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Women in Leadership (WIL) Initiative

About Women in Leadership Initiative

Women in Leadership is an EHL initiative with a focus on projects regarding women, and on a wider scale the initiative aims to promote leadership, culture, and policies that foster diverse, balanced, and people-focused environments. It strives so that our students, faculty, staff, and alumni can lead fulfilled professional and personal lives.

Given the substantial untapped female leadership potential across the world, we believe that women aspiring to create a positive impact in organizations and society should be empowered to attain their vision and contribute to leadership diversity.

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    The WIL Initiative Promotes

    1. INFORMATION: by raising awareness, disseminating state-of-the-art knowledge, debating ‘off-limits’ topics and sharing experiences and best practices
    2. ACTION: by accompany promising individuals for growth, expanding network and opportunities for development, developing tailored solutions for companies, and creating innovative women-related projects

      Themes Covered

      • Leadership diversity and inclusion
      • Women in hospitality, women and entrepreneurship
      • Networking, mentoring, coaching, championing women
      • Flexible work arrangements, managing work and family, parenthood
      • Talent management, pay equity, sexual harassment
      • Women’s careers, dual-career couples, expatriation


        Innovation and entrepreneurship>

        WIL Team

        • Dr Sowon KIM, associate professor and founding member of the EHL Women in Leadership Initiative
        • Meloney BRAZZOLA, Director of Communications, EHL
        • Valerie DE CORTE, Global Alliance & Partnership Director, EHL
        • Alexia MUTEKE-CEPPI, Director of Business Development at EHL Advisory Services


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          WIL Team spirit
          WIL Ambassadors

          WIL Ambassadors are industry professionals who support our initiative and whose mindset, attitude, behaviors and actions in their own respective companies reflect the values of WIL.

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            WIL Projects

            Sexual Harassment Prevention (SHP)

            Our Sexual Harassment Prevention (SHP) initiative spearheaded in collaboration with Academic Advisory aims to educate, protect, and empower our students and employees on sexual harassment.

            LeadingHôtelierès Flexibility Research

            The LeadingHôtelierès (LH) mission is to accelerate UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 Gender Equality in the hotel industry. WIL is leading the Academia & Research Pillar of the LH coalition and spearheading the study Driving flexible working structure in hotels.

            Young Hotelières Insights (YHI)

            Together in collaboration with LeadingHôtelierès, IUBH University of Applied Sciences, and Institut Paul Bocuse, YHI aims to develop the professional visibility of our young female talent in a network of leading hoteliers/ hôtelières.

            For more about the initiative, please contact us
              WIL Alumni Award

              On Nov 4, 2019, the EHL Alumni Network (AEHL) gathered at Chaplin’s World in Vevey for the 7th Annual AEHL Award Ceremony to celebrate the achievements of our alumni across the world.

              This year’s event saw the first bestowal of the Woman in Leadership Award. Speaking at the event, Valérie de Corte, Global Alliance & Partnership Director, said: “As an active member of the EHL Women in Leadership initiative, I am particularly proud to introduce this new award which we hope will inspire future generations of students and alumni”.

              The WIL award went to : Michelle Walder AEHL ’08.

                WIL Events

                The WIL initiative at EHL organizes regular expert conferences and workshops on the Lausanne campus for its students, faculty, and staff. We also welcome our alumni and industry professionals.

                Program 2020-2021

                • March 8, 2021 at 6 pm CET – WIL Webinar Panel Series
                  ELEVATE: A conversation with our EHL alumnae

                  Currently, women account for 60 percent of our student body. Yet, among our 25,000+ alumni, only 17 percent of the executive roles are occupied by women. This modest number mirrors the situation in the hospitality industry as a recent study showed that only 12 percent of top hospitality positions such as MD, President, Partner, Principal, and CEO roles are held by women. Worldwide, less than 5 percent of the top leadership functions across business and politics are occupied by women.

                  So what is happening? Why is there such a leakage in the female talent pipeline?

                  Join WIL’s first ELEVATE panel with our outstanding EHL alumnae featuring:

                • Amēa Villas Investor Relations and Consultant Alejandra Abad (AEHL, 2019)

                • Cadesio Founder and CEO Paola Bellia (AEHL, 2016)

                • Greset Reich Hospitality Consulting Managing Partner Claudia Greset (AEHL, 2012)

                • PwC Switzerland Senior Associate Real Estate Advisory Rubina Insam (AEHL, 2016)

                  Our panelists will candidly share their professional experiences with insights and tips on what worked well – and not so well – when navigating their careers and businesses. A space to listen, ask, exchange, and be empowered. This event is created by women for women and will be moderated by EHL Professor and Women in Leadership (WIL) Founder, Dr. Sowon Kim.

                  You can now register the webinar  by clicking here

                  Download the flyer


                • Nov. 23, 2020 at 12 pm CET – WIL Webinar Expert Series
                  Women, Engineering, and the Space Industry: Reach for the stars and beyond!

                  Guest speaker: Deborah Mueller, Productions Engineer at RUAG Space

                  Today, the global space economy is valued at around USD 423.8 billion and includes a range of activities involved in researching, exploring, and using space. Space remains an important arena for interstate competition, including science, telecommunication, broadcasting, navigation, internet and research applications, missile defense, military communications, command and control, surveillance and intelligence gathering. One of the changing dynamics of the space industry is that private firms are no longer simply operating as contractors to nation states, but are themselves becoming protagonists in space, e.g. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Space is the new black, space is sexy, and this webinar will shed light on this thriving industry, along with its career opportunities and challenges for those who aspire to be closer to the stars.

                  You can now register the webinar by clicking here


                Program 2019-2020

                • June 8, 2020 at 3 pm CET – WIL Webinar Expert Series
                  Women, finances, and investment: Preparing your future

                  Guest speaker: Sonia Rüegger, Director, Wealth Management, UBS Switzerland

                  Did you know that only 1 out of 10 married couples make long-term financial decisions together (in Switzerland)? Most decisions are made by just one of the partners – usually the man – and this is linked to the assumption that the male spouse knows more about financial issues than the female spouse. It’s never too early (or late) to think about your financial future. Thinking ahead about your financial wealth is as important as discovering  your passion, developing your skills with a lifelong learning mindset, and broadening your career perspectives, because they are all part of preparing your future filled with uncertainties. Our wealth management expert, Director Sonia Rüegger of UBS Switzerland will share valuable insights into this topic and provide sound advice on women, finances, and investment.


                • May 4, 2020 at 3 pm CET - WIL Webinar Panel Series - co-organized with EPS
                  Corporate culture and innovation in times of crisis

                  Panelists: Louise Byrne, VP Global Talent, IHG; Thomas Mielke, Managing Director, AETHOS Consulting Group; Eugenio Pirri, Chief People & Culture Officer, Dorchester Collection; Veronica Soares, Executive Committee Member, Pestana Hotel group

                  In a matter of a few days, the coronavirus outbreak has redefined the way we work. How are companies navigating, responding, and anticipating recovery in times of crisis via their corporate culture and innovation? Our distinguished panelists will share their insights for a stimulating exchange on leading organizations in times of crisis.

                  You can now access the recorded webinar “Corporate Culture and Innovation in Times of Crisisby clicking here.


                • Oct. 22, 2019 at 4.15 pm and 6.30pm - WIL Expert Workshop Series
                  Let’s talk about Sexual Harassment
                  Guest speaker: Ivana Busljeta, Director of Global Education, Non-Violence Project Foundation (NVP)

                  The workshop is designed to help you understand what sexual harassment is and provide you with tools that enable you to prevent or cope with such a situation. What does it take to start talking about it? What does it take to stand up for yourself even when you think you can't? What does it take to have the courage to protect and stand up for others…even when you’re all alone? Not easy questions to answer, but still questions that we need to start answering. Let's explore together.

                • Oct 14, 2019 at 4.30pm – supported by WIL Workshop Series
                  Realities of the Labor Market

                  The Women’s Business Society (WBS) in collaboration with the Women in Leadership initiative (WIL) presents a workshop on the realities of the labor market. The workshop is animated by OtherWise9 certified coaches. How to navigate in the professional world? Come discover employability 4.0 and learn some tips and tricks.

                Program 2018-2019

                • June 3, 2019 at 5.30 pm - WIL Panel Series (co-organized with EPS)
                  Women-led Businesses: Getting the Female Founder's Perspective
                  Panelists: Laurence Stoll, Founder & CEO of Marquise Technologies, Johanna Roussel Co-founder & CEO of Skwoll, and Magda Oltean, Co-founder & Account Director of Minthical

                  Increasingly, women are creating their start-ups, owning businesses, and turning them into successful companies. Yet, diving into entrepreneurship is a trajectory filled with challenges. What are the toughest trials and how to cope with them? How to build on past success to attain an exponential effect?  What are the key lessons learned? Based on their experiences, our panelists will share their insights and advice in leading businesses. 

                • May 25, 2019 at 6 pm. - WIL Expert Series
                  Human Trafficking and the Hotel Industry: How to Combat this Crime Against Women

                  Guest speaker: Prof. Dr Maureen Brookes, Associate Prof. at Oxford School of Hospitality Management, Oxford Brookes University

                  Human trafficking is a rapidly growing criminal activity.  The Global Slavery Index (2018) identifies that there are 40.3 million global victims of modern slavery and that 71% of these victims are women. The hotel industry is increasingly recognized as being vulnerable to human traffickers and therefore as having a role to play in combatting this heinous crime. Drawing on European Commission funded research, this presentation is designed to help industry professionals, educators and students to understand why hotels are vulnerable to human trafficking and to identify the critical intervention points within hotels where signs of trafficking can be spotted and barriers erected. It will introduce a range of resources that hoteliers and educators can use to take a lead role in combatting human trafficking in order to protect their business and support victims

                • May 2, 2019 at 6.30 pm - WIL Expert Series (co-organized with EHL Presents)
                  Leadership Diversity at Accor

                  Guest speaker: Maud Bailly, Chief Digital Officer of Accor

                  “Diversity is a powerful driver of collective performance: it is important to involve women & men, seniors and juniors, people from different backgrounds and managers at the highest level to set an example. Promoting gender diversity is everyone’s duty regardless of their own gender. And this is the main ambition of the RiiSE, our internal diversity network at Accor.” (M. Bailly)

                • Jan 15, 2019 at 4.30 pm - WIL Workshop Series
                  Expanding Your Influence Workshop

                  Guest speaker: Alexia Muteke-Ceppi, Senior Consultant at EHL Advisory Services

                  The workshop is designed to share tips and techniques that enables you to learn how to build your influence by applying these principles to any number of (business) interactions, from managing, mentoring and negotiating to conversations, writing and presentations.

                • Nov 13, 2018 at 12 pm - WIL Workshop Series
                  Building Self-Confidence Workshop

                  Guest speaker: Dr Paul Vanderbroeck, Executive Consultant, Visiting Professor at EHL and LUISS Business School Rome

                  The workshop is designed to provide insights into what being a confident and authentic leader means recognizing that each individual is different and using it to one's advantage.

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