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  • 15 Jun 2015 21:02 | Armelle Loghmanian


    By Author




    Anna, you define yourself as a "visual artist", what do you mean?

    olor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
    • phase 1
    • phase2


    olor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum


    olor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

    Short Biography

    Name is tbios


    Disclaimer -    
    Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of <company name>, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.

  • 05 Apr 2015 00:22 | Armelle Loghmanian

     A United Europe? It’s Love Migration  

    By Homeira Kroone & Alessandra Zocca

    Yvonne Salt

    Doctoral Researcher at the University of Sussex

    Who started the “Love Migration Project” and why?
    I started the Love Migration Project because I found that I knew so many people who have moved because of love. My interest in migration and love grew out of my own experiences - I was living in Mexico and was getting married. At the same time I was doing a master’s degree in Applied linguistics (1), at the Universidad Autonoma Del Estado de Mexico in Mexico and I was reading about language acquisition and learning form migrants. 
    I couldn’t find myself represented in the literature though, as it concentrated on people who were moving from ‘poor’ countries to richer ones. 

    While the research on these migrants  is important and necessary, I felt that representing other groups of migrants, such as Europeans, would allow researchers to consider the intricate types of power relationships involved in such migration. I wasn’t alone in this. 

    Other researchers have expressed their unease at white, relatively privileged migrants being left out of the research. Sheila Croucher (2) critiques the portrayal of migrants as always poor and dependent in her study of US citizens living in Mexico.  Karen O’ Reilly (3) looked at British migration to the south of Spain and showed how it wasn’t as easy as people thought for these migrants. Michaela Benson (4) has shown how class identities of elite and privileged migrants are affected by migration. Sam Scott (5) as considered the labour migration of British migrants to Paris.
     In conjunction with this, and through my work as an English teacher I had met many people whose main reason for moving or staying in the host country was a love relationship. This too, was an important trend in migration, which was not represented. The centrality of love to migration is highlighted by the attention given by eminent scholars, such as Russell King (6) , who called for more attention to be paid to love migration over 10 years ago. More recently, Umberto Eco (7)  has said that love is the way that Europe will become a united Europe is through love. 
    And while researchers have looked at family love, at sex, at distance relationships, this is the first project to deal explicitly with love migration. This reflects on the ways that emotions, love, and migration are enmeshed and advances the argument that without considering different cultural notions of selfhood, it is impossible to explain why Western ideas of romantic love are taken up or not. Ideas about what loving someone means, how and when to demonstrate that love differ in different groups, societies, generations, and across an individual’s life. If, as Claire Langhamer has demonstrated, love is central to people’s identities, then it is important to consider how local understandings of love are entwined with how love relationships are manifest.

    What are the main objectives of this research? What are the assumptions? To whom is it addressed?

    The main objective of the research is to think about migration through the love relationships that migrants have. International migration, often defined as the permanent relocation from one country to another, has come to be associated with economics, politics, social unrest, but one objective of the project is write back in the significance of personal, intimate relationships which tend to be ignored in the literature about migration. 
    People do move for and because of love, and through our intimate relationships cross-cultural bonds can be forged. As Umberto Eco mentions, programmes such as the Erasmus university exchange programme facilitate opportunities for young people to meet and fall in love with someone from another country. They meet, fall in love and start a family, perhaps in a third country, and it is this which fosters supposed borderlessness. A recent study published by the European Commission  said that the one millionth ‘Erasmus baby’ was born in 2014, which is testament to the libidinal opportunities, which such programmes create. 
    The study will interest academics working on privileged migration as it will offer a complimentary perspective to the economic and political considerations of migration. The public interest in the site is testament to the timely nature of the study, and the relevance it has to a large and important sector of the migrant community.

    What are the phases and the features of the Love Migration project?

    The project, which is for my Phd research, began in Brussels, in January 2015.
    For four months, I am interviewing people about their experiences of love migration. I aim to speak to people in a variety of different situations - including those who moved expressly for love, but also those who moved for work, for example, but found that their relationship was altered in some way because of the migration, those whose relationships didn’t work out. The research takes a wider perspective of love relationships than other research, which has often limited the focus to heterosexual marriage, by including all forms of love relationship.
    The project will then move to Barcelona, where I will be interviewing more people for the same reasons. The choice of these two cities was because they are quite different in terms of climate, the reasons people move to them, yet they are both major European cities.
    One important feature of the project is the way the interviews are carried out. Firstly, I interview couples together, which is uncommon in academic research. This is underpinned by the theoretical understanding that love is mutually constructed, so I am eliciting mutually constructed narratives about the relationship. 
    Another aspect is that I ask couples to choose an object which has some significance in the context of their relationship, and this object forms the starting point for the conversation. The object could be anything from a souvenir, to a photograph, to a train ticket from a recent journey - it does not have to be an expensive or beautiful thing - it could be something from the past, or present or something which represents the future. Asking people to choose an object allows them to start the conversation at a point which is important to them, and gives more control to them in how they tell their own story.

    Are there similar projects running? How is “The love migration project” different and why?

    The Love Migration project (LMP) is unique. While there are other projects which look at love, such as ‘Enduring Love’ , at the Open University, this focuses on family love, and not in a migration context. But there is nothing which considers the importance of love relationships in a migratory context, except of course The Love Migration project.

    Why will people be interested in this project and its results?

    Migration and mobility are increasingly important in contemporary life. Moving for work is not uncommon, nor is studying abroad. For many people, having some overseas experience is imperative as part of their professional CV. With this in mind, more people are negotiating relationships within this climate of mobility. This project addresses this and asks what happens when love and mobility are two central events in a person’s life? As there is little research which has sought to understand how love relationships are found, negotiated and experienced in migrant lives, people who are living this will be interested in the results.

    How can people participate in this project?

    People living in Brussels and Barcleona, can take part by doing an interview. They can contact me through the website or by email at
    Those who do not live in either of those cities can join the community of love migrants by signing up on the website. Joining the community will facilitate conversation among those of us who have moved for love, and create a space to share experiences. The LMP hopes to travel to other cities, so there will be opportunities to take part in the future.

    Yvonne, what has the Love Migration Project to do with your professional dreams? 

    I am a strong believer that academic research should not be confined to university walls. The Love Migration Project is relevant to a large and important sector of the migrant community, and I want to contribute to understanding how that community works. 
    Personal and intimate relationships are central to our lives and should, therefore, play an important role in academic research about people. I want to contribute to making love a central feature of social academic research. What I hope to achieve is to contribute to an understanding of a community which is growing and way of living which is becoming increasingly common and necessary for so many.

    Yvonne, have you ever thought to narrate in a book the most beautiful and interesting love stories you have collected through the LMP?

    This is one of the planned outcomes, as well as an exhibition of photographs from the project, and a series of talks to disseminate some of the findings of the project.

    1. Applied Linguistics is the study of language in everyday situations. There is a lot of focus on sociolinguistics, or the social use of language, and applies theories to how language is used and the effect it has on the users.

    2. Croucher, S. 2010 The Other Side of the Fence. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press

    3. O’Reilly, K. 2000 The British on the Costa del Sol. London: Routledge

    4. Benson, M. 2011. The British in Rural France: Lifestyle Migration and the Ongoing Quest for a Better Way of Life.  Manchester: Manchester University Press. 

    5. Scott, S. (2006) The social morphology of skilled migration: the case of the British middle-class in Paris.Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 32, pp. 1105-1130.

    6. King, R. (2002). Towards a new map of European migration. International Journal of Population Geography, 8(2), 89–106.

    7. Eco, U 26th January 2012. Eco: scommetto sui giovaninati dalla rivoluzione Erasmus. La Stampa

    8. European Commission 2014. The Erasmus Impact Study. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union

    9. Enduring Love. Open Univeristy

    Short Biography

    In her professional life, Yvonne Salt has been an English Language teacher for over 10 years, and has taught in Mexico, Poland, Italy and the UK. She is currently an IELTS examiner at the University of Reading and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Sussex, where she teaches English as a Foreign Language. Yvonne is currently doing her doctoral research about love migration in the department of Geography at the University of Sussex. She arrived at her current destination via several disciplinary pit stops in which intimacy, romance and emotions have been long-standing themes. Her academic background spans fine arts, linguistics, anthropology, migration studies, and human geography.
    My academic profile page is here

    Contacts Details

    Yvonne Salt
    Twitter @lovemigration

    Disclaimer -    
    Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of University of Sussex, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
  • 01 Feb 2015 21:24 | Armelle Loghmanian

    Back to PWI Magazine-  Q4 edition

    Equal Opportunities: a man’s perspective

    By Luca De Gaudenzi



    I’m not sure whether the short story I’m going to tell is a consequence of the economic crisis of the last years or of the gender equal opportunities domain, it probably can be considered part of both.


    Luca De Gaudenzi

    Business-Executive Coach and Counselor

     I was born and grew up in a traditional Latin family, where males were invited to keep their distance from the kitchen during cooking times. 2007 was (age 37), the first time I entered the kitchen because I was hungry and I saw that there wasn’t any food waiting for me - I realized that it was the beginning of a new life.

    Free-lance since 2004, and separated father of a five-years-old boy, in 2007 after years of marriage and traditional work in Andersen Consulting / Accenture I started to become aware of those issues that traditionally affect working mothers (e.g. cooking, housekeeping, school timetable, child care…).

    As a one-man firm I have to manage my time to balance different roles and activities which are required to run the business, whilst managing my role as “part-time father” (i.e. joint custody, part time presence).

    In my experience full-time workers have more career and working opportunities, therefore the “hot” question I had to quickly answer was “How can I be a father and, at the same time, be successful in my profession, if I cannot fully dedicate myself to work?

    So I focused on finding a solution for enhancing my professional career, and balancing it with responsibilities as a single father. After a period of research and reflection, I realized that getting training in Coaching could be the answer to my needs. I thought that working as an independent professional able to plan his own agenda and to deliver 1 to1 services, both with face to face and virtual meetings, was the solution.

    I decided to attend the “Master in business and executive coaching” (SCOA Milan) and the “Chartered business coach programme” (Professional Development Foundation - Middlesex University London) where I grew up and I was accredited (1) at Masters-level in three areas of competence:

    •     Self-Management–Knowing Oneself and Self-Mastery
    •     Core Coaching Skill-base
    •     Business and Leadership Coaching Capabilities

    Each area includes a listing of competencies (2). Each competency is illustrated by examples of the behavior expected of a proficient master coach.

    Going deeper and further in the coaching domain and personal journey through studies, practice and reflections made me aware that from a personal/professional perspective “I was born and I grew up to be a Coach”: in the past as a manager I was often assigned difficult and/or high potential personnel as a teacher/coach with groups I used maieutic (i.e. a pedagogical method based on inquiries, relying on the idea that the real growth must come from within the other) as the main technique in order to give value to the expertise and knowledge of coachees’ and to develop their awareness, expanding their communication effectiveness and developing cognitive agility and emotional capacity.

    I’ve also joined the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (3) and the Business Success Coach Network (BSCN).

    Now the roles I have to play are:

     Father - educate and raise my son


     Sole director - run the company according to legal requirements

     Businessman - market and develop business through commercial activity

     Coach - manage and execute coaching programs and sessions

      Playing all these roles is very stimulating and means a rigorous application of time management and delegation principles. I have also to schedule time in my agenda for sport, friends, family and private life. Virtual working with the help of technology, combined with working from home-office, has proved to be an effective solution. I experienced that separated/divorced fathers with joint custody, find it more difficult to adapt to their new situation. This is also due to the traditional roles given to the man and woman in raising children. My impression is that companies/organizations are not yet aligned to this evolving cultural/societal shift.

      At the end of 2014, after eight years of solo coaching practice, and proud of the relationship I’ve built with my son (based on open dialogue and a highly intelligent emotional rapport), I felt the need to develop the business side of my activity. From a professional point of view I felt the need of going beyond the impression that “the market” is still resistant to the Business-Executive Coaching emerging profession.

      Why is the labour market resistant? I have no answers, only questions; for example: “Are HR services buyers resistant to new and independent coaches? Has economic crisis specifically impacted the coaching industry? Are clients fully aware of the potential business impact of a coaching journey?”

      Reflecting on my personal developmental journey I can say that the feelings, emotions, responsibilities and work-life balance concerns of my clients, are very similar the ones I’m living through (personal and professional) and this is of extreme help, both in coaching executives and entrepreneurs, and when I supervise other coaches.

      Experience in living and facing uncertainty and continuous change is a big part of the lives of all entrepreneurs and managers and I think it is an essential skill for interacting in executive-level coaching sessions. Often in my work I have to make clients aware that the attempt to control everything causes them extra stress and that living in harmony with change and uncertainty will help them to grow and develop.

      Even though sixteen theoretical coaching approaches have been identified in “The Coaching Handbook” (Cox, Bachkirova, and Clutterbuck, 2010), I think that in the coaching domain there is no single valid theory, but good practices and bad practices and it is the competency level of the coach which makes the difference. Therefore, I developed my own model of practice accredited at academic level by Middlesex University and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC). 

      Model of practice



      My “Model of practice” is in line with:

      • Harvard Business Coaching model: “Coaching borrows both from consulting and therapy” (Coutu and Kaufmann 2009)
      • Middlesex University and Professional Development Foundation model “Building your own coaching framework for complex times” (Lane and Cavanagh 2011)
      • INSEAD Leadership Coaching Model “To direct a person or a group of people toward a specific mutually determined goal” (Kets de Vries 2008).

      Now the challenge is to maintain the work-life balance I’ve built in the last years, and to succeed as a Business – Executive Coach and Counselor, using virtual collaboration, in a profession where there is growing competition.

      In conclusion, like Kets De Vries, I can say that in my practice I’m struggling to close the gap between various disciplines (e.g. coaching, consulting and therapy), “walking the talk” of work-life balance, and therefore I see myself as a bridge-builder. I’ve learnt to fine-tune action, reflection and learning according to my needs. Now like Freud and De Vries say, using myself as a tool, I do what works for clients, whilst respecting ethical principles, and maintaining “commitment to enhancing personal learning and self-knowledge” (Lane and Corrie 2012) but never forgetting the business focus!


      • (1)    WABC Accreditations 


      Short Biography

      Luca De Gaudenzi
      Graduated in Economics, after completing his military service as an officer, he started his career in Andersen Consulting – Accenture where he worked in the Change Management Professional Area. At Andersen he played the roles of trainer, Project Leader and Project Manager on the Human Impact of Innovation and Process & Technology Transformation.

      Then he spent seven years as an independent contractor both as Change Management Advisor-Coach and as a Teacher-Coach of Organization and Management Behaviors (mainly in the Banking and Insurances domains).

      At present Luca (Chartered Business Coach certified by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches-Middlesex University) is working as an independent Business-Executive Coach and Counselor. His mission as a Coach is to promote and increase individual and collective well-being for both businesses and people, and in doing this he works to improve Coachees’ competences and behaviours toward desired goals-results.

      Luca loves and practices field hockey, skiing, snowboard, windsurfing, diving, tennis and moto-biking.

      Contacts Details


      Luca De Gaudenzi

      DeGa Coaching & Counseling Principe Eugenio 1/e
      10122 – Turin - Italy   
      Mobile: +39.349.3153533




      Back to PWI Magazine - Q4 edition

       Disclaimer - Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WABC, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.

    • 05 Oct 2014 06:35 | Armelle Loghmanian

        Ocean colour science in the service of the Earth

      By Beata Kolecka


      Ewa Kwiatkowska

      Ocean colour remote sensing scientist

      Ewa Kwiatkowska tells how her passion has driven her professional development and how monitoring ocean water colour helps us solve local and global problems.

      Ewa, you are an ocean colour remote sensing scientist, please, tell us about ocean colour ….

      Ocean colour observed from satellites provides information on bio-optical (1) properties of the oceans. In the open ocean, these properties are primarily determined by marine phytoplankton (2) and their main photosynthetic pigment – chlorophyll-a.
      Phytoplankton regulate carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the oceans and the atmosphere, like plants do on the land, but they are more ancient. Cyanobacteria (3) evolved billions of years ago to use water and the energy of the sunlight to convert carbon dioxide to organic matter, sugars, amino acids and other biological molecules – the building blocks of all life on Earth. It’s enough to say that half of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine phytoplankton. Thus they are critical to life on Earth and to the climate.

      Phytoplankton have even been shaping the geology of our planet. A simple example is coccolithophores, a type of phytoplankton distinguished by special calcium carbonate plates, which are the main component of the chalk that forms the White Cliffs of Dover. Interestingly, the extent of the impact that marine phytoplankton currently have on the global carbon cycle was unknown until the advent of global ocean colour Earth observation from satellites in mid-1990s.

      These sustained observations followed a mission launched by NASA in 1978 which demonstrated that these microscopic algae, their concentrations, the extent of their coverage and how they change over time, could be detected and monitored from space.

      What other applications of ocean colour remote sensing do you work with?

      Phytoplankton are also at the base of the marine food chain. They sustain life in the oceans and monitoring of them supports fisheries, aquaculture and marine resource management. Climate change with its increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification due to increasing CO2 absorption is affecting phytoplankton, as is eutrophication (4) from land run-off. Under certain conditions some species of phytoplankton develop into blooms that are toxic to other marine life and to humans. Monitoring and forecasting of these harmful algal blooms is critical.

      In Europe we have two important pieces of legislation, the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive impose the requirement on member states to routinely measure chlorophyll-a concentrations and the clarity of water (which is called turbidity); both of which are detected from ocean colour data. These frameworks aim to assure European water quality and Good Environmental Status by 2020.
      Ocean colour data are also used to monitor marine and inland-water ecosystems, water clarity, and sediment transport which is often associated with tidal cycles, land run-off and human activities, such as dredging and off-shore construction.

      You work for the Copernicus program. Could you tell us about it and what benefits it is bringing to the EU Member States? 

      Copernicus (5) is a European Commission Earth Observation programme which has been developed to provide environmental information and services.  The work is divided into six areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security. The space and ground segments as well as data and product services are currently being finalized to meet the Programme objectives. The space observation infrastructure for the programme is developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) (6).

      Copernicus has been established to assure operational, sustained and synoptic measurements in support of European policies and public authorities that administer environmental legislation and emergency management.
      The goal is also to boost value-added public and commercial services that will use the data and thus induce innovation and growth.

      Furthermore, Copernicus is a vital European contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) (7) and the interest in Copernicus data and services is truly global. Just within the ocean colour domain we have teams from all over Europe, as well as from Africa, America, Asia, and Australia who want to gain early access to Copernicus data and to support us in validation of data products and in calibration of the space instruments. Critical to all users is the free, full and open policy on all environmental data generated within the Copernicus services.

      What are the goals of Copernicus in the area of marine study?

      Marine services involve applications such as the monitoring, managing and forecasting of marine resources; coastal and marine environments; weather, climate and seasonal forecasting; as well as maritime safety (14).
      The first of the marine observation Sentinel-3 satellite series is scheduled for launch in the middle of 2015 and it will carry an ocean colour instrument - the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI).

      Can you give specific examples of practical applications of satellite ocean colour data?

      One specific application is the detection and prediction of harmful algae blooms, or HABs. Marine biotoxins are some of the most potent toxins in the world and are extremely dangerous. In Europe they occur in all major seas and also in many lakes. HABs in the Baltic are particularly spectacular. Also called red tides, these blooms are deadly to marine life such as shellfish, fish and water birds and are harmful to humans.

      In Europe, HABs threaten beaches and drinking water supplies and have a devastating economic impact on coastal fisheries and aquaculture. For example, in Greece, Italy and Spain HABs bring about € 300+ million/year losses in commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, and in damage to ecosystems. The North Sea mussel industry also suffers regularly. Monitoring and forecasting of these blooms is critical and there are a number of projects in Europe which are developing HAB detection and prediction services using ocean colour data in the context of regional ecosystems.

      Another example of an ocean colour application is climate change monitoring.  Ocean Colour Radiometry is an essential climate variable as defined by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) (8) and is required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (9) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (10).
      Ocean colour data are used to determine marine biogeochemistry feedback on the climate and on the Earth system. Phytoplankton standing stocks, distribution and species composition determine the productivity of marine ecosystems and their effect on our planet’s ability to recycle carbon dioxide. Phytoplankton are, however, sensitive to changes in water temperatures, nutrient levels, acidification, and other chemical and physical exchanges with atmosphere and land.

      Can you please tell us how you came to be working with ocean colour?

      Actually my university degrees are in applied mathematics and computer science. The subject of my PhD was in artificial intelligence where I used satellite Earth Observation measurements as useful data during the research and development of my machine learning techniques.
      It was during my post-doctoral studies at the Japanese Space Agency that my eyes were opened to the fascinating field of ocean colour remote sensing. The Agency operated the first ocean colour sensor with global coverage.  I got to know the people in the ocean colour community and when my Japanese tenure finished I found a new opportunity at NASA’s Ocean Colour project. At NASA I learned the inner workings of a successful multi-mission ocean colour programme. This included satellite instrument calibration, product validation, algorithm development, multi-mission data merger, satellite data processing, data dissemination and user support.

      But you came back to Europe…

      One may say I am a beneficiary of European long-term thinking. I grew up in communist Poland. I was curious about the world and wanted to travel. After communism I took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad via the European Commission’s Tempus programme (11). The grant allowed me to pursue Master’s and PhD studies in Great Britain.

      Five years ago I came back to Europe from the United States to be closer to my ageing parents. I took a position at the European Space Agency (ESA), where I worked on the calibration and validation of satellite data, in disciplines that varied from ocean colour to atmospheric chemistry, for the European flagship Earth Observation mission - ENVISAT (12).

      Now I work at EUMETSAT (13), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. I am responsible for ocean colour science within the agency. EUMETSAT is engaged in marine data services and will operate the Copernicus Sentinel-3 series of satellites as well as the ocean colour instrument. I have thus completed a full circle: from initially benefitting from EC educational funding, to now supporting the EC’s Earth Observation programme.

      What has the experience in these different institutions given to you?

      At NASA, the practical American attitude taught me that the solutions to problems do not need to be the most sophisticated, but that quick turn-around on implementation, testing, and scientific scrutiny pave the way for steady progress. 
      Openness of data and information, as well as to the peer review process, stimulates both data use and further development of applications and services. Thinking big on what we can do and the emphasis on service – to the users, to the global community, to science and to our planet – inspire and drive the progress.

      My European experience has been teaching me people skills. Typically research groups in Europe are widely distributed throughout the continent and across different cultures and languages. Highly diverse international working environments are stimulating but also challenging. Seeking consensus and reconciling a variety of interests are important skills and one can always become better. The diversity broadens individual and scientific horizons. It also teaches one to put additional effort into mutual understanding, interaction, and cohesiveness of goals.

      The area of Earth satellite observation for weather forecasting and climate monitoring seems to require international cooperation, access to data and knowledge sharing. Is this correct?

      International cooperation and coordination are absolutely critical.  We need multiple satellite missions to provide global coverage.  No single agency or country can now provide answers to all the global problems associated with climate change, severe weather and the depletion of ecosystems and the Earth’s resources. We need international cooperation in science and applications.  We need coordination on data services and standardisation across the agencies.  We need to learn from the best experts on the globe in order to push science and technology forward and to provide the best care for our planet. We also need to train new data users, scientists and the future generation of marine data experts including those in ocean colour.

      How is EUMETSAT working together with other partners in ocean colour science?

      EUMETSAT closely cooperates with its main marine data user, the EC’s MyOcean programme (14), which is now preparing and leading the demonstration phases of the future Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service. EUMETSAT is also active on the global inter-agency forum and is a member of the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) as well as the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Ocean Colour Radiometry - Virtual Constellation (CEOS OCR-VC).  We lead the introduction of ocean colour to the international operational data services, the Coordinating Group on Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) and the European-scale Global Ocean Observing System (EuroGOOS). 
      In May 2013 EUMETSAT arranged a very successful international ocean colour science meeting, of which I was the local programme lead. The meeting was broadly attended by most of the global ocean colour community and gave EUMETSAT a chance to introduce itself to the scientists and data users. It was a working meeting which produced many community actions and recommendations that were put forward to the agencies operating ocean colour missions.  These recommendations resulted in new working groups and new community organisational structures that are now being put into place to support global coordination on ocean colour Earth science and services.

      Congratulations on this successful initiative. In your opinion, how will Earth satellite observation for ocean colour data develop in the coming years?

      In the satellite business we talk about decades rather than years due to the long satellite programme development schedules.  With regard to ocean colour data, two things spring to my mind.
      • First is the implementation of an ocean colour monitoring geostationary network of satellites. Currently, ocean colour is monitored from satellites in polar orbits - circling the Earth from pole to pole. The Sentinel-3 satellite will operate in such a polar orbit. Polar orbits aim to provide global coverage, but the coverage of a specific geographic location (away from the poles) can be repeated only once a day or only every few days.  In practical terms the oceans are viewed even less often because ocean colour observations are severely limited by cloud coverage.

        With geostationary satellites –stably positioned over the equator– we could have repeated observations of the Earth disc every hour (or even more frequently) so that we could see in between the cloudy spells and discover the diurnal variability of marine conditions. The coverage of European waters, outside the northernmost areas, could be achieved by a single geostationary satellite. For global coverage we would need at least 3 such satellites positioned over the equator around the world and this fact highlights, again, the necessity of international cooperation. The first geostationary satellite carrying an ocean colour mission is currently operated by the Korea Ocean Satellite Center . 
      •  Another area of progress in the coming years is the use of hyper-spectral ocean colour instruments viewing in the ultra-violet, visible and near-infrared ranges of the spectrum as well as in the short-wave infrared.
        These would allow better atmospheric correction and better differentiation of phytoplankton species, including HABs, and other in-water constituents in marine, coastal, estuarine and lake ecosystems than current multi-spectral instruments do. Hyper-spectral measurements would allow a range of new products, applications and services.

      Does Ocean colour science, though fascinating, leave you space for pursuing your personal interests. You like travelling and meeting people from other cultures. What else gives you energy and a sense of fulfilment?

      Family and friends mean a lot to me. Going to the gym after a long day at work is a great way for me to relax, refocus and gain energy. I enjoy keeping up with current affairs and popular science. I like archaeology, architecture, music, going to theatres and cinemas, and biking to get to know my region better.
      I used to play bridge competitively, draw, and learn languages, but now I have little time to pursue these interests.

      Ewa, what advice would you give to young professionals, and in particular women, who are interested in an international career such as yours?

      If I was advising young professionals, I would say the following:
      • First build your professional network. Professional relations and cooperation with colleagues and the larger professional community in your discipline are always important and can help propel you through your career.
      • Seize as many opportunities as you can and believe in your abilities to manage new challenges. 
      • Find a goal – something that excites you and in which you strongly believe.  Do not worry if finding such a professional goal takes time. It may take you in totally different directions than you had originally intended, but finding a subject about which you are passionate is very important for professional accomplishment.
      • Keep up your learning and branch out. Be aware of all the issues that affect your professional areas of interest. 
      • Remember that you will always find friends and your comfort zone wherever you are. In other locations, countries or on other continents, you can always make yourself feel at home.

      Ewa, thank you for the interview and for introducing us to the fascinating world of ocean colour science. I wish you much success in your ocean colour data project, and in your endeavour to apply remote sensing science as well as your experience in the service of the Earth.


      (1) Bio-optical - The expression ‘bio-optical state of ocean waters was coined, in 1978, to acknowledge the fact that in many oceanic environments, the optical properties of water bodies are essentially subordinated to the biological activity, and ultimately to phytoplankton and their derivatives. More recently the adjective bio-optical has been associated with nouns like model or algorithms.

      (2) Phytoplankton

      (3) Cyanobacteria

      (4)   Eutrophication  

      (5)   COPERNICUS

      (6)   European Space Agency (ESA)

      (7)   Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)
      (8)   Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)
      (9)   United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
      (10) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
      (11) Tempus programme
      (12) ENVISAT
      (13) EUMETSAT - the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites - is a global operational satellite agency at the heart of Europe.

      (14)  MyOcean programme

      Short Biography

      Ewa J. Kwiatkowska received an M.Sc. degree from the Department of Applied Mathematics at the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland, and M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Computing, University of Bradford in the U.K. She was with the Japanese Space Agency’s Earth Observation Research Center for two years working on Ocean Colour and Temperature Sensor data. Subsequently, she moved to the United States and, for almost a decade, was with the Goddard Space Flight Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Maryland. She worked at the Ocean Colour Project where she gained experience in calibration, validation, algorithm development, data merger, data dissemination and user support for ocean colour missions. She next worked at the European Space Research and Technology Centre of the European Space Agency (ESA) (5) in the Netherlands where she contributed to ENVISAT (6) calibration and validation projects. Currently, Ewa is a Remote Sensing Scientist in Ocean Colour at EUMETSAT in Darmstadt, Germany.

      Contacts Details

      Ewa J. Kwiatkowska

      Remote Sensing Scientist - Ocean Colour


      EUMETSAT, Am Kavalleriesand 31, D-64295 Darmstadt, Germany

      Tel: +49-6151-8077188, Fax: +49-6151-8078380

      Disclaimer -    
      Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of EUMETSAT, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
    • 08 Jul 2014 00:18 | Armelle Loghmanian

       An amazing success story! 

        By  Rita Nasini


      Sonia Carton

      Country Delight Manager Benelux at Nestlé, Nespresso S.A.Belgium Area, Brussels

      Dear Sonia,
      Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your studies, and the beginning of your career?

      When I was 18 years old, I hesitated about the path I wanted to follow towards the future. As a matter of fact, I wanted to join the army to become a fighter pilot... But this was not possible at that time, so finally I decided to become an airline pilot and to do the exam. I wasn’t  successful, so to avoid losing one year, my father advised me to enter a Business School and I selected  ICHEC. I graduated 4 years later, in June 1988, in Marketing. Thanks to the reputation of this school, I very quickly found a job in an IT starter (software house) where I joined a team of 2 people. My job was very polyvalent: from accountancy to advertising. I was even the translator of the software in French, Dutch and English.
      Two years later I joined a Compaq computer dealer, located in Uccle. This was the start of a real Marketing experience. I achieved many nice projects like the Corporate brochure of the company, a newsletter for customers, and small scale advertising campaigns. I remained in this company for 4 years and then looked for a new challenge. I wanted to quit the IT world, which was actually not really my cup of tea.
      As a marketeer, I sent a mailing towards 50 recruitment specialists to sell my professional skills. All of a sudden I had the opportunity to choose between 3 new challenges in 3 major companies. One of them was Nespresso…

      How did you venture into the world of coffee “Nespresso”, and what attracted you to such a business?

      Nespresso was looking for a HORECA Manager (Foodservice Manager).

      One of my hobbies at that time was going to Michelin star restaurants in order to spend an evening tasting the Chef’s specialties. Once a month, I used to go to a top restaurant with my best friend. We would have liked to test more restaurants but we were limited by our budgets!
      The country Manager of Nespresso at that time (1994) strongly believed that top Chefs could become real sponsors and could recommend the Nespresso coffee for its high quality. He was looking for someone passionate and dynamic who would be able to launch the product. When we met we talked more about taste and meals than about my profile! And he liked it. This was the start of my career within this nice company.

      I thought to myself, working for a company that sells coffee in little capsules, that’s weird… but it can be a first step towards the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods FMCG sector I was aiming at.

      Three years later, I became Marketing Director, than Sales Director Benelux and Boutique Network Director Benelux. Today I am Country Delight Manager Benelux.

      After twenty years working for Nespresso, I have never found my different jobs boring. On the contrary, the more I discovered the business, the more I found it exciting.

      Can you explain your experiences at beginning in “Nespresso” and how difficult was it to promote such an original product to Belgian consumers?

      Nespresso Benelux, sister company of Nespresso in Switzerland and Nestlé, was born in 1992.

      At the beginning, the Nespresso coffee  was very well known by a very restricted number of people! This “niche” product was really a revolution in terms of quality and freshness. Each capsule delivered the perfect espresso in a cup.

      This lack of notoriety was a real challenge. In my job, the only way to sell Nespresso was to let the coffee “speak” in my place: tasting was the key.

      At that time, the Belgian team was made up of 7 people. The tailor made service and the tasting were the two drivers to generate a positive word of mouth about the brand. And I must confess, during my 20 years of experience within this company, I have never heard one single customer complaining about the taste and the quality of Nespresso. And for someone working in Sales and Marketing, this is invaluable.

      Step by step Nespresso became a “top of mind” brand. Two out of three new consumers were buying Nespresso thanks to the recommendation of a friend or a member of their family.

      …Later on, George Clooney came on TV as an ambassador of the brand… Today everybody knows and uses “what else” as a slogan !
      What was the marketing strategy to convince potential clients to purchase the machines and capsules?

      Being present close to the consumers with tasting has always been part of the strategy.

      Ensure that our consumers remain loyal is of course very important today. Thanks to Nespresso the way we are consuming espresso has been a revolution. Now there is a market for this kind of consumption and a lot of coffee brands want a piece of the cake.

      As leaders, we have to be even more cautious and listen to the customers’ needs. This is why I started in July 2013 the Delight initiative. All customer feedback is gathered by our customer facing employees and actions are undertaken to increase their satisfaction. This is part of our business continuous improvement plan. It is a mindset change in our company. A new way of working …

      How many “Nespresso” outlets are there in Belgium today? And do you foresee further expansion?

      There are 4 Boutiques in Belgium (Brussels-the flagship, Antwerp, Ghent and Liege) one in Luxembourg and 10 in the Netherlands.

      The strategy about expansion is reviewed each year but one thing is sure, we are going to open more Boutiques in the coming months. Hasselt and Woluwe (shopping) are two very serious options.

      Did you make a lot of personal sacrifices by devoting so much time an effort into the job?

      Well, being part of MANCOM in a fast growing business is very time consuming. What is important on such a level of decision is to deliver results. You are working between 50 and 60 hours per week, knowing that, when you close the door of your office, you don’t close it in your mind. You often take your work with you at home. So, it demands a lot of comprehension and support from your partner and your family.

      Even more, when you talk to your partner in the same way as you would talk to your assistant, scheduling an evening in a restaurant like you would do for a meeting… Then you know you really need to take a break !
      What has made you so successful as a business woman, what advice would you give to PWI readers?

      In the Gallup’s talent I am a learner. I love learning new things, and what is more important for me is how to build up this knowledge and not only the knowledge itself.

      When I started to study Japanese, I was one of the oldest students! I know I will never be fluent in Japanese, but I love learning this language because it explains a lot about the Japanese culture itself.

      If you are willing to grow, you are flexible and open minded and you want to achieve goals, there is a place for you in a company like Nestlé/Nespresso.

      The leadership skills that are really basic within the group are: practice what you preach, result focus, initiative and proactive cooperation. If you “live” these skills and deliver what you have promised, you are on the right way.

      And if my family situation had permitted it, I would probably have added to my CV the lead of a hub in Asia!

      Now I’m going to ask the most important question, have you met George Clooney? Tell us all!

      Well, I should have dinner with him one of these days …

      Seriously, not yet but one of my colleague did. His feedback was that George was very charismatic, humble and funny. But too late ladies, he’s going to get married


      Short Biography

      Sonia Carton
      Graduate in Marketing from I.C.H.E.C., postgraduate in Human Resource Management.
      Sonia has worked for many years in Nestlé Nespresso and has gained expertise in the following areas: marketing, sales, leadership, retail management and country retail management.
      She has been Country Delight Manager Benelux since 2013 in Nestlé Nespresso.
      Fluent in many languages including Japanese.
      Contacts Details or

      Boutique Country Delight Manager at Nestlé, Nespresso S.A.Belgium Area, Brussels

      Disclaimer -    
      Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nestlé Nespresso, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
    • 17 Jun 2014 00:28 | Armelle Loghmanian

      Introducing Lean Management 

      An Interview with Christine Bodart
      By Corina Ciechanowr


      Christine Bodart

      Manager of Assets, Process, Risk & Security
      in Transversal Production Services

      Certified LEAN Practitioner

      BNPParibas Fortis

      Christine, I’m curious: you are an engineer, what led you to choose your profession?

      When I was young I was good at mathematics, but didn’t want to become a teacher, so I decided to go for engineering studies. This profession gives many career opportunities and a great variety of subjects. When I was working as Mechanical Engineer in the automotive industry, I was requested to implement an ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning is a series of integrated applications managing the complete organisation from the Manufacturing workflow and up to Finance, HR and others). This was my first experience in IT, and I continued from then on in the IT discipline. I like that domain that changes so rapidly and where you can combine a helicopter view with detailed analysis. Also, IT allows me to support different business domains. I am now working in the finance industry, in the Production Services that run the bank on a 24*7 basis (24 hours a day, 7 days per week).

      Christine, you are introducing Lean Management in your department, could you please tell us what made your company look into this?

      One year ago, I became manager of the "Process Management Team". Three years ago, our company, one of the main Belgian banks, gained an ISO20K certification, that is a standard in IT Service Management.
      To reach that certification, we documented the 27 processes that are executed in our company (as diverse as Incident, Problem, Configuration, Suppliers … management). As we are constantly trying to improve these processes, we decided to apply "lean methodology", since it’s one of the best methods proposed to address this issue: continuous "process optimization".

      Could you please detail for us what is Lean methodology?

      Lean[1] is a production practice invented more than 20 years ago. The methodology considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value[2] for the end customer to be wasteful and thus a target for elimination. Working from the perspective of the customer who consumes a product or service, "value" is defined as any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.
      Lean is also introducing new values in the company and proposes a very different point of view of managing activities in a team: replacing old Taylorism[3] management principles, Lean promotes empowerment of the people working in the field.

      Lean is based on these 4 values:
      1. Focus on ‘the voice of the customer’ is the first value. The process will be analysed from the customer’s point of view, and every activity that does not bring value to the customer will be a candidate for elimination, with an exception for ancillary activities (such as HR, accounting …) that are necessary to support the company’s operation. These typically wasteful activities are transportation, inventory, movement, over-quality, over-production and defect.
      2. The second value is: ‘Make things visible’. The methodology recommends the implementation of visual management. Display some meaningful KPI's (key performance indicators), that will be key to evaluate performance and target improvement. Indeed, if you do not measure the quality of your activities, how will you verify that you are progressing in the right direction, reaching sufficiently challenging targets?

      3. Continuous improvement organization: through the use of regular meetings such as the “progression dialog” (often weekly) or “daily huddle” (stand-up meeting of around 15 min) organized around this visual management; where any blocking point or problem will be welcome. Lean promotes a continuously learning organization that will address problem solving and root cause analysis (through asking "why" 5 times) as an opportunity for process improvement.

      4. Finally, Respect for people is the last value promoted. This means that people working in the field are empowered as the main actors and are made accountable to analyse the quality and solve the problems encountered on the floor. The manager will support them in "quality problem investigation" to remove the blocking point.

      When you implement Lean in your organization, your traditional management role will change from one based on control and direction of basic tasks, to leading your people and teams to a new place – a continuously improving organization, with a more enriching and rewarding work environment.

      How do people react to the introduction of Lean Management, is it accepted by all employees? Could you please provide us with some examples of reactions?

      As you can imagine not everybody reacts positively to change and this change in management practice is no exception. Imagine how you would react if you were told "your mission, if you accept it, is to make your job redundant". Some employees were afraid of being redundant once the process they were involved in became more effective. It is a very legitimate fear that had to be addressed in order to make them commit to the process of improvement. So the management took the commitment to reallocate people and even reward those who initiated a simplification or improvement "Lean is good for my career". They have been reassured that even if their job may disappear, there will be other jobs to be filled where they will be doing more productive work for the company.

      How are you overcoming the resistances?

      One important thing is that this change is supported by the top and middle management. Our company has to improve their processes in order to be competitive, and survival is a strong motivator! To help the process of adoption we count on explaining the purpose of this change and educating all our people on the values of the Lean methodology. We have to demystify wrong perceptions and show success stories. We have to change the perception of what makes the best team: it is not the team who has a lot to do, but the team who is available to immediately solve a problem or answer a question or deal with an incident. We want to promote role models, communicating their stories to make them visible. To promote this change of culture we must show-case Lean and we also have to give employees the ‘sense of urgency’. To do so we took as a pilot project the customers’ incident process: ‘Let’s clear the incidents backlog and increase our customer’s satisfaction’.

      You mentioned your company is implementing Lean in 2 ways, could you tell us more about it?

      Yes, we are planning to work on two different ways:
      • Lean process optimization: process managers are analysing the processes and activities with the perspective of ‘the voice of the customer’.
      • Lean management techniques on the floor: that implies:
      • The use of visual tools to make visible the situation,
      •  Doing a 5 min daily huddle (quick meeting to define priorities: was yesterday a good day? what do we have to do today?),
      • Progression dialogue to reflect on problems encountered and define possible improvements.
      This introduction of Lean techniques will be done in 4 stages, beginning with a ‘light’ usage of each Lean practice (such as visual management) to a full usage of Lean methods and tools.

      This change in the way we work comes along with a change in the mind-set of our employees: We need to welcome problems as opportunities to make it better. We need to take lessons from our errors. Also the value of working as a team as opposed to having individual heroes is promoted.

      Why is this Lean program lead by IT and not by a business department?

      Lean is under deployment in the whole company, but its deployment is particularly interesting in IT since most of the IT activities are not visible. In IT you can see people seated in front of their computer, but it’s difficult to know if things are progressing as planned or if they are encountering problems that jeopardise the delivery plan. In contrast, in a production line it’s immediately visible if something does not flow as expected.

      How do you measure success in the implemented initiatives? What key performance indicator’s (KPI’s) do you use?

      Let me be clear: we are on our first steps, only starting with some pilot projects. At this time we have to be modest and see how those projects work. But we will use data to measure our efforts: on the pilot I mentioned for example, we will have an indication of success if we can reduce or eliminate the queue of customer complaints!

      What do you like the most about Lean?

      The thing I like best is that LEAN starts with the customer in mind. We want to delight the customer. Competition is everywhere and we don’t want to lose focus and give our competitors an advantage. This is ‘the age of the customer’ and it has to be good for the company. And secondly and very important too, it empowers the employees. And the value of the company resides in its people, all of us.

      Would you recommend other companies to go this way? And if yes, what do you see as the advantages?

      Yes, I would recommend other companies to simplify their processes. It is in the interest of agile companies to go back to basics and see what the customer really needs. This management principle is reintegrating the full end-to-end view in order to simplify the activities.

      And as I said before, a very important point for everybody in the company is that implementing Lean in the organisation will bring a better work environment, more enriching and rewarding.

      A last piece of advice: when introducing Lean, take into account that managers have to digest this mind shift to support the approach. Some prefer just staying in their established routine instead of implementing this change. Use data to convince your people. And if you don’t have it, start getting figures to know what your situation is. I like the saying: ‘In God we trust, the others should bring the data’

      Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. You know I am a fan of Agile processes like Lean, that promote the values of respect and collaboration between employees and at all levels of management. I hope many readers will be tempted to look into it too!


      Short Biography

      Christine Bodart
      After studying Mechanical Engineering, Christine Bodart worked as a research and teaching assistant at the Université Catholique de Louvain and took a PhD in Numerical Simulation. She worked then as a development engineer before setting up ICT (information, communication and technology) department at the new headquarters of a Japanese company starting in Belgium. Then, she joined a Belgium bank to become project and program manager, becoming a solution architect before leading the pool of technical and security architects. Recently, as the leader of teams of process managers, asset, operational risk and security management, she got the challenge to implement LEAN for IT while running operational activities combining people, processes, technology and security.

      Contact Details
      gsm: +32-478 84 96 66

      Disclaimer -    
      Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of BNPParibas Fortis, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
    • 26 Feb 2014 22:03 | Armelle Loghmanian

       Forget about balance - Try conscious imbalance

      By Caroline Kersten and Sapna Welsh


      Caroline Kersten                Sapna Welsh     

      Partner at LeverageHR   Partner at LeverageHR

      New years are often marked with resolutions - you know, the things you want to do differently or better. One of the most common resolutions we hear, especially among women, is the wish to find more balance between work and personal life.
      If this is one of your resolutions, we are going to go out on a limb and suggest that you strike it from your list. Rather, we recommend you resolve to embrace conscious imbalance.

      A positive definition

      We define conscious imbalance as: “tipping the scales towards what gives you energy and fulfillment, with the realization that the scales will need to be rebalanced on a regular basis”.
      People are searching for deeply satisfying personal and professional lives, not a balance or compromise between the two. Often there are competing priorities, and we need to understand which way we want to tip the scales in order to achieve deeper fulfillment.

      When Matthew Kelly, author of Off Balance (video:, conducted interviews, he found that responses to his questions about people’s most satisfying periods involved descriptions of extreme situations. They were stories about putting in seventy hours per week for a few months in order to deliver a high-profile project on time and under budget. Or, they were stories of sitting on the beach in the Bahamas doing nothing more than sipping on a Pina Colada. They were rarely stories about taking conference calls throughout a beach holiday, for instance, which would reflect the proverbial balance.

      When you talk about men tipping the scales toward work, it is considered normal, and it is certainly regarded as acceptable. However, when a woman does this, it is often questioned. “How could you be happy doing this?
      We interviewed 62 Women in Senior-level Expatriate Roles (WiSER) (1) to find characteristics that made them successful and we discovered that half of them demonstrated ‘conscious imbalance’.

      WiSER Britta, for example, drew from her personal experience when discussing this phenomenon. “You have to go after what you want, when it is the right time for you,” she advised. “People have criticized me for wanting it all --- child and family and living abroad and ambitious career.”
      She added that many people had recommended that she scale down her commitments and her aspirations. “I think it is important to accept when you have a demanding job and a child or family, there is no balance ---  forget it” she said. “Prioritize and outsource things like house cleaning, lawn care, and other low-priority items in order to spend your time on high-priority, high-value things.”

      The key to conscious imbalance is understanding what gives you energy.

      Maintaining imbalance - Tips

      Maintaining conscious imbalance is like “surfing”. To be a good surfer you must develop a feel for where your body is positioned relative to the flow of the waves by keeping your eyes on the horizon, looking ahead and never down. You must instinctively tense and release muscles at the right times in order to stay on the board.
      To maintain conscious imbalance, you have to constantly recalibrate and reassess your priorities to remain content.
      The women we interviewed in senior-level expatriate roles (WiSER) demonstrate time and time again how they have unbalanced their lives in order to do what gives them energy and happiness. Here are some of their tips:
      1. Don’t let societal expectations determine how you live your life
        Go after your dreams.
        Don’t give up on your goals because of other people’s attitudes toward you, your lifestyle, and your choices. What may work for you does not necessarily conform to other people’s values and practices - and vice versa, but that is ok.

      2. Make worthwhile concessions
        Pursuing your goals often means giving up on something you care about less. Imbalance should be purposeful for you, and even with strong intentions, it is not always easy. The overall message is: you can have it all, just not at the same time. Concessions will have to be made, they will be worthwhile.

      3. Don’t try to be Wonder Woman
        Our advice is, don’t try to be Wonder Woman undefined the woman who can do it all. No one can manage to do everything they want to do, therefore, it is important to ask for help. No one can do it all by themselves, nor should anyone be expected to do so.

      4. Review and reconsider options regularly
        The scales of your life will need to be re-calibrated on a regular basis. This means that, over time, you may desire to spend more time with your familyundefinedor after devoting a good deal of time to your family, you may wish to start working again.
      Never stop thinking about the moments in your life that have brought you great joy and fulfillment. Once you understand what gives you energy, you can make the hard choices that are involved in tipping the scalesundefinedand leading a more fulfilling life.
      We have but one life, and we withdraw time from the same time bank, which provides twenty-four hours a day, spread over 365 days a year. We aren’t simply trying to balance, say, a cup of “work” and a cup of “personal life.” We are looking at one cup that is brimming with who we are, and we don’t want anything valuable to spill out.

      Short Biography

      Sapna and Caroline are Partners at LeverageHR where they work with organizations to increase the number of women in leadership positions. They have developed an innovative female leadership development approach, based on research which is the foundation of their recently published book “Worldly Women - The New Leadership Profile”.

      Sapna Welsh
      Sapna Welsh has helped individuals improve their performance through professional coaching, training, mentoring, skills assessment, and performance management. Coaching currently includes cross-cultural preparation of managers as they prepare to expatriate to the US. She has worked in various sectors including: banking, insurance, public accounting, manufacturing, logistics, non-profit, academia, and start-ups.

      Sapna holds a Masters degree in Labor and Human Resources from The Ohio State University, a BBA in International Business from The George Washington University, is licensed as a Professional in Human Resources and she is a Registered Corporate Coach. She previously served as an HR adjunct faculty member at Franklin University and also served on the Human Resources curriculum advisory board.

      Caroline Kersten
      Caroline Kersten has twenty years of experience, first as a business strategy consultant followed by tenure as a Human Resources manager in both profit and non/profit organizations. In 2008 she started her own consulting business, Kersten HR Consulting, advising and supporting businesses in HR and organization development. In August 2011, she started a partnership with Leverage HR. She is an experienced consultant in the areas of HR strategy, change management, personal development, competency management and performance management. Caroline currently teaches “Managing People & Organizations” to American university exchange students, at the Akademie für Internationale Bildung in Bonn. She has worked in various sectors including: government, automotive, consumer electronics, and leasing.

      Caroline holds a Masters degree in European Studies and a Masters Degree in Dutch Law from the University of Amsterdam, as well as an LL.M. in European Law from the College of Europe Bruges. She is fluent in four languages (English, Dutch, German and French).

      Contact Details

      Sapna Welsh
      Partner at LeverageHR
      +49 170-9005541
      Caroline Kersten
      Partner at LeverageHR
      +49 170-3097529

      (1) <<Worldly Women - The New Leadership Profile>> by By Sapna Welsh and Caroline KerstenThis book is based on interviews with 62 Women in Senior-level Expatriate Roles (WiSER) from all corners of the globe. (
      Disclaimer -     
      Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of <company name>, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
    • 26 Feb 2014 22:02 | Armelle Loghmanian

       Hotels all are microcosms, open 24/7

      Interview by Alessandra Zocca


      Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh

      Secretary General at the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA)

      Rodolphe, there are more and more women travelling (business and tourism): how do hotels adapt with services to support women’s specific needs (safety, hotel-taxi, hairdresser, babysitting etc.)?

      Feeling safe in a town is a choice factor for many tourists and therefore through our association – the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA) – although we do not run gender specific services or campaigns, certainly we are concerned for the safety of female customers, especially those traveling alone.
      Regarding safety and taxis, for example, our association’s requirements are very sharp and our associated hotels inform their customers about taxi tariffs, tourist rights and security precautions.

      Our main effort is to continue developing the quality of all services for all types of clients visiting Brussels and to promote our values:
               • Mobility
               • Security
               • Quality of service

      What I have noticed based on my own experience as hotel director is that some of the requirements considered “female” have become unisex needs, for example the hairdresser service or a good hairdryer or reserved areas for meals for customers on their own.

      What effort is the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA) making to promote more woman-friendly hotels?

      This is a very good question. As an Employers Federation, we are not directly involved in the positioning and marketing of hotels.
      Nevertheless, the subject is currently under discussion with “VISITBRUSSELS” (1), through the Brussels Quality Academy. We are working on specific approaches and training in this way.

      Personally I believe that some training on how to welcome the increasing number of female customers would be very beneficial for any hotel; for example, I can recall how useful it was to receive the specific training that has been delivered for other customer segments such as the impaired/disabled people or the gay customers.

      Please tell us what are the mission and the main activities of the BHA?

      The Brussels Hotels Association (BHA) is the hotel industry’s professional organisation, including around 130 members, representing about 90% of the hotels in the Brussels area.
      BHA brings together, informs and supports the interests of the hoteliers in different ways:
      • Promotion - We contribute to create the conditions for the success of our members, share the best practices across the association, and promote the development and growth of the Hospitality and Tourism industry in the Brussels region and its periphery.

      • Support - We offer to our members various seminars, trainings, workshops and activities as well as many flyers, posters and other advertising media.

      • Scope - We are currently active in several domains related to hospitality: Social impact, Economics, Security, Mobility, Sales and Marketing, Charity, Communication, Environment, Hotel Jobs and we are involved in various studies and reports.
        Our website provides our members with a wealth of information related to our industry, and a summary of our activities.
      • Recruitment - In addition, in our website we have an online recruitment platform (BHA CAREERS) dedicated to jobs in hotels in Brussels, on which our members can freely post their job vacancies and consult an updated list of CV's of people looking for a job in the area.

      • Hotelery Professions - We have also started to create awareness amongst our members about the need to make some hotel professions more gender-neutral, meaning that each job position shouldn’t be classified as a job for men or for women (ex. the maids for the rooms). Additionally we promote gender equality in recruitment.

      • Social Media - Furthermore, we are active on social media and networks, including LinkedIn (group of over 1000 professionals from the hospitality industry), Facebook and Twitter.

      In the hotel industry how open is the way to the top positions and the Executive Board for women?

      Brussels currently counts women holding GM positions, but we have not yet achieved an equal proportion, I believe there are around 25% of women GM.

      Regarding ourselves, in the Board of Directors of the BHA there are two ladies (who hold the General Manager functions in hotels) and 14 men. Our board has not yet reached gender parity, but we are working towards it...
      Women also hold Heads of Department positions (including HR, Sales, Finance and Operational functions). These occupations are undoubtedly compelling and engaging functions, in which many women thrive. These functions are reconcilable with private and family life.

      What are the new trends in the hotel industry? Are there different trends in different countries?

      We cannot really talk about new trends in the hotel industry, but rather of a global evolution of hotel products and services according to new customer needs, mainly generations x and y.
      However, customers look also for finding the culture and the uniqueness of the country in the hotel services. These factors are also taken into account in the new hotel projects.

      The "green" trend, especially, has been growing these last few years through new labels (such as the international Green Key eco-label or the Brussels Waste Network initiative that the BHA supports in Brussels), and this trend corresponds to customers new consumption habits.

      A specific trend I would like to mention is that Brussels has gained more and more appeal, now it is included amongst the 10 destinations to visit in the Lonely Planet Guide of 2014 (2): this represents a great incentive for the hotels of Brussels.

      What would you recommend to a young woman (or young people) wanting to embrace a career in the hotel industry?

      First of all it seems an excellent choice to focus on the hospitality industry as the sector is forecast continue developing, particularly in Europe and in Belgium.

      As per my experience in the hotel industry I can state that being a director or the general manger is a very exciting profession, the price to pay for this is “availability” in terms of time, but it does not differ much from the availability time requested in many other companies.

      Beyond the clichés there is a variety of traditional and specific occupations in a sector that has become very professional and international. It is an industry where everyone, women as well as men, can climb steps and progress potentially to a very high level. As mentioned above, see all the women that have reached the highest level in Brussels and the trend is that more women are becoming managers.

      What inspired you to enter this profession?

      The human aspect, the concept of service and passion for diversity undoubtedly inspired me. It is a people’s job, which is a real challenge for the profession.
      Also, hotels all are microcosms, open 24/7, teeming with activity and people, which has always fascinated me.

      You have been the general manager of the Metropole, a legendary hotel in town. What are your professional (or on a broader level) dreams that have not yet come true?

      My current position at the BHA allows me to combine my law and hospitality studies, which I think is a great chance. There are also many challenges that still await me here and I look forward to addressing them.
      As a hotelier, I perhaps would like, at a later stage of my life, to launch a specific product from A to Z, that would be on a human scale and that would allow me to take the time to know each of my guests.

      Last but not least I would like one day to have my own hotel, offering very high standard services created by myself.

      You have lived and worked in other countries - do you find that standards of service vary in different countries?

      Service standards are quite similar across Europe. These obviously depend on the target audience and its expectations and on the culture of service in each country, but also on labour costs. The quality of service in Brussels could even be improved, in my opinion, if labour costs were lower.

      Short Biography

      Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh has been the Secretary General of the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA) since 2010.
      BHA’s members represent 12,500 jobs and 15,000 hotel rooms in the Brussels-Capital Region and its economic hinterland.

      Born in Brussels, Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh studied and attained his Master’s degree in Law. Carried by his passion for the hospitality industry, he then attended the very prestigious Hotel school of Lausanne, in Switzerland, where he gained a Master’s degree in hotel and business management.

      In 2003 Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh began his career at the Radisson SAS Montfleury Hotel in Cannes in the post of Chief Steward, later progressing to the post of Sales Manager. After 7 months in this position, Van Weyenbergh was appointed Sales manager at the Radisson SAS at Nice where he stayed until August 2004.

      In September 2004, ready for a fresh challenge, Van Weyenbergh returned to his home city to take up the post of Food and Beverage Manager at the Metropole Hotel Brussels. After 2 successful years, he was promoted to the post of Director of operations. Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh has had a natural progression within the management team of the ‘Great Lady’ of Brussels hotels; resulting in 2007 in his appointment to the top post of General Manager. The board of directors of the SA Hotel Metropole chose Van Weyenbergh for his professionalism, experience, youthful energy and dynamism. Van Weyenbergh reinforced the hotel’s policies of tradition, luxury and quality.

      Contact Details

      Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh
      Secretary General at the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA)
      Tel +32 (0)2 648 50 02 | | Fax +32 (0)2 640 93 28


      (1) VISITBRUSSELS is the communications agency for tourism in the Brussels-Capital Region; its aim is to promote and strengthen the image of the capital of 500 million Europeans.

      (2) Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 - Top 10 countries includes Belgium

      Disclaimer -     
      Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of BHA, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
    • 02 Nov 2013 16:24 | Armelle Loghmanian

       “Lose your life to gain it”: from frustration to leadership 

      Interview by Alessandra Zocca


      Grant Wattie

      Advancing Women & Diversity
      Founder of the Global Women’s Leadership Summit (GWALS)

      Grant, the Global Women’s Leadership Summit (GWALS) is expected to be the largest women and leadership online event in the world, connecting over 15,000 leaders, executives and managers with the most globally recognized visionaries.

      What criteria have you applied to choosing the GWALS speakers? Or have you followed your intuition? What inspired you about the speakers, any particular traits?

      I researched extensively on LinkedIn groups what topics and presenters women professionals were interested in. I started with a post asking “what’s the number one frustration of women in leadership” and had over 300 replies in a week.

      I have gone for the names with a reputation of authenticity and integrity and who I see are genuine, true leaders, as defined by my own intuition. People with specific traits required for leadership such as mindset, courage, finding sponsors and mentors, and being politically savvy.

      Then, I personally interviewed women from around the world who - according to me – show these qualities. 

      I have placed a strong focus on the following categories: 
      • Corporate and Executive Development
      • Leadership Development Skills
      • Mentoring and Sponsorship
      • Networking and Relationship Building
      • Inspirational Stories of Women in Leadership
      • Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
      • Engaging Men to Advance Women
      • Full List:

      Do you distinguish leadership characteristics which you see as male or female? If so, which are the connotations of the feminine leadership you appreciate most?

      The connotations I appreciate most in feminine leadership are traits such as collaboration, relationship building, empathy and the ability to focus on the greater good. There is a growing trend and recognition that these traits are desirable in leaders (please see John Gerzema’s research and “Athena Doctrine” (1) and I also see many men with the same capacity for these traits.

      What concerns me most is that traditional talent assessments are weighted heavily in favour of traits and behaviour that are typically ‘male’ such as competitiveness, strategic thinking, being influential and being tough minded as prerequisites for senior leadership. However I believe what is needed more than ever is a shift in mindset, rather than a shift in behaviour, as thinking precedes behavior because you think first, and then act on the thoughts.

      There is growing research into the field of adult development that shows the ability to manage complex situations requires ‘wisdom’. As a leader I believe a huge aspect of my job is to help people develop how they think.

      Grant, please, could you explain more about this “shift in mindset”?

      In today’s world, we live in times of rapid change, market volatility and unpredictable events. Many people, even leaders are out of their depth and thrashing around in the water and need new ways of thinking to cope with the changes.
      The current methods used to develop and cope with the world I believe are old and outdated and tend to focus on old behaviors’ rather than new ways of thinking. We need:
      • New ways of thinking for the new world that is on our doorstep
      • Strategies to adapt, to be able to handle complexity and to cope with the many changes which we are experiencing daily
      • New standards to enable us to increase our capability and complex thinking to cope with the new world.

      Harvard Professor Robert Kegan (2) said a large number of executive’s are in roles that cause them to feel they are in “over their heads”. He distinguishes between two different ways that adults can develop either horizontally across time, or vertically in time:

      • Horizontal behaviour (or Acquired learning) is the development of new skills, measured by behaviour. Traditionally development has focused on horizontal behaviour, rather than the vertical potential of adults.
      • Vertical development (or Adaptive Learning) includes the ‘stages’ that people progress through and how they ‘make sense’ of their world - and can be measured in thoughts or how sentences are constructed. The latest developmental research has indeed shown that adults continue to progress through predictable stages of mental development.
        At each higher level of development, adults ‘make sense’ of the world, in what we call thought forms, (an analysis of understanding, reasoning, and focus of attention) and do this in more complex ways as their minds expand.

       Metaphorically, horizontal development is like pouring water into an empty glass: the glass filling up represents learning new behaviour and skills.

      In contrast, vertical development is like expanding the glass to provide a larger capacity to hold water.
      This represents the leader’s mind that has expanded and can assimilate more information.

      By understanding the developmental stages of an adult (conventional thinking assumes that adults have ‘grown-up’ at around 21 years old), this provides a measure of the capacity of leaders to perform in their roles and provides a scope of their development potential.
      Once you have a greater awareness of the stage of development you may be at, this can then open up new possibilities to improve your thinking capacity and capability.

      Do you have any example of researches proving this theory?

      Recent research has shown that people at higher levels of development perform better in more complex environments. A study looked at 21 CEOs and middle managers from various companies, each with annual revenues of over $5 billion.
      The study showed a clear correlation between higher levels of vertical development and higher levels of effectiveness. There is also a high correlation between creativity and how adults at higher levels tend to be more creative.
      The study also demonstrates that managers at higher levels of cognitive development are able to perform more effectively because they can think in more complex ways.

      I have had a similar experience in coaching senior executives across top companies in Australasia. When executives develop their thinking into a higher level by identifying the way they think and then expanding their thinking using mind opening questions, I have noticed that they:
      • Have a greater ability to learn
      • Solve complex problems
      • Lead change and set new directions due to their expanded awareness
      • View things from multiple perspectives.

      In a nutshell, leaders that operate at higher levels of development will have an important competitive advantage over those that don’t. Ultimately they will have a higher capacity to ‘connect the dots’ and will be better at ‘strategy’ and this can be learned.

      How have you come to foster women’s professional development?
      Has it been a sort of conversion on the road to Damascus or a slow process, or were you raised with this inclination, learning from your parents?

      When my wife and I graduated from college 25 years ago, 50% of our class were women yet according to statistics only 20% of those women graduates would reach the top in their professional life. For many years, I remained blind to the statistics.

      However it wasn’t until I started working with women in therapy and had daughters of my own that I woke up to the issues.

      It has taken me a long time to recognize and understand male power and privilege, and the impact this has on society. For many years I didn’t do anything to change things or even acknowledge that there was a problem.
      I finally realized (through training and education) that by doing nothing I was in fact perpetuating the injustice by allowing the dominant status quo to continue.

      When my daughters entered the workforce they were highly qualified but they still face the same societal barriers and biases that women have for years.
      I want to change things for the sake of my daughters and the next generation.

      What do you want to achieve in concrete terms?

      Now I am working to promote what is called “women’s issues”, however I believe they are in fact “men’s issues”.
      When I worked as a family therapist and domestic violence counselor, the first step to overcoming and solving an issue of injustice - for example violence, (emotional, physical or spiritual) was to bring about a mind shift from blame to accepting responsibility. Many of the issues seen in therapy originated at the hands of men such as violence, abuse and workplace bullying (of course bullies are not necessarily men).

      For example, let’s say John was physically violent and beat up Barbara. Barbara seeks help from a women’s refuge. She is referred for counseling and help. Often the issue is reframed from John beating Barbara to Barbara being ‘labeled’ as having been beaten and therefore she is seen as a victim of physical abuse. The conversation has subtly shifted from John to Barbara. John remains powerful and Barbara a victim.
      When referred to me, the aim was to help John take responsibility for his actions rather than continuing to make excuses. The key to this was to appeal to his interests – what he would “lose” – a wife, a partner, his friends and his reputation, everything - if he continued these behaviors. Once he accepted his behavior was unacceptable and the consequences as painful, he might seek to change. The change happened first with a shift in ‘mindset’ based on self-preservation instincts. What will I gain and what will I lose.

      Grant, I think that many women refuse to be victims. What about “women’s issues” in regard to women in leadership positions?

      People can only take responsibility for themselves – however many women are financially tied to these men and find it hard to break away – and they stay for the sake of the kids.

      It’s the same with women in leadership. Women want equal rights, more women in leadership. The focus is still on the victim not the perpetrator. It’s time to look at the societal root of the problem and men can no longer think they are innocent bystanders. In order to make a change it is required to make a shift in perception: if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re a part of the problem. I call it ignorance and a lack of awareness.
      A small shift can have a huge effect - a butterfly effect – the butterfly flaps its wings in the Caribbean and there’s a tornado in the pacific. We need men to be willing to stand up and start to make small changes to the status quo.
      This will happen with education and appealing to men – not through blame or criticism but with solid argument and showing the benefits to men of standing up for what is right. Appealing to a man’s sense of honor. For example Companies that have a high percentage of women in senior leadership and board representation should be given awards of honor. Men who advance women should also be honored (for example the AXA Award in Belgium) for doing so and other men will aspire to follow.

      Grant, going back to your statement <<I want to change things for the sake of my daughters>>, what have you taught your children about leadership?

      Alessandra, I have two daughters, Sarah, 27, a Human rights Lawyer and Rachel 25, a journalist. My son, Benjamin, 21 is finishing a computer science degree.
      Our children grew up in a small business environment and I think they learned a lot in this environment:
      • Awareness & Contribution – What my partner Christine and I have encouraged most in our children is to understand and value their uniqueness and the contribution they can make to the world.
        Leadership begins with an awareness of yourself (sometimes the awareness requires a wakeup call, insight or transformation) Then, when you know where you are going, you can help others along the way.
        Alongside this is the sense of respect and valuing of others or what Carl Rogers called “being person centered”.

      • Collaboration - My wife Christine and I worked very well together, complimenting each other’s skills and valuing each other’s strengths.
        I think that collaboration is the key to leadership, meaning men and women working together in synergy to utilize each other’s unique skills.

      • Leadership traits - Genuineness, empathy and unconditional positive regard for others are essential leadership traits especially, if we are going to change the word in an ethical and sustainable way. Leadership then is realizing that you are responsible and therefore you are accountable for your action or inaction and that you can make a difference.

      Did you have, Grant, in your youth, strong female role-models who inspired you in regard to leadership? If so, please tell us something about them.

      In my family I can mention two ladies who inspired me, my Mother and my Sister:

      • I remember the words of my Mother clearly as she would run along the beach with my brothers and sister and me during a wild storm, she shouted out “be free, free as the birds”. She would often say this to us, alongside other encouraging words such as “you can do it” and “you can be anything you want to be”.
        I later understood that being the eldest in a family of ten, Mum had many responsibilities whilst growing up and vowed that she would bring us up without the constraints she had had.
        I am grateful to both my Mother and Father for their positive words to us when we were children, which affirmed our sense of identity and our confidence to be able to be, or do, anything we want to be or do.

      • Years later my life changed dramatically when my youngest sibling, and only sister, Brigid, died. Her death taught me what life meant to her. I remember her words clearly: “Just be happy Grant, life is short and you never know what will happen.” She also said that time with family now meant the most to her.
        I determined then that no matter what, I would be happy, and spend the rest of my life doing what I was passionate about, that is being creative and helping others.

      How have you prepared yourself to help others? Please tell us more about your professional back-ground.

      I trained in horticulture science, moved in to corporate then moved into business ownership and professional photography. Then I trained to become a counsellor and family therapist, and later an executive coach, specialising in helping senior executives find purpose and meaning to life.

      Now I think more than anything I would call myself an entrepreneur with a very strong social justice coaching passion.
      My underlying motivation is to make a difference and create change leading towards promoting values such as justice, liberation and the need for people belonging together in relationships.

      My motto is: “Lose your life to gain it”. When Christine and I chose to train as counsellors it involved making an important decision. The decision was to align our work with our passion and our sense of purpose, and the meaning of our lives.
      At the time, it meant deciding to leave behind all of the comfort and security of our current life. It meant making a decision to sell our business, let go of our stable income, sell our house and adopt a much lower paying job. It felt scary. The questions and the doubts were real, i.e.: What if it didn’t work? What if we ran out of money? What would it be like to live in a smaller house?
      However, the rewards and gains of doing so have been truly remarkable. I believe that in order to create a transformation, requires a sort of death: it involves letting go of our currently held beliefs, assumptions, perceptions, models and established ways of doing things.

      You may ask how will we know when to do this? How do we know it’s time to let it all go? The key for me was frustration and I had to listen to my emotions. When we become so frustrated with our current situation that is a great indicator that there is a chasm between our current life and what we desire for the future.
      Frustration is an emotion that gets us to do things; it gives us energy to move forward and search for the answers we are looking for. I have noticed frustration at all of the major crossroads in my life, and each time I moved on to something bigger and better. Learn to embrace frustration and be grateful for it!

      You received the highest honor given to a foreign dignitary by the Government of Chile for your services <<The Bernardo O'Higgins Award>>. What is it about and why indeed was this award given to you?

      This makes me laugh, as I often think I don’t really deserve this award. However it highlights an important value, friendship. Let me tell you a story, Alessandra ….
      Some time ago I met someone who was to become a lifelong friend and confidante: Carlos, the Chilean Ambassador, who lived next door. We met when my son Ben and I took some cookies over to welcome the family to New Zealand. They had just arrived from Chile and Carlos’s son, Carlos Andres was the same age as my son. Carlos and I quickly became friends. We would often talk into the small hours of the morning discussing the things that troubled us, and philosophical topics.

      After five years when Carlos and his family left for Chile, he awarded me the “Bernardo O’Higgins award”, the highest award given to a foreign dignitary. At the time I was perplexed and I asked him what the award was for and he said the award was for being his ‘compadre’ meaning a friend closer than a brother. I was touched to have such meaning put on our friendship. Our time together was like a seed planted. Whenever I thought about my life’s passion, I immediately thought of our long meaningful talks and how I would love to do something like that with other people.

      You are a well-known photographer: have you been able to capture the essence of leadership in a portrait?

      I like to capture the essence of humanity in a portrait. A twinkle in the eye, an expression, a smile, a loving glance, or capturing the ‘essence’ of the now and living in the moment. 

      Talking about capturing leadership, one of my favourite photographic clients was an Ambassador and also a Princess.
      When she left New Zealand for Malaysia, she offered to keep in touch, to meet up if we went to Malaysia and introduce us to her friends. Six months later we came to visit her and she booked us to photograph the then ruling King and Queen, Prime Minister and many other notable people.
      The next few years were like a dream as we photographed many Leaders, celebrities and distinguished people. Capturing leadership in all these people was the same as any other photograph: it was about capturing the essence of humanity as seen in the moment.
      We didn’t treat these leaders as anything special and that was the key to understanding and capturing who they really were behind the mask of importance.

      Short Biography

      Grant founded the Global Women's Leadership Summit because he is passionate about advancing women's leadership worldwide. Grant believes advancing women is not only a matter of justice; it is the key to solving the world’s social, economic and environmental problems. Grant also encourages men to engage in the conversation, to support women.

      Grant is also a family and relationship therapist, master executive coach, leadership consultant and professional photographer.

      Grant's work is supported with diverse cross cultural experiences working with royalty, governments, The Governor General of Chile, diplomats and international business leaders. For his services Grant received the highest honour given to a foreign dignitary by the Government of Chile - The Bernardo O'Higgins award.

      He has a unique blend of skills acquired from a diverse career in the corporate world, business ownership, technology and franchise start-ups, executive coaching and family therapy over the past 25 years.
      Grant's specialty is executive coaching and working strategically with complex and difficult issues, supported by his diverse skills and thousands of hours of experience with clients.

      Grant enjoys playing competitive squash, cooking, and is an internationally renowned professional photographer, having received many professional awards.

      Contacts Details
      Grant Wattie

      22/2Macarthur Road


      (1) John Gerzema’s research and “Athena Doctrine”

      (2) Kegan’s stages of development

      (3) Integral Leadership Manifesto

      Disclaimer -     
      Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GWALS, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement..
    • 28 Jul 2013 12:42 | Armelle Loghmanian

      Ultimately the most important measure of the success of our Progressive, Diverse and Inclusive culture are the business results!

      Interview by Alessandra Zocca

      Fanny Verhauwaert

      Managing Director
      Thermo King Transportkoeling

      Climate Solutions Ingersoll Rand

      Maria Lucena Gómez 

      Associate General Counsel

      Industrial Technologies Sector
      Ingersoll Rand

      Fanny and Maria, a PDI (Progressive, Diverse and Inclusive culture) strategy is in development for EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa) in your company. Would you like to share it with us?

      Ingersoll Rand’s PDI goal is to be a leader in fostering and engaging a progressive environment for all employees, because we believe that a diverse and inclusive culture is essential to our success in the marketplace.

      Our efforts are intended to create a better work culture that reaches all employees regardless of gender, age, disability, and/or sexual orientation.

      Our strategy aims to build a culture based on three pillars (as illustrated in the picture below):

      • Progressive: in our approach to work, benefits, rewards and recognition of others; we are constantly looking for better conditions and improvements in order to support our employees to be at their best
      • Diverse: a company where the backgrounds, cultures and experiences of all individuals are respected. We recognize the value of diversity not only in our workforce, but also in our supply chain.
      • Inclusive: an environment where people can speak up and share their perspective, where people feel valued and engaged. Inclusiveness means that everybody can achieve at their full potential.

      Diversity & Inclusion Approach at Ingersoll Rand

      The approach in place to fully implement our Progressive, Diverse and Inclusive strategy addresses five focus areas:

      1) Leadership Commitment
      in order to drive change forward, our leaders need to be actively involved at every level to promote the change in our corporate culture.

      2) Workforce Engagement
      Employees at every level need to be provided an opportunity to engage in dialogue and learning stimulated by employee resource groups.

      3) Improving Processes and Systems
      There are existing corporate systems that may need to be reconsidered to determine whether they support or hinder an inclusive culture. These systems include: interviewing processes, recruiting, retention, advancement, work arrangements, etc.

      4) Rewards and Recognition
      Develop and implement culturally sensitive methods in order to recognize the contributions of all employees.

      5) Market Connectivity
      through the engagement of diverse talent within the company, new ideas for products, services and markets will be successfully developed.

      Why is this approach important to Ingersoll Rand?

      In order to compete in a global marketplace, we need to have a workplace that is able to mobilize, develop and grow a diverse population of employees engaged in generating new ideas and working together regardless of gender, age, location, language, religion, sexual orientation or social background.

      The ability to manage a diverse workforce enables Ingersoll Rand to drive innovation, achieve greater productivity, and offer our customers a more efficient and effective service. Moreover, having a progressive, diverse and inclusive strategy is not only a business imperative; it is also a social and ethical responsibility embedded in our core values.

      As we mentioned, we also recognize the value of diversity in our supply chain and our Supplier Diversity Program includes minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses, both large and small. Our procurement teams have direct responsibility for searching for and negotiating with suitably qualified diverse-owned businesses in their portfolio of suppliers.

      What were the milestones of this journey to create your Progressive, Diverse and Inclusive culture?

      Our PDI efforts are in the process of being rolled out globally but we are still in the early stages of what is typically a 5 to 7 year journey for many companies.

      We would like to highlight two important milestones. This journey started in 2012 in EMEA with a pilot of the Women Leadership Program. The objective of this pilot was to increase the number of women in decision making roles in an “engineering-oriented company” like ours. The pilot included 12 women from different sectors. In order to prepare these women for leadership roles a number of supporting actions like training, mentoring and coaching were put in place.

      On May 8, 2012 Anna Navarro, Elisabetta Senes and myself (Fanny) organised, in our Brussels office, an event on the theme of diversity and inclusion, gathering also external experts. This event was organised within the context of our Women Leadership Pilot Program and aimed to develop recommendations to our senior management about the creation of a PDI council in EMEA.
      This event gathered several Ingersoll Rand representatives and 16 expert representatives from well-known enterprises - like Shell, Accenture, IBM, Bridgestone, the University of Hasselt and the European Commission - who were invited to share their knowledge, experience and best practices in this very important area.

      During the event we discussed the definition of Diversity and Inclusion defined by each participating organisation; we assessed our priorities, and we shared our current or planned D&I projects and our available ‘best practices’.

      We also debated about the possible metrics (available or potential) to quantify the implementation of diversity and inclusion measures, and the effectiveness of their related projects. We also took time to assess the efforts made so far in the name of Diversity and Inclusion and to agree on recommendations to continue in this direction.

      All participants agreed that it was a very successful event where everybody who participated felt passionately about the topic. Ingersoll Rand participants also learned that although PDI is much broader than the classic ‘diversity’ concept we were using, other companies had already developed this idea, and were willing to share their experiences, which we could use to enrich our own definition.

      Could you please provide us with some examples of PDI initiatives already put in place? Have you started with a dedicated program?

      Our Women’s Leadership Program is an example of a proactive approach designed to ensure we are providing an opportunity for women to develop and be in the position to take up leadership roles. This includes monthly events to encourage women to meet and network within the organization. In some of these events we have invited female employees to speak about their career and share their experiences.
      In the pipeline are plans to roll-out this program to other regions.

      Other initiatives also include the evaluation of adaptations/improvement of other mechanisms like the creation of more mobility and more global way of working. Last December we rolled out flexible workplace guidelines; a tangible improvement when comparing the situation to the previous year.

      We also held focus groups around ‘topics for women professionals’ in countries like Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, France, and Belgium. In these groups male and female employees were encouraged to discuss their individual perspectives on D&I, being happy at work, and their ideas about the pace and scope of the PDI program. This had a very positive return.

      Several employee resource groups have been established during the last months, facilitating a truly progressive, diverse and inclusive work environment.

      What are the major prerequisites for ensuring the PDI approach is successful?
      What are the key benefits that Ingersoll Rand has already realized from this Progressive, Diverse and Inclusive approach?

      Leadership commitment is the most critical prerequisite. Additionally it is necessary to ensure the early intervention of a dedicated team to facilitate awareness and support the execution of the various key initiatives.
      Let us provide you with some hints of the initial benefits of the PDI strategy:
      • Overall the PDI strategy and approach have been appreciated; employees consider it is important that something of this nature is happening in our company.

      • It is too early to see outcomes at this time, but diversity and inclusion is now a topic of discussion within our organization - awareness is being created.

      • Even if we are in the very early stages we are seeing that leaders are being more thoughtful in their succession plans. Also, we are seeing more diverse recruitment in the selection of candidates.

      • We also consider it a benefit to share our experience of D&I with other organisations, and with the other members of PWI Brussels.

      • Some of our groups have developed business solutions and recommendations that are in the process of being implemented.

        • Our Women’s Leadership Program led to the creation of a women’s employee resource group.
        • Action learning projects managed by a cross department/cross business unit led to recommendations to improve business operations.

      We are proud of our PDI program and we’re sure that it will have a tremendous impact on the business. Ultimately the most important measure of the success of our PDI strategy are the business results!

      We think it is important to highlight that, even if the Chief Diversity Officer reports to HR, mainly these initiatives are driven by the business lines, HR is a partner in this journey. This means that we brought the PDI approach into our daily work and being a commercial unit, we extended this approach into our customer transactions.

      Organizationally speaking, who ensures this approach is bought in at all levels? Who is in charge of leading it?

      We have a Chief Diversity Officer in place who reports directly to the head of HR and reports indirectly to the CEO. As with any cultural change the key is to have agents of change throughout the organization, to lead and promote initiatives that strengthen this PDI strategy. We are only successful when PDI becomes part of our company’s DNA.

      What have you learned both professionally and personally from this PDI approach?

      Fanny – Leading the action learning project around PDI for Ingersoll Rand EMEA enriched my knowledge and understanding of the topic. During the journey I have met great people, passionate about the topic and very engaged in supporting us in the journey.

      Maria – I have learned that when women are “genuinely connected”, they increase their potential and they can transfer that ability to connect and increase their potential into the business environment.
      Additionally, I was touched by the “authentic” attitude of the women involved in the PDI program; I really think that there is a great benefit to the company culture when women bring authenticity to work.

      Short Biography

      Fanny Verhauwaert is Managing Director at Thermo King Transportkoeling BV, the corporate dealer of Thermo King in the Netherlands, part of Ingersoll Rand. She is responsible for the financial results, operational management and strategic development of the organization since February 2013.

      Fanny has obtained a master degree in TQM at the University of Hasselt, a master's degree in marketing & advertising at the Solvay Business School and completed a post graduate degree in corporate finance at the University of Leuven.

      Fanny is an internationally oriented professional with experience in various sectors and functional areas such as general management, change management and 'channel' development.

      Since February 2012 she is a volunteer at ToolBox, where she guides nonprofit organizations in general management topics.

      She is a passionate person, enthusiastic, result-oriented but always with a sincere interest for the other.

      Maria Lucena Gómez is an Associate General Counsel responsible for Legal matters for the Ingersoll Rand Industrial Technologies Sector. She is also serving as leader of the Ingersoll Rand EMEA Women Network since September 2012.

      Prior to her current role she has served as Legal Counsel for the Climate Solutions business in Northern Europe and as Legal Counsel of International Companies such as Rockwell Automation European Headquarters in Brussels.

      Maria is a Venezuelan and Belgian national and is a qualified lawyer, she moved to Belgium in 2002, where she further expanded her legal education in European and Comparative Law at Ghent University.

      Maria is an honorary alumni member of AIESEC, the world largest student organization where she developed her interest in youth, technological and gender issues. She served in various youth development projects for AESEC in Bogotá, Lima, and Brussels and for the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.

      Contact details

      Fanny Verhauwaert
      Managing Director
      Thermo King Transportkoeling B.V.

      Climate Solutions - Ingersoll Rand
      Driemanssteeweg 60
      3084 CB Rotterdam
      The Netherlands

      Direct Office line: +31(0)104104102


      Maria Lucena Gómez
      Associate General Counsel – Industrial technologies Sector
      Leader of the Ingersoll Rand Women Network in Europe Middle East Africa (EMEA)

      Ingersoll Rand
      Alma Court Building
      Lenneke Marelaan 6
      1932 Sint Stevens Woluwe

      Direct Office line: +32 2 746 1135



      Disclaimer -
      Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ingersoll Rand, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
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