Women who inspire women

Having seen the remarkable results of the Diversity & Inclusion initiatives among the organisations we work with, we decided to build on this success and share these inspiring stories to facilitate sharing of best practices and, most importantly, to show how many inspiring female role models are out there.

In this monthly Podcast hosted by Anna Gromadzka, we are reaching out to women who, like us, are passionate about improving diversity and inclusion across organisations, and who are willing to share their own success stories, to motivate and support other women currently in leadership roles or aspiring to achieve the same career paths.

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Episode 4 - Shaping the Future: Women in Power and Diversity in Corporate Spaces

with Micha Goebig, the founder and CEO of GO BIG Coaching &Communications, executive coach and strategist

Micha is a multi-certified coach, bilingual keynote speaker and published author. She serves on the Forbes Coaches Council, the Advisory Board of Wonder Women Tech, and the speaker team of TEDxSeattle. She also collaborates frequently with Women Automotive Network where she interviews female leaders and emcees online and in-person events. Drawing on more than two decades of expertise within the sector, Micha has run hundreds of workshops, primarily on topics of cultural fluency and the empowerment of women in male-dominated work environments. She is known for her signature coaching program, in which participants learn to build consistent confidence, greater visibility, and effective self-advocating strategies.

Join us in this enlightening episode where we delve into how women can enhance their leadership skills and discover empowerment through solidarity. Anna and Micha also discuss the differences between coaching and mentoring, and share tips on how to maximise the benefits of your sessions. Tune in to discover more.

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Episode 3 - Revving Up: Tech-Driven Automotive and Evolving Automotive Leadership

with Maria Uvarova, SVP of Software Product Management at Stellantis

Maria is a Senior Executive with over 15 years of experience leading high-performing teams in product, technology, UX design, and data science/analytics. Currently a Senior Vice President of Software Product Management at Stellantis, a global automotive company known for producing car brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Jeep®, Maserati, among others. Maria focuses on building the future of Mobility Tech within the organisation.

Maria’s team oversees off- and onboard software experiences, collaborating with a 2000+ strong engineering team. Prior to her current role, during her 8 years with Amazon, Maria served as Head of Product/CPO for Amazon Regional Tools, Amazon Fashion, and most recently, Amazon International Expansions. She successfully built high-performing, multi-layered, multi-functional teams (50+) across various locations, comprising Product managers, engineers, designers, business developers, and analysts.

After her tenure at Amazon, she joined Kiwi.com as a VP of Product, contributing to the disruption of the online travel booking industry. Maria has built her career on a profound understanding of how technology and innovative products can transform the lives of customers and enterprises. She is passionate about people development, personal growth, diversity, and inclusion. As an Amazon bar raiser, Maria interviewed hundreds of candidates and played a pivotal role in establishing improved processes for hiring and cultivating PM talent.

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Episode 2 - Empathetic Leadership in the Corporate World

with Rachael Haywood, R&D Executive and Consultant.

Rachael is a seasoned R&D Executive and Consultant, who brings a wealth of experience in leading Life Science and Healthcare transformation. Her career journey includes significant roles such as Strategy & Operational Excellence at Abbott, Chief of Staff & Head of R&D Operations at Bayer, and Head of R&D Huntsman and various leadership positions in companies like Reckitt Benckiser and Kimberly Clark. She holds a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from Lancaster University and a Change Management Certification from Hult Ashridge and Strategic Growth from Columbia Business School.

Join us in this insightful episode as we delve into the multifaceted journey of leadership with Rachael, who shares her experiences transitioning from academia to the corporate world. From the evolution of leadership styles, balancing empathy with action-oriented approaches, to the lessons learned from influential mentors, we explore the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, discussing impactful projects, training strategies, and the role of senior managers in fostering an inclusive workplace culture. Tune in to discover the keys to effective leadership in today's dynamic environment.

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Episode 1 - DEI: A Catalyst for Business Success

with Sophie Barlow, Director of Business Development and Mergers & Acquisitions at Chart Industries, Inc.,

Sophie is the Director of Business Development and Mergers & Acquisitions at Chart Industries, Inc., a global manufacturer of highly engineered equipment for the Clean Energy and Industrial Gas markets, operating through 64 global manufacturing locations.

Sophie has 10 years of experience, combining strategy (at McKinsey & Co) and hands-on industry experience on both the buy and sell sides of M&A, including deal scanning, due diligence, pre- and post-merger management, and divestiture management. Prior to her current role at Chart Industries, Sophie served as the Director of Strategy & M&A at Howden, playing a pivotal role in supporting Howden's acquisition by Chart Industries. Her previous experience includes her position as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, where she successfully managed various projects focused on Mergers and Acquisitions.

Sophie is deeply passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and has been an active advocate for DEI throughout her career. During her time at McKinsey, Sophie co-led GLAM, McKinsey’s LGBTQ+ affinity group for London, and co-launched PRISM (Progressing Representation & Inclusion in Social Mobility), an affinity group dedicated to advancing socioeconomic diversity both within McKinsey and the broader industry.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Sophie shares her experiences as an employee with a minority background and offers valuable advice on navigating the workplace as a minority employee, progressing to desired positions. She also discusses how organizations can create environments that foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and highlights her significant role in advancing DEI efforts within her organizations.

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Episode 16 - Feminine Leadership

with Emmi Marjetta, co-founder of Feminine Leadership Circle

Emmi Marjetta has over 15 years of experience in Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding. She has worked throughout her career within the technology field, where her journey has led her into rapidly expanding environments such as cybersecurity and circular economy.

Emmi is a leader of high-functioning, global teams and speaks frequently about authentic leadership style and empowerment. Emmi is a co-founder of a network Feminine Leadership Circle, which is a community built to enhance leadership skills, find empowerment, and discover exciting ways to unlock an individual´s potential. Emmi is an advocate of the feminine leadership style, that leans towards the traits that are traditionally described as feminine, such as empathy, collaboration, and receptivity.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Emmi shares her insights on how her leadership journey began with emotional intelligence, how anyone can be more authentic as a leader and why networks are such a powerful tool to find allies and empowerment.

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Episode 15 - Revving up Success: Empowering Leadership in the Automotive Industry

with Laurence Noël, Consultant, ex-SVP Circular Economy at Stellantis

Laurence Noël is a distinguished leader with an impressive 27-year career in the automotive industry. Having worked for Stellantis and the PSA Group before its merger with Fiat Chrysler, Laurence has held various key positions, including Research & Development, Corporate Planning, General Management, and Business Development. She has led business units across Asia and worldwide from Europe.

Throughout her career, Laurence has been at the forefront of implementing new businesses and driving transformative initiatives. She started as an engineer at the PSA Group and has since traversed a diverse professional journey, managing development projects, engaging in strategic planning, overseeing manufacturing and sales, and even spearheading the establishment of a groundbreaking circular economy business model in her most recent role as a Senior Vice President of the Business Unit at Stellantis.

Passionate about business, sustainability, technologies, and the automotive sector, Laurence is a firm believer in empowering others and creating a supportive environment for individuals to thrive.

Laurence's contributions have been recognized and honored in 2018 when she was bestowed the prestigious title of Knight of the Legion of Honor, conferred by Louis Gallois.

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Episode 14 - Driving DEI: Empowering Automotive Leader

with Drita Roggenbuck, Senior Vice President & General Manager - Transportation Business Unit at NI (National Instruments)

Drita Roggenbuck is a Senior Vice President & General Manager - Transportation Business Unit at NI (National Instruments), a producer of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software for applications such as data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision.

Over the past 20 years, Drita has had an exciting career in the Automotive and Transportation sectors, progressing through roles of increased responsibility from Engineering, through Program Management, and Sales & Business Development, to Global Business and P&L Leadership. Drita is passionate about developing successful, effective and inclusive leaders.

In this episode of Way Women Lead, Drita will share a story of her own leadership journey as well as insights on the importance of role models and mentoring. Drita will share her challenges and successes of leading across diverse cultures, as well as tips and best practices for fostering a culture of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and developing effective leaders within organisations.

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Episode 13 - Everyone has a DEI Story

with Lena Tsvetinskaya, Talent & Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Engagement & Employee Experience Expert & Leader

Lena has over 20 years of experience in HR & Communications, having worked for global organisations such as IKEA and PepsiCo where she has spent the last 10 years progressing through roles of increased responsibility focusing on driving cultural transformation, designing talent, diversity and inclusion, communications, and engagement strategies as well as driving digital talent initiatives.

Lena has lead HR initiatives and teams in complex multi-cultural matrix environments, working from Asia, Europe, and Americas, leading across global teams and organisations.

While at PepsiCo, Lena was awarded a highly commended ‘Diversity Team of The Year’ award as well as the PepsiCo Chairman’s Award for Raising the Bar in Talent & Diversity.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Lena shares insights into how to drive effective Talent, Engagement and DEI initiatives in fast moving complex environments.

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Episode 12 - Leading in the Renewable Energy and Clean-Tech Sectors

with Caterina Gorni, the founding partner of Oaktree Renewables and P3 Renewables

Caterina is the founding partner of Oaktree Renewables and P3 Renewables, companies specialised in the development, financing and management of renewable energy assets, including solar, wind, hydroelectric and biogas.

Caterina has over 20 years of experience in Renewable energy investment which includes private equity and exposure to the entire investment cycle (from origination to exit), having mainly focused on developing, financing, building and operating renewable energy assets.

Caterina is passionate about renewable energy and clean-tech sectors and she aims to share her passion and contribute to the development of those sectors by providing advice and support to investors and start-up businesses in their growth strategies.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Caterina shares the story of her career progression in the renewable energy and clean-tech space. We are also exploring topics such as entrepreneurship and the reasons why we should attract more women to this highly creative space as well as the current challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy sector and how Oaktree Renewables and P3 Renewables play an important part in driving forward innovation that allows the sector to continue to advance.

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Episode 11 - Building a strong culture in a remote workplace

with Mikaila Read, Senior People & Culture Partner at MUI

Mikaila Read is a remote-first People and Culture leader with progressive experience in HR and Marketing, with a particular focus on helping remote leaders and teams to achieve incredible business and people outcomes collaboratively. Currently, a Senior People & Culture Partner at MUI, a company that offers a suite of UI tools to help build UIs faster, where Mikaila focuses on establishing the company’s vision, mission, and organisation-wide OKRs while creating equitable, inclusive, and scalable practices and processes across the organisation as well as designing purposeful programs to maximise organisational and individual capability. Previously a Remote Experience Manager at Mezmo, where Mikaila led the Executive and Senior Leadership teams through an Organisational Culture and Values assessment to remodel company values, aligning to performance frameworks and embedding them throughout the organisation. Prior to this Mikaila was with LogDNA, an observability platform that allows to manage and use data.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Mikaila shares insights and best practices on how to drive successful cultural change across organisations, particularly in a remote-first environment, resulting in more engaged, inclusive, happier and better-performing employees. We also discuss psychological safety, employee engagement and experience and their link to teams' and companies' performance.

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Episode 10 - Scaling Up an Automotive Business

with Sarah Olson, Director of Engineering at Masu Brakes North America

Sarah Olson is the Director of Engineering at Masu Brakes North America, a company that designs and manufactures Brake Pads & Brake Linings for the automotive industry.  She joined Masu Brakes in 2020 and has been a vital part of their North America growth.

Previously, Sarah was a Director of Product Management – Braking at Federal-Mogul, a global supplier of vehicle parts, where she had a successful career over 16 years, progressing through roles of increased responsibility, starting as a Formulator, then moving through Application Engineering, Program Management and Product Engineering. Prior to Federal-Mogul, Sarah worked for Goodyear as a rubber compounder.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Sarah shares what it is like to work for a global multibillion automotive company as well as what it was like to transition from that environment into Masu Brakes where Sarah reports directly to the business owners and plays a critical role in the company’s expansion in the US. Sarah also shared insights on the most exciting parts of her current role and the biggest lessons from her recent transition.

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Episode 9 - Leadership in complex manufacturing environments

with Natascha Wolski, Director Customer Quality, Warranty & Risk at BENTELER Automotive

Natascha has approx. 20 years’ experience working for major manufacturing businesses such as MANN+HUMMEL and BENTELER, which she joined in 2017. Throughout this time, Natascha has had the opportunity to work in international roles, based out of Germany, China and USA, lead teams of up to 200 people, managing through others and managing cross-functionally.

While at MANN+HUMMEL – a family-owned manufacturer of filter systems, Natascha held various international roles within the production and quality departments. Most recently, at BENTELER - a global, family-owned automotive and engineering company, Natascha has held responsibility for the global Customer Quality, Warranty & Risk functions for the Automotive division.

In this Episode of Ways Women Lead, Natascha shares insights on the challenges, successes as well as some best practices on leading cross-functional international teams in complex multi-site manufacturing environments.



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Episode 8 - Breaking the glass ceiling

with Alia Zafar, Group Head of People and Organisational Excellence at The Bank of Punjab

Alia Zafar was the first woman on the Board of Governors for Pakistan Cricket Board. Currently holding the role of the Group Head of People and Organisational Excellence at The Bank of Punjab. Alia is also a writer on historical art from Punjab and a senior mentor for women leaders in Myanmar.

Alia has 27+ years of experience in public, corporate and development sectors including Energy, Finance, Health, Telecoms, and Technology, having worked for organisations such as The World Food Programme, United Nations Development Programme, Crown Agents and most recently Askari Bank and The Bank of Punjab.

She has been a keynote speaker on Digital Transformation, Leadership and Management, and has also co-authored the book "HR Directory of Terms" as part of the ISO 260 task group.

In 2012, she was recognised as “HR Professional of The Year” at the Asia-Pacific HR Congress.

In this Episode of Ways Women Lead, Alia shares insights on her own leadership journey and what it is like to lead within environments where female leaders are scarce and cultural diversity had at times led to friction.

We also discussed Alia’s role in creating equitable and inclusive culture within the organisations she has worked for and how some of the best practices that Alia implemented can be replicated in other industries and environments.

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Episode 7 - Managing career change and Growing as a Leader

with Maura Nespoli, Vice President of Sales for Innovative and Sustainable Products at Prysmian Group

Maura Nespoli is the Vice President of Sales for Innovative and Sustainable Products at Prysmian Group. She holds additional responsibility for the Sustainability North America strategy and plan implementation as well as the Renewables market for USA and Canada.

Maura Nespoli has had a successful career of over 20+ years spanning leadership roles from Strategy through HR to Sustainability and Sales, having worked for prestigious multinational companies, combining management consulting and corporate experience: McKinsey, Vodafone, Ernst & Young, McDonald’s, AstraZeneca and most recently Prysmian Group, based out of Italy, the UK and currently the USA.

Maura joined Prysmian Group in 2018 as a VP with the responsibility to manage the integration of General Cable which was acquired by Prysmian Group the same year. In 2021, she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, taking on her current role.

Maura holds a Bachelor of Science (Philosophy; Occupational and Organisational Psychology). She also completed a Global Executive MBA at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain, and is currently studying for a Business Master’s degree in Renewables at the University of Harvard.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Maura shares her inspiring story of how her career experiences allowed her to grow as a leader and bring value to her current role and how she effectively managed the most significant change of her career.

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Episode 6 - Leading a Fourth-Generation Family Business

with Paula Salastie, CEO of Teknos Group

Paula Salastie, CEO of Teknos Group – a global coatings company headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, with operations in 23 countries, 1,800 employees and net sales of approx. EUR 419 million in 2021.

Paula Salastie took over the company’s operations taking on the CEO role as the fourth-generation representative of the Kiikka family in 2015. She has worked in the company since 1997 and led the Group Board since 2011. Paula is also the majority owner of Teknos Group.

In this episode of Ways Women Lead, Paula shares insights on what it is like to be the CEO of a fourth-generation, family-owned business and why this dynamic creates unique opportunities for the business and its employees.

Paula also shared insights into her own leadership journey as well as advice on how to lead effectively, balancing a highly demanding role and priorities of the business with personal priorities.

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Episode 5 - Leadership in the Energy & Process Industries

with Pascale Begert - Managing Director & President of The Board of Directors - Varo Energy Tankstorage

Pascale has had a successful career over the past 20 years in the Process and Energy industries, having worked for multinational companies such as LANXESS and OMV and more recently Varo, which she joined in 2019.

A Mechanical Engineer by background, Pascale completed her PhD at Technical University of Vienna.

Varo is a leading European energy company, operating throughout the complete energy supply chain – trading, marketing, manufacturing, storage, distribution, and retail. VARO has recently announced a sector leading commitment to Net Zero by 2040, which is a key part of Varo’s strategy to become the energy transition partner of choice.

In this Episode of Ways Women Lead, Pascale shares what it is like to work for a business that is at the forefront of the energy transition as well as insights into her own leadership journey. We discussed various topics from driving a cultural change, through handling difficult conversations, to creating a psychological safety in organizations. Pascale also shares a very personal story, which became an inspiration for many in her organization and is a wonderful representation of an authentic leadership.

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Episode 4 - Taking D&I to The Next Level

with Mariana Delgado - Head of Business Development - Earthly

Mariana Delgado has had a fantastic career in sales over the past 10 years, having explored different industries from travel to climate change and technology, working in the UK, Australia, Portugal, France and Brazil, building teams, defining sales strategies and optimising products. She also worked as a lawyer for four years in private firms and international NGOs.

Currently, a Head of Business Development at Earthly – a platform for nature-based solutions that remove carbon, restore biodiversity & support local communities, where Mariana has the opportunity to realise her passion for sustainability and technology, while also driving initiatives related to Diversity & Inclusion.

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Episode 3 - Women in the Automotive Industry

with Melanie Schuttenberg - Vice President Business Development Europe - Flex Automotive

Melanie Schuttenberg is the Vice President Business Development Europe at Flex Automotive, the Automotive Division of Flex (formerly Flextronics), an electronics manufacturing company and an original design manufacturer.

Melanie has been working within the automotive industry for nearly 20 years. Having progressed through roles of increased responsibility, she gained experience working for leading global organisations such as TRW, Magna, and most recently Flex, which she joined in 2015.

Anna Gromadzka discusses with Melanie what a career in an automotive company looks like, how to build and grow diverse and inclusive teams, and how and why to advance own career in the automotive industry.

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Episode 2 - The Power of Role Models

with Charly Young - MBE, CEO & Co-founder of The Girls' Network

Why role models are important to achieving gender diversity, how can networking help to grow and develop oneself, what effective mentoring looks like, and more with Charly Young MBE, the CEO & Co-founder, The Girls' Network.

The Girls’ Network mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and a network of professional role models who are women.

Charly founded The Girls’ Network with her friend Becca in 2013, whilst they were teaching in secondary schools in North West London. The Girls’ Network mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and a network of professional role models who are women. Charly’s background is in education that supports the whole child, and the use of networks to facilitate this. Prior to teaching, she worked at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) as an education researcher, and with Whole Education supporting school leadership teams.

She is passionate about the use of networks to empower, support and mobilise people, and believes that good mentoring can be transformational, for both mentor and mentee.

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Episode 1 - Women in Tech

with Michelle Cowan - former Client Director at Cisco and Co-founder of socialsendr

We want more women in Tech!

Former Client Director at Cisco and co-founder of socialsendr, Michelle Cowan has had a successful career in Technology for over 25 years, 17 of them spent at Cisco. Recently, Michelle co-founded socialsendr – a marketing technology company - and is also an owner of Justo Associates – a sales strategy consultancy. She holds a Non-Executive Director position at two other companies - Torchbearer Interactive Ltd, a software development business, and Santini7, a sports nutrition business. Also, a Trustee at the Denby Dale Centre - an independent local charity.

In this conversation, Michelle shared why she continues to be fascinated by technology and what a career in tech looks like as well as a practical advice on how to start and grow career in tech and how to attract more women to tech.

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