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«Advance is an association and a network that takes specific measures to increase the share of women in leading positions in Switzerland.»

 

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Our Mission

The Advance mission is to actively increase the share of women in leading positions in Swiss companies on an ongoing basis. We believe that sustained success depends on having a balanced gender mix at all levels of an organization.

Yet, the gender balance in senior leadership positions in Switzerland is still far from mixed. The share of women falls well below the international average at only 9%. Our aim is to ensure that women occupy 20% of all leading positions in our member companies by 2020 and hence that our economy benefits from the higher innovation, profit and productivity that result from having mixed-gender management teams.

Advance was founded following an initiative by female executives from ten leading Swiss based companies. It is a non-profit association and is funded through an annual subscription fee paid by the member companies. Other companies are highly welcome to become members.

 

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Objectives

Increase the percentage of women in leadership roles in the Advance member companies and beyond and boost gender diversity in Switzerland by:

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Promoting the personal and professional development of highly qualified women who seek greater influence, visibility and impact; helping them to unleash their full potential, and thus become the architects of their own careers.
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Encouraging companies to employ more women in leadership roles.






 
 
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Striking partnerships with companies that enable us to exchange experiences and introduce specific measures to support  women in leadership roles.



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Bringing about a change in strategy; and identify which measures need to be taken to remove existing barriers.




 
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Board Members

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Przemek Kacikowski
 Head Global Subsidiaries Group
Citi Switzerland

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President
Helene Westerlind 
Global Head of International Programs 
 
Zurich Commercial Insurance
 
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Vice President
Dr. Petra Jantzer 
Sandoz Pharmaceuticals
Managing Director 
Accenture

 

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Clive Bellingham 
Global Board Member 
PwC

 

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Przemyslaw (Przemek) Kacikowski, Citi

Przemek is heading Global Subsidiaries Group in Switzerland since March 2013. In this position he manages team responsible for multinational clients of Citi operating through their regional headquarters (EMEA and beyond) in Switzerland.

Przemek has joined Citibank in Switzerland back in 2007 as Geneva based banker. Prior to that he was responsible for coverage of multinational clients and Treasury and Trade Solutions business in Bulgaria. Przemek began his career with Citi in 1997 in World Corporate Group, as a banker and continued in Poland till 2005 in various roles across Corporate and Investment Banking, before moving to Citi Bulgaria.

He represents Citibank Switzerland at Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, Geneva Chapter Board and acts as an advisor to CitiWomen Network Switzerland.

Przemek is Polish. He graduated from Warsaw School of Economics, Finance and Banking and International Political & Economic Affairs faculties. He also completed with distinctions the Executive MBA program at HEC University of Geneva (International Management).

Helene Westerlind, Zurich Insurance

Helene was appointed Global Head of International Programs for Zurich Commercial Insurance in 2016 managing a global team of 200 FTEs (full time employees) and being responsible for international customers. She is a member of the Commercial Insurance executive team as well as the Group Leadership team. She holds a Master’s degree in Law with focus on insurance from the University of Stockholm, Sweden.

She joined Zurich Insurance in Stockholm in 2003 where she worked in various roles across the Nordics, Europe, Middle East and Africa. In 2013, she moved to Zurich with her husband and her two sons.

Gender equality runs through Helene’s veins. Apart from engaging for Advance, she is also an ambassador of the Zurich WIN (Women Innovation Network) supporting women within the organization to lead and plan their careers. Helene was re-elected to the Board of Advance in 2017 for her second two-year term. 

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Dr. Petra Jantzer, Accenture

Petra Jantzer is a Managing Director in Accenture’s global Life Science practice and the CEO of its European Research and Development Business. In her role she is supporting large Life Science companies in bringing innovative medicines to patients and achieving better health outcomes.

Petra has more than 20 years’ experience in R&D, both as a consultant in the (bio)pharmaceuticals sector and as a researcher. She holds a PhD in Immunology and graduated with an honors degree in molecular biology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.

Before her current position, she was a tenured Partner with McKinsey & Company. In that role, she was a co-founding Board Member of Advance. In 2017, Petra was re-elected to the Board for a two-year term. With her own career, Petra has been role modelling gender equality in the workplace and beyond and is a strong force in fostering female talents.

Petra and her husband live with their two sons in Zurich.

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Clive Bellingham, PwC

Clive is a member of the Global Board of PwC. He has lived and worked in Switzerland for the past 33 years. A UK national, he joined PwC in Scotland. He has also worked for PwC in Saudi Arabia. He is a council member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Clive is a firm believer in the benefits of diverse influences both personally and professionally. He was re-elected to the Board for a second two year term in 2017. Clive is married to Nicole, an Australian born in India from an Asian family. They have two teenage sons.

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Dr. Barbara Wicki 
 Head Learning & Development
C
embra Money Bank

 

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Dr. Petra Jantzer 
Managing Director 
Accenture

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Andreas Mölich
Head Talent Europe Region
ABB Schweiz

 

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Marie-Théodora Vandewiele
 EU+ Lead Counsel
 Biogen International GmbH

 

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Dr. Barbara Wicki

Barbara is the Head of L&D at Cembra Money Bank, a founding member of Advance. She is also responsible for strategic HR and corporate culture projects. Barbara has always been passionate about learning and development. Before her current role, she was with Credit Suisse Business School building and managing programs for different customers across all hierarchy levels and had worked for 4 years at the University of St. Gallen, where she built and managed one of the first English speaking master programs.

Barbara studied International Management in Germany, Wales, Portugal and South Africa and completed her Master of Commerce degree in 1999. She then moved to Switzerland to write her dissertation on “How Work-Life Balance Positively Influences Corporate Results” at the University of Gallen where she graduated with a PhD in Economics in 2004.

Barbara is a strong advocate for gender equality in the workplace and society at large. She has been re-elected to the Board of Advance for a second two-year term in 2017.

Barbara is married with one son, lives in the Zurich area and loves doing sports.

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Dr. Petra Jantzer, Accenture

Petra Jantzer is a Managing Director in Accenture’s global Life Science practice and the CEO of its European Research and Development Business. In her role she is supporting large Life Science companies in bringing innovative medicines to patients and achieving better health outcomes.

Petra has more than 20 years’ experience in R&D, both as a consultant in the (bio)pharmaceuticals sector and as a researcher. She holds a PhD in Immunology and graduated with an honors degree in molecular biology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.

Before her current position, she was a tenured Partner with McKinsey & Company. In that role, she was a co-founding Board Member of Advance. In 2017, Petra was re-elected to the Board for a two-year term. With her own career, Petra has been role modelling gender equality in the workplace and beyond and is a strong force in fostering female talents.

Petra and her husband live with their two sons in Zurich

Andreas Mölich, ABB

Andreas heads up the Talent Function for the Europe Region at ABB.

He is looking back on more than 25 years’ experience in Human Resources in global CHRO- or Executive Management positions at companies like Microsoft, GE, DKSH and Deutsche Telekom.

Throughout his entire career, Andreas has always been advocating and striving for gender equality & equal opportunities and inclusion in business.

In 2018, Andreas has been appointed to take the ABB seat on the Advance Board.

Andreas is married with two children, boy twins, at the age of 21. He lives in Munich and Ennetbaden.

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Marie-Theodora Vandewiele, Biogen

Marie-Théodora is Lead Counsel for Europe, Canada and the International Partner Markets in Central Europe, Middle East and North Africa at Biogen. She was appointed to this position in January 2016.  She joined Biogen in Zug, Switzerland, in 2014 as a Legal Director providing support to multiple European affiliates.

She holds a law degree and a Masters of Laws (LL.M) in competition law and economics. She started her career in 2002 as a lawyer at the Brussels Bar, specializing in intellectual property law and later in pharmaceutical law, data privacy and competition law.  Before joining Biogen, she was a Legal & Compliance Director with GlaxoSmithKline in Belgium.

Marie-Théodora is personally committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion.  She has joined the Board of Advance in 2018 to take the seat of Biogen as successor to Dr. Natascha Schill.

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Helene Westerlind 
Global Head of International Programs 
Zurich Commercial Insurance

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Przemek Kacikowski
 Head Global Subsidiaries Group
 Citi Switzerland

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Romy Cuadras 
 Managing Director, Global Head of Fund Solutions 
Deutsche Bank Wealth Management

 
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Sabine Heller 
Head Department Staff Clients & Swiss Nationals, MDR 
Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG


 

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Helene Westerlind, Zurich Insurance

Helene was appointed Global Head of International Programs for Zurich Commercial Insurance in 2016 managing a global team of 200 FTEs (full time employees) and being responsible for international customers. She is a member of the Commercial Insurance executive team as well as the Group Leadership team. She holds a Master’s degree in Law with focus on insurance from the University of Stockholm, Sweden.

She joined Zurich Insurance in Stockholm in 2003 where she worked in various roles across the Nordics, Europe, Middle East and Africa. In 2013, she moved to Zurich with her husband and her two sons.

Gender equality runs through Helene’s veins. Apart from engaging for Advance, she is also an ambassador of the Zurich WIN (Women Innovation Network) supporting women within the organization to lead and plan their careers. Helene was re-elected to the Board of Advance in 2017 for her second two-year term. 

 

Przemyslaw (Przemek) Kacikowski, Citi

Przemek is heading Global Subsidiaries Group in Switzerland since March 2013. In this position he manages team responsible for multinational clients of Citi operating through their regional headquarters (EMEA and beyond) in Switzerland.

Przemek has joined Citibank in Switzerland back in 2007 as Geneva based banker. Prior to that he was responsible for coverage of multinational clients and Treasury and Trade Solutions business in Bulgaria. Przemek began his career with Citi in 1997 in World Corporate Group, as a banker and continued in Poland till 2005 in various roles across Corporate and Investment Banking, before moving to Citi Bulgaria.

He represents Citibank Switzerland at Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, Geneva Chapter Board and acts as an advisor to CitiWomen Network Switzerland.

Przemek is Polish. He graduated from Warsaw School of Economics, Finance and Banking and International Political & Economic Affairs faculties. He also completed with distinctions the Executive MBA program at HEC University of Geneva (International Management).

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Romy Cuadras, Deutsche Bank

Romy Cuadras is a Managing Director and Global Head of Fund Solutions at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.  

Originally based in Miami, Romy began her financial career in 1994 at Coutts (USA) International holding various positions within the operations infrastructure and support teams. She moved to EFG Bank in 1998 where she was responsible for trading & investment advisory. In 2004, she relocated to the Geneva to manage the multi-strategy fund of hedge funds. She joined Deutsche Bank as a Hedge Fund analyst in 2008 moving to the advisory side in 2009, first as the EMEA head of Hedge Fund Advisory and then as the EMEA head of Fund Solutions. She moved to the global role in 2016. 

Romy has a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of Miami where she double majored in International Relations and Latin American studies and holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation. She currently teaches the Hedge Funds, Portfolio Management & Risk Management sections of the CAIA Level I exam at the Institut Supérior de Formation Bancaire (ISFB), Geneva.

Romy believes that diversity is not a problem to solve but an asset to be developed and encourages the recruitment, development, training, access to progression opportunities and retention of talented women at all levels. As such, she is co-sponsor of the Deutsche Bank (Suisse) Female Talent Development Program & active member of DB’s People Engagement Group.  Romy joined the Advance Board in 2018 succeeding Julia Rutsch from Deutsche Bank.

Romy lives in Geneva - Veyrier, Switzerland with her husband and 5 year-old son.

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Sabine Heller, Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG

Department Head, Private & Wealth Management Clients Switzerland

Sabine has been working in various front-office functions at Credit Suisse for 21 years. At present, she manages a front-office department with Swiss and foreign clients in eight locations throughout Switzerland. 

She holds a degree in economics and law from a University of Applied Sciences and a Master's degree in business consulting.

She is heading the Swiss Universal Bank's Diversity & Inclusion Board and is very involved in D&I issues in her day-to-day life. For Sabine, diversity is an important part of daily business life. She invests a great deal of time and energy to driving diversity and has been involved with Advance since 2018. 

Sabine is married and has an 18-month-old daughter. Her husband provides her with a lot of wonderful support. 

 

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Rita Zicola  
Country Customer Relations Manager
IKEA Switzerland

 

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Malvika Singh 
Managing Director
I
mpact

 

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Fridtjof Helemann
CHRO, Member of Executive Committee 
Lonza


 

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Rita Zicola, IKEA

Rita is the Country Customer Relations Manager of IKEA Switzerland. She joined IKEA in 1997. Since then she had various functions like HR, Sales and Global Coordinator for Commercial Review located in Vienna. Before taking on her current role, Rita was responsible as Store Manager in Grancia/Lugano, later in Aubonne. She built up the Lucerne Store and led it as Store Manager until 2016.

Rita has a Master in Business Psychology and a diploma in Business Administration. She is a proud ambassador of Advance’s great mission: to actively support and influence the development of women in Switzerland, which leads to a higher share of leading women in Swiss companies. Rita joined the board in 2017 for a two-year term. 

 

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Malvika Singh

Malvika Singh is the founding partner of IMPACT, an international consulting and leadership development firm with offices in Switzerland and the U.S.A. She has over thirty years of experience as a successful leader in a multicultural environment. She works with Boards, CEOs, senior executives and top leadership teams in the areas of organization and leadership development. Her work focuses on the creation of innovation by design, and she specializes in working with individuals and organizations to create breakthrough results.

Malvika earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The University of Pennsylvania, an M.B.A. in Finance and International Business from New York University, and Organizational Gestalt Diploma from Metanoia Institute. She is a member of Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board (WLB), a lecturer at the Lorange Institute of Business, and was formerly affiliated with Ashridge University and CCL.

Malvika is passionate about advancing the cause of women. She is a champion and advocate of women getting a fair share representation in the corporate world. She is the initiator and co-founder of Advance and is an honorary board member.

Malvika is married with two children.

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Fridtjof Helemann, Lonza

Fridtjof joined Lonza as the Chief Human Resources Officer in June 2016 and was appointed to the Executive Committee in January 2017 with oversight of HR, EHS, Communication and Real Estate. He has 30 years of experience as an Executive Leader and was Managing Partner and President Global Coaching of Oxford Leadership. His previous roles include CEO Mercer Inc. Central Europe, General Manager of Right Management Central and Eastern Europe and Corporate Vice President HR Henkel.

He holds a degree in Production Engineering and Organization from the University Siegen (DE) and is a Certified Professional Coach from the Coaches Training Institute in California (USA).

Fridtjof is an ambassador for getting more women into leadership and boardrooms who have earned their right to be there. He has been elected as member of the Advance Board in 2017 for a two-year term. Fridtjof is married with four children and lives in Basel and Frankfurt.

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Andreas Mölich
Head Talent Europe Region
ABB Schweiz
 
 

 

 
     
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Andreas Mölich, ABB

Andreas heads up the Talent Function for the Europe Region at ABB.

He is looking back on more than 25 years’ experience in Human Resources in global CHRO- or Executive Management positions at companies like Microsoft, GE, DKSH and Deutsche Telekom.

Throughout his entire career, Andreas has always been advocating and striving for gender equality & equal opportunities and inclusion in business.

In 2018, Andreas has been appointed to take the ABB seat on the Advance Board.

Andreas is married with two children, boy twins, at the age of 21. He lives in Munich and Ennetbaden.

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Project Team

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Alkistis Petropaki
General Manager
Advance

 

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Claudia Solanes
Event Manager
Advance

 

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Alkistis Petropaki

Alkistis Petropaki has joined Advance – Women in Swiss Business as General Manager in 2015. She has more than 20 years experience in leading positions in well known FMCG companies like e.g. L’Oreal, Nestlé, Mövenpick and Lindt & Sprüngli. Before joining Advance she was the Country Manager of Yves Rocher in Switzerland. She has a University degree in business and psychology and holds an MBA from ESCP-EAP. Alkistis is married and has two teenage children.

Alkistis strongly believes in the benefits of mixed-gender teams for society, for organizations as well as for individuals. With her engagement with Advance she is convinced to be able to make an impact in the Swiss economy.

 

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Claudia Solanes 

Claudia has been with Advance since 2014, experiencing first hand not only its continuous growth but also its increasing impact in Switzerland. Each one of us can make a difference. Claudia works also as an university tutor for an international master in conflict resolution. Claudia holds a master degree in international relations and a diploma in human science. She did previously work for a photo journalism agency, for consulting companies and as the responsible of a master degree at the Open University of Catalonia. 

Claudia is a strong supporter of equal rights and of the power of women in a more stable and divers future. Claudia has two daughters and a son, and lives with her family near Zürich.

 

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Anne Halbritter
Cross-company Mentoring Manager
Advance

 

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Alexandra Rutsch
Communication Manager
Advance

 

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Anna Stando
Project Manager
Advance

 

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Anne Halbritter

Anne is an economist and systemic human resource and organizational development specialist. She has built up and has been managing the unique Advance cross-company mentoring program since 2014. Apart from her role as mentoring manager for Advance, she has also been partner at Hoeschgasse Consultants Zurich since 2012 with her own company Mensch-Team-Organisation GmbH. Previous roles include Head of Group HR Development, Charles Voegele Group, Managing Director, Bon appétit Academy, Bon appétit Group, and Departmental Head of Retail & Consumption, Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.

Anne has always been passionate about supporting people, teams and organizations in development and change processes. She is a dedicated ambassador for Advance because she believes that empowering more women for leadership is essential for attracting diverse high potentials to better perform in growingly complex business environments. This will have a positive game changing impact on creative solutions, on how we will work and live together and it will strongly contribute to the success of our economy at large.

Anne is married and lives in Jona with her husband. She enjoys nature and all kinds of re-creative outdoor activities.

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Alexandra Rutsch

Alexandra joined Advance in 2017 as Communication Manager. She has 15 years of experience on corporate and agency side across communication disciplines in B2B, B2C and NPO markets (technology, health care, pharmaceuticals, finance, services, law and education). Previous roles include PR & Communication Manager with Schneider Electric, Adjunct Faculty Member of AKAD Business School for Banking & Finance, and Insurance. Alexandra has a Master in English and German (UZH) and holds an Executive Master in Communication Management (USI/UCLA).

Alexandra is passionate about the cause of Advance. She strongly believes that an inclusive, gender equal world is a better world for all. Alexandra is married and lives with her husband and son in Zurich. 

 

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Anna Stando

Anna joined Advance in 2018 as a Project Manager. She holds a Master in Intercultural Communication and worked previously for ECCO and one of the Richard Branson's companies Virgin Pulse. She has a wide experience in sales, marketing, communication, project and account management. The international character of her roles brought her around the world. After living in Poland, Holland, Guatemala, Mexico, Denmark and Thailand, Anna settled in Switzerland. She is passionate about women's topics and co-leads the LEAN IN Zurich & Switzerland Chapters since 2014. She is also a photographer who helps female entrepreneurs build their brands through powerful photography. Her own experiences, combined with her work at LEAN IN has equipped her with a wealth of knowledge about challenges women face at work and a burning desire to help. Joining Advance was a natural next step.

 

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Contact
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Advance Gender Equality in Business
Claudia Solanes
Freigutstrasse 27
8002 Zürich / Schweiz

contact@advance-women.ch

Phone: +41 (0) 76 295 56 64
Fax: +41 (44) 876 90 00

 

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