Foundations – Boards
The birth of a spark
A consciousness has always inhabited me, that by which all the worlds that make up THE World can, and must, live and flourish together for the betterment of all. Such is the daily engine to all my commitments.
It is this consciousness that brought me, 20 years ago, to create with my husband Brustlein & Co., to which I became a partner. This platform has since been a lever for the development of my philanthropic activities in Switzerland and abroad (in education, social integration, medical research, culture, animal rights, the environment, and research in renewable energy).
It has also been a platform for managing my projects in institutional communications, and more recently, for my work as company administrator.
Thank you, my friends who have believed in me !
I had – and I still have – the joy, I should even say the immense privilege, to rub shoulders with exceptional beings, either great believers or atheists, from a variety of backgrounds and educations, of all ages and skin colours, “brothers and sisters ” in humanity…they are many, and I cannot possibly mention them all here, but they will recognise themselves !
I owe them so much: they gave me the license to be true to myself, to not be stopped by the fear of what people might say, to distinguish the “being” from the “seeming,” they have pushed me many a times outside of my comfort zone.
They have believed in me, giving me responsibilities made even more consequential by the fact that they engaged a higher cause, THEIR cause, a Foundation, THEIR Foundation …
It is thus that I have little by little learned to chair Committees, to manage teams of volunteers, to speak in public, to raise funds – water to the mill, the sinews of war !!!
It is thus that by making these causes mine, I have step by step become Ambassador of many causes, by putting in touch, each time that it has been possible, people, animals and the local nature – on Vaudois soil, in Switzerland and in Europe – and elsewhere as well, – especially in Asia.
From one Foundation to another, in French-speaking Switzerland …
Social integration, the right to political or religious difference, how we perceive difference, mainly on the one which comes from disability, are topics that have always deeply touched and mobilised me since very early.
It is at the request of my friend and mentor Mrs. Carmela Lagonico, a Solidarity pioneer here in Switzerland who has been serving her community for 40 years, a “Grand Dame,” in both heart and intelligence – that I joined Ladies’Lunch Lausanne, of which I am today President of Honor after having served as president for 10 years. Ladies’Lunch Lausanne is a powerful network of local solidarity in French-speaking Switzerland (www.ladieslunch-lausanne.ch). It is also at her request that I joined the Sport and Solidarity Foundation for sport handicaps, under the aegis of the Olympic movement (www.sportetsolidarite.ch).
Widening of horizons, towards Asia …
Life has put me across the path of exceptional women whom I have backed in their efforts of creating their Foundations…it is like that that following the tragedy of the loss of her two children in the tsunami of December 2004, that Laurence Pian joined me to co-found the Jan & Oscar Foundation for Precarious Childhoods in Thailand (www.fondationjan-oscar.ch).
In the process, Mrs. Christine Magistretti invited me to join the International Foundation for Population and Development which develops and finances projects focused on female empowerment mainly in Asia: India, Nepal, and Cambodia – (www.ifpd.org).
… then on cutting-edge scientific and medical research !
Mr. André Hoffmann and Prof. Pierre Magistretti then called on me to join IRP, the International Foundation for Research in Paraplegia, for which I have worked as a “free electron” with the mission to build bridges between the world of research and that of the general public, for visibility and fundraising purposes (www.irp.ch).
It is this same mission that was entrusted to me when I joined the Foundation for Infancy Psychiatry at the side of Professor Francois Ansermet (www.infantpsy.ch).
An important step beyond the Sarine!
A necessary opening to German-speaking Switzerland then led me to join the Pestalozzi Foundation for the education of children in the mountainous regions of Switzerland, at the request of Mr. Nicolas Oltramare (www.pestalozzi-stiftung.ch).
A project for animals that disturb the good thinking minds!
My many trips to Asia for projects of the Foundations Jan & Oscar and IFPD have brought me to realise at which point the conditions of animals there were as deplorable as that of people were precarious… I thus had the good fortune to be able to finance in Thailand the ” Ban ObOun ” project, a shelter for dogs rescued from human barbary at the side of Michèle Bise, and for which I also created a charitable organization of Friends in Switzerland in order to sustain the project, and to educate animal lovers here of the acute problems that arise to them out there (www.banoboun.org).
The connection to the environment and research in renewable energy … and finally that of Chairman of the Board of Directors !
In coherence with this holistic view of world, my husband and I committed, at the sides of our friends Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, to the adventure of Solar Impulse, to which we have become “Angels” (www.solarimpulse.com).
I have also joined Mr. Olivier Ferrari within One Nature Foundation (www.onenaturefoundation.org), before accepting to sit on the Board of Directors of his financial company CONINCO Explorers in Finance, the Board of which I assume the Presidency since 2014 (www.coninco.ch).
The commitment that leads the way to consulting services…and vice-versa
On a different note, my consulting activities have allowed me to continue and intensify this work of “connecting” new links to the chain … as an example, I will simply mention my collaboration, a few years ago, within the Foundation USPI Vaud, helping to house those threatened with eviction, at the side of Mr. Anthony Stuck (www.fondationuspi-vaud.ch), to illustrate at which point it is possible to be tuned to one another, notwithstanding the area of activity, or the time we have available!
On the importance of the commitment in favor of charitable events, which are so often maligned !
I have over the years supported many events carried by “beautiful”, ethical people for beautiful causes … as President of Ladies’Lunch Lausanne (www.ladieslunch-lausanne.ch), I chaired several “Evening of hope” in favor of the IRP Foundation (www.irp.ch), I co-chaired the Ball of the Swiss Red Cross (www.redcross.ch), the Ball of the Red Cross Geneva (www.croix -rouge-ge.ch), I chaired two Balls of Mutual Aid for GRAAP – the French-speaking Swiss Group for Home and Psychiatric Action, at the sides of Madame Madeleine Bridge (www.graap.ch), I organised an opera for children in favor of disadvantaged children in Lausanne Opera to the sides of Eric Vigié (www.opera-lausanne.ch), put together an evening to benefit the Winds of Hope Foundation in favor of victims of Noma the sides of my friends Michèle and Bertrand Piccard (www.windsofhope.org), organized an evening on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Prix de Lausanne, an international competition for young dancers (www.prixdelausanne.ch)…
…and more recently helped the Bibliothèque Sonore Romande organise a charity evening for the Lausanne Opera (www.bibliothequesonore.ch).
For the Special Olympics Foundation, which supports mental Disability in sports in view of a better social integration of the mentally disabled – who are particularly vulnerable and too often stigmatized, I chaired the Camp of the delegation of Special Olympics Switzerland that was held in Lausanne in June 2015 (www.la2015.org) prior to going with them to the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the biggest world sport event of the year !
The time I served the community as Special Advisor, Goodwill Ambassador and Ambassador …
Deeply touched by the need of solidarity for the defense of human rights here and now, I mobilized myself for a few years at the sides of the OMCT World Organization for Struggle against Torture (www.omct.org) as Special Advisor.
Shaken by the fact that psychic fragility and mental illness are the main causes of disability in the world since 2020, I got involved as Goodwill Ambassador for the FondaMental Suisse Foundation chaired by David de Rothschild (www.fondamental-suisse.org).
At the request of my friend Evelyne Pen de Castel, I am also entrusted with the responsibility of Godmother of the Lionel Perrier Fund for medical research against brain cancer within the Honorary Committee ( www.hug-ge.ch/fonds-lionel- perrier ).
I am deeply engaged in the field of culture, as the Ambassador of the Switzerland Fashion Museum, which has celebrated its 35 years in style, and can now aspire to play a prominent role in the Swiss museum landscape (www.museemode.ch) !
More recently, I was promoted to Ambassador of the Rencontres du 7e Art Lausanne (“Lausanne Cinema Encounters”) chaired by Vincent Perez. The first edition of these Encounters was held in 2018 (www.rencontres7art.ch/).
The time to have an active presence with a Bank …
My active role of Ambassador for the Development of Sustainable and Philanthropy Competence at the Piguet Galland & Co. Bank allows me to interact with the different services of the Bank, at all the levels of the hierarchy, and to push forth all vital areas that touch upon social responsibility. I offer my counsel to the various customers of the bank who seek advice or support to develop their Life Project, a gift offered to the “Greater Good” (https://www.piguetgalland.ch/)!
… and within JBF Finance SA
As Member of the Board of Directors of the Company, of which the main purpose is the preservation, enhancement. and he management of decisive and sustainable participation in the capital shares of BOBST SA (https://www.bobst.com/).
… Also the time of a commitment to a Foundation that is active in the field of water access and hygiene, nutrition, agriculture, energy, microcredit and natural medicines !
I responded to the call of Denis Von der Weid, founder, inspirer and active soul of the Antenna Foundation (www.antenna.ch), of which I joined the Board in 2017. The Antenna Foundation cannot be reduced to a list of activities in 20 different countries, and 60 unique projects carried out by 500 employees… the Foundation has been, for 30 years, putting into practice a pioneering and revolutionary vision of research and dissemination of technologies adapted to people’s most essential needs, such as water and hygiene as well as nutrition, agriculture, energy, microcredit and medicine !
… To be able to continue to support all the causes that have moved me until today and to honor this new commitment within the Antenna Board, I am now Goodwill Ambassador to the many Foundations of which I have left the Board at the end of 2017.
My most brilliant hope is to be able to foster new connections an help new partnerships take form between them all !
Time to welcome two new passions !
A rule only works if exceptions can be applied! My wish to no longer accept to sit on new Boards, due to a “chronic” lack of time, was shaken up at the beginning of 2019 by two obvious facts : I was called to join the Special Olympics Foundation and the Rousseau Foundation!
The dream that the Olympic Games of tomorrow will be a model of human, economic and ecological integration.
When the time had come to create The Rousseau Foundation and that Andrew asked me to join the Board of Directors, I accepted with gratitude to bring my contribution (www.ProjectRousseau.org)!
The time to maximize positive impact!
My active presence for some years now with my friend Olivier Mancassola within the Steering Committee of Swiss Who’s Who has me given the joy of discovering other circles, complementary networks, and the rich personalities that make the Switzerland of today!
A mosaic made up of talent, creativity, excellence… this famous Swiss know-how, this label of excellence, the globally recognized “Made in Switzerland!” My role as spotter of beautiful profiles – to which Millennials are being called to be one of the corner stones, and my role as creator of synergies amongst them, is as impactful as it is stimulating.
SWISS WHO’S WHO is a leading networking tool. It brings together accomplished leaders, talents and experts of Switzerland who shape its successes in the fields of business, economics, politics, science, research, education, the media, culture and beyond. Members are selected by the “Steering Committee” and can join the network by peer to peer only. The SWW has been completely redesigned by its new owner over the past 3 years to meet the expectations of its current and future members and trends. The SWW is the reference for a club in a world where trustworthy quality relationships make the difference (www.swisswhoswho.ch).
In a completely different register, and on a completely different orbit that carries me since 2019, I am fortunate to be a founding member and member of the Executive Circle of SOH – Spirit of Humanity Forum Geneva.
The Spirit of Humanity Forum is a powerful movement born in Iceland 10 years ago, whose mission is to prioritize BEING over DOING!
Its vocation is to bring together leaders and executives around themes and personalities carrying this message, during forums held every two years. In other words, a place to “Reset the compass towards core human values”, to allow them to align their actions with their essential values, and to keep the course within the framework of their profession: whichever it may be, that it be in the service of the Greater Good. “Towards a loving world” and “Leadership and Governance for well-being” will be the themes of this fifth edition, which will be held in Reykjavik from June 3 to 5, 2021 !
Benefiting from the technological marvels that allow us to connect remotely, COVID will give everyone the chance to benefit from a part of what will take place there. (www.sohforum.org)
While 2020 has been in many ways a slow year for the economy and the vast majority of NGOs, it has also allowed me to step back and redefine my plans.
The impact I want to give to my activities is one of the criteria that guided me in my decision to get involved with the Swiss Red Cross as a Founding Member of Tiffany Circle Switzerland alongside my friend Dania Samawi.
The Tiffany Circle is a network of women already present in many countries around the world, who have come together over the years to support emergency humanitarian aid and reconstruction projects in countries affected by the scourges of war and natural disasters in particular.
Our brand new Swiss Circle will help people primarily outside our borders and, to a lesser extent, those suffering from precariousness in Switzerland. (www.redcross.ch)
How does one get to become a member of the Advisory Board of Ecole 42 Lausanne, a free computer school open to all, without any prerequisites? The school which opened on July 6, 2021 in Renens?
This is to me once again the doing of Providence, which allows for beautiful human encounters!
36,000 computer science jobs will remain vacant in 2028, on the one the one hand due to the insufficient number of computer science students trained by our EPF, HES and through apprenticeship channels, and on the other hand due to retirements.
For anyone who feels concerned by the Vaud and Swiss economy and is part of its ecosystem, there is an urgent need to react and offer viable and lasting solutions.
School 42 is one of them, undoubtedly!
100% of the students who graduate from the school find a job. Hundreds of start-ups around the world have emerged from its alumni network. While the 1st school opened in 2013 in Paris, it only took a few years to open and deploy the franchise on more than twenty campuses on almost every continent.
Responding to the call of the founders of the Swiss project who asked me to join their Board, I salute their mission and fully share their vision and their questions:
Why not offer this future full of promise to our young people? How much talent will we need to import from abroad? Will we have the most talented?
How many women will be able to seize these opportunities? How to enable women to access these well-paid, creative jobs requiring technical skills as well as human skills? Jobs of which we can clearly see the need for in these times of pandemic?
A fair project insofar as it aims to integrate as many women as men, respecting gender diversity and respecting individual sensitivities!
A generous project in that it is free and is based on the donation of visionary patrons and companies that support vocational training!
A Project that I made my own!