be their true own self. Invited as a speaker to BPW Lake Geneva in 2019, Maria became a member in 2020 and Member of the Board in 2021.

She would like to share with other women her vision of a life with no boundaries, full of possibilities and source of joy. Spanish and Swiss national, Maria enjoys the silence of walking and the noise of the company of friends and family.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does (William James)

Sara Barradas
Web and Info

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Born in Lisbon, Sara is a proud mother, a dedicated friend, volunteer, and former team leader.

Sara’s academic background includes Economics, Statistics and Information Management, CRM and Market Studies, as well as Supply Chain Management. As a professional, Sara has worked in Portugal and in Switzerland since 2007, in Financial Services, Public Statistics, and as a consultant and program manager in Analytics, CRM and Supply Chain. Sara worked on global implementations for major clients cross-industry, promoting change management, co-creating analytical competence centers, delivering workshops and trainings, constantly improving organizations’ capacity to develop insights with advanced analytics.

In Switzerland, Sara worked for SAS Institute, Oracle, and Supply Chain Operations, before recently joining d-wise, an Instem company, delivering strategic consulting to Life Sciences customers.

She co-created the Swiss Association for Analytics, a non-profit organization aiming to promote a broader usage of Analytics in Switzerland.

Sara is a sound supporter of the female cause. As a person and a professional, she often felt that men and women are not given the same opportunities and would like to contribute to the change. Initially invited to attend a BPW Vaud event in Lausanne, she then heard about BPW Lake Geneva, based in Rolle where she lives. She attended an event, felt welcome and became a member. She is a member of the Board since October 2019, in charge of the website and information sharing.