Who we are


A clear European focus based on transnational cooperation

  1. 1. Enrichment of European boards with more women and catalyzed by
  2. – More cross European mandates
  3. – Increasing boardroom diversity in line with boards’ needs
  4. – High level of ethics and values contributing to confidence and trust of shareholders and stakeholders2. Contribution at European level with
  5. – Efficiency of the “market” for board mandates
  6. – Corresponding added value in terms of better allocation of talents3. Dissemination throughout European boards of the best practices by
  7. – Contribution to upgrade the European level playing field in corporate governance4. Setting up services
  8. – Training, mentoring, coaching, exchange of practices favoring cross exchange of knowledge and experience
  9. – Contributing to the improvement of European human capital5. Contribution to strategic debate on European boards
  10. – For a better integration of balanced business models
  11. – Long term and short term, cost and non-financial competitiveness
  12. – In line with EU 2020 objective for a smart, inclusive, sustainable growth

Added value transfer at European level

A key objective of the Association is to create a platform of exchange and dissemination at European level in relation to the above added-value factors. As a result, the benefit to Europe as a whole will exceed that obtained at purely the national level.

Our Values


Innovation is a key success factor to create long-term differential advantages. A Board shall be the Innovation keeper to ensure that inside and outside innovation are captured by the management and serving corporate strategic interests.


Inclusiveness creates an environment where opportunity exists for both genders to participate in Boards and advisory/decision making bodies as well as to contribute to the organization’s success. It also favors a business model rooted in co-creation of sustainable value with all stakeholders. A board shall ensure that inclusiveness is considered in designing the strategy and agreeing on the development projects.


A Board has a key role in building a balance between the interests of management, board, shareholders and other stakeholders. Board shall encourage and support open, meaningful sharing of knowledge, experiences, opportunities, threats and future outlooks. This will build shared understanding and continuous learning between the parties.


Integrity in behavior of staff and management builds trust and long-term relationships with stakeholders and strengthens credibility and growth of the organization. A Board shall be a role model of integrity.

Our Goals

Premier European network

We will develop the European network of “first tier” non-profit organizations by promoting and increasing the number of women in boards. Now there are 20% women of NED listed companies. At the same time European Union intends to promote a target of 40% in 2020 in roughly 5000 companies.


We have built an international female talent pool to offer opportunities to board-ready women so they can reach top positions with international visibility and board mandates at European level. Thereby they are able to present the added value they can offer to boards.

Diversity on boards

We participate actively in the debate of diversity on boards in order to improve the practice of corporate
governance, innovation and more balanced business models. We share the interest of companies and non-profit organizations to innovate, develop and grow.



Women on Board (Founding member)

Represented by Ingrid Gonnissen

Women on Board is a non-profit association created to promote female access to directorship roles within public and private Belgian enterprises. In December 2009, five women sharing the vision of increasing female board representation decided to create a pool of women with skills and experience beneficial to many boards.

Women on Board has achieved its primary goals: creating a pool of talented women ready to take up board positions, and facilitating access to this pool for Belgian enterprises searching for female directors. The objective is to make the change happen by promoting and building a greater female board representation, as more and more companies are contacting Women on Board and appointing female board members. With more than 265 skilled women, the Association is providing private and public enterprises and search firms with free-access to the pool.

Czech Republic


Represented by Muriel Anton

Odyssey is the first Central and Eastern European cross-company, cross-industry mentoring program for women. It is a non-commercial mentoring project supported by female and male leaders, which creates an ideal platform to match aspiring talented female professionals with experienced mentors.

Odyssey was launched in March 2010 under the leadership of Muriel Anton, Petr Šimůnek, Jan Bubeník and Pepper de Callier. It is now running its sixth season in the Czech Republic, second season in Slovakia and first season in Hungary. In the long-term, Odyssey hopes to establish a culture of mentoring in the CEE region, provide a center of excellence for the development of female business leaders and increase diversity in the local business environment.



Board Professionals (Founding member)

Represented by Paivi Jokinen

Founded in 2006, Board Professionals Finland (BPF) is a professional non-profit networking and training organization promoting increased diversity in boards and executive management. BPF has over 170 members who all have many years of leadership experience at the executive and top levels of different companies and non-profit organizations. BPF works to strengthen diversity on boards through public discussions, professional networking and seminars as well as offering inspiring activities to the members.
Board Professionals Finland is a founding member of EwoB.



Valore D

Represented by Ulrike Sauerwald

Valore D is the first association formed by companies in Italy to promote gender balance and a more inclusive culture for growth of the country and its economy. Gender diversity, different generations and cultures represent innovation, competitiveness and growth. Valore D provides tools and clear indicators to associates to increase and monitor diversity and inclusion in their organizations.

Valore D was founded 2009 and is steadily growing with twelve virtuous companies: AstraZeneca, Enel, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Ikea, Intesa Sanpaolo, Luxottica, McKinsey & Co, Microsoft, Standar & Poor’s, UniCredit and Vodafone – today it’s about 180 associated companies! 74% of the member companies believe they can help developing plans for gender inclusion and cultural and generational diversity. Thanks to dialogues with institutions and learning from these companies, Valore D is able to help them to achieve measurable results.

The Netherlands

Talent Naar de Top

 Represented by Yelly Weidenaar

The Talent to the Top foundation is a unique initiative in the Netherlands which aims to inspire, involve and commit companies to work on a more inclusive organization and improve diversity at top level. We have developed the Talent to the Top Charter: an employers’ code to make a voluntary commitment for an effective and sustainable gender diversity policy.

Commitment, target setting, and annual monitoring are at the core of the initiative. Since 2008, over 260 organizations have signed the Charter.  We have been successful in moving the needle on gender diversity, these organizations score three times as high regarding the percentage of women in boards compared to the average in the Netherlands.

Charter signatories meet, inspire and motivate one another within the Community, facilitated by TndT and its cross company programs (e.g. Cross Mentoring and Boardroom Coaching). Furthermore, TndT provides managers, employees and HR professionals with the tools they need to turn inclusion into real action and behaviour by offering them expert advice and practice-based training.

United Kingdom

Institute of Directors

Represented by Charlotte Valeur

The IoD was founded in 1903 and awarded its a Royal Charter in 1906. It is an independent, non-party political organization of 30,000 members plus individual members. Its aim is to serve, support, represent and set standards for directors to fulfill their responsibilities for the benefit of society as a whole. IoD has actively promoted greater gender balance in boardrooms, by enhancing business performance and aligning business leadership with the needs of a modern competitive economy.

The IoD sees a greater role for women on boards as a prerequisite for improved corporate governance and business legitimacy. The board is responsible for the overall leadership of the IoD and setting its values, standards, aims and objectives and delivering them in line with the objects of the Royal Charter. The executive committee reports to the board and is responsible for the ongoing management and the day-to-day operational matters for running the business.


Board of Directors

Päivi Jokinen


Päivi Jokinen is the Chair of European Women on Boards since October 2019.

Päivi is an international polyglot who has worked in various leadership positions in Finland, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia and Belgium. She has experience across different industries and in the functional areas of education, consulting, marketing, communications, strategy, innovation and sales. Before dedicating her time to EWoB, Päivi was responsible for the profit and loss of a 300M EUR global foodservice board business line.

Päivi is a board member of the stock listed Incap Oyj and the Board Professionals Finland network. She is also a member of the Directors Institute of Finland and an advisory board member in BoCap, an independent private equity company. Päivi holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from the Helsinki School of Economics.


Muriel Anton


Muriel Anton is the founder and General Manager of Odyssey. She is Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board and former CEO of Vodafone Czech Republic. Canadian by origin, Muriel came to the Czech Republic in 2000 to join the start-up of the mobile operator Oskar, as Vice President of Finance. Her plan was to stay for one year, but it’s been more than a decade. She later guided the company through acquisition by Vodafone and became Vodafone’s CEO in 2008. Thanks to Muriel, Vodafone won awards for innovation, leadership and strategy.

In 2010 Muriel led the formation of a mentoring and a leadership program for Czech businesswomen – Odyssey, which has now been launched in Slovakia and is about to expand to Hungary and other CEE countries. In 2008, 2009, and 2010 she was voted the Most Influential Businesswoman by the renowned economic daily newspaper “Hospodářské noviny”, Woman Manager of the Year for 2009 and in 2014, she became on of the top ten “Most influential businesswomen of the decade”.


Ingrid Gonnissen


Ingrid has acquired broad experience in senior management and leadership as a Chief Enterprise Officer of Orange and during her 30 years long career in Xerox.

Her personal experience of getting rejected to a position of directorship just for being a woman affirmed her in her motivation to prove her capacity to stand out against all the odds. She has become one of the leading businesswomen as of the early 1990s, proving that “both a man and a woman could handle the job”.

Ingrid Gonnissen has been a long-standing, respected member of our partner association WOB Belgium.

Ulrike Sauerwald


Ulrike Sauerwald is Chairwoman of European Women on Boards representing the Italian member Valore D. Ulrike Sauerwald studied in the Universities of Münster and Freiburg, Germany and obtained her degree in Political Economics in 1990. She completed her PhD in Business Administration and Management 1993.
She has worked in Italy since 1993 in Andersen Consulting (today Accenture) and Arthur Andersen in Change Management, Training and Recruitment before entering Boehringer Mannheim as Head of Business Process Reengineering.

In 2006 she moved to qualitative research as freelancer in Value Lab, then to Kantar TNS Global for qualitative research of international projects focusing on HR and Gender issues in multinational companies.
Since 2016 she is Head of Research, Knowledge Management and International Relations in Valore D, association of companies to promote gender balance and a more inclusive culture for the growth of Italy and its economic system. In this role, Ulrike combines her dedication to research with her passion for Diversity and Inclusion.

Yelly Weidenaar


Yelly Weidenaar is Managing Director of ‘Talent naar de Top’ since April 2017. The goal of this  foundation is to increase the percentage of women in top positions in Dutch organizations. It is the only initiative in the Netherlands in the field of gender diversity combining a charter with longitudinal monitoring and implementation of effective measures and instruments within organizations.

Prior to this Yelly worked as auditor for PWC and spent over 20 years in the financial sector (ABN AMRO) in various global/international roles and management responsibilities in the area of finance, business development, sales, HR and strategy. The last 8 years she spent working as (global) Head of Sustainability and Diversity & Inclusion within ABN AMRO before switching to Talent naar de Top. 

Yelly is a member of the advisory board of the yearly ‘Top woman of the Year’ election in the Netherlands. She holds a Master’s degree in financial & business administration from the University of Groningen.

Professor Dame Joan Stringer

non-Executive Director

Dame Joan Stringer is a British political scientist and former Principal and Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, the first woman to lead a Scottish university. Prior to that she was Principal of Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh and held senior appointments at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. In her academic career she has championed internationalization in education and is a strong believer in the need to strengthen business /industry/ University links.

She has held numerous appointments outside academia: Chair of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission Working Group, Commissioner with the Equal Opportunities Commission (Great Britain), member of the Constitutional Steering Group to establish the Scottish Parliament, the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

She is currently pursuing a non-executive career as Chair and Independent Non-Executive Director of a range of private, arts, and not-for-profit organizations. She is also adviser to a a number of organizations on governance and strategy. She has been a member of the Institute of Directors since 1993 and was appointed as a Council member in 2013. She was elected as Senior Independent Council Member in 2015.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board advise(s) the Board of Directors on a consultative basis, by giving (it) strategic advice(s) and by supporting EWOB purpose(s) and values.

The Advisory Board is currently composed of 9 members :

Adrienne Axler


Born in Czech Republic, speaking 5 languages, Adrienne has 25 years’ experience at Sodexo, holding executive management positions in a diverse range of areas, encompassing Operations, Marketing, Strategy and country/ area Management.

As of October 2012, she is CEO of the DACH region for On-site Services activities. Prior to that, she was Marketing and Strategy Director for Europe On-site Services. Her experience also includes a five years’ leadership role within our Benefits & Rewards activities where she managed Belgium first, then the area of Western Europe, before re-joining On-Site Services where she started.

Over the span of her career, she has taken deep warm and genuine interest in exploring the multi-facets of “conscious business“ as a guide to thrive, lead teams and develop people at Sodexo.

Roger Barker


Dr. Barker is and Independent Corporate Governance Advisor at Barker and Associates, University of Oxford. Prior to that: Director of Corporate Governance at the Institute of Directors (UK) 2008 – 2016; Senior Advisor to the Board of ecoDa, Chairman of the ecoDa education committee, board member of EWoB ASBL. He sits on several corporate governance advisory boards, e.g. Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and ISS European Governance Exchange.

Dr. Barker is a visiting lecturer at the Said Business School (Oxford), ESSEC (Paris), UCL (London) and the Ministry of Defence (UK). He has worked as an external adviser on corporate governance for international organizations, e.g. the EBRD, IFC and the Asian Development Bank.

Prior to that Dr. Barker spent 13 years as an investment banker, in London and Zürich, in UBS and Bank Vontobel. He is the holder of a doctorate on corporate governance from Oxford University and also has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in economics, finance and political science from the universities of Cambridge, Southampton and Cardiff. Dr. Barker is a UK member of the European Economic and Social Committee since October 2015.

Marc Borggreven

Member executive board, PwC the Netherlands and PwC Europe

Marc Borggreven started his carreer in 1997 within PwC.

Currently Marc is responsible for Human Capital within the Dutch executive board and European executive team. One of his focus areas is Diversity and Inclusion. Originally he is a tax specialist with a focus on international corporate income tax. He has hold management positions as region leader, Human Capital partner and as Business Unit Leader of several Business Units. Marc is married and has three children.

Jan Bubenik


In 2001, Jan Bubeník founded Bubenik Partners, an executive search firm in the Central and Eastern European region and serves as its managing partner. Bubenik Partner’s client base spans early-stage regional companies to global Fortune 150s. Before that, he managed Korn/Ferry International in Prague, and prior to that Bubeník was a management consultant for McKinsey & Company.

He is Chairman of the Corporate Council of Forum 2000 – Vaclav Havel´s foundation, and has been serving on the Executive Committee of Young President Organization (YPO). Bubeník was one of the principal student leaders of the dissident movement and later served as the youngest Member of Parliament in the post-Communist government.

After the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia, Bubeník accompanied President Vaclav Havel on a trip to the US to a joint session of Congress and meet with many of political, business and intellectual leaders to discuss the rebuilding of his homeland. He served as an advisor to human rights and pro-Democracy organizations in Bulgaria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and then supported Cuban dissidents in 2001 during a visit to Cuba; Bubeník was detained and jailed by Castro’s regime. He studied pediatrics at Prague’s Charles University Medical School and economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Cécile Coune


Cécile Coune is Honorary Chair of EWoB, which she co-initiated in 2013. She also co-founded the Belgian-based Women on Board in 2009. Her other roles: Chief Executive Officer, President of the Executive Committee, and Member of the board of directors of AVIABEL S.A. since 2012. AVIABEL, a European aviation insurer in Brussels; a non-executive board member of Belfius Insurance, Corona Direct, and AXIS Holdings Ireland Ltd, a member of the Strategic Committee of the Belgian Federation of Enterprises. Previously a partner at the law firm Liedekerke.Wolters.Waelbroeck.Kirkpatrick. She is a member of the Brussels Bar Association since 2004.

Prior to this, she spent over 15 years in the insurance sector, became Country Manager for Belgium & Luxembourg, SVP of CICE in 1994 and was member of the board of directors of CICE. In 2002, she became MD of insurance brokerage Atelia Corporate SA, and then MD of AXA Art Benelux. She is a member of the International Association of Women in Aviation, the Belgian Insurers Association, the Belgian Association of Insurance Lawyers and the Belgian Association of Risk Managers. In 2017, King Philippe of Belgium made her Commander in the Crown Order for her career and services to the business world.

Sandra Lutchman


Sandra Lutchman (Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) is an independent consultant in the area of leadership, diversity and inclusion. She is a member of the Supervisory Board of The Hague University of Applies Sciences and chair of Esprit schools in Amsterdam.

After a career in the public sector (ministry of Internal Affairs, the European Commission, city of Amsterdam), she became director of public enterprises, a.o. Talent naar de Top.

She served on the Supervisory Board of Oxfam Novib, was chair of the board of Amnesty International The Netherlands and member of the International Executive Committee of Amnesty International.

She is the proud mother of Gayle (18) and Ashley (14).

Ingrid Schulerud


Ambassador Ingrid Schulerud took up her assignment in September 2015. Ms Schulerud joined the Foreign Service in 1988 after graduating from the University of Oslo, with studies in economics, political science and statistics. She has served as a Norwegian diplomat in Budapest and worked within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on various topics related to European Affairs for 25 years.

She has worked extensively on democracy issues, fundamental rights and freedoms as well as minority rights as desk officer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Head of Division for the Baltic states and Central Europe as well as Deputy Director General on the enlarged EU, Baltic states, Central Europe, Romania and Bulgaria.

She has, as Ambassador at large, been responsible for the programming and strategic development of the European Economic Area and Norway grants. As part of the Norwegian delegation, she has participated in the on-going negotiations on a new agreement between the EEA/EFTA states and the EU. Ms Schulerud is also Deputy Head of the Norwegian Mission to the European Union.

Turid Solvang


Turid Solvang, the Founder and CEO FutureBoards, that aims to drive forward the evolution of corporate governance by facilitating the exchange of experience and ideas for best practice governance and creating physical and digital arenas for networking. Ms Solvang was co-Founder and Managing Director of the Norwegian Institute of Directors, established in 2009 and co-founder of EWoB. She represented the Norwegian IoD as EWoB’s Vice Co-chair from 2013 to 2017.

Ms Solvang was Chair of ecoDa, appointed first ever female chair of the European Directors Network in 2015, were she served as board member from 2011 to 2017. She was also member of the Nomination and Evaluation Committee, the Policy Committee, and chaired ecoDa’s working group on board selection processes. She took her Master’s degree in Business at BI Norwegian Business School in 1989 and holds a Master program in Scenario planning. She has extensive experience in corporate communications and as Non- Executive Director in both corporate boards and membership associations.

Partly due to the Norwegian female quota law, as from 2004, she has focused on board related products and services, including recruiting to corporate boards. She was responsible for corporate communication at Burson-Marsteller in Oslo and head of marketing at Fearnley Data, Oslo.

Saskia van Uffelen


Saskia Van Uffelen has worked in the sector of information and communication technology for over 25 years. She has led national and international sales and marketing functions in companies such as Xerox, Compaq, HP, Arinso, Bull and CSB Consulting. Thanks to her experience in transforming a product driven organization to a service and solution provider, she was appointed CEO in 2014 at Ericsson, Belgium and Luxemburg. She was also appointed as Digital Champion by the federal ministry of economic affairs to support the mission of the European Commission.

In order to stimulate the roll out of the Digital Agenda in Belgium she sensitizes all parties involved in three areas
• Digitalization of the educational system
• Boosting the e-Commerce and safety on the internet
• Focusing on the specifics of e-skills to turnaround our economy

As a manager, Saskia keeps an eye on the human aspects of collaboration. She wants to ensure synergies between the different generations in the workplace. In interviews, articles and her book ‘Iedereen Baas! – Tous Patron!’ she encourages colleagues to pay more attention to this. As a female role model in ICT she has been honored 2011 ICT Woman of the Year (Data News), 2013 Inspiring Lady of the Year in Science, Technology and Research in Luxembourg (Inspiring Woman) and 2016 ‘Economical Driver’ award by the association Movement.


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