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On p u b l i c a t i o n

The Unfathomables of this Summer


he more we investigate the process of closing the gender gap, the more evidence we discover that harmful stereotypes in the media are affecting not only us or generations before us, but the next generation of girls and boys. At Sovereign, we consider that it is a moral duty to give women a voice instead of silencing them. There is power in sharing your story as a businesswoman. There is a massive social impact not only on women’s personal perception of themselves, or on the business community’s perception of women's contribution, but also on the business conversation that's taking shape. This summer alone, Sovereign team brought you the first 40 Women Who Rock Switzerland and their story made it all the way to 54 countries where discerning travellers can read Sovereign Magazine (Train, plains and automobiles). Darie Nani, our creative CEO opens a new location each month, and building the Sovereign Road for a publication which sells the good news in a world where everybody is consuming bad news, is nothing but invigorating the news concept. There is no shortage of brilliancy, remarkable women and men on a mission, change-makers, Though Thinkers and purposeful leaders and we are ready to surprise them in the act, while emerging globally. Sovereign made it its purpose to recognise and celebrate the trailblazers, the Solutionaries, the glorious businesswomen and businessmen who are surpassing social conditioning, limiting beliefs and have the courage to stand into their own light and change the world as we speak. This month’s cover stories is Sandra Deira as we celebrate fabulous women who are challenging the status quo! If you like jet set movers and shakers, join us as we follow Jennifer and Jan Marc Pickhan from Germany to Cyprus (on page 28)

signalling and instead considered the impact they have on the wider society? Instead of gossip columns, half-clad models and celebrities’ latest make up or eating disorder, Sovereign brings you the good news and thought-provoking stories. Starting this summer, we have distinct sections and brilliant brand-new columnists contributing to your daily choices on business solutions, success stories, luxury travel, wellness, culture, education, social impact, science and tech, lifestyle and sustainability. Are we still rushing to have the ‘latest’ ahead of others, even though we don’t need it?

Each cover story is one of the great unfathomables: why have you never met this woman before? Why have you never heard of this power couple before? Their unique solutions help you struggles less, live better. Get to know them!

From where I stand, I have a feeling that things have changed already, and a more holistic attitude is taking hold. We are transitioning from consumerism into discernism, where people are educating themselves to see the world with a fresh pair of eyes and understand the world better.

A recent international study found that only 6% of the global news content challenges gender stereotypes, while 46% reinforce it. With 90% of front cover articles authored by men, an overwhelming section of mass media perpetuates injustice, glorifies the sexualisation and objectification of women across generations. Isn't it time that mass media stopped virtue

Change makers constantly address fear of failure, health concerns, financial risk, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, burnout, overwhelmingness, and uncertainty. What do they know and we don’t? Top executives and new leaders score high on Self-awareness. (Lesley Calvo page 32) There is a frequency for success that emanates from each story.

Want to listen to the author narrating their story or column? This month’s Sovereign podcasts are a diverse ecosystem, rich in solutions, varied and complex, with a holistic approach to sustainability – especially if you’re in the market for a new idea to up-scale your business. I guess, it is fair to say that every single story in Sovereign is telling you that the things that really matter are not visible with the naked eye. Stop giving oxygen to your fear of Success. Let your story fly! PS: To be just, take the time to read this issue from cover to cover, but if you are too busy, I really understand. What really matters is that you care enough about this world to share the good news we collate for you in this edition. Dr Marina Nani Editor-In-Chief



GLOBAL MAGAZINE We’ve coined a new industry to introduce Solutionary Thinkers, Executives and Leading Entrepreneurs who create unique solutions to certain challenges, influence prosperity globally and close the achievement gap.

SOCIAL EDIFICATION We live in a world consumed by challenges and solutions are the metrics of progress by which we measure success.

Close the gap between those who can inspire and those who need inspiration.

We only introduce accountable professionals with unique talents, who are amongst the top holistic solution creators in the world, passionate trailblazers who are driven by their inner belief that delivering value is not about them but about the people they can help.

Copyright Š 2019 MTN Press Limited. All rights reserved. Registered. Printed in the UK.

Contents Dr. Marina Nani EDITOR IN CHEIF, UK

Darie Nani


Alexis Boddy WRITER, UK

Beth Davies WRITER, UK

Elaine Pringle-Schwitter


Denise Nickerson


Michelle Guiliano


Lili Giglia



Lesley Calvo


Brigitte Lawler


Sandra Deira


Kiki Fuerte


Dr Rebecca Willis





Catherine Schopfer


Sara Aswegan


Let your story fly! PRINT



5. Health Wealth & Happiness Sandra Deira 8. Deliciously Sustainable Lifestyle Changes 10. The Magic Pot: The Cover up 12. Well Alligned 14. Second Chances 16. Taking The Lead 20. Titans of Titanium 22. A Love Letter To Your Body 24. Essentially Lili 26. Like a Butterfly 28. Success Stories: Aligning your potential for greatness with your inner authentic voice 30. Learning to say YES to Yourself. 32. What does it take to

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raise a confident child? 34. Heart and Soul 36. Retirement Done Right 38. Business Solutions: Redefining Business Success 40. First Class Coaches 42. Is Safety an Illusion? 44. Eyes On The Stars & Feet On The Ground 46. Achieving the Unthinkable 48. The Courage to Go Global 50. From Cold Calling to Hot Leads 52. What Does it Really Take To Be A Powerful Business Women in China? 54 4.0 Industrial Revolution 56. Brilliant Businesswomen 58. Thinking BIG

Do you have a story to tell? We want the world to read it! Get in touch today:

62. Culture & Travel: Through The Camera Lens 64. Freedom Entrepreneurs 66. Education: be chill 68. Social Impact: Emotionally Attached 70. The Law of Love 72. Do-No-Harm 74. Sustainability: The stark truth about UK Government climate action 78 Learn To Move Mountains 80 Flow In Action 82. Science & Tech: Helping Patients Around the World Own Their Health 84. Mothers Who Code


a great lifestyle to make you look and feel amazing

Cover Story Interview with Sandra Deira, Global Director at Health Tribe | By Dr Marina Nani


f you ask Sandra her age, she will confidently answer: 55. She doesn’t have the need to hide her age and most people are surprised by her confidence and youthful looks. You could think “Sandra is so lucky “, but is it just about luck? In this interview we find out what inspires her Confidence and why making the decision to be healthy was the best decision she ever made.


Health Wealth & Happiness

You are the driving force behind your company’s vision. What is Health Tribe? Health Tribe is a family run business providing healthy supplements for people who want to improve their lifestyle, their appearance and their overall health. You see, the problem is that most people think that they eat healthily. However, research shows that only 1.8% of people eat healthily. So, it is very likely that you fall in the 98.2% who does not. Staying young, fit and nourishing your body and mind is what you will achieve with a balanced diet and exercises. Health supplements can be a good addition too. We offer the help and support you need for your journey to a healthier life. If you wish to improve your health, look great and feel healthier, get in touch. We are part of a global movement and together we are designing a world where people come first. Founded in 2011, Health Tribe creates an opportunity for people who want to improve their lifestyle, their appearance and their overall health, but also an opportunity to generate multiple income streams (by word of mouth) from distributing healthy lifestyle products and celebrating our own results. We provide an E-learning academy, supporting entrepreneurs participating in our business program to successfully build their business through E-commerce, marketing and social networks. Today we are part of a successful Dutch Tech Start up called Beyuna, leading an award-winning team. We ship our products to 22 European countries and officially launched in the USA in December 2018. At present we are operational in nine USA States. At Health Tribe we are passionate about our journey, our business and our product range of healthy lifestyle products with each a unique composition. With high end brands like Beyuna and Zoya for Beyuna (toxin free and award-winning cosmetics for nails, nail care and lips) for which we hold the European distribution rights. What are the problems you solve for your clients? There are few challenges I am looking to solve. The first one is the unconsciously ignorance about nutrition and the quality of food & products being offered. When you attended one of our free seminars then you learn the difference between synthetic additives and Clean Label products without any chemicals. You will have more insight about GMO-Free, doping free, bioavailability of nutrients, organic, manufacturing of products, plant-based capsules, Vegan. I would like to see that people have a better insight, so they have a fair choice to make towards their food and the nutrients that they take every day. We believe our customers deserve the best products to live a healthy lifestyle. That’s why we are GMO-free, doping free, Clean label, Vegan. The second one and equally important is the freedom to work anytime, anywhere, with whom I want and that my family and I are able and can afford to use high end health products is one of the best things about my job. Meanwhile, another great advantage is the fact that we keep our focus on generating a progressive inheritable income stream for our children and grandchildren. What are the top difficulties you are facing in running your business and how do you handle them?

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I suppose that the most difficult things to deal with are being distracted and keeping your focus on your end result. Keeping yourself inspired and motivated and not to rely on others for that. I simply deal with what crosses my path, learn from the best and move on. What is your advice to our readers who would love to work on their financial freedom but do not have the confidence to run their own business? What inspires your Confidence? Recently I discovered that the red thread throughout my career is that I was always at the beginning of something when there was nothing. A new job agency, a new office, a new district, a new region, a new department. All set up strong, scaled and maintained successfully. At some point I wanted to achieve this success by myself and my family. After completing my studies at the Waltham Forest College in London and earning my degree at the University of Applied Science in Amsterdam, I did spent the past 30 years working in Recruitment, HR and Telecom industries gaining experiences in areas such as commercial sales, (project)management, communication, and senior support roles. During this time, I was working for big corporations, world market leaders, and lived my life on the fast lane but I never had so much professional satisfaction like now. Health Tribe is a wellness company caring for what really matters, you and me - and this inspire my confidence in a better outcome not only for ourselves but for the next generation On reflection, the best piece of advice that I can give someone starting their own business is to act today, surround yourself with a team of experts, keep your focus on your business goals even when it is a bumpy ride, ignore those who are not in your camp and don't give up. About Sandra & Maikel Sandra works the magic of her personal and professional success together with her husband, Maikel Deira. After earning his degree in Business Intelligence and Information Technology at the University of Amsterdam, Maikel worked in the IT industry for 25 years gaining experience in Oil, Banking and Financial industries. As a seasoned IT specialist, he is passionate about reorganising, automating and advancing IT organisations. Maikel is key when it comes to supporting and bringing people and businesses to a higher level. In addition to optimising and delivering IT projects he is also involved with Health Tribe and in collaboration with others aligning their strategy, business development, and marketing. Being parents to three children, who love and trust their creative mind, they considers this to be their most important achievement in life. Sandra is of Afro-Caribbean descent and they are both originally from South America, they both have a strong appreciation and respect for family values and they are both proud to call Amsterdam their home.


Health Wealth & Happiness

Deliciously Sustainable Lifestyle Changes By Danna Levy Hoffmann | Brought to you by Organilicious. Their personalised and holistic approach aims to create sustainable and delicious lifestyle changes. Full disclosure: side effects may include falling in love with food again, losing weight and feeling amazing!


e all want change, yet most of us don’t want to change. We want to watch less TV, we want to get more exercise, lose weight, eat better, start writing that book, spend more time with the kids… We declare it a few times a year and especially as a new year resolution, we might even start strong once in a while, and yet most often it doesn’t stick. Change is scary, time consuming, hard to go through and we don’t really know if what’s around the corner is actually worth all the hassle… When we do start, we often go on bold decelerations and pretty much secure our failure by putting high and unreasonable expectations upon ourselves. In fact, research shows that about 54% of people who decide to make some change in their lives, fail beyond six months, and the average person will declare the same resolution 10 times in their lifetime without success. Did you even stop and think why? Why is is that change is so hard and scary?? So this is where I get all geeky on you, and talk about our brain. A lot of people blame themselves for not having a strong enough will power, not being strong enough to make a change. I have some good news for you: IT’S NOT YOU, AND YOU’RE NOT ALONE! Although some say we’ve evolved a lot since the stone age, our brain still functions the same exact way. When it comes to change, our brain fears it and will find any way it can to feel safe. Safe for our brain means doing/ thinking/feeling the same thing we’ve done/ thought/felt yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. By now you’re thinking to yourself “great, so this pretty much sums it up, no need to even try”. I promise you that’s not the case. Not only is it possible to change (and dare I say, hijack your brain), it’s also not as hard or scary as it sounds… If you do it right that is. Here are three simple steps anyone can take: 1. Slow and steady wins the race Unlike our famous new year resolutions (which we already know don’t work), breaking down our one big goal into small steps is much more sustainable, and lets the brain slowly adjust to very simple changes. That way, you’re not committing to something which will take all of your time and energy right off the bat, but rather take you a few minutes a day to implement small changes.

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2. Hijack your brain Sounds like a scene from a sci-fi movie, and yes people do it all the time (sometimes without even knowing it). Do you know that moment when you are at a crossroad (a small one - like choosing between an apple or a slice of cake, or a life changing one - like replying to a job offer), and for a split second, there’s a tiny voice inside your head? You know, that same voice which always knows what to do, and we often ignore, kind of like your mom? This is exactly the moment you can apply The Five Second Rule - by Mel Robbins. The five second rule works on the argument that you know what you should do, but you can’t seem to make yourself do it. You simply need to outsmart your own brain! The moment you count down from five to one, you are interrupting habit loops, happening in the basal ganglia, and move your brain activity to the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for, amongst other things, decision making. After counting down from five to one, you can actually take the advice of that little voice without much hassle. So the next time you’re watching Netflix, and that little voice tells you to go to bed rather than start another episode, give the five second rule a try. It’ll blow your socks off. 3. Accountability partner We all know the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Having an accountability partner, someone who can coach and support you, and help keep you commitments, is a true game changer. It can be your best friend, your partner, or a paid coach. No matter who you choose to go on this journey with you, going together will really get you far. Knowing that someone will be checking up on you, ask you about your progress, and help you come up with more small changes which will bring you closer to your goal, will make a huge difference, guaranteed. So no, making changes in our lives does not come naturally. But with small steps, the right mindset, and the perfect partner, you’ll be moving mountains sooner than you think! About Danna Danna Levy Hoffmann is the founder of Organilicious, a leading health and lifestyle coach and an expert on living a nourishing lifestyle. Danna is a certified IIN health coach, a speaker, and a healthy lifestyle expert. For more info check out


Health Wealth & Happiness

The Magic Pot The Cover Up | Lili Giglia


ately Millions of fans on Instagram and You Tube are completely losing their minds over influencers who are launching their very own cosmetics lines, with gorgeous young girls feeling inadequate every time they watch detailed make-up beauty tutorials.

Once you create a massive fan base to support your products, you can sell them within minutes of the launch, creating the safest money maker. But is the make-up a solution or is it falsely filling millions of women’s expectations with stereotypical thinking? Are they desperately trying to cover-up what’s under their skin day in & day out, to feel adequate and be accepted in a society that exploits insecurities? It wasn’t too long ago when I decided to get your attention and help those of you who feel that make-up is falling short of expectations. Why not identify the cause of your insecurities to prevent your skin’s condition from aging and stealing your self-confidence instead? In my column I will answer your questions, bring you skincare tips and share how you can maintain your skin, naturally, from within. Let’s be the best version of ourselves. Thank you for reaching out! Here are your first questions answered ‘Can we have Home Spa fun and look fabulous all year round?’ Whilst enjoying a hot chocolate and a giggle with my friends, I’m often asked if I’m wearing make-up and what my skincare routine is like. To be honest, being a Mum who takes care of everyone else first, spending time on myself gets the last available slot, from the bathroom to putting shoes on and running out the door. I always thought that beauty routines should take a spare hour to achieve that whole ‘wow factor’ look. This is so not me, especially during my youth when I didn’t like looking in the mirror except to find faults and criticize myself. During that awful time of my life, I used foundation to cover up my skin, and regardless of how much I put on, it never hid the itching Eczema underneath. And being a low-maintenance kind of woman, I hesitated having to apply vast bottles of skincare to my already sensitive face. These often left me with red blotches that seemed like someone had freshly slapped my face!! When I ditched the idea of becoming another Com-

pany’s brand ambassador, I threw myself into studying a range of natural health sciences subjects for a holistic approach to overall well-being. Learning the importance of nutrition to managing stress levels, and how it effects our body from the digestive functionality to the condition of our skin. ‘The way I see it, our body is our castle – if we neglect the inside, it will deteriorate and become an empty shell, and if we don’t take care of the outside, it will become weathered and aged.’ With this concept, I wanted to use a common-sense approach to health, skin and well-being. Whilst attending my courses at Regent’s University in London, the Instructors were teaching us about Essential oils, their top, middle and base notes, and what combinations usually works well together. During this time, the instructor asked us whether or not we cleanse our skin. For me, I thought that cleansing was only necessary if I was wearing make-up. Instead, we are constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions, heating, dirt, environmental and unnatural pollutants which our body and skin collects. ‘Eventually even a freshly painted house will appear dark and dirty as the road traffic’s fumes are collected when passing by.’ When our class finished for the day, I headed back to my hotel room wanting to try out my newly made cleanser. I rinsed my face with warm water before adding a small amount to my skin. Gently massaging upwards, pressing my fingers into the skin for a few minutes to stimulate my face and neck. Using a slightly damp face towel to remove the cleanser, my skin felt totally revitalized and refreshed, without being aggravated or dehydrated. This simple yet delicate and soothing pampering gave me the impression that I had just stepped out of a beauty spa, despite still being in the hotel’s bathroom. ‘Wow, my skin felt awesome after that very easy pampering session!’ Often when our skin doesn’t feel gorgeous, we think that doing lots will make it appear better. We head to a salon for an expensive facial. They use equipment, laser machinery or derma-abrasive brushes to lift blackheads, squeeze excessive oil, break acne spots, treat discoloured skin tones as well as remove layers of skin. Steam, hot towels, scrubs and exfoliants are often added to the process. ‘And your poor face just wants to scream and escape this over stimulating activity!’ We are influenced to believe that more is always best from the Cosmetics industry. If we eliminate or squeeze the excess oils from our skin, adding bucket loads of products with ‘enhanced secret ingredients’, our skin will suddenly appear like we just stepped out of Cleopatra’s milk-bath! ‘Did you know that constantly extracting the natural

Cover Story

oils from your skin will cause your body to work overtime replenishing and replacing these oils?’ This fascinating fact is what creates a vicious cycle of removing and reproducing sebum oils in our skin. For example, people who buy products to deal with Acne are often choosing those that have harsh or drying ingredients, like alcohol. The skin can look and feel dehydrated, red and irritated as a result of these contents. Eliminating too much gives the body instruction that oils are missing, causing the over-production to fill that gap. ‘So how can you treat conditions like Acne prone skin, without creating the vicious cycle and further damage?’ A really simple cleansing process should only be done at night time so that your skin can regenerate whilst you sleep. If you’re looking for totally natural products, you should be able to read ‘ALL’ the ingredients and not need a dictionary or Google to figure out what is contained. Cleansers can either be a soap, balm or an oil-based liquid. The ingredients should contain items like Beeswax, Cocoa or Shea Butter, Vegetable Oils and Essential Oils with specific benefits, like balancing the skin. Whilst cleansing, environmental dirt that clogs the skin should be removed to prevent clogging the pores, and you should feel naturally lifted when the pampering has finished. Choosing a product that the hydrates and protects your skin should be the next objective. When we’ve been out in the sunshine all day, we become thirsty and at times, lethargic. Our skin also needs replenishment to prevent our body from dehydrating and drying out. Boosters can be a great way to give your skin a shot of goodness. Concentrated Serums that are specific to age groups and type of skin should contain only natural ingredients. The benefits are like taking a shot of wheatgrass with its potent and rich source of nutrients and vitamins. Be mindful that some products are best applied during the night, as the Essential oils can cause the skin to burn if it’s exposed to the sun. Try to not over cleanse your skin, or re-do this in the morning either. The last thing you want to do is remove the newly generated skin cells which are meant to protect your face. About Lili Lili’s quest to create all-natural products came from years of suffering with Eczema as a child and throughout her adult life. She found it difficult to find products that didn’t contain Cortisone or chemicals which caused her conditions to worsen. Like many others, she often become overwhelmed deciphering labels, trusting the manufacturers that ‘Bio / Organic’ really means just that. Making a range that nourishes, hydrates, protects and rejuvenates the skin, whilst leaving it calm and feeling wonderfully soft is what she wanted for herself and thus Essentially Lili Was bord! The range of products are Made With Love by her in Zurich, Switzerland and use only natural ingredients from Aromatherapy suppliers that are regulated in the EU. To see more, visit There’s something to suit various ages, genders and skin concerns too. Should you need help, feel free to contact her!


Health Wealth & Happiness

Well Aligned Clean Label | By Sandra Deira


ummer is upon us and what an amazing time to reside in Amsterdam. The canals are livelier than ever, and finding a spot to chill on one of the cities overcrowded terraces is increasingly challenging. Amsterdam is home to huge annual festivals like the Rolling Kitchens, a 5-day food-truck festival. The city is also hosting Amsterdam Pride which attracts a lot of international visitors every year. Last but not least, in the south-east, will find the Kwaku festival, the ultimate urban food and music festival, across four weekends. Food is the buzz word this Summer! Whether the food is healthy or not, simply enjoying tasty food, and therefore life is good for our general wellbeing. Talking about being healthy nowadays is a study in itself. With so many products advertising themselves as healthy, it’s easy to take them at face value, but that isn’t always the right idea. One thing we know for sure, is that poor health due to food (or lack thereof) consumed is still a major problem around the world. According to the World Health Organization, micronutrients malnutrition or ‘hidden hunger’ affects people around the world with approximately two billion suffering from micronutrient deficiency conditions worldwide. Undernutrition (children being too small for their age or too thin for their height) and micronutrient deficiencies along with obesity, and other diet-related diseases are increasing amongst individuals, households and populations are increasing. In developed countries. people are becoming increasingly aware of the causes of depletion in fruits and vegetables. Former Swiss pharmacology company Geigy produced a table which gave an insight into the reduction in quality and nutrients in fruits and vegetables between 1985 and 2002. Causes of depletion include leached out soils, air pollution, accelerated growth, quicker production, pesticides, colour and taste enhancers. Add to this the longer transportation distances for stored and refrigerated fruit, preceded by premature or unripe harvesting and post-harvest processes to speed up or simulate ripening, such as genetic modification and the use of artificial ethylene gas.

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According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) it is tropical and popular fruits such as banana, mango, papaya, pineapple and guava which undergo this ripening method the most, often resulting in a reduction in taste and/or quality, despite the fruit appearing fresh and fully ripened. It is interesting to see how many creative ideas were born and provide a good income in the health industry. Some food processors tend to take the idea of cleaning food very literally and rinse your fresh greens thoroughly in a bath of chlorine. You can only hope those much needed vitamins and minerals can survive such a bath! A couple of years ago I became familiar with the term Clean Label. Clean Label is the clear, clean and under-


standable labelling of food. Unintelligible jargon, and certain artificial ingredients are banned from lists of ingredients, and every consumer gets a clear and concrete explanation of the specific ingredients. A lot of nutritious supplements contain unnecessary synthetic additives, such as anti-caking agents and coagulants, coatings, colourings, emulsifiers, and flavourings. An example is ascorbic acid, a genetically modified and synthetic form of vitamin C, which usually comes with a yellow or orange coating. When informed by a clear product label, consumers can understand that ascorbic acid is synthetically produced and is not an organic vitamin. When you realise this, it starts to become clear how limited our knowledge really is, and how conditioned we have been to assuming something is healthy due to the use of buzzwords, as opposed to actually having a full understanding of what constitutes a healthy product. Returning to my home country, the Republic of Surinam, for the first time, I was surprised to learn that oranges could come in green, with a yellow coloured juice, and a sweeter taste. So conditioned are we to assuming what we know as oranges are the only kind of oranges, that such discoveries can come as a real shock! While citrus fruits may be the most famous source of vitamin C, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are richer in the vitamin. Oranges are at the lower end of the list of the top 20 fruits and vegetables with high levels of vitamin C. While orange juice is a source of Vitamin C, and drinking it is a good idea, you might want to look for other natural and organic sources to maintain your vitamin C levels as well. Overall, in Western society the intake of vitamin C is mainly through processed products, mainly fruit juices, containing ascorbic acid the synthetic form of Vitamin C mentioned above. There are other options available, and the existence of Clean label products make these much easier to find, and makes it far simpler to avoid buying products with artificial forms of vitamins and other substances. When most people purchase nutritious supplements, it is for the active ingredients. However, supplements can contain a surprising amount of additives, with almost no bioavailability. Bioavailability is the capability for the body to absorb a substance, making it possible for the process the benefits of that substance. Synthetic additives are not found in 100% natural products containing ingredients with a high bioavailability. There is a downside, and it’s cost. Natural organic products take longer to produce, with capsules sometimes filled by hand, the ingredients are put through comprehensive analysis to achieve a high level of certification. All of this results in a higher price. It is not always easy to find all-natural nutritious supplements. It may, however, make a substantially more valuable contribution to your health than the alternative options.


Health Wealth & Happiness

Second Chances By Cancer Coach, Catherine Schopfer


aving a passion for healing, Catherine Schopfer, cancer survivor, life transformer, and mindset coach, speaks from experience. An expert in resilience, she helps people around the world to rediscover their passions and connect with their purpose to thrive fully after the challenge of cancer. I remember that day when I was going to my gynaecologist appointment to get the results of the biopsy. My heart was pounding, I had to force myself to breathe and I had to pinch myself only to realise I was living my worst nightmare. This time it was for real. I can still see the sun rays shining through the curtains as I sat across from my doctor. I can still remember the smell of the comfortable leather chairs and the soft wooden desk, mixed with the pungent smell of disinfectant from the adjacent room. It is imprinted in my mind forever. Her voice told me: “You have 2 tumours in your right breast, and they are unfortunately malignant.” Excuse me, what? How could that be? I feel perfectly healthy. And now? What is next…? Am I going to die? A rush of questions pounded my head, my brain was going 2000 miles an hour. Then she told me: “I can organise the surgery for next week. I’m sure you want to get rid of the cancer as soon as possible.” The verdict still hadn’t registered in my brain and I still couldn’t grasp what she was telling me. This was going too quickly! I needed time to think and feel what my body was telling me. We planned a second meeting and I left. My knees were shaking. My voice was trembling. My heart was aching. My thoughts were spinning. A bomb had just struck me! Do you know someone who has had to face a lifethreatening disease? Do you know someone who went through cancer? Have you had to face this challenge? If yes, then you know the emotions and the questions that are awaken after such a diagnosis: Am I going to die? Why me? Whom can I trust? Who can I talk to? What impact will the treatments have on my body? my life? I used to be a successful engineer and manager, climbing the management ladder, I was overworked and wearing several hats every day: manager, mum, wife, household organiser. Then…I was diagnosed in 2012 with breast cancer. My life came to a full stop. Now it was my turn to face this life threatening disease! I had so much anger at life! So much anger at myself! So much anger at my partner! I felt like life was so unfair. I had always done my best to please everyone,


to take care of everyone, to be a good girl, a good wife, a good mother, a good manager,the only one I had not been good to, was me My coach Jim told me one day: “Catherine, Cancer is the challenge to change or die, what do you want?” What did I want? I could feel that this was the time to stop and have a close look at my life and what I had been doing with it. That was the day I decided to take control of my life and to start the healing process. Today I understand that the cancer was a blessing for me and that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it hadn’t been part of my life. What I’ve also understood from my cancer journey, is that you don’t need to get a disease to make adjustments in your life and bring to the world that special gift that we all have. The word disease is really a dis-ease in your body that you’ve been carrying around for too long. Every other man and one-in-three women will face cancer in their lifetime. And I’m not even talking about the other diseases arising around the world. It’s time for us to wake up and realise what we’re doing with our life. We only have one! I woke up after my breast cancer diagnosis and I decided that it was time to work on myself with a coach and other therapists. I made babysteps to move forward and started to change what had to be changed in my life. I started to change my diet, I started to exercise every day, even if it was just having a walk after dinner, I started to meditate, to have peaceful moments to calm down, I practiced mindfulness on a daily basis, I reconnected with nature to get energy from the beauty that surrounds us, I made sure that I was respecting my bio rhythm and having enough sleep. And I worked on my emotions, on my mindset, on my limitations, releasing everything which was draining my life energy. My transformation didn’t happen in overnight, but slowly and surely I was feeling more energised, was looking at life in a different way, I gained a feeling of happiness and fulfilment day after day. I became grateful for every beautiful moment in my life to the point that I want now to guide others to overcome cancer and thrive. About Catherine Schopfer

Catherine is a certified coach from Coach Académie Paris, Inner Game Coaching, Go Pro Coaching, USA and has trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as developed by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn and a certified Reiki Master (Usui Shiki Ryoho System). After more than 10 years as a certified life & business coach, Catherine believes that a challenge can also be the springboard to reinventing one’s life. Before finding her true calling, Catherine trained as a food science engineer and worked in the corporate world for organisations such as Henkel and Luxair Group. Catherine lives with her partner, Danilo, in Zug, Switzerland and has two daughters.


Health Wealth & Happiness

Taking the Lead Understand it, Experience it, Own it...

Interview with Carola van Berckel, Equine Behavior Expert, Equine Therapist, NLP Master Coach | By Darie Nani


arola van Berckel has been lived and worked in five different countries around the world. “Travelling is in my blood, I love to travel, to discover different cultures and a variety of people. Since childhood, I longed for adventure, escaping the harsh reality of everyday life. I was a dreamer, a sensitive child, and I did not comprehend the world around me and often felt misunderstood. Around the animals, I felt safe and trusted and developed a bond that went beyond most friendships.” That’s how she ended up in the world of horses, and because of her special ability to connect to them on a much deeper level, she can effortlessly communicate with these noble, free and sensitive animals. Carola is a Horse Behaviour Expert and Equine Therapist and her work with horses has opened the fdoor into the world for her. The dedication she has to horses is based upon building relationships of deep trust and mutual understanding. It is through the horses that Carola discovered her ability to overcome limiting beliefs, how to deal with them and how this reflects on daily life and business, as she explained to us. "The horses taught me to clearly set my boundaries without getting upset, to be firm and loving at the same time, to communicate with leadership without pushing the other person into a frame that doesn’t fit them. To be able to recognize body language on a much deeper level and to deal with my own emotions in a healthy way." What can you tell us about your work? Join the Horse offers transformational and authentic leadership development programs, which unlock people’s potential and help them to achieve greater performance. The biggest obstacles in our lives lie within ourselves; We all have to deal with our own limiting beliefs, nonhelpful behaviours, fears, inadequate actions, and procrastination. All these things prevent us from getting what we really want in our life and business. Coaching people together with my horses is the most effective experiential learning methodology currently available. The horses confront people in a safe, loving and respectful way. They form a metaphor for real life situations because they mirror our body language, emotions and intentions. Coaching with horses is the highway to fast results, in a down-to-earth way!


Coaching with horses is very impactful because it not only provides deep and profound insight, it also creates a reference experience which is anchored deep within the body and mind. The great thing is that it produces unimaginable breakthroughs and instant change. This experience grows internal alignment and effectiveness resulting in tangible and measurable outcomes. At Join the Horse we deliver significant, authentic, and lasting results. Who are the people that could benefit? I let executives and business managers experience what stepping up and taking the lead really means, I enhance the performance of teams by improving their mutual communication, building trust and becoming more customer focused, I help women overcome their insecurities and lack of identity, and I empower people so they can overcome their greatest obstacles. What inspired you to create your business? I am a typical late bloomer. From an early age I was very shy, insecure and felt like an outsider, I did not understand the world around me. It took a while before I found my passions, talents and gifts. I always thought that there was something wrong with me, until the horses came into my life. They have helped me to become fully aware of myself and get insights into my own behaviour. The horses are my companions, they were my bridge to a world I didn’t comprehend. They transformed me into the person I am today and together with them I want to touch people’s lives, helping them to overcome their challenges. What led you to decide to start your business? The corporate life really challenged me to give the best of myself. Wherever I worked I got noticed because of my ability to lift the atmosphere of the company with my positivity, enthusiasm and skills. Working very hard and developing myself fast, I became aware that the majority of companies were still led in a traditional way, where people are afraid of change. These insights inspired me to start Join the Horse, where I have the opportunity to touch, move and empower more people towards self-confidence and getting the best out of themselves. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced so far? Being afraid of being seen and heard has stopped me for a big part of my life. I had to take a leap of faith and step up in order to share my gift with the world; helping people overcome their challenges.


Health Wealth & Happiness

How does it work? Horses reflect and react on people who are in their environment. This can be confrontational, but is always honest. They don’t have a hidden agenda. Horses provide instant feedback. That is why it can be very effective; when you change, you immediately see different behaviour of the horse. During this process I am the coach, facilitator, bridge, and leader who takes people by the hand and leads them step by step while they are consciously breaking through their own boundaries. Where do you turn for inspiration and why? The Bible is my daily source of inspiration. It provides me with input; it challenges me, it comforts me, it builds me up and it guides me. To me it is the living word of Christ, who reflects perfect and pure love. Who is one person you admire most and why? Kevin E. France, the CEO of Momentum Consulting Group, the largest privately owned consulting company in the USA. He is globally recognized as a Business Growth Strategist, International Speaker, Author and Executive mentor. I met him two years ago and had the privilege of being trained, coached and mentored by him. What I admire most in Kevin is his integrity, modesty, kindness, and humility. He is very knowledgeable, and I am proud to say that we have a deep connection that is built on respect and friendship. What does success mean to you? Success to me is when you can touch other people’s lives. To me it is a way of living where I can help others to improve their lives and to create an impact with who I am, and with the life lessons I have learned myself. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone starting their own business? Just be yourself, it seems simple and, it is! We all have God-given talents and gifts. They will lead to your authentic way of being. They are the gateway to your calling. So just try to find the right coaches for you, who connect with you on a deep level, and help you find your authentic self. Always stay in you core. It’s there where life will flow and unfold itself.


About Carola van Berckel Carola is considered to be an expert in the fields of Equestrian Language, Authentic Behaviour and Coaching. She has travelled all over the world, training and inspiring people in developing a better understanding anda deeper connection while bonding with the horses. She has set up a mental healthcare institute which provides critical support in the healing process for young women as they recover and overcome life’s challenges. The horses have a reflecting and important role in the healing process. As a life strategist she coaches and trains people in Authentic Leadership, Performance, Intentional Living and Empowerment. She provides unique downto-earth experiences, where people really connect with their inner wisdom and power. Carola has extensive experience in helping companies getting their frontoffice processes into place, by leading, coaching and activating people in the field of customer-oriented behaviour and performance. Drawing on 30 years of corporate experience in working for multinationals, the pharmaceutical industry and governmental organizations, she oversees the impact of performance improvement. As a born-again Christian she wants to inspire and empower women to break their chains and step into their greatness.


Health Wealth & Happiness




Interview by Dr Marina Nani

ardening for beauty is as old as farming and it is not just a source of herbs and fruits, but an everlasting inspiration for our daily life. English gardens are known for its creation of wonders way before Elizabethan times and many contemporary people are making a significant difference in today’s world and are known for leaving a legacy in gardening. Monty Don, BBC presenter who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last month, has dedicated his life’s passion to gardening. Monty Don identified a new approach to younger people’s perception on plant awareness and recently said: “Gardening is not a retreat from the world, it’s a connection to the world.” How fashionable is gardening in the modern world? We reached out to Wilma Peelen who is the director of Sneeboer since 1986, to find out what is the latest in ‘the garden’ of Sneeboer tools: ‘The planting trowel has sharp sides and a pointed end allowing you to cut easily through the soil for all your planting and gardening needs. Use it for planting bulbs, seedlings and small plants or use the large head for breaking and turning the soil. The planting trowel can even be used to separate smaller perennials. The forged stainless-steel head will stay sharp and provide you with a lifetime of service. It’s also Monty Don’s favourite tool.’ Wilma says. What is available for gardening enthusiasts? The Dutch workshop Sneeboer perpetuates the secret of craftsmanship since 1913 and elevated garden tools to a higher level to add a very luxurious quality. When Wilma met Jaap and learned about his business and the beautiful products they made by hand, she decided that everybody deserves to enjoy the gar-

dening experience from a different perspective and enjoy their way into discovering a new blacksmith. ‘Everybody should be able to experience and enjoy the high quality of our tools; the way we produce, the way we care for our environment, the ways of our blacksmith, the family orientation and the high range of different tools (more than 240!) is something I am very proud of.’ In addition to the tools most regularly used by all of us in the garden, Sneeboer has worked hard to resurrect many of the old traditional tools that have proven their worth down the centuries - as well as striving to offer new innovative products. ‘To contribute to this mission is something that gives me energy. In 2013 an important milestone was achieved when the company celebrated its centennial and received the Royal Warrant of Appointment by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.’ Wilma says while her voice was getting deeper with humble satisfaction. Known as the green sustainable factory, which produces gardening tools with care for the environment and keen on sustainable production, Wilma and her husband Jaap constantly aim to improve the production processes and machines to create a cleaner and safer working environment for their employees. ‘When we took over the business, it was a very small company and the garden world was not as big as these days. Every week we brought our tools and story to countless exhibitions together with our 2 young children to promote our tools, which was a big effort. Then we had a great article written about us in the magazine “Gardens Illustrated”, which gave us a huge boost internationally. From England to the USA, Sneeboer was suddenly well-known all over the world. After this article, we could sell a selection of our tools


in Harrods, we created a limited-edition garden tool bag with a famous Finnish designer Harri Koskinen and we were invited by the Wall Street Journal to attend the design week in Milan.’ Wilma tells us. Crafting quality tools by hand takes a lot of time, and up-scaling the business had a big impact on the small firm’s resource planning, challenging existing production lines to upgrade some parts of the process, like the implementation of a robotic water-jet to cut the stainless steel. The team had to ensure the craftsmanship in the elementary parts of the production process. ‘At this moment, we still have some waiting time for bigger orders. But this was a sacrifice we, and (luckily) our customers, loved to make for true quality. The next challenge arose when we wanted to create an online web shop combined with an online marketing strategy to use the limitless possibilities of the Internet. As this was something we had never done before, we had a steep learning curve. It took almost two years to master this new outlet of Sneeboer but now it’s one of our strongest sales points. Really something to be proud of!’ Renowned for its winning coalition of timeless utensils that have been used for centuries to till and nurture the soil with contemporary finishes that sharpen them up for the 21st-century – both literally and aesthetically, this garden set is an elevation to luxury. ‘Designed to last a life, to be transmitted from generation to generation, Sneeboer’s exclusive Titanium line is made from a special grade Titanium, of course, hand forged and comes with a hand-made walnut handle. Intended to be truly elite amongst garden tools the three available hand tools, transplanting trowel, hand-fork and hand-hoe have a design of pure charisma, this set is a legacy for gardening and gardening enthusiasts’ Getting inspiration from the direct contact with their customers, who are invited to visit the factory or visiting their customers, their gardens, Wilma met amazing people from all walks of life, from the local enthusiastic gardener to famous people like Monty Don, Elton John, Catherine Deneuve, up to The Royal Family. Wilma is exceptionally inspired by Queen Maxima, who is ‘a leading example of female power in the Netherlands, making a difference from her special role, by providing micro credits for people in need, empowering them to make the most of themselves.’ Wilma says. Wilma understands people who love their garden and their gardening experience well. ‘Our founder famously said: “One who has once held a Sneeboer in his hands, never wants to use anything else again”. By delivering on this promise, our loyal fans are to be found worldwide: from the UK to Japan to the USA, but also very local in the Netherlands.’ Wilma believes that ‘We should never underestimate the power of women connecting and supporting each other at work, it is great to use this network to its highest potential. We experience the same obstacles and can learn from each other’s challenges and solutions to make the most of opportunities at hand. I believe that having more women in leadership roles will help social progress and prosperity in the future. All researches show that the best companies are led by a well-balanced mix of men and women. As women haven’t achieved full equality yet, this should have our attention until it becomes reality.’

Wilma Peelen and husband, Jaap Sneeboer. The Dutch workshop Sneeboer perpetuates the secret of craftsmanship since 1913 and elevated garden tools to a higher level to add a very luxurious quality.


Health Wealth & Happiness

A Love Letter to Your Body Why Prevention is more important than the Cure. Interview with Dr Raha Nahid | By Dr Marina Nani

“Everybody has a right to be happy and happiness depends on good body & mind health”


Dr Raha Nahid

here comes a point in your life when you understand that your eating habits, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, stress and unhealthy lifestyle begin to have a knock-on effect on your family, your social life and professional success. Mental health, self-development and wellbeing are intertwined, and a growing number of professionals are on a mission to improve mental wellbeing support for all, through better access, understanding and efficiency. Part of your healing journey is becoming aware that it is never too late to love your body and loving yourself more is possible even after all the years of punishing your body, ignoring its basic needs. Learning to listen to your body, pay attention to what makes you happy or unhappy and what keeps your life in balance is a simple but empowering healing therapy that prevents us from getting out of balance and get sick. In the last decade we heard many times that prevention is more important than cure. What if you right a love letter to your body? What would you write about? We ask Dr Raha Nahid, from Netherlands, the same question and she told us “You have a duty to love your body. Each day. If you love your body you work on prevention. You don't have to be sick to get well. That is the power of prevention. Take action before complaints arise ! Everyone should be able to love their body and understand what is happening with their body!” With a passion for health prevention and well-being of every individual, Dr Raha Nahid is a woman on a mission to make people aware that health prevention is more important than cure. Dr Raha Nahid is going to celebrate her 60th Birthday this November and on reflection she dedicated her life to women rights’ activism and in the last two decades she became a health prevention advocate. In this exclusive interview Dr Raha Nahid is sharing her story with the desire to inspire our readers to focus on being happy and the factors which determine happiness.


What drives you to advocate for happiness and wellness? Coming from Persia as a refugee because my life was in danger as a women right activist, I have been living in the Netherlands since 1994 and since 1995 in my beloved city Leiden. In those early years in the Netherlands I worked with terminal cancer patients as a biologist I knew it could and should be done differently. So I opened my small practice with one room in 2001 for preventive Check up centre which grew organically into what we know today as the Natural Health Centre in the heart of Leiden since 2006. My drive to bring more awareness into the world and while we introduced my solution in Spain and Ghana, we work strategically to expand in other countries too. I will be on 4th November 60 and it is just the beginning of more freedom to travel and educate more people in another countries. Since 2010 as CEO of Vitatec Netherlands I have been working with a special Body Scan from Switzerland and with my own vision and working method I have successfully introduced the system in the Netherlands. Now I am leading and guiding like-minded passionate people from all backgrounds on the Vitatec network because preventive Check up, Mentalemotional coaching, wellbeing trainings & workshops are part of the growing concern for a balanced life and the responsibility each one of us must take for our own health! My passion is to help the people to get healthy mind & body, be happy to enjoy life and be free to make good choices for yourself. I offer a turnkey solution for entrepreneurs who want to create their own practice and help other people have a balanced life. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced thus far? Research as Biologist but in the Netherlands I worked very hard to create money to study again, so I did post graduation as well as cleaning and babysitting beside my 9 hours study a day routine. It was though time but I made it!! I had to learn Dutch in short time, while studying in new country, and understanding a new culture, new rules, I had to adapt to a new way of life, make new friends and create my own professional network. On reflection, it was all worth it. What helped me was my belief that everybody has talent and they want to put their unique qualities to a good use. I realised that all we need to achieve great things in life, is good communication, not only with other people, but with yourself. About Dr Raha Nahid Founder of Vitatec Netherlands Dr Raha Nahid has passion and vision to bring balance in people’s life. At the Natural Health Center a team of therapists are fully committed to make everyone aware that they can balance their own health and well-being.


Health Wealth & Happiness

Essentially Lili The art and science of feeling confident in your own skin.


Interview with Lili Giglia , founder of ESSENTIALLY LILI | by Dr Marina Nani

fter much persuasion from her husband that life in Switzerland was great and much safer for young families, Lili left her job in the UK, took their daughter out of British school and join her husband in Zurich in 2012. A very successful financial analyst who worked for major corporations for almost two decades, little did she know that a new life in Switzerland’s fresh air, mountains and natural beauty was the beginning of her new found freedom. Originally from Australia, charismatic and compassionate, Lili had to find a solution to develop her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit while being the ‘Hausfrau’. This is her story, the story of the Magic Pot! How did you end up emigrating to Switzerland? In 1990, I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) Degree. I spent my 20s and 30s working for an Oil company in various departments from Card Services, Aviation, Gas, Exploration to Finance and Shipping. My roles were mainly focused on the finance and performance analysis, as well as maintaining thorough Customer Service for my clients, team leaders and business partners. Whilst based in the UK, I met my husband, and together we began the relocation expedition for his employment. After marrying in 2004, we moved to Dubai where I joined a Logistics company. It was great being in Dubai when the ideas and plans for the Palms were merely drawings and model mock-ups. We eventually moved for a short time to Basel Switzerland before I was offered an analysis role for a Shipping business based in Sunbury-onThames (UK), where we stayed for almost 2 years. Afterwards, we returned to Melbourne with the intention of being based there after having our first child, as I wanted to have family and

friends around to support us. However, my husband wanted to return to the UK, so we departed in 2007 with our 9-month old daughter some 3 days after my sister got married. Whilst based in the UK, I returned to full time work in Exploration and Shipping. We also began renovating our home and recreating our garden. We had our son in 2010 and I lived in the UK with the kids for a total of 5 years. My husband had moved to Zurich for a 3-year IT project, returning every other weekend. It was hard working full time and raising 2 young children without any family support. What was the original inspiration behind Essentially Lili? The inspiration for the commencement of my business was based on personal experience suffering with Eczema from 9 years of age. I spent every month being taken by my Dad to see the dermatologists in Melbourne, to find a varying strength of cortisone to help suppress the skin condition. After 10 years of attending specialist appointments, I frustratingly told my Dad I wasn’t going anymore! I felt like they were experimenting on me, taking photos of my hands and skin, guessing what was going to happen next. In my teens, I took my share of antibiotics and the drug Roaccutane to help my skin, only to have a worse outcome. After several months of using these, I had a severe reaction from within which left me swollen, itching, weeping, bleeding and covered from head to thighs in Eczema. My insides were inflamed from the antibiotics, causing other issues with my body and skin. I stopped going to university for 2 months due to the hideous state I was in. I cried so much from the pain I was in and began my quest to find another solution to this terrible condition. When I was well enough, I returned to complete my Bachelor of Business (Accounting) Degree in 1990. Someone suffering with skin conditions like Eczema can become


self-conscious and often paranoid, that people are looking, criticising and judging their appearance. I know it happened to me as a child, and I was often isolated or left out, without friends. I believed those kids hadn’t seen it before, and thought I was contagious. Losing my self-confidence caused me to internalise and suppress my feelings, and I became quiet and shy around others, trying to hide behind loads of make-up and long hair. For me, it was horrible going through this during my youthful years, and I totally understand the emotional anguish when someone explains how Acne, Psoriasis, Rosacea and Eczema makes them feel. What finally led you to start your business? There’s nothing wrong with being a housewife and taking care of your children, but what I missed the most was having my own income and being independent. I had been working and travelling for over 17 years before arriving in Switzerland. For me, who wasn’t used to being at home all the time, this was the hardest thing to get used to, especially with my employment history and experience. When I was looking for ‘what to do with myself whilst living in Zurich’ options, I considered becoming a Brand representative, selling another company’s skincare products. Unfortunately, there was the ‘conflict of interest’ clause which I fell into when looking at the small print of their contract. I didn’t want to be dishonest with myself or my customers, selling products that I would never personally use myself. As I had already found a combination of solutions for healthy looking skin, I wanted to share this with others. Perhaps many people can use the products purchased over the Beauty counter, or from the supermarket and chemists. However, there were lots of people like me who would react badly to the unnaturally sourced ingredients contained in these products, making us unable to use them without some sort of discomfort. At the end of March 2015, I attended the Women’s Expo in Zurich and spent my time being inspired, making enquiries, and collecting information. A week later I decided

to ditch the idea of being a brand ambassador for someone else and make my own brand instead; with the promise it would only contain 100% natural ingredients. I had been making my own face balm for years, which had kept my skin not only nourished but Eczema free. I created a small sample batch of this product, I went to a Women’s breakfast group and distributed them with my little handmade information sheets and business cards. I awaited patiently for feedback to see what they thought of the sample. About a month later, a lady who had been suffering with Rosacea for years messaged and asked to meet me, saying ‘Where can I get more of that pot of magic?’. She told me her story, how much money she had spent buying varying kinds of cosmetics, commercial and pharmaceutical products to help resolve her skin issues. Frustratingly, nothing seemed to work for her until she tried my Nourishing Face Balm. She had used the sample and needed to get more, the first product in years which had calmed, soothed, and help restore that dry, itchy redness that was hiding underneath her makeup. Here was another woman like me, who had tried to hide under thick foundation, looking for the solution in products that only made the skin condition worse. She also told that all these years, she was getting up at 5am to start her makeup routine of hiding her face which was covered in Rosacea. Now with my product, she was applying much less to her skin. I decided to stop wearing foundation altogether as I could confidently apply my skincare products directly to my face and I haven't worn any again since 2015! I found all my commercial brand makeup, foundations, lipsticks, some of which hadn’t been opened but were expired and containing parabens, and I threw the whole lot out. It was worth a lot of money, but my skin felt wonderful without it. I believed this was my new path, a quest to help others feel confident about themselves within their own beauty, whilst being able to take care of themselves in a holistic way.


Health Wealth & Happiness


or centuries, poets and artists, writers and musicians tried to capture the essence of femininity. Here is the woman who invented the only Swiss watch for women and gave women the chance to express their own essence.

After losing her father, one little girl gave her mother a four leaf clover and said: “Mother, we are saved. I found a four-leaf clover!” Her mother placed it inside her pendant. Later on, when this little girl became a businesswoman, and was facing difficult times, her mother, Odette, unlocked that pendant and showed it to her daughter. Little she knew that with that she unleashed the feminine power in her daughter and a whole wave of love would take the world by surprise. Like her mother, Giselle missed her father greatly, but found comfort and inspiration in her mother’s strength. She learned from her mother that the old saying “ Time is Money” is no longer a true reflection of the business world, and from a woman’s perspective, Time is Life. Against all odds, Giselle Rufer decided to create a Swiss watch for women that would remind her of her father, and it will honour women and their contribution to society, their commitment to life. In an industry where historically only men are allowed, she stepped up to the challenge and became a prominent entrepreneur creator of the chic Delance watch for women. She received numerous international awards for her Innovation but she is yet to be recognised for her contribution to closing the gender gap. Giselle stands for women who, just like her, fight injustice in the work place, and she had to do something to change perception of women in business, decades ago, when empowering women was a tabu topic. She sought of piece of her father to hang on to, a keepsake of his life and personality. Soon she realized that there are many women who are seeking same inside connection with male energy and strength into their life. After balancing her chances and priorities she went on a mission to create timeless Jewellery for other women who yearned for the same experience. This is how the Delance Watch for Women was born. “I created this watch not to be another Swiss Watch, but a new concept to capture the essence of femininity. It reflects the fire and the masculine energy in women’s life. The infinity loop harmoniously links south and north, femininity and masculinity in the flow of cosmos.” Giselle Rufer says. Only 1% of the world population owns the Delance watch at present: famous actresses, politicians, businesswomen, athletes and inventors from around the world. Giselle Rufer is a woman on a mission to celebrate the divine feminine in women from all walks of life. As part of What Businesswomen Want Series, we publish a story by KLS Fuerte, the story of a daughter who gifted her mother the Delance Watch. We were at the London Embassy of The Netherlands, where Sovereign Magazine was launching the Dutch Edition, when I met a group of amazing women. Giselle Rufer, from Switzerland, travelled to London to share her story. After she left the stage, I felt so privileged to be able to have a short conversation with her. We chatted about my book

whole summer that year, she babysat my children so I could write non-stop for 4 weeks. The love she gives is endless, timeless, and I struggled to say “thank you” to her, for all the stardust she covers us with. As she has now left Paris to return to Guadeloupe, we miss her a lot, but we know she is never too far, she is a star. My Mother missed the love and strength of a father, but she transformed this gap into a deep love for her children. My mother was at her home in Guadeloupe when she read Sovereign Magazine. She was so proud to read about me in the magazines, she was over the Moon! She loved every word and perhaps, if you ask her, she knows it by heart! But then, she read Giselle’ story who was featured in the same edition, and saw the green watch, covered in diamonds, stunningly unleashing its beauty on the back cover. What seemed to be a casual comment with the WhatsApp picture of the watch she sent me, simply saying “I LOVE it”. My mother was instantly and positively smitten with the Delance Watch. That was an eureka moment! On reflection, the hundreds of personal gifts I received from her made me feel loved beyond measure, a love that encouraged me to embrace my authenticity that family, colleagues or friends otherwise wouldn’t see, a love that guided me through storm and sunshine.

journey and how my mother, all the way in Guadeloupe had read her story in Sovereign Magazine, but also fell in love with the beautiful green watch on the back cover. Giselle listened attentively and seemed to take in every word very carefully. She asked me questions about my mother, as my mother was a big celebrity and I could see, on her dreamy look, that she was trying to picture my mother. On reflection, I think she was designing my mother’s watch in her mind already… Just like Giselle, my mother lost her father too early in her life, in fact, her father died in a tragic jeep accident, before she was born.

Mom always comes first. That’s the rule. I can’t buy my mother’s love—I already have it! but I can say that, finally, I found something that I always felt, my mother’s feminine power and something that she always was searching for… This watch will re-connect her with her father, a man she never met, but she inherited his strength and determination to succeed in life. A nostalgic and powerful story is written from the moment my mother’s watch was designed, travelled to her home in Guadeloupe, from Switzerland via London, and treasured until the very last day.. Once on my mother’s wrist, this watch will find its way back into the secret pulse of mother and daughter#s never ending love. Rich with sentiment, this watch is personalised in meaningful ways to honour our bond and be passed down from generation to generation as an heirloom from the heart.

My mother, Elizabeth, came to this world without a father. She never experienced the presence of her father in her life, she does not know what it feels like to have a “dad” and she will never know. She had no choice but to love him in his absence. Her whole life, she has been searching for this father figure, this feeling of being protected by a strong man, and this gap, as she told me yesterday, it will never close. She never sat me down and said: “You must be strong in life”, instead, she was the definition of strength, in her body and soul, and I saw that every day I spent with her. Watching her re-inventing herself time after times, I became the woman I am today. When I have felt low, she was there, even from a distance. My mother is like a star, even when you don’t see her, you know she is there, guiding you with her own light. I have always dreamt of writing and wanted to write, but my mother made it possible. She laid the first brick to build that dream. She spread her stardust onto me without even knowing it. The trust she has in me is disarming. Before my first book was published, she simply helped, without questioning my decisions and with that my mother Elizabeth gave me the wings to write. For the


Success Stories


esley Calvó has always been an entrepreneur, starting up and running her own company straight after she left university.

Whilst achieving great success on the outside, on the inside Lesley experienced high levels of anxiety, depression and workaholism. Through her own journey of self discovery and finding ways to align success and happiness, as well as to run a business and thrive internally, she became aware of her unique essence and joined the awakening wave of entrepreneurs who consciously unlock and reclaim the life they deserve. She went back to education, this time with a profound desire to learn who she is inside. Lesley became a Coach, Reiki Master, Hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner and started a practice in London where she helped hundreds of people to change their lives for the better. Here she is sharing her story to help you start your journey of self-healing and self-awakening. This is her story... “In an ideal world, women who are thinking of starting their own business or women who have a business, want to see their business grow to the next level, while having more time and being able to enjoy the process. When I moved to Switzerland, I took a sabbatical to write my first novel and start a family. I finished the novel and my daughter is now older. I felt the need to help people to achieve their dreams again and be of service, helping people actualize this goal of creating balance. The sheer vastness and imaginative potential that life has in store all too often eludes us because of the limiting thoughts and rehearsed self-doubt, which we’ve accepted as our own realities. At least this was the case when I was in the darkest and lowest time of my life; dealing with depression, the dissolution of my parents’ marriage and losing my sense of self and will to live, silenced by suicidal thoughts. Despite this, I was able to complete University at the top of my class with distinction in Jewellery Design in London. Upon graduating, I started my own business, designing and producing high end jewellery; managing to bottle and bury the recurring dark feelings mentioned above, throwing myself into work. My first

Aligning your potential for greatness with your inner authentic voice collection caught the eye of Harrods of London, leading to them buying the entire collection. My business skyrocketed. My company grew to 6 figures very quickly, with my jewellery having a store-front presence around the globe. While trailing my way as an influencer in the fashion and jewellery industry, guest lecturing and judging international jewellery competitions, and consulting for top names such as Vivienne Westwood, Dior, Cartier and Swarovski, I realized that my drive and thirst for success was not fulfilling me the way I had hoped. As my success continued, I looked around at my fellow colleagues and visionaries, and wondered if their definition of success was providing them nourishment or if they felt the same emptiness and void as I did. It was this moment, on a day like any other day, when I decided to take a good look at myself. I realized that my drive towards success and recognition was simply me trying to outrun myself, the suffering self that I believed was long buried and the depression which I thought I rendered manageable. This realization, of a compartmentalized self, resulted in my feeling a deep sense of imposter syndrome. It became clear that functioning and chasing success was not the same as thriving and living a healthy honest life where success, ambition and my inner voice lived in harmony. This ownership of looking inward and letting the healing start from

Column Photo credit Alexandra Roth.

within led me to seek growth and a higher state of consciousness, which organically led to be a Life Coach and NLP Practitioner, as well as a Certified Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. The journey of self-healing and self-awakening showed me the power and importance of aligning the inner and outer world, and that true success truly thrives when there is inner peace and self-acceptance. In being an agent of change in my own life, I’ve been able to be a beacon of guidance for other women, helping them break out of their self-imposed mental blockages and limiting mind-sets. Through my one-on-one online coaching I help women unlock their potential; whether they’re thinking of starting their own business, or they have a business and would like to grow it to the next levels, all while creating better time management, more self-awareness and achieving the income they deserve. My services will help you not only grow your business but also to grow the powerful engine from within. My services are online; therefore, you can be anywhere in the world. I currently service clients in Australia, USA, the UK and Switzerland. With my many hats as a writer, mother of a creative and curious 5 years old and loving wife—I am humbled that I have been able to continue to follow my passion and help women entrepreneurs awaken, unlock and claim the life they deserve. As a reader of Sovereign magazine, I am truly honoured to share my story and my mission to help women create the income, conscious life ownership and active impact over their lives that they deserve. Please visit my website and mention “Sovereign Magazine” in the subject heading to start our conversation, as I am offering a limited amount of complimentary 30 min Business Growth Sessions, and let’s uncover your greatness and success from the inside out, while helping you achieve the income and business growth you have always dreamed of.”


Success Stories

Best Mommy Hacking Secrets to Combat Overwhelm and live a meaningful life Interview with Mirsada Hoffman | by Dr Marina Nani


n American living in Switzerland, Mirsada Hoffmann is very passionate about empowering women to be and feel their best. As an expat mum of four kids herself, and with a husband who works and travels extensively, Mirsada always had a strong network and community around her, but she wasn’t happy and fulfilled. Being a mother has always been an important priority for her, but deep down inside, she felt something was missing but like most mums, she was always putting everyone and their needs first. Being everything for everyone left her feeling lonely, angry, stressed, worried and lacking in self-confidence. She often wondered how did she end up in this situation? Being the person she always said she would never become. This led her to start on a journey to reconnect with herself and clarify her purpose in life. Accountability was that missing key and once she started to give herself permission and create accountability, her goals and dreams started taking form and shaping a new reality. In the process, she realised that she created a transferable system for accountability. She didn’t start big, and her motto was “small consistent steps toward a better, healthier, happier life.” Mirsada owns a coaching business that focuses on helping moms who want to rejuvenate their passion for life and say “YES” to themselves.

Staying at home but searching for something more What inspired you to create your coaching business? For more years than I care to count, my happiness, confidence and self-esteem suffered. I knew what I wanted but couldn’t get organized or motivated. I was putting everyone ahead of me and my dreams. Before I took back control of my life and destiny, I was constantly feeling defeated, weak, powerless really. At that time, I felt like I had no control over the things that were important for my dreams. I spent many days and nights frustrated with my inability to do the things I really wanted while spending all my time doing everything for everyone else! Yet, I was fiercely determined not to get lost in the weeds of life because I knew that life is really worth LIVING and I didn’t want to be a bystander who was taken with the crowd. What led you to the decision to start your coaching business? Before becoming a mom, I had a very successful career supporting families caring for aging parents and then trans-


ferred those interpersonal skills to fundraising at the lop level for meaningful and impactful organizations. When I became a mother, I was driven to share my knowledge and passion with other moms. Motherhood is hard work that can often feel unappreciated and undervalued. I want to support other moms in realizing and respecting their importance and impact while also realizing that giving SO much of themselves is not only harmful to themselves, but their children and their husband too. “I want you to wake up excited about the day ahead.” What problems are you solving? I work with moms who suffer from dissatisfaction and fatigue to reconnect with themselves. As mothers we have been trained to put everyone first, yet, secretly feel frustrated that we have to bury our own needs and desires to take care of everyone else’s needs. I help moms who love being mothers but feel burned out by motherhood. They are searching for more enjoyment in life while rediscovering their sense of purpose. These moms are struggling with a wide range of feelings like frustration, anger, resentment and lack of purpose. Feeling their efforts are going unnoticed and like what they are doing isn’t impactful and doesn’t really matter. We all want to matter and feel like what we do makes a difference. I help moms realize that by burying their needs and desires they are actually harming their families as well as themselves. By the time a mom comes to work with me, her confidence has been suffering for some time. I work with moms on creating new routines and dynamics that increase their confidence and their personal satisfaction. Resulting in more happiness and harmony in all aspects of their lives. I work one on one with moms to personally address their individual needs and support them in the best and most impactful way. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced thus far? As moms we are so focused on taking care of everyone else that we don’t see how our behavior is setting bad patterns for our children. For years I thought giving my whole self to my family was a beautiful sacrifice. It wasn’t until I was on the phone sobbing to my mom that I started to realize how harmful it was to me. It has been challenging to get other moms to fully understand how their self care is not only a bad example for their kids but sets up poor boundaries that harm the whole family.

You may feel frustrated and discouraged wondering when you are going to get it together to make your dreams a reality; I am here to tell you, there are women who not long ago were just like you, but now they feel invigorated, energized and accomplished. By taking small measured steps they took control, pushed through fear, gaining courage and strength discovering they could do it. YOU CAN DO IT TO. You have what it takes to gain a fresh perspective, you may just need a little kick start.

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Success Stories

What does it take to raise a confident child? The “village” of nannies who bring the magic to your child’s life. Interview with Tanya Jeannet | By Dr Marina Nani


hen Tanya Jeannet had her second baby, she struggled to source a nanny in Switzerland. Managing work and childcare was taking a toll on her wellbeing and Tanya decided to launch a nanny agency in Switzerland called Rockmybaby® in November 2012. Initially Tanya launched Rockmybaby® in Zurich but soon she had to fulfil a wider demand and her client’s needs, and she upscaled her business model throughout the whole of Switzerland in 2013. Rockmybaby® has fast became a leader in its field in Switzerland ,and continues to expand and develop, serving parents and nannies and managing their expectations with bespoke childcare solutions for babies and those who love and care for them. What gave you the courage to launch and expand your business in the whole of Switzerland? I identified a need as a mother and I could relate to all those families needing support. I am an expat Swiss mom with no family infrastructure and therefore relate to how hard it is doing it alone and I wanted to provide a support to families needing relief and help as I did and still do! What makes your business so desirable by both parents and nannies? Rockmybaby® has fast become a leader in its field in Switzerland and continues to expand and develop, ensuring we are able to serve our clients and nannies accordingly and to the best of our ability.


Rockmybaby has been described as having a “high touch, personal service” by our clients and our aim is to provide a superior service with the utmost integrity and value. Striving to help families find their perfect nanny, childcare and private household staffing solution - saving you the time and effort of recruiting privately whilst giving you peace of mind as we do thorough background checks and screening. We assist with full recruitment process from sourcing, interviewing, screening and background checks as well as assistance with the employment contract and assisting families to set up the correct employment relationship with regards to payroll and insurances, pensions and taxes etc. What problems are you solving and what are you specialties? We manage recruitment and placement of nannies, maternity nurses, housekeepers and other household staff. Depending on our clients’ needs the placement could be permanent, temporary, full and part-time live-in and live-out. Quite often we provide Emergency Placements, Babysitter Placements, Proxy Parents, Maternity Nurses and Aupairs. Many mothers are going back to work or just need support at home as quite often, especially with international families , they do not have the family infrastructure to support them in childcare, as they say, it takes a village to raise a child - we help create that “village” for them. We are also aware that parents just need some time off and going on a date night could be a bridge too far! We have an online booking system operating 24/7. All our sitters are personally interviewed, referenced checked and vetted. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced thus far? Time as always – trying to balance family life and work but as the kids are getting older it has gotten easier. Working for yourself does not necessarily mean more time for your family, just that you can structure it the way you want which gives a lot of flexibility and allows me to be there for me kids when they need me.


Success Stories

Heart and Soul

How Caroline Palmy Lets Her Intuition Guide Her | By Alexis Boddy


s entrepreneurs, we want to make a difference, solve problems and, ultimately, change the world. But it’s rare that business owners are able to reach people’s souls in a tangible, life-altering way. Unless you are Caroline Palmy, that is.

Caroline Palmy is an award-winning author, speaker and heart flow healer. She has built a successful business through her combination of analytical skills and her natural empathic abilities. We caught up with her to find out why following your intuition is important both in business and in life. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor. I ended up studying maths and physics, then utilising these skills as an analytical programmer and then as a business manager on the trading floor of a bank. Ten years ago my marriage fell apart. I woke up one morning and realised that I didn’t know who I was anymore. So much of my life had been wrapped up in keeping my marriage together and trying to keep my husband happy that I had lost myself somewhere along the way. How did you turn that into a business? I had a bad skating accident, which left me with a concussion and whiplash. I was in a lot of pain but the painkillers were making me nauseous. I asked around on Facebook and some friends recommended Pranic healing and EFT (emotional freedom techniques). I tried out both and I absolutely loved them. So much so, that I ended up enrolling on some courses in both Pranic healing and EFT, becoming a practitioner in the latter. I also studied angelic healing and coaching, later becoming an angelic healer. But I still felt that there was something missing, that my intuition was leading me down a different path. That’s when I discovered that I am a heart flow healer and am able to help people connect and heal by opening up their hearts again to the flow of love. From there I began writing books, speaking at events, holding workshops and being interviewed for podcasts. A whole world of amazing opportunities opened up to me and allowed me to follow my passions. I suppose I did become a doctor, only not in the way I’d originally imagined. I’m a healer of a different kind. Tell us some more about what you do. Relationships are at the centre of everything we do. A big part of what I do is clearing the blocks created by past relationships so that people can move forward. Essentially I help people to come back to themselves, to see clearly


who they are, the path they’ve taken and their true essence. Once they see that, I then help them to feel a profound compassion for all aspects of themselves, to open up their hearts, to free themselves from worries, fear, pain and hurt. It’s about fundamentally changing a person’s feeling of self-worth, their ability to love themselves and to embrace their entire being. My mantra is: ‘Be in the flow of love.’ What are some of the most rewarding and, conversely, most challenging aspects of your business? It can sometimes be a lonely path, especially when people don’t take me seriously. It’s challenging to find the right way to share my insights and my approaches as everyone has their own prior experiences. But the rewards far, far outweigh the challenging aspects. When a client shares with me that she can finally love her son (after having had a challenging relationship), or when another client is able to let go of her abusive ex after only one session and is ready to see him again, without fear at their children’s party. When my clients can see their path clearly, when they are full of energy and moving forward, when they feel like dancing with joy after having released a heavy burden. All of this helps me know that I have chosen the correct path. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone starting their own business or setting out on a new path? Keep going, take it easy, be flexible. You don't have to have it all figured out, it’s ok to get started and then change and evolve along the way. Do what feels right for you, everyone else will give you their opinions on how you should do business but ultimately, your intuition will guide you. Don’t spend too much money at the beginning, only do things you feel really called to, otherwise you can spend a fortune without any real benefits. And finally, how would you define success in one sentence? Success is doing what you love, with love and remembering to share and receive love while doing it. About Caroline Palmy. Caroline Palmy is an award winning Author, Speaker and heart flow healer. Her first book 'Conversations With Me' was published July 2018, and won a mention on Janey Loves Platinum Award List. Her second book 'Loving Conversations With Me' was published on May 6th 2019, and went on the bestseller list. Connect with Coroline by visiting her website ( or social media.


Success Stories

Retirement Done Right | By Dr Marina Nani


fter her early retirement from working in finance, Eula Clarke became a serial Entrepreneur, focusing on the Health and Wellness of Women. Young at heart, Eula Clarke applies her 45 years of expertise and excellent communication conducting her new business at the highest standards of integrity & professionalism. The oldest of three sisters, Eula Clarke grew up in Jamaica until the age of nine, when she followed her parents to the UK, after living with her grandparents while her parents settled. Spending most of her childhood and adult life in Birmingham, UK, education was key for Eula’s family, and a passion for her. A promising athlete at school, Eula went into the world of finance at 18, and remained there for many years, before leaving to set up her own health and wellness consultancy, Clarkes Associates Consultancy Ltd. How did you come up with the idea to start a health and wellness consultancy after you retired? For most of the first half-century of my life (I plan to live to a hundred!) I dedicated my time and energy to helping people manage their finances and prepare for retirement. I am well accustomed to terms like retirement income, insurance, lifestyle, wellbeing and planning. It is just fair to say that I took advantage of what I offered to everybody else, in terms of preparing for a happy retirement, both financially and emotionally. Unfortunately not many people I know are making the best of what is available to them— and when I retired in 2017, I decided to be loud about the choices I make, and help more people find their financial freedom and enjoy life to the fullest, instead of suffering from ‘victim’ syndrome.

I retired early to take control of my own life, and in doing so, I came to understand why people talk about wellbeing as if it is an out of reach dream. Getting closer to a ‘blue zone’ lifestyle instead of turning myself into a grumpy retired person, I realised that there are too many people who suffer after retirement, instead of enjoying the fruits of their labour. I know from my own experience that, regardless how well prepared you are for retirement, the finite nature of financial resources, and health and wellness is always at the back of your mind. While money is not everything, I decided to enjoy the richest season of my life and I opened my own consultancy firm with a focus on the health and wellbeing of women executives who, just like myself not so long ago, never think of themselves. It is an old dream of mine since I was in full-time employment and didn’t have the gift of time. What Inspired you to launch your own company after retiring? The idea was to share my own experiences and offer my own solutions to wellbeing to other women, so they do not struggle with the work life balance as I did. As you can probably tell, I love talking with people and building life lasting relationships I was working full-time, and therefore had no time for anything else. Having achieved everything I ever wished for (and more) in the corporate world, but at the price of my own health. I was inspired to become an Entrepreneur by the freedom of being my own boss, structuring my day, duties and development. I love helping others and building a team. This made me focus on me, for a change. It is a different kind of work , but it’s truly rewarding. When I started this journey, my health and wellness were at ground zero, I had to take a deep

breath and start again, change my lifestyle completely and learn to live a well-balanced life. How do you use your own experiences to provide the services you offer? Clarkes Associate Ltd focuses on Women in Leadership, supporting female executives to be better managers and experts in their chosen fields. I’ve been suffering with high blood-sugar levels and I was always curious about alternative medicine options rather than medications. I began studying to become a Naturopath in Alternative medicine to address my own health issues and mitigate the damages created by workrelated stress over the years. In my capacity as a health and wellness coach, I am passionate about supporting my clients with their health concerns and vitality. I have tested various solutions to detox my own system, I have dropped from a size 20 to size 14 and I am maintaining my weight. My solution to wellbeing is transferrable and I use it to educate and guide as many women as possible! While caring for my mother, it could be challenging to manage my time. I have discipline in my life, but I am no stranger to unforeseen circumstances. I learnt to overcome setbacks, I plan my day, setting my goals in advance. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone who is facing retirement? Retirement is not easy. Maintain an active lifestyle, get involved in wellness projects, and connect with vibrant, likeminded people. If you don’t know where to start, be curious, ask questions, seek knowledge. Do you know that you can actually reduce your health care spending? Make a deliberate decision to get younger each day!


About Eula When Eula received her Woman of the year Award she delivered substantial revenue and business growth in Banking and Finance fields. A topperforming Management Professional credited with extensive years of experience, combining customer services, branch operations, and business development, Eula decided to embrace retirement with renewed energy.. Eula has been married to her husband for over 40 years, and together they have an adult daughter who is a successful lawyer. In her seminars, Eula uses her experience to help women cultivate relationships with their partners and families, as well as teaching them how to run a business in partnership with their spouse. A philanthropist at heart, Eula loves fundraising and runs Women in Leadership seminars around the UK


Business Solutions

Redefining Business Success:

10 Ways to Take Your Business to the Next Level | By Brigitte Lawler


very entrepreneur works hard, cares passionately about their business, and is motivated by a desire to expand and succeed. Business success is driven by business growth, especially in those first critical years when you are building a strong foundation in the marketplace. As an entrepreneur myself, I know firsthand what it means to grow a business. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride of exhilarating highs and miserable lows. Days of fun and energy as well as days of stress and despair. It can feel overwhelming because there are so many aspects of the business to stay on top of on a day-to-day basis, and yet there is a dire need to have that strategic view of how to grow the business further, and to reach that next level. One thing to bear in mind is that we are living in a new economy, one that demands a new business reality. In this age of innovation, technology and immediacy, there is a multitude of choices for each and every consumer in the market. How does a business compete in this environment? How does a business stay relevant? There are many ways to answer that question, but one thing is for sure: staying the same and continuing business as usual will not be enough. Each and every business leader should be asking themselves the question: “how do we take our business to the next level?� On the most basic level, business growth can be defined as any of these measures: more sales, more customers, more revenue and better profit margins. Ultimately that is what we aim to achieve, but how do we get there? I believe that there are a number of ways that we can take our businesses to the next level of growth and each time we achieve another level, it will result in more sales, more customers, more revenue and better profit margins. Let us focus on this concept of The Next Level. I use this term a lot because it is very broad and can mean almost anything to anyone, and that is precisely the point. The Next Level for any business depends on where that business is currently, the market situation, the business strategy and the most pressing need to be addressed. What is the next level for your business? How would you describe the number one need that you have? What is that one need that that if you could satisfy it, you would achieve exponential growth in your business? To stimulate some answers to these questions, here are 10 ideas of what a next level need could be for your business:


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.



Being able to significantly increase the productivity or output with similar resources. Being able to increase sales significantly through a better converting sales process. Being able to attract many more clients. Being able to attract different types of clients, with different demographics, in different locations. Scaling the business by expanding into different geographical locations. Scaling the business through digitalisation and creating a virtual value offering with a virtual marketplace. Scaling the business by diversifying your product and building an ecosystem of product choices. Strengthening your brand and growing a strong following of brand advocates by creating an amazing customer experience journey. Developing a rock-solid culture within your organisation, so that people are equipped to work at the right pace of change and have strong engagement in your business success. Developing leadership that navigates uncertainty and fosters resilience so that your team is unshakeable and unstoppable in the pursuit of achieving the right goals.

Your business will almost certainly need several of these 10 topics over time. I would not recommend tackling several points at once because each one requires significant focus to achieve. I suggest that you take a moment to reflect on the list. Read through the 10 points again and ask yourself these 2 questions: • Which one is the most urgent requirement for your business right now? and • Which one do you think your main competitors are focusing on as their priority? We know how important it is to take a business to the next level. For some companies, the most pressing need may require a significant effort to do that. For other companies, it might be that a tweak or an adjustment is needed that will unlock the next level potential. Whatever it is, something can be done and this is what will set your business ahead of the others and lead you to further success in the new market economy. About Brigitte Lawler Brigitte Lawler is an international speaker, best-selling author, founder and CEO of LEGEND SA. She is on a mission to bring inspired ideas to life by building businesses that matter and thrive in this new economy. Brigitte is the CEO of Legend SA (www.legend. Legend consult and advise companies to keep them ahead of the curve, helping startups break out, and helping established companies take that next step.


Business Solutions

LIVING THE FEMININE FUTURE Seaside Retreat For Women Leaders

Class Coaches




With Denise Nickerson & Michelle Guiliano Founders of Salt Consulting & Communications

n this months edition of First Class Coaches, we have a question from entrepreneur Ann Grandchamp. Her challange is to find quality networks in a new country where she can meet likeminded professionals. Networking is the most important action you can take and a challange that too many entrepreneurs fail to overcome. It is therefore important to always put time aside to attend events, meet ups and consider joining proffesional clubs AND don't limit yourself to meeting people in your industry, cast a wide net, you never know what you will reel in!



Q. Dear First-Class Coaches,

My life was turned around and my health was transformed when I learned how to retrain my brain and harness the mind and body connection. I put depression and chronic anxiety behind me and love life. My mission now is to transfer this knowledge and these amazing tools to others so they too can love life and influence their health for the better ( My question is:


How do I find the best places to network? How do I get the opportunity to give talks and get the word out about what I do in a country that has never heard about the Lightning Process? Many thanks for your help and support! Ann Grandchamp

A. Dear Ann,

Congratulations on taking charge of your health and life! Clearly your personal experience will lend authenticity and heart to your coaching practice. As a pioneer for any new technique or method, you have both a challenge (being seen and understood) and an opportunity (you’re the first!).


Co-working spaces often welcome free talks and will connect you rapidly to the most active and enthusiastic entrepreneurs in local communities. Entrepreneurs are hungry for personal development and ready to value themselves with the attention and time it takes to listen and learn. As you provide a service that can be a compliment to traditional medicine, you might also consider contacting coordinators of support groups linked to therapy centers, hospitals,















and clinics. Schools have staff meetings where you could give short talks to teachers and administrators, as well as parent associations. Some companies allow coaches and trainers to give lunchtime talks to their employees. Once you start booking talks, you need to make sure you have a simple and clear message prepared – with key words you repeat in your branding and social media. You want to make those who encounter you curious because you are introducing something new – but keep the first, free taste of what you can teach relatable, simple, and clear. Be sure whenever you interact with the public to ask questions too! Your services solve a problem, and to communicate that you should cultivate current understanding of how people see their problems. Focus on the solutions you can support and provide – those in need will seek more in-depth coaching and training and they will be ready for the details. Cultivate a marketing mentality so that you track and measure your costs and so you don’t feel discouraged – any costs in time, energy, transport, or even coffee that allow you to give free sessions are a part of your marketing budget. At the end of each talk, have an easy way for people to sign up for your courses, seminars, or one-on-one sessions. Good luck – the time is right as more and more people are doing what you did, taking control of their own health! Your First-Class Coaches, Denise Nickerson & Michelle Guiliano







Important: The advice offered in this column, in print media and on any website or digital form, is intended for informotional and entertainment purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the advice, treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed legal professional, phy- sician or mental health professional. This column, its au- thors, the newspaper and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.


Do you need an outside perspective on a situation in your work or life? Are you facing a slump in motivation? Do you need help with a decision? Are you dealing with an issue that you just don’t know how to handle? Would you benefit from new ideas? If you answered “Yes!” to any of these questions, then your very own team of First Class Coaches are here to help! You can submit questions about your team dynamics, your business, your next steps, and your big dreams for positive impact in the world! You can ask any question about your personal and professional growth and development to help you live better. You can sign your question or submit it anonymously. Each month, we’ll select one or more letters for our First Class Coaches to answer. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road; but, you might be surprised how many others are dealing with
something similar. Write in, and not only will you get a boost of positive energy, so will all of our readers. Your authenticity can help many!





Business Solutions


olding a ticket to a big event is a matter of the heart, nothing compares with the joy and anticipation of being part of something big and meaningful. You can only hope that the event you are attending is not going to be added to the list of traumatic events like the Manchester and Las Vegas shootings, or the crowdcrush in Duisburg. Are the big players of the event industry, local governments and emergency services prepared for every type of security and safety issue the modern world could bring? How can proper planning, a good venue design, and resilient safety organisations help to prevent and deal efficiently with any possible accidents or incidentsincidents? We met Marit Elders at the Powerful Business Women Network in the Netherlands, and she told us about her company, Event Safety Academy, which offers safety solutions for the big players of the event industry.

Is Safety an Illusion? How to use the power of knowledge to strengthen the event industry Interview with Marit Elders, Founder The Event Safety Academy | By Dr Marina Nani

What inspired you to create The Event Safety Academy? As a young girl I was always around the safety & security portacabin of events as a volunteer. One day when my father came back home from the construction of this event, his face was pale, completely shocked. He stood nearby when a 23 years young woman was runover by a spike. Causing serious injuries. In that moment, I felt the importance of the coordination work that was being done in the portacabin and I became aware that it was in charge of people’s lives. Later on, the girl and I became friends and worked together on the event. We hear ‘the worst kind scenario never happens’ a lot, but when it does, life changes dramatically. Organisers are responsible for lives when planning and producing events, as are local governments when approving or declining them. Of course, total safety is an illusion, but decision makers need to be conscious about the risks. It’s better to be safe than sorry. What are your responsibilities? As founder of the Event Safety Academy, I help municipalities and emergency services to further professionalise safety at events, to accelerate the joint results, and to achieve more results with less consultation. Which can be a challenge. From an early age I have been involved in event safety and I now have more than 25 years of practical experience at various events. As a safety coordinator for an event of 55,000 people, I had 180 volunteers and 4 coordinators in a weekend. Due to growth, it was a challenge to organize that every year without any budget. In addition, in three months I have reached an agreement on the events framework on behalf of the police and district college for six municipalities and the three emergency services in the Dune and Bulb region. The result was a more tactical deployment of the police, less police capacity, and one permit for the Flower Parade instead of five. I was also commissioned by the police to bring the risks to the attention of the mayor of Tiel regarding running two event at the same time, Appelpop and Fruitcorso. In 10 months' lead time, a change has taken place and an investigation has finally been carried out at the event site into the prospective dangers. The two events are no longer organised at the same time, which was previously unthinkable.


It has resulted in increased security, improved coordination and information, less police capacity, and more tactical deployment. To make working on and around the event site easier and more effective, I use my experiences and training in project management and change management (from my banking and insurance career) to join forces and strengthen the event safety network. What are the challenges associated with event safety management? At most of the events that are held in the Netherlands annually ‘nothing really happens’. So why go through all the hassle my business presents to the organisers? This is often an argument of many people and why politicians often don’t want to listen to the warnings of event safety officers. Event Safety Academy helps the event safety officers to be heard on the level of decision makers and who is responsible when –avoidable things go wrong. To identify the risks and prepare properly for the event, enough time is needed. Often safety plans are delivered late, the legislation process takes a lot of time and the political decision making is slow. There is no time left for the most important part, which is the operational planning. We help to come to the forefront of this process to create enough time for preparation and unexpected issues. City centres and national events, like our well-known Kings day in Holland (our Kings’ national birthday party) are the most difficult situations for event safety planning and keeping public order. It is possible to look at the city as one big identity where we can see the risks immediately, and develop measures to prevent or reduce risks. Who are your clients and what are the benefits of working with you? Event Safety Academy helps local governments and emergency agencies to professionalise the event safety with training, risk assessments, coaching-on-the-job and change management programs. We accelerate the decision making process, and we guarantee less meetings with more results. The mayor of a city where the event will be held gives his authorization and validation to organisers to proceed with their events,if something goes wrong, he will be the one who needs to deal with the press and his decision is the first subject of investigation. The officers of the local government and the emergency agencies need to advise the mayor on these risks, whether it is reasonable to give the licence and how to deal with the remaining risks. A lot of knowledge, experience, stakeholders and political forces are involved in this process. About Marit Elders Marit Elders is an Event Safety Project Manager and Change Manager living in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. She graduated from the University of Derby in 2018 with a diploma in Event Safety Management and founded the Event Safety Academy, Marit also works on various other projects.


Business Solutions

Eyes On The Stars & Feet On The Ground How to create and maintain Sustainable employability Interview with Claudia Ziegler-Zech, CEO of HRM4 | By Dr Marina Nani


t the start of the third millennium, corporations are consciously working on growing to build a legacy. With fast moving technological advancement and globalisation, an increasing number of companies are growing fast and understand a simple fact: if they want to stay relevant, they need dedicated teams of people who aren’t only essential, but the real assets of a successful business. Can an employer attract the kind of committed employees they need to succeed? Can we ensure that they remain fit, committed and happy? Can a company become sustainable when focused on the health, commitment and development of their employees? To find out, we asked Claudia Ziegler-Zech, an expert in sustainable employability with a stellar record of HRM projects behind for companies such as: BT Global Services, VimpelCom (now Veon), TNT (now PostNL), Sara Lee (now Hillshire and Douwe Egberts), Sensata Technologies, Wärtsilä, LogicaCMG (now CGI) Personal & Informatik AG, NIBC, Unie van Waterschappen, Leaseplan, E&Y and Raet. Tell us about one of your latest project of sustainable employability? During the last year, my work at Pontis Engineering was subsidised by the European Social Funds. By using my knowledge, experience and clear methods, I improved working conditions for all employees at the company. Starting with a broad HR scan, we evaluated the situation and defined the company’s future scope. By discussing HRM subjects individually, and defining points of improvement within small groups, we agreed upon better working conditions. Besides reviewing the personnel handbook, we implemented a new appraisal and performance bonus system. We took more time to realise individual life and work balance, and personal development. What is the secret behind your success in heading HR projects? During the day I never get tired of analysing everything. By example, when I am drinking a cup of coffee, I think about how the coffee is made, from where the coffee beans come from, to how the coffee is brewed (I even think about the process of manufacturing the mug). I suppose I apply the same analytical thought process to HR projects. Like, how many people would work in that firm? Do they work under reliable circumstances? How are their families? etc. I create ideas to improve everything, the work environment of the people, the lives of their children and so on. I guess the secret is just that. I look past the immediate needs of a company when they consider what their HRM system should be.


What does your business do? delivers full service HRM Office for your company. Currently we cover companies in the Netherlands, but we hope to expand in the near future. We work with each client’s individual needs, but overall, we cover the following areas: - Outsourcing and digitalisation of HRM Administration & Payroll. - Business Partners and Strategic HRM Consultancy at the company’s location. - HCM, Digital Personnel files, Workforce Management, and Software Implementations. - CLA, Pension Plans, Employee Insurances, - Managing Sick Leave and Company Doctor - Organizsng Training and Coaching. Everything you can imagine for your employees, HRM4 can realise it. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced thus far? The biggest challenge I have faced was the moment I realised I cannot deliver everything by myself and had to find the right consultants to help me out. Fortunately, I can rely on a big network of specialised HRM companies and experts. Every time it is a challenge to find the matching competences and skills. I’m only satisfied if the consultant and client are aligned entirely. We work in a field with facts and feelings. People have multiple ideas about how HRM works (or should work) so there is no standard. Your favourite quotes is “Keep your eyes on the stars and the feet on the ground” What drives your vision to change the landscape of employment? My mother is a great influence and inspiration and my adoptive father taught me to explore the world, learn languages and be open to other cultures: “Whatever people believe in, we all come from the same source.” As a teen, I resisted everyone who wanted to lead me. Driven by adventure I got pregnant at 17. From the first second I loved my baby girl and was confident to raise her on my own. Finding my destiny, I was sure I had to leave Germany and to settle in the Netherlands. I got married, had a second daughter, and got divorced. I learned that I cannot wait until Mr. Right is solving my problems; I must be responsible for my own solutions; for me, my daughters and the people I’m working for. I’m proud of my daughters who live a life in freedom, leading their own companies. One is a physician and the other is an e-commerce specialist. Both are passionate about what they are doing, finding their own destiny in life. About Claudia Ziegler-Zech With a bachelor’s in economics, Claudia mastered her analytical and people skills in order to explore her destiny in Human Resources Management. She places innovation at the forefront of HR policy and generating a healthy, sustainable work environment is constantly on her agenda, forming an integral part of any projects she runs. Originally from Germany, Claudia resettled in the Netherlands with her first daughters. She draws her inspiration from her mother, who, as a widow raised 3 young children on her own. Claudia worked in HR for numerous companies before setting up her own business HRM4 in 2013.


Business Solutions

Achieving the Unthinkable

Through blood, sweat and tears A story of Drive and Diversity Interview with Joyce Carols van Binsbergen | By Dr Marina Nani


ith a background and degree in Psychology and Social Sciences at the University of Tilburg, over two decades of international professional working experience, Joyce Carols developed into a renowned Mindset & Behavioural expert, International (Tedx) Speaker and Bestselling Author. Her company, Enjoy EsC, offers Success Mindset & Diversity Programs in Business and Personal Development. Joyce is a strong believer in the power of our mind and diversity in all its facets. It is her mission to empower leaders to adopt a Success Mindset to shatter their glass ceiling, embrace (their internal & external) diversity and achieve anything they desire. With a global C-suit clientele she frequently travels and enjoys the different cultures the world offers. Facing many adversities in life, experiencing the diversity gap, the devastating negative behaviour of others (her bosses in her own global corporate and during her entrepreneurial journey), and her experience being a foster mother to two girls from different social and ethnic backgrounds, all fuel her determination to succeed in her mission. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to work with people. I have always been interested in people, their minds and their behaviour. What drives them? What makes them smile? What is their bigger purpose? What’s their passion? What makes them great, the leaders they are, motivators, inspirators and positive influencers? What can I learn from them and how can I support others to be better, great, grow, happier, more successful, positive and balanced between personal happiness and professional success? How can I support them to adopt a Success Mindset, so failure is not an option anymore for them and they can do, achieve or overcome anything they set their mind to? I love getting the best out of others and helping them grow from good, to great, to brilliant! Nothing beats a person that has that sparkle of pure joy and passion in their eyes.


I always had the desire to start my own company and after years in the corporate world and climbing the corporate ladder, I thought it was time to take the jump and go solo. During my Corporate Career the “people side” of doing business always fascinated me and made me thrive as a leader. Being an entrepreneur gave me the flexibility to be at home when needed for my foster children, while still building multiple successful businesses. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced thus far? I am living proof of my mission, adversity struck me more than most could imagine. For example about 20 years ago I broke my neck and was told that I had a 1% chance of ever walking again. But I still managed, against all odds, to fulfil my childhood dream, to get back on my feet and play for the National Field Hockey Team in the World Qualifying Series.

the opportunity and fortune to interact with them, the amazing family I have, and the work I can do. I believe we are as great as the challenges we surpass along the way. I always look for people to learn from, to be inspired by, and who are as positive as I am. On the other hand I always try to give back to the people that I can inspire, the next generation and bigger causes like KeyNote Women. About Joyce Carols Joyce is the founder of Enjoy EsC. Which aims to help international companies, their teams and their

leaders to grow from Good, to Great, and beyond. As the founder and chair of KeyNote Europe’s Women’s Speakers, a non-profit with the aim to bring more diversity to the global stages, she dedicates a great deal of her time as volunteer to support its cause and support the next generation of women speakers. Substantial other volunteer hours go into mentoring the women of The Dutch Business Women, her Entrepreneur Empowering Group and mentoring Groups of Teenage Girls how to adopt a Success Mindset to grow their self-esteem, confidence and happiness.

In 2003 and again in 2008 I saw my own heart monitor go flat when I was lying in the ER suffering major allergy attacks. I barely survived a near-death experience, twice! But no adversity in life stopped me. It taught me a valuable lesson, to appreciate life and all I had. Every time adversity knocked on my door I became more determined to beat it with a positive attitude and strong mind. I was tenacious in my desire to succeed in life and in my mission to change the world by working with leaders and executives, and by speaking on stages. When I ‘came back’ I knew I had to do things differently. I started taking better care of myself, I slowed down, started having a balanced life, eliminating stress inducing causes and I started surrounding myself with likeminded, positive people. The little miracles in the day became more and more important and I really started enjoying every second of the second chance I was given. It’s people I really care about, the experiences I have when I have


Business Solutions

The Courage to Go Global What you need to know about Innovative business development.


Interview with Judith de Leede | By Darie Nani

hen entrepreneurs take the big plunge and go global, they often run into pitfalls. The hurdles in international business can be difficult to spot in time. Whether underestimating the amount of preparation required to enter a new market, or failing to create an export plan, going too fast, often slows down your plans. When you forget to properly consider local markets (like demand and competition) or fail to find a local agent or distributor who understands the USP of your product, you’ll have too much work and too few results. Yes, the pitfalls are numerous, but they are also similar and where there is similarity there is predictability, and where there is predictability there are methods which address it. So, what are these methods? Who is best informed on how to implement them? To help answer these questions, we spoke to Judith de Leede, an innovative International Business partner for companies of various kinds. She works from the Netherlands and helps entrepreneurs worldwide. Her solutions to the export hurdles are optimistic and positive. Judith believes the answers to the pitfalls when going global always have a link with cooperation. With a real knack for cooperation, Judith has earned her accolades in communication, formula marketing, project management, joint promotion campaigns and complex sales and innovation processes. We started by first asking Judith what inspired her to create her business, Alliance Experts: I started Alliance Experts in 2011 alongside an international lawyer, a mechanical engineer and an urban planner. We were inspired by an American idea to support companies in finding the best alliance partners to help them fulfil their needs to innovate and create new business together with another company. Not only because it takes two to tango, but also because one plus one can make three, if you work together well. Simply having a good local business partner in the country you want to do business, can help you enormously. What did you do before? I had been working in an insurance company for many years. It was a large corporation with a strong hierarchical structure. I felt this was a hindrance to my work style and I was too independent to always comply with the rules imposed by a management team in some office somewhere. I had been in b2b sales team for a long time, so I felt confident that if I could sell complex insurance concepts, I could sell anything! Only I didn’t yet know, which product or service would be suitable for the business target group I had in mind. What I did know, was that it had to be something which would combine my knowledge of sales and international business. What hurdles do you help entrepreneurs overcome? When expanding into markets abroad, there is quite a lot to consider. My job is to help people overcome export pitfalls. It may be basics like getting your export plan right, or having an understanding of business and cultural norms in the market you are entering. The legal side of it can also be daunting. Finding the right people on the ground Judith de Leede


who understand that country, is vital. A big part of what we do is putting companies in contact with local experts. This goes beyond understanding the local market. We also make sure they understand the business and product and what its aims are. A partner search by yourself can be very expensive, in both cost and time. Especially when you are a small business or entrepreneur, it can make all the difference to have access to the right people. We make the process accessible and affordable. It also doesn’t matter what stage of the process you are at. Maybe you are starting fresh and we can help from the getgo, or maybe you already have some plans in place or are already in the process of entering a new market, but things aren’t going as well as they could be. Maybe the demand for your product is exceeding expectation and you now need to consider scalability. Can entrepreneurs and small companies really go global, or is this still something reserved for big players? Oh definitely! The changing nature of business and the increasing use of technology really means anyone can go global. Before, only well established companies could realistically pull this off, but now the market is more open, and anyone can trade worldwide. You still need to do your homework and the hurdles are still there, but there is no getting around the fact it has never been more accessible then it is today. Companies like ours are a proof of this. We only exist because there is a demand for our services! If you feel your product would work well abroad or you are in a competitive and over-saturated local market, don’t dismiss the possibilities that trading abroad could bring. Entering new markets is always a risk, what are your top tips for anyone thinking to do so? The biggest risk is that you don’t dare to take any risks.Be creative when you are worried. Brainstorm your problem, be creative with it. Taking matters into your own hands feels good. What makes you happy? What is your dream? Do not make neatly written lists, create a wild, pleasant chaos. Even though it may feel like you’re losing control, new ideas will arise!Treat everything as a learning experiment. Without expectations and perfectionism. Always keep in mind that you are discovering and learning. Think big. The bigger you think, the greater your options. Look for the biggest cooperation partners you can find, they can help you to find the biggest clients! Never give up! Seek support from others, allow yourself a rest period, and then continue with fresh courage. About Judith de Leede Judith launched Alliance Experts in 2011 and it’s has grown into an international network with business partners located around the world. In Europe, Alliance Experts is most active in Germany, France, Spain, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Alliance Experts currently operates with business developers in over 20 countries worldwide. In The Netherlands, Alliance Experts operates the Starters International Business (SIB) programme, subsidised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SIB allows Alliance Experts to support Dutch companies to move towards foreign markets free of charge.


Business Solutions

By Dr Marina Nani

From Cold Calling to Hot Leads “If it looks like work, we stop.” Interview with Monique Hoogkamer, Founder WeCallForYou


magine that one day when you go to work, your boss tells you ‘You are out of date. We have to let you go’. What could be worse than working with a manager who doesn’t see your dedication and effort? And what could be better than leaving them behind to start your own business?! When Monique was fired, she did not know that being free to make better choices for herself was going to fire her up and change her life for good. Her desire to be an independent woman was inspired in early childhood by her mother who stopped working once she got married. Monique learned from her mother, who was an incredible woman, leading a happy life, to focus on what she had, instead of what she didn’t. Happily married, mother of two gorgeous boys, Monique is the founder of WeCallForYou, the defining midfielder which is designed to help companies grow fast from start-ups and scale up to SME.


"We believe people deserve a life of passion, doing what they love, and we free them from doing jobs they hate, like cold calling. People find it difficult to call, especially cold calling. Furthermore, people do not even like it or do not have the time. We call the whole day and are not distracted by other tasks. Everyone’s time is valuable. Our solutions remove the pain of chasing decision makers, and get the job done for them."

MAKE THE CALL NOW! +31 06 55 10 53 01

Monique’s team is a powerful pull of talent as she learned from her manager who not to be and what not to do as a leader. Her formula brings her clients profits in excess of 400%, not just a hot team of cold callers. ‘We work with women only. A female voice sounds much better on the telephone and our clients are aware of that. We work with male clients and they appreciate our feminine charm and listening ear. We work together as a team, we support each other to master our natural skills: leading good conversations, open communicators, we are able to focus on the point of conversation, and switch quickly, to close the deal" “Monique is very passionate about the approach and the follow-up and that is often lacking in sales. Even after the campaign ended, Monique insisted on keeping calling one of the prospects. She had made that agreement and wanted to keep her word.” One of her clients says. Monique understands that success is a two-way street and she teams up with each client, while under contract, becoming part of the client’s company, sometimes, they even move in to run the calls from the clients’ premises and understand their ideal demographic, target audience and lead generation process. "We do everything we can to ensure that our assignment runs smoothly and successfully. Until now I haven’t done that much on marketing. Our customers find us by word of mouth. More often than not, we are recommended by our clients. We want to grow more and more. I know that we have something unique in our hands, something special. We work already for international companies who started new locations in The Netherlands. Our clients trust us to make appointments with companies like Heineken and RTL. We have a script, but we never stick to it." Monique says with a confident smile... “The use of WeCallForYou gave us even more than we expected. We closed the deal in 95% of the cases Of the leads that they generated for our consultants.” Another client says. Could Business become a Woman’s World? Aware that business is still "a man’s world" Monique understands women’s strengths and how to enhance their unique skills within a healthy work environment. ‘Women are more emotional and make decisions with their heart. For women, money is important but not the most important thing. When I need guidance, I ask women for advice, because they understand me better. I don’t want to make decisions purely based on profit only. Growing a team of exceptional talented women is more important to me, and being the leader I never had is my true purpose.’ Monique is an active member of The Powerful Business Women’s Network, and believes business women can support each other in more ways than one. Women are able to understand each other’s vision and their desire for growth goes far beyond financial rewards, they complement each other and make meaningful connections. ‘This is a network for only serious businesswomen who are in business for quite some time and have a minimum turnover of 100.000 euro or far above. We all want to do business internationally, but we want to know how to help each other grow. This is how we do business with other businesswomen worldwide.’


Business Solutions

What Does it Really Take To Be A Powerful Business Women in China?


By Dr Marina Nani

arion Tjin-Tham-Sjin, 45 years old, lives in The Netherlands and takes her inspiration from Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba,’ a selfmade man with a crazy idea (at that time), who had the guts and persistence to make it happen’ Marion says. The daughter of a Chinese father and a Dutch mother, her feelings for her Chinese roots became stronger and stronger after her father passed away in 2003. The loss of her father in combination with her extensive experience as an export manager, her love for China, the fact that the Chinese economy is the fastest growing of Asia, and her International Business Management degree build up her professional confidence to found her own company. Her business, Splendid China, with offices in both Shanghai and The Netherlands, helps European entrepreneurs export their products and services to China.

Export to the biggest market of the world- challenge or opportunity? ‘Most of all it was my father who inspired me. But I also saw many business people returning from China, stating that it is impossible to do business in China, stating that all Chinese are liars. Of course this is not true! So it has become my mission to show that you can do business in China! In fact, with a market of 1.4 billion people the business can be really well, once you understand the cultural differences and are willing to adjust to the market.’ The cultural differences between Europe and China are huge! Of course, the language is a barrier. Not speaking the language, makes you “blind and deaf” at the same time when you enter a foreign country. Research has shown that finding a trustworthy partner is also very difficult for Europeans. In a country so big, like China, where do you start? ‘The internet is also not helpful in this case, if you can’t write or read Chinese. So this is what we do! We help overcome all these cultural differences, help you find the right partner, distributor or customers


and even continue relationship management afterwards. ‘ Marion says. ‘It all comes down to one thing: localize! If you want to do business in China you have to be there! And we are there for you. With our office in Shanghai we can be anywhere in China within a few hours. The Chinese partners, distributors or customers can call us in their own language in their own time zone. They can also visit us and find us on the Chinese social media. This all helps them trust us, and therefore trust you. If you need to build up that trust yourself it would cost you much more long flights to China and much more money. Not mentioning the fact that you have to have knowledge of the market in order to know where to go. But we also help you to be present on the Chinese social media so the Chinese can find you!’

able to share knowledge and networks and maybe even to collaborate in the future you have to get out there! And women’s networks are just one of the possibilities to do so.’ Marion says. Contributing to the Powerful Business Women Network, Marion believes that ‘ It is important to support each other and why shouldn’t we? There is no reason not to support each other, is there? That is one thing we can surely learn from men: they always support each other! ‘

In general many industries are very interesting for China, as long as the products and services are of high quality, innovative or rare in China and are something they have a demand for: chemical industry, energy, high-tech & ICT, horticulture, water. ‘Since my mission is to help as many people as possible we are not disclosing any industry but at this moment we are strong in agriculture & food, build & design, life science & health, tourism and the pet industry.’ Marion comments.

What are the challenges? ‘There are still a lot of prejudices against China. Luckily I am invited to speak at many events in The Netherlands and through the years I noticed that the image of China is slowly getting better, more in balance. Especially young people tend to see the opportunities rather than the difficulties. So this is a good trend! Since we are doing well helping the Dutch companies who want to export to China, the next thing is to expend our services to the UK: helping UK companies to export their high quality products and services to the biggest market of the world! This is the new challenge for 2019!’ What is the key to business success for women? ‘If you go to China, you will notice that men and women are maybe not equal, but yet are equally ambitious. Of the high end jobs and business owners, 51% is female. So to me personally it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. Hardworking, sharing and collaboration is the key to success! But it is true that women are less visible. So in order to get to know each other, to be


Business Solutions

M industrial revolution

ichael Knulst, entrepreneur, international speaker and executive coach, has been in business for more than 30 years, has built multi-million dollar businesses, not once, but three times and knows what success looks like. At present he runs several companies. But not everything flourished in his life. After he made over 75 million dollars on business for the companies he has worked with, he had setbacks, both in life and in business. When the collapsed in 2001 Michael lost everything.

“Rather than resign to fate, I stood up, picked up the pieces of my life and began all over again. During that period, I re-invented myself and learnt some valuable life lessons. Being in business now for more than 30 yearsf making people and companies successful, at some point I have come to the realisation that losing has nothing to do with failure or making mistakes. These occurrences are a necessary part of the process of building your character, testing your endurance and persistence on your way to the top, on your way to success. It is important to understand that in business and in life, it is not only about the money, or about you. It’s always about people, about giving the best you have to give. No matter what you do always provide maximum value!” Michael says. Renowned keynote speaker, Michael travels globally, inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs to give their best selves in order to have successful businesses and fulfilled lives. “I have been speaking on stages in South Africa, France, Germany, UK, USA, Hungary, Belgium and Amsterdam. I have shared the stage with Billionaires, Millionaires and Business Tycoons such as JT Foxx – World’s Number 1 Wealth & Business Coach, Patrice Motsepe - Africa’s first black billionaire, Property tycoon and Real estate billionaire Hugh Hilton, South African billionaire Jenna Clifford and Ndabe Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson who’s taking care of his grandfather’s legacy. Meeting these inspiring people and travelling all over the world, sharing my message have broadened my world’s perspective and enriched my life.” he adds. With his vast expertise, Michael realised that a large number of companies operating worldwide are not ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and do not know how to adapt their operations to new technological breakthroughs. “Today, the market is practicing the 'winner-take-all; scenario implemented within the artificial intelligence revolution and adaptive platforms. A company aspiring to become a leader needs an intelligent platform, which will enable real-time transfer of the corporate business processes to the block chain platform and introduce artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies into decision-making and corporate management processes. This inspired me and my team to create our proprietary solution, “the Sophiq Leadership 4.0 Platform”. Michael explains. In a highly competitive world, business leaders are urged to make right and accurate decisions in a fast way. Traditional leadership mind-sets, styles and ways of working within most organizations are simply not suited to coping with the speed, volatility, complexity and ambiguity of this new operating environment. Michael is aware that companies can no longer differentiate themselves through scale-able efficiency and their goal now is to become more innovative, responsive and agile than ever. “The demand for solutions that enables businesses to make this transition is exponentially growing. And these solutions have one thing in common;


they are powered by Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. And this is my world, the world of Sophiq. Our state-of-the-art Leadership 4.0 Platform enables leaders, teams and networks to make smarter decisions, solve tougher problems and do their jobs better. It empowers firms to transform into self-managed, agile and lean organizations that thrive, engage and contribute to their customers in a better, faster, easier and more cost-effective way, while maximizing the productivity and profitability of their business.” Michael says. Designed for Business leaders, people working in self-managing teams and off course their customers, The Leadership 4.0 Platform of Sophiq is a Data-driven, Industry 4.0 Solution that maximizes Performance and it enables to streamline a business strategy into an easy to understand format. “Sophiq is a Blockchain-based Collaborative Process Control Platform. Our disruptive solution is the first implementation that leverages blockchain for collaborative process execution and monitoring. Sophiq has adopted blockchain technology to address the lack-of-trust problem in collaborative business processes. We have developed an approach to map a business process onto a peer-to-peer execution infrastructure that stores transactions in a blockchain, offering unprecedented benefits.“ Michael Explains Pioneering the new reality of leadership, Michael and his team, took a less travelled road. “On the one hand, as a challenger we have to compete against the established order of consulting and software companies whose business models are based upon obsolete principles and technologies. They are driven by hourly rates and it is in their benefit to spend as many hours as possible. I prefer the performance model, where as a service provider you get paid for performance. On the other hand we have to break through traditional leadership mind-sets, styles and ways of working where the majority of organizations are still captured in. Our credo is 'Less management, more control;. I believe that the traditional management role will become redundant. Not really a message that many people like to hear. So there’s a lot of missionary work to do.” Michael takes inspiration from his faith and biblical leaders. “I am a born again Christian, it is my foundation. The stories in the Bible about great leaders really inspire me. They all have commonalities with the world we are in today; they are people, just like you and me, with dreams, visions, doubts, uncertainties, fears and challenges. But they succeed, sometimes against all odds. Because they pushed through the hardships, they were courageous, persistent and did not ever gave up.” Michael’s success was impacted by working with Mr. JT Foxx, who made all the difference in up scaling his business and delivering his concept to the marketplace. “After more than 30 years of building businesses, having all the successes, I really thought I had seen it all, until I met JT Foxx. He pushed me to step up, to raise my standards, to do more, to give more and be more. He challenges me every day and he follows every step I take. The beauty of working with JT Foxx is that he gives you everything he has; the best of the best coaches, a great staff who is dedicated to serve you, an international network of like-minded entrepreneurs and business leaders to work and partner with. The past 3 years have been amazing; I have made lifelong friendships with JT Foxx students all over the world and last but not least, both my wife and 2 sons are inspired by JT Foxx and have grown so tremendously. That is where my real blessing is.”


Business Solutions

Scan to watch

A Working Mother’s Place in the World of Business

Brilliant Businesswomen


by Beth Davies

aggie Webber defines success not by the size of your house or how flash your car is, but by making sure that your “vocation is your vacation”, that everyday what you are working towards is still lighting a fire in your belly, and that it gives you such joy that you show your gratitude by creating a legacy to leave behind you. Webber remembers a quote from John Grey, “A working mother today is doing her mother and her father’s job. A single working mother is a miracle worker, or she is simply crazy”. This resonated with her, and she soon realised she wanted to share with other mothers her tips and techniques she had learned in order to save her sanity, leading her to start up her own business from home. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? I have never fitted in, especially as a child. I came from a very academic family, where getting a university degree and having a steady, professional job – working for someone else – was the way we were brought up to be. Yet, from the age of 4, I dreamed of becoming an actor and presenting in some way, be it on stage or on the radio. I started earning an income at a very early age; I knew that with a bit of creativity and negotiation, I could earn a lot more than the pocket money I received. I started babysitting at age 9 and had my first basic set of accounts at age 10. Despite ending up with 3 degrees, this was only to impress my family and was not my true passion. I started my own marketing and consultancy company in my late 30’s, which has been a huge success. Was there a major life event that led you to this decision? I had recently returned to Australia after many years of living and working overseas. When I attended interviews upon my return, I was constantly told I was “too overqualified” - so I was happier simply being a waitress for a while, till I found my passion and my lane. Working for other people - who were earning double what I was earning yet had done little study or hard work to get there - greatly frustrated me. So, I thought “enough is enough”, and decided to start my own company. What are the best and most challenging parts of your career? The best part is watching women - many of whom have constantly put everyone else’s needs first, leading to their exhaustion, regret, guilt and often resentment - turn that formula on its head, so that they now put themselves first, and everyone is so much happier because of it!

Get in touch with Maggie on or search for Maggie Webber on


The most challenging part is watching women who, because of their loving, nurturing, kind and perhaps naïve nature, get taken advantage of - in both business and life in general. The most challenging - yet rewarding – part, is making sure these women give themselves some ‘tough love’ and set some good, strong boundaries with those around them. What problems do you hope to solve? For years, I have guided many women to find their passion and purpose, then turn that into a business - that they can run from home if they so choose. These days, I am much more focused on guiding working mothers to learn about the many benefits of Blockchain and Crypto currency, and how to invest their hard-earned finances, in safe, secure yet high earning investments. Behind these projects are a number of disruptive, socially impactful technologies, that not only support investors but they all help the planet as well. What has been the most satisfying moment in your career so far? I have received awards from the Women Economic Forum and been nominated for Telstra Businesswoman of the Year twice, as well as becoming a bestselling author. Although these were great achievements, I believe the most satisfying moment in my career was when I saw one woman – a highly recognised psychologist – have an ‘aha moment’, take responsibility for the part she had played in many of the challenges she had been facing in her life, and also realise how magnificent and gifted she truly was. She turned her attitude from one of being her former husband’s victim, into one of courage, resilience and victory. I glow with happiness and pride every time I think of her! What is the best piece of advice you can give someone starting their own business? Work out your passion and purpose before you start, then draw a team around you to do the parts you do not like or are not your top strengths. It is amazing how inexpensive a virtual assistant or expert on Upwork can be, to help you get the very best from your time and talents. Or even team up with another person - such as another working mother - who is also tired of making someone else a millionaire at their expense! So, work smart, not hard. One of the greatest reasons for my success was that I learned very quickly not to try and do everything myself, but to leverage myself, my time and energy. About Maggie Webber Maggie classes herself as two separate entities; Micro Maggie and Macro Maggie. Micro Maggie is a small business coach and consultant, who is particularly interested in guiding working women – especially working mothers – to start their own business from home. She is the author of the best-selling “A Working Mother’s Guide to a Guilt-Free Career”, and is currently writing another, titled “A Working Mother’s Guide to Blockchain and Cryptocurrency”. Macro Maggie is on the Advisory Board of a global IT platform, which funds businesses with disruptive technologies that assist the hardest working mother of all – Mother Earth. They have raised the investment funds for 45 companies in the past 2 years, and it is their intention to fund another 500 in the next 5 years.


Business Solutions

Thinking BIG: Interview with Brigitte Lawler , CEO of Legend SA | By Darie Nani


n the past year alone, both onstage and off, you’ve impacted thousands of people with your innovative business insights. When it comes to launching a business that is fit and prepared for today’s new economy, what do you believe to be most important? Can you share some of your biggest lessons with our readers? The most important lesson for me was when I realized that being in business is easily possible. I have not had an entrepreneurial background and in the past, I never thought of myself as a “businessperson”, but I realized that my perception of what it means to be a business person was wrong. This is the easiest and least costly time in history to start a business and that is because we are in a new economy. Thanks to this technological era, anyone can open a business without having to have massive capital investments for office space, large teams of people and the usual overheads that the traditional approach required. And thanks to digitalization, we have the global market at our fingertips. There is no limit to who you can reach, as long as you have a product or service that is irresistible to the market, because you solve a relevant problem for someone or ideally for the masses of 'someones'. What is needed to start a business is a good idea, a compelling story, a strategic mind, a determined spirit and access to coaches and experts to guide you on the right path. From your experience, what do you believe separates those who succeed with their goals from those who don’t? Those who succeed have a clear vision, so clear that it is unwavering. The goals they set are fully aligned with that vision and they have laser focus on getting it done. That’s the first sign, and it is usually very apparent when you meet someone because they exude a strength of purpose. They draw you into their story and get you excited even if it is not naturally your area of interest. Those who are successful are people who invest in their own learning, who have great coaches and mentors and who actively surround themselves with positive, like-minded individuals. Successful people build great teams or eco-


systems from the very start and leverage on the collective strengths of the ecosystems to grow. What made you take the leap from a successful corporate career to launching your own business? I have to say that my decision to leave my corporate career was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I was in a good place - I had a global role in a multinational group with influence and impact, and I worked together with amazing people. There was no reason for me to leave other than that I was curious to explore what else I could create, and I wanted to design a more flexible lifestyle. At the time, I did not have plans to create a business. I actually thought I would enjoy some leisure time, but in doing that, I fell in love with the concept of our new economy world. I became fascinated by how this era of exponential innovation is bringing new opportunities and possibilities to shape the way in which we interact, the way we work, the way we live and the environment around us. I even wrote a book about that, which hit the best seller list on Amazon within its first week of launch (Humanity through Technology: A Simplified Understanding of Social, Environmental and Economic Change in a Digital, Decentralized World). At the same time, I saw how many people in business struggle to innovate and accelerate their company growth. I saw how many people who like the idea of starting a business are often held back by a lack of clarity as to what those crucial first steps should be. I saw how many established businesses struggle to find the steps that will take them to the next level of results, and to implement what is needed to stay relevant as the market changes. That’s when I realized that because of my knowledge, insights and experiences, I have solutions for them, and then I decided to start my own business. How has your experience in the corporate world influenced the work you do now? One major influence is that I always worked on a global scale in the corporate world, so it is natural for me to have my own business with global reach. I have worked on projects in 34 countries across all continents in my corporate life and I have lived in Africa, Asia and Europe. I un-


derstand various markets and cultures and I make sure that my business extends to people in the world wherever they are. I believe that working on a global scale means that I am used to thinking big, creating global strategies and executing with ease. Another major influence is that I am experienced in working in business transformation programs. The services that we offer at LEGEND are not the same topics that I was involved with in my corporate career, but the skills of communication, engagement, strategy, future design and action focus are the same. Having accelerated your growth with the help of some of the world’s top coaches, how do you believe coaching can impact a business’s growth? I strongly believe that without coaching, business growth is severely compromised. It is essential to work with people who are objective to your business yet who are invested in your success. As a business owner, I appreciate being challenged by my own business coaches (I have 3 at the moment). I appreciate having them as a sounding board and as someone who looks at situations with a different perspective. Most importantly, a coach holds you accountable to your goals and is there to step in if you hit a bump in the road. If you don’t have a coach, you are left to figure it out on your own but most people will seek advice from friends or family who are usually not best placed to provide it. Seeking out people with the right experience, who are where you want to be, is the fastest way to get yourself the result you’re striving for. Since launching, LEGEND has quickly become quite a name internationally, with clients and partners around the world. When did you realise you had a passion for entrepreneurship enough that you thought about building a business out of it? I had surrounded myself by other entrepreneurs in various business networks and I loved the energy, passion and drive of entrepreneurs. I saw myself mirrored in them. I knew I had found my place. Strategizing comes easy to me and seeing my ideas come to life as I imagine them is simply amazing. Almost as soon as I got started, I could see the potential of this business and I decided to make it happen and create a business that makes a difference and WOW’s our customers.

We have various types of events at LEGEND with different topics related to Business Acceleration and a schedule for the rest of 2019 including major cities in 4 countries. Whatever the topic and whether you attend a seminar, a workshop or a mastermind event, you can expect to leave with a greater understanding of the possibilities in front of you. You will always be taken through methodologies that work to save you time and frustration of not knowing what to do or how to do it. You will always be given practical tools and techniques to take away and implement, and you will find yourself part of a community of progressive thinkers with inspired ideas and determination to succeed by supporting each other. About Brigitte Lawler is an international speaker, best-selling author, founder and CEO of LEGEND SA. She is on a mission to bring inspired ideas to life by building businesses that matter and thrive in this new economy. The need for innovation in business is more important than ever, and LEGEND ensures your business remains relevant in today’s modern landscape.

Photo credit: Elisabeth Fransdonk

With many events in the pipeline, what can one expect to take away when they attend LEGEND’s events?


Business Solutions

The Solutionaries Infinite Mindset

Iva Schubart Iva is a Business strategist, motivational speaker, success coach, and author. Iva is dedicated to empowering her clients to express their authentic self and build a thriving business. Her straightforward style together with reflections and exercises, inspires and motivates. Her book Sanguine Love shows how you can find your true purpose and transform your life.

Valbona Mejzini Valbona Mejzini, a Confidence and Wellness Coach from London, helps people reach their goals and improve areas in their lives that they are unhappy with. She is an accredited Personal Performance Life Coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programmer and after graduating from the Coaching Academy, she developed the motivation to work towards her own goals.

Lana and Kostas Kapelas

Jenny Goodwin Jenny Goodwin left Manchester (UK) fifteen years ago. In 2009, she founded an insurance brokerage for expats, sparring the headaches of relocation. Inswift Sàrl is a young brokerage business on the Swiss Riviera, working with different insurance companies to best tailor the needs of the English-speaking community throughout Switzerland. + 41 (0)21 944 29 91

KLS Fuerte KLS Fuerte is teaching Self-love to help people find inner peace. Her creative writing inspires fellow women to see how they can bring value to themselves and be happy with who they are. Since fighting Multiple sclerosis, Kiki decided to work on herself and discover unconditional love, starting with herself. Her book ‘Never Saw You Coming” is available on Amazon

Nadia Hartzer Austin Fashion blogger and personal stylist is a visionary and a diligent stylist with a world of experience in the fashion & luxury industry. Over the years, she has developed a precise understanding of the suitability and unsuitability of various clothing items as different styles come in and out of fashion. Check Nadia’s wardrobes capsule guides:

Kostas and Lana Kapelas have established an indemand Health MOT Service for holistic health prevention, lose weight, detox, improve energy, overcome allergies or chronic problems. Using the latest medical screening systems and equipment, readings will be taken to ascertain your cardiovascular, respiratory, nutritional and digestive health. At Total Health Now, the Health MOT is an effective way of determining your overall wellbeing and health status and identifying key ways for becoming fitter and healthier. The MOT check takes approximately three hours with a qualified health practitioner, who will give you expert support, guidance and advice throughout. Total Health Now clinic offers with this listing your 15 min consultation now 58-60 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AB +44 207 293 0440

Dr Julian Nesbitt Julian is an ex A&E, now GP Doctor and NHS clinical entrepreneur at NHS England who is known for his wide experience in working in the NHS, designed and delivered a novel solution: Dr Julian Nesbitt, the app for mental health and wellbeing, to bring technology to the forefront of mental health care and therapy by making it widely available. +447824 903433

Paola Pirrello Paola Pirrello, is a Brussels-based Gender and Anti Discrimination Law advocate. A woman on a mission, Paola identified the global governance challenges of the United Nations and makes a call for the re-positioning of its legal system, specifically to make the UN System a Constitution. Paola is leading with passion to humanize the international law.

Nathalie Sassine-Hauptmann Nathalie Sassine-Hauptmann is the founder of and a trustworthy tourism service provider. Combining the best of what the internet has to offer with the best tourist consultants who can guide and inspire your next adventure, Nathalie offers stay at home mums the option to work from home and eliminate a long commute. +41 58 520 02 50

Mani and Ash Himani Mani and Ash Himani, create sugar free chocolate recipes at The Veda Soul Company. They offer a range of decadent, 100% Vegan, 100% Organic, free of refined sugar, a perfect alternative sweet treat that is nourishing, filled with goodness, made with the finest ingredients, sourced from suppliers that value ethics and care throughout the entire supply chain. www.

Hana Harencarova Hana Harencarova created the first programming course developed especially for stay at home moms who want to code. This is a great chance to finding fulfilling employment that allows young mothers to balance their career goals and parental commitments. To learn web design and programming skills contact Hana now www.moms

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AT LEGEND, we understand that the landscape of business is ever-changing. Leveraging our signature 3-point Program for business acceleration, we offer multiple live events designed to save you time and money, while taking the guessing out of the game.

Discover the essential tools and trends you need to prepare your business for the new economy market, and ensure you create long-lasting success…


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Culture & Travel

Through the Camera Lens: 70 Things to Love!

By Elaine Pringle-Schwitter | Event Photography Stories


aybe it’s because I’m getting older why I’ve noticed this recently. In fact we all are getting older, but I’m observing so many fabulous women at 50+. Don’t misunderstand me, 40 is still rocking it, but this got me thinking after a recent event shoot - a 70th birthday party, and I was mesmerised by the leading lady. Such grace, such presence and beauty. Granted, we all can see her life in her face and yes we all can hazard a guess at her age; yet still she was and is beautiful. She had her immediate and extended family and friends around her celebrating this achievement and she was radiant. One could see that she embraced the ageing process and each line and grey hair was not out of place. In fact the lines enhanced her smile as the grandchildren gathered around her for a particular shot. For the photographer this is another birthday do to provide coverage. You know the drill and if you are not careful, you’ll end up stagnant, dull, predictable and with services that are unwanted. What do I mean? When you’ve done a few private and family event shoots you inadvertently develop a formula. This may be fine for a straight forward coverage of a business conference, but each family is different and while they have commissioned your services based on your style or a referral, they still expect something a little different for their shoot. And why not? I would. I would want the feeling of uniqueness too. How do you do that as a photographer? How do you make your client feel like the service you are providing is a little different….will be a little special and will have an outcome that they have not seen before navigating through your website? Hmmm. A difficult one to answer at first glance but that’s where the creative process comes in. If you are of that mind and disposition then this is where you shine or break!


Actually, I quite enjoy the process of creation and it is always a part of my preparation for a shoot. What can I do differently to not only have self-fulfilment at the event shoot but to also give my client something they have not seen before? Compositions are played around in my head and I’d replay the consultation I’ve had with my client (the daughter of the leading lady) in order to map my ideas onto her requirements, onto the time given for the shoot and onto the theme of the occasion. This probably sounds more complicated that it truly is. This part of the process is done automatically, it’s a quiet internal dialogue you have with yourself and this happens at the strangest of times and environment. I could be out shopping for groceries and in parallel creating compositions to jot down later. Always trying to test myself, to see if I can come up with something that is different to the norm or what can be deemed my ‘style’ of photography. Yes, I’ve been given my spec for the event, but I do love it when the client gives you carte blanche and allow your creative juices to flow unabashed and untrammelled. When that happens, I seize the opportunity and some of my favourite works are created. They tend to end up in my end of year ‘A year in Photography’ video that I’ve posted on my professional sites since the beginning of my career in professional photography. Back to the shoot. The leading lady reminded me of a Swiss version of the Hollywood icon Sophia Loren and you can’t help but wonder what she was like in her heyday, especially with a few of her friends at the birthday do having their secret jokes together and being able to capture that. There is something strange and uplifting about the times we are living in now. Women have come into their own, embracing life, making choices and not ‘giving up’ because visual media dictates that youth and being young have more currency than the mature being. I believe there will be a shift soon. More powerful individuals in the visual medial world will see what a lot of us are seeing now, the beauty of the over 50s and how they have so much to offer. How they are already offering SO SO MUCH!!!! Oh, the stories they can regale us with and the priceless advice in abundance. It doesn’t require creativity to see the treasure trove that is the woman in their second-half. Uninhibited, unapologetic and unbashful. Listen. They have a lot to say!


Culture & Travel

Freedom Entrepreneurs

By Dr Marina Nani

How to think about yourself without being selfish


eanet Bathoorn is a 52-year-old business woman, mother of three, living in The Netherlands, who’s core value is freedom. She left her corporate job and started her own business as an entrepreneur. Not knowing what to expect, her whole entrepreneurial journey is one of discovery, action, failure, success but she decided to never give up and keep learning. Jeanet is an exceptional woman with a big dream: Freedom Entrepreneur Transatlantic Cruise. She loves being independent and earning her own money. After becoming a successful entrepreneur, she realised that self-employed entrepreneurs build their own prison and experience a total lack of freedom. They work too much, earn too little and let their clients fill their calendar. This is when she decided to help them take back control of their freedom. “I love to work with entrepreneurs who chose freedom. They earn enough money to come by, they can pay their bills. They have clients but have no time. Clients always go first. I start to work with my clients on the choice of their business model, their pricing, their dream client and their money mindset. I love to push them out of their comfort zone and introduce them to a new way of online working. The internet changes everything for self-employed entrepreneurs who sell their knowledge.” A business woman now, Jeanet remembers some defining moments from her youth. “Most of us grew up with the ‘you can’t have it all’ mentality. When I turned 10, I wanted a go-kart for my birthday. My relatives had one, and we used it in the woods to slide down the small hills and sandy paths. I loved it! But I didn’t get the go-kart because ‘that was for boys’. I asked for it, but never got it. I remember a day in high school, when I just turned 15. Our class was split up in two groups. The boys went to the cool part- a workshop where you can do the woodwork, the welding,

the sawing, the hammering. The girls were sent to the needlework classroom, for stitching, knitting, crochet, the less cool stuff. There was one other girl, red-haired, who disagreed with this school decision based on our genders. We did not accept it and went to the principal’s office and asked to be placed with the boys. A week after we were granted access to join the boys in their cool classroom and left the girls with their needlework. This felt like a victory. I remember a day in my first real full-time job. I had been working there for at least a whole year when the company merged. That meant new salaries and new job titles. I was shocked the day I found out that all men had higher salaries than the women. All my life events proved to me that women have to fight harder. And I did. Not on a political level, but on a more practical level. Just walking the talk and stepping up to become a role model.” Books are a big source of inspiration for Jeanet and she surrounds herself with people with a positive mindset, with a drive to succeed. ‘I get inspired by global icons like Michelle Obama, but I also get inspired by the first female student in the Netherlands, Aletta Jacobs. Both my grandmothers always have inspired me to take opportunities, get a proper education and make sure I always have my own money. They never had the chance to go to university or to travel the world. I am so grateful for the life I can lead now.” Jeanet believes that women entrepreneurs are ambitious, they like to create excellency, but they need to learn to work on the business, not in the business. Most business women do not have an exit strategy, they have a “prison strategy”, a business which will not collapse when they are not present. “I feel it is my mission to create awareness, connect like-minded people, share my knowledge and vision. I love to be surrounded with women who are so successful and make the


Jeanet is supporting other women’s dreams and is performing better when bonding with other business women. “We give birth to our children, first we have our life cycle, after the 50th birthday women enter the menopause stage. A women’s body and mind are different. Unfortunately, I grew up in a society in which I could not become an airline pilot, an ambulance driver or a navy captain. We have come a long way since then. I believe in sisterhood, I believe in sharing, I believe in harmony, I believe in win-win. I want to build a better world. Cruising with like-minded entrepreneurs is a step forward to change the world, bit by bit. I encourage women to have fun, to live a fulfilled life. We are mortal but we could leave behind a better place for our children. I believe in the power of the next generations’

news, write books and appear in TV shows. I love to be inspired by women who show me what it is possible, women who believe that we can be millionaires and still be ourselves.”

When is last time when you took away a memory that will last a lifetime? “The sea wind in your hair, the fantastic people around you, the quality of the food, the deep relaxation, the fun, the conversations and connections and the moon glistening on the water… Imagine holding memories from a once in a lifetime experience! It is my dream to bring together 1500 Freedom Entrepreneurs, and embark our own cruise ship, sailing the ocean, enjoying life, talking about our businesses, our life journeys, about growth, about the legacy we want to build. The cruise starts on 21st of November in Genua, Italy. After a few stops in France and Spain, we will sail to the Caribbean and have the first stop in Barbados. We will disembark in Guadeloupe on 8th of December. During the days at sea, I will host The Conference@Sea with keynote speakers and inspirational talks. During the crossing, we will offer a variety of workshops and implementation trainings.” Jeanet created this adventure to inspire female entrepreneurs to think big, take action, take some risk and be the better version of themselves. “Female entrepreneurs tend to undercharge and work long hours. They want to stay friends with their clients and are afraid to set boundaries. We have to accept that female entrepreneurs think too little about their own well-being and as a consequence, they think small. Thinking small is our default and that is one of the biggest obstacles in up-scaling a business. It is difficult to find female role models and be inspired to recognise our inner strength and silent powers, to allow personal growth. And this is exactly my bottle neck: how do I get this message out in an appealing and acceptable way without losing the connection with the women I want to reach? I want them to help women take time off from their children and family without neglecting their children and family commitments. I want to help them think about themselves first without being selfish. I want to live in a world where no one tells someone else what to do and what to think. I want to help women to think about the consequences of their choices. My biggest challenge is that I think that the world is not ready for my message. Is the world ready for strong women who earn their own money and are creating their own destiny? I want to contribute in building a world that sees the strength of women, encourages every individual to live their best life, men and women alike.”



Performing and Approaching Life Calm and Confident by Annette Ebbinghaus


am a high energy person and have always lived my life at full tilt! I was a competitive track, middle distance and long distance runner in Canada up until the age of 28. It required great discipline as throughout this time I studied and worked as a Civil Engineer, building bridges and tunnels, and also completed a Masters of Engineering while working full time. I moved to Switzerland in 1993 and have since moved continents 3 more times, twice with two young children. When I returned to Switzerland in 2005 it was a challenging time for me. I had some underlying health issues and being uprooted from my support network at this point in my life sort of unravelled me. I knew it was time that I learn a form of contemplation or meditation outside of my prayer life and my long contemplative runs. Thus I began my Sophrology journey. What is Sophrology?

Watch the video >> Truly Balance was started in 2008 and it began when I combined my bodywork expertise with my newly acquired certification as a Sophrologist. Take advantage of our offers by visiting out website!

Sophrology is about discovering one’s consciousness in a state of peace. It is actually referred to as “Happiness Training�. The technique is a from of dynamic relaxation. It involves various movements with phases of standing and various seated positions, tuning into body sensations and awareness, and uses visualizations of positive experiences. Advance levels include sounds and deep contemplation of the origins of life and our human essence. I mastered Sophrology quickly as I am a visual person and am a person of motion and as a an athlete have a high level of body awareness. While studying Sophrology I instantly felt my mindset shift to a level of acceptance and joy at where I was in life, in that moment. I wanted to bring this to the other people around me that I could see were also struggling with the upheavals of life.

beChill: Happiness training for the next generation My true passion is working with young people as I have been mentoring adolescents most of my professional life. In 2008 I began working in schools in the Lac Leman region of Switzerland teaching adolescents how to manage both life and exam stress. Collège du Léman was where I began and I developed my own program with Sophrology as the foundation. Over 10+ years of work has cumulated in my beChill Courses and Workshops that I teach in schools and publicly. As time has progressed I have worked with hundreds of adolescents in the region in group settings, one to one and in camp settings. In 2014 I was asked to teach at the only English speaking Sophrology school in the world, the Sophrology Academy, located in the UK. Here I teach future sophrologists the ins and outs of working with adolescents and am an active mentor to students.

“Sophrology helped me concentrate on what is important. I argue lessand feel more confident about school” 14 yr. male beChill Trainers Several of the Sophrologist that I have taught have asked me to teach them my complete system and this has culminated in the BeChill Training program for sophrologists, coaches, counsellors, teachers and therapists that work with Adolescents. This Training program is being launched in the Fall of 2019 in the UK. beChill Trainers will be trained and supported through the beChill HUB to teach beChill Exams and beChill Life courses which have their foundations in Sophrology and also utilize aspects of the other modalities that I practice. I believe my work is critically important as I am working in the mental health industry. 50% of people with a mental illness developed it before the age of 14, 75% by the age of 24* which is around the time the brain completes it development and is considered to be mature. Often there are no real signs that this may happen, however when the adolescent brain is exposed to prolonged periods of stress, the very structures of the brain are affected. We are all well aware of the 24/7 communication and information overload that has taken over most of society and the pressures to be accepted into top universities. This has not done the adolescent brain any favours. Reaching 1 million adolescents by 2030 My goal is to be able to reach and positively impact 1 million adolescents by 2030 through a network of beChill trainers around the world. Help me to reach my goal by becoming a certified beChill trainer! If you have an adolescent child that is a high performer in school or sports? Sitting exams or finding life a little overwhelming? Then beChill is for them!


Social Impact

Emotionally Attached Interview with Nancy and Nikoletta Michailidou, CEO of Orthostatical | By Dr Marina Nani


he company, Orthostatical, is a family business which was founded 20 years ago by Mary and Vassilis Michailidis in Greece. Orthostatical has been active since 1990 in the field of orthopaedic and rehabilitation aids. Distinguished for its flawless structure and quality of products and services, Orthostatical t has privately-owned facilities in Athens and Thessaloniki, each with a properly designed exhibition space, a service department for repairing products, and offices for a thorough administrative service. The installations in Thessaloniki and Athens cover 1650 sq m in total, and are fully modernized and accessible for disabled people. Orthostatical has eight vehicles designed with a special ramp, offering free demonstrations to customers as well as free service. Orthostatical offers every type of wheelchair, electric and manua, transport cranes, uprights, passive exercise bikes, bathroom fittings, ladder systems and solutions, as well as a wide variety of rehabilitation aids for everyday living. Orthostatical has an important place in the recovery market, and has large, fully equipped rehabilitation centres as well as hospitals. In this exclusive interview with Nancy and Nikoletta, who run the business together, they share the story of a family business to which they are emotionally attached through the power of compassion. Nancy, what inspired you to become an entrepreneur? I was brought up by two incredible parents who have overcome my mother’s paraplegia and transformed it from a “barrier”, to an ”opportunity“ to have a different view of the world and respect the diversity and the uniqueness of everyone. When I was 10 years old, me and my family had a car accident and my mother was severely injured, and is now paraplegic. This sudden and unexpected event changed my parent’s life and business route, and they started a new business importing wheelchairs and rehabilitation products in parallel with their main clothes company. During my studies in Economics at Macedonia University in Thessaloniki, I was working part time in the rehabilitation business where I had the chance to implement whatever I was learning in University to the family business. After


completing my studies, I worked for a year full time in the business, getting acquainted with all aspects of the business: sales, procurement, accounting, marketing and customer service. Seeing the real business in practice and how things are working, I decided to further my education and do an MBA, which would help me grow the family business. Our continuous contact with big multinational rehabilitation companies all over the world led me to choose an international environment for my MBA, so I chose VUB in Brussels.It was almost like a second nature for me to be an entrepreneur, since I was raised in an entrepreneurial family. Both my parents used to run a retail clothes business for 30 years and I remember helping them in one of our three stores at a very young age. Sales and customer service was the first aspect of business that I experienced, and although we were in high school, my sister and I were working every Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. I remember that although that it was holidays for everybody else, for us these holidays meant working with our parents and meeting people every day. Although it was demanding, we had lots of fun, and I would say that it became something like a tradition for us since we were celebrating the most important anniversaries with a crowd of people: our customers. After my degree in Economics I encountered other aspects of the rehabilitation business such as procurement, marketing and accounting. It was really enlightening to see a totally different way of running a business, different from the retail shop. I still remember and feel my enthusiasm to implement new ideas, new procedures and to create new systems that I have learned in my MBA. The most inspiring part of being an entrepreneur is the thirst for creation, and that you can do whatever you feel like doing. The freedom of expression, an extension of yourself, and the impact that you can have to on peoples’ lives. Nikoletta, what is your main business goal? Our main goal is to awaken people with physical disabilities to the possibility of living their lives knowing that they can surpass any physical barrier and live a life like everybody else. Our solutions are based on the philosophy of improving the daily life of people with disabilities, and providing complete rehabilitation solutions in the healthcare facilities so that therapists can offer more efficient and result oriented treatment. Nancy, you are daughters, sisters and powerful businesswomen. What drives you as entrepreneurs? The best thing about being an entrepreneur is the feeling that I can help other people improve their lives, knowing that I can create a positive impact for people with disabilities and also spread the mentality that we are all equal but the way that we are doing things is different. That’s what makes us humans, isn’t it? Nikoletta, how do you define success? Success is something totally subjective and I believe that every woman should have her own definition. For me success is a blend of doing what speaks to your heart and the impact you are having to other peoples’ lives; it is the magic of your vision that is feeding your enthusiasm and keeping your desire to succeed alive during the daunting ride of entrepreneurship.


Social Impact

The Law of Love Interview with Dr Mahin Bafghi | By Dr Marina Nani


r Mahin Bafghi grew up in Iran with her two siblings, and education was at the core of their happy family. Mahin received the support of her parents to fulfil her dream of studying medicine, arts, and law. She was only 14 years old when she wrote her first poems about peace and humanity. Her passion for life, nature and justice evolved ever since and she developed into a world class wellbeing consultant with degrees and international accreditations in alternative medicine, while at the same time being a social catalyst for peace and wellbeing. What is your definition for success in your experience? If I am successful professionally, it’s because I never stop learning and carrying out my research.Everything I do, I do from my heart and from my love for people. I did my best to learn the law of love and developed a positive attitude to help more people wherever I go. Once I was arrested at the border, and while waiting for the misunderstanding to be cleared, I helped the guard, who was in much pain and needed healing, from inside my cell. All I could think about was how best to help my ad-hoc patient relieve their pain and be happy again. When I left, they were my friend for life. I believe in one law: the law of love. Love for people, for peace and harmony. I am never afraid of speaking my mind, and I feel in my heart that it is the right time to deliver a message of love, everywhere I go. After publishing my research, I was invited to a Wellness Congress in India and most participants were men. In my keynote speech, I presented the results of my research. I concluded that wellness without the presence of women is not possible. To my surprise, the congress organising committee weren’t unhappy with my statement, quite the opposite, they appreciated my courage and invited me to become a member of their committee. They decided that I can be trusted to organize the next congress called “World Women Wellness Congress” which was held in Chennai, India. The Congress was sponsored by a private wellness and medicine alternative group from an international university from Colombo. In attendance were over 2,000 participants from 32 countries. Honorary Madame Sheila Dikshit, a Delhi chief minister, was the first speaker. We had 16 workshops for women. There were many female entrepreneurs exhibiting, speakers who travelled from US, Europe, Canada, Asia, Russia and China.


At the University in Tehran we created a council for businesswomen, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce. We helped them grow their business through education and support provided by inside groups. I was one of the board members of the first Businesses Women Council in Iran and a facilitator for the local Parliament Public Relations. We contacted similar businesses women’s council from UAE, China and other countries. With the Council of Business Women, we visited Chinese entrepreneurs and we learned how to help poor women to grow their own small business. Since then, I became a trainer for female entrepreneurs and trade women associations. After years of working against red tape, I was tired of political barriers and artificial limitations and I decided to leave my country to study alternative medicine abroad. You are known for your success as a serial entrepreneur. What are your latest projects? As the Swiss director and Vice President of CCI India, I am engaging with policy makers and civil society, influencing policy and encouraging debate to articulate the views and concerns across industries. I am a businesswoman, an independent alternative medicine professional and, in my social role, a catalyst for peace and wellbeing. I am sure that very soon we are going to have a Women Parliament in the world, to accelerate the movement for peace, to involve all women across cultures and generations. My next project is World Women Parliament, to bring more support for women to overcome natural disasters, war, poverty, discrimination; there are numerous challenges affecting women’s health. War, disasters and conflict are affecting innocent lives, and there are ripple effects on women and children. The time of waiting for the lawmakers to resolve the trauma is up. We need to bring our differences together to find solutions ourselves. We need women to start gathering globally to form a parliament which can transform our society through love and respect for women. What is the Women Parliament and how do you envisage it? World Women Parliament doesn’t mean a political house, or another organisation for human rights, but it can be a social enterprise to develop women’s talent and their ability to be better together, regardless of background, age or status. The World Women Parliament is a roof under which we can bring back harmony and peace to our planet, make the world better for everybody, and enlighten like-hearted, likeminded people through the divine feminine. About Dr Mahin Bafghi Dr Bafghi is the global CEO of the VCPE Fund. Her background is in social and corporate activities. She has worked around the world, mainly in Europe, China, Jordan, and UAE. She is a regular guest at Chambers of Commerce and Financial Institutions


Social Impact


A PATIENT ADVOCATE'S CODE Equal access to healthcare though education, health literacy and increased patient involvement in the area of digital health.


Interview with Debra De Silva-Sun | By Darie Nani Health Economist with a physiotherapy background, Debra De Silva- Sun is a volunteer representative with the Swiss branch of the EUPATI (European Patient Academy), conducting an awareness campaign to encourage increased patient involvement in the area of digital health. A passionate Patient Advocate, Debra’s focus is on education and training to increase the capacity and capability of patients to understand and contribute to medicines research and development and also improve the availability of objective, reliable, patient-friendly information for the public. What inspired you to be a Patient Advocate? I think one of the main things is I enjoy interacting with people and communicating with them. I also found that sometimes, having some compassion and taking time to explain benefits, exercises, the pathologies and the diseases leads to better cooperation from the patient. However, over the years, I realised that education and health literacy has been lacking on the part of the patients, and some patients find it hard to trust healthcare professionals after bad experiences. Patients do not know how to access information, and sometimes believe in fake cures or believe that placebos and medications are pushed by big Pharma. I am very keen on promoting value based healthcare (where patients have a say of what health outcome measures help them), on monitoring health with digital apps and system and the use/promotion of blockchain as a tool in the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare on the whole. This matter is close to my heart as I have experienced being a patient, as a family member of a chronically ill patient, as well as a healthcare professional. I am keen on encouraging increased patient involvement in different areas of healthcare, as they are the main stars in this arena. I have had clinical experience in working directly with patients, within healthcare facilities in Switzerland, Singapore and Australia, and have seen the impact of what happens when patients are unable to receive equal access to healthcare (perceived or otherwise). I feel that as there should be someone out there campaigning for the patients, and also for making digital health accessible to everyone, especially those most disadvantaged (the elderly, the homeless, the unemployed, the refugees, the lower and middle income families who may not have the technological advantage). In saying that, digital health policies need to be developed in a way which follows the code “Do No Harm�.


How did you get into this field of work? I come from Singapore, and have a Bachelor’s in Physiotherapy in Perth, Australia, a Masters in Health Economics and Policy in Lucerne, Switzerland, and I am now doing a PhD in Health Economics and Policy at the Lancaster University. I have lived in Basel-Stadt for the past 10 years. My main motivation for doing health research in the digital health, health policy and reimbursement area, and patient advocacy is due to the passion that I have for patient centric health care solutions in the current volatile business and political climate. As a part of my interests in combining PhD, digital health work and patient advocacy work, I am interested in knowing more about digital health policies and the surrounding bioethical challenges faced. Policy making is essential to the whole process. However, coming from a clinical point of view (as a physio and patient advocate) I feel that more needs to be discussed in terms of reimbursement and strategies and data ownership and privacy issues, especially with the advent of a global market influx by the Pharmaceuticals, Medical Technology industries, as well as Start-ups dealing with advanced technologies/wearables/health data at the moment. What defines your work as a Patient Advocate? Being a patient advocate is about Connecting the dots and making the patients a relevant part of the conversation (in any conversation) with other stakeholders such as doctors health economists, pharmaceuticals, reimbursement agencies, digital health start-ups, computer analysts, machine learning scientists and clinical trials supervisors. I now work as a Health Economics , Outcomes Research and Health Systems Analyst with a blockchain/ digital health company to understand the digital health ecosystem. This company, DIGIPHARM, is a value based healthcare reimbursement blockchain platform. I also am doing a PhD in Health Economics and Policy to study the policies and impacts of value based pricing on reimbursement, with a focus on digital health technologies. What is your vision for the future of healthcare?

I would also like to develop my project idea, 'The Red Thread' which aims to provide measurements and fittings of 3D printed prostheses for children/teenagers/young adults who have been affected by amputations in war zones (see video). Where does this passion for patient advocacy come from? My mother. For her tireless efforts in advocating for the renal patients, any friend or relative who needs medical advice, assistance or wound care. She has worked as a nurse since the 1970s, and has made important contributions to the renal community in Singapore and Malaysia.

Photo credit: Benny Ang Photgraphy

One where patient are put at the centre of medicine. Where information is easily accessible and also safeguarded. Where different health care providers communicate with each other and the patient at every step of the process. Where big data, AI and advanced manufacturing like 3D printing can deliver innovative, safer and more effective treatments.


Cover Story

The stark truth about UK Government climate action?

THERE IS NO ONE IN CHARGE By Rebecca Willis, Research Fellow, Exeter University; Professor in Practice, Lancaster University


he UK’s climate change targets are world-leading. Yet there is no clear plan in place to achieve them. That is the stark message of a new progress report from the government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change. The Committee is forthright in its criticism of government. On its report card, assessing progress against 25 policies needed to meet carbon targets, there is just one green tick. But, beyond asking for the prime minister to set up a “climate cabinet”, the Committee has much less to say about how government – at both national and local level – should be reconfigured to make climate action a priority.



The stark truth is that no one is in charge. Under the UK’s Climate Change Act, there is a statutory requirement on the government as a whole to meet targets. This leaves the prime minister with ultimate authority, but no clarity about which department should do what. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) oversees progress, but other departments have no carbon targets or responsibilities, and BEIS cannot tell them what to do. Neither are there targets or responsibilities for local areas. The Committee on Climate Change can offer advice, but the route between this advice and policy delivery is, to put it politely, unclear. This results in some serious contradictions. Transport results in a quarter of the UK’s emissions, yet the Department for Transport’s strategic plan, published just last month, fails to mention climate action as a key driver. There is the odd reference to “clean growth” and “sustainability”, but also support for airport expansion and many new roads. The only policy that unequivocally contributes to the effort is the pledge to phase out diesel and petrol cars by 2040, which most commentators, including the CCC, have said is too little, too late. Meanwhile, the Treasury and BEIS work together to maximise oil and gas extraction from the North Sea. When questioned by MPs, they dismissed the idea that this is incompatible with climate targets. The energy regulator, Ofgem, has a duty to protect consumers, but again, no clear carbon target or responsibility. As a result, many of its day-to-day decisions, like the recent review of charging arrangements for electricity networks, work against the transition to zero-carbon. Examples like this abound across government and its agencies. At local level, the picture is no clearer. Local authorities have no statutory responsibility, and no specific resources, for climate action. Many have now shouldered responsibility by declaring a “climate emergency”, but when it comes to action they have limited control over policies and budgets, and little room for manoeuvre.

A government set up to deliver climate action As part of the IGov project at the University of Exeter, I have been helping to develop proposals for an institutional framework which would enable coordinated climate strategy, to implement the transition to zero-carbon. We advocate allocating carbon targets to each government department. We also propose a sister organisation to the Committee on Climate Change, which we are calling the “Energy Transformation Commission”. This body would implement the transformation process set by government, through a process of brokering, coordination, consensus-building and engagement. The ETC would take advice from the Committee on Climate Change and the National Infrastructure Commission, and works with all government departments. It would be a focal point for crucial decisions that need cross-government coordination, like the transition to electric vehicles, and decarbonisation of home heating – two areas where the CCC says policies are lagging behind. At local level, we advocate devolving climate governance to local authorities. This should take the form of a new statutory duty on local authorities, requiring them to produce a trans-

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently told MPs it ‘expects with a very high level of confidence that the UK will need a lot more oil and gas for the next 25 years’

Cover Story

formation plan, which includes setting and meeting devolved carbon budgets. Central government should give local authorities the freedom and funding to enable this process, letting them coordinate across energy, planning, transport and economic development. Being clearer about climate responsibilities across government would provide the vital link between statutory targets and the policies to achieve them. It would make the policymaking process more transparent and less open to lobbying by those who stand to lose from decisive policy. Our research on the UK energy sector has shown that big energy companies, rather than the emerging innovators, have a disproportionate influence over governance decisions. Opening up climate strategy to public debate would also strengthen the government’s hand: research shows that people want to see climate action, but are currently cut out of decisions. The recent decision by six parliamentary select committees to hold a citizens’ assembly on climate change is an encouraging step toward climate democracy. It’s only been a month since the UK legislated for net-zero. Over the coming months, crucial decisions about implementation will be needed. There is nothing more critical than deciding who is in charge. About the author Dr Rebecca Willis is a research fellow at the University of Exeter, and a Professor in Practice at Lancaster University. Her work focuses on environment, climate and energy policy. She established Green Alliance’s Climate Leadership Programme in 2009, working with politicians to develop their understanding of climate change. The research looks at how UK Members of Parliament understand what climate change means for their role at the national level and in their constituencies, and how to best support them in taking action. Rebecca is also a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter. In her work on energy policy, she focuses on the role of individuals within energy systems. In 2006, she published "Grid 2.0: The next generation" which charts how energy innovations, including distributed generation and ICT-enabled applications, imply a radically different role for the energy consumer, and require a different business and regulatory strategy. Since then, her research has included a profile of consumer-oriented low-carbon innovations (The Disrupters, published in 2007 by Nesta and Demos); several investigations into community ownership models for energy, including work for the British Academy (2016), Co-operatives UK (2011& 2015), the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and private energy developer Airvolution (unpublished consultancy); and Demanding Less, a study examining ways to integrate energy demand issues into mainstream energy policy (2011, with Prof Nick Eyre). She also acts as an advisor to the Lake District National Park, where she helped to establish the UK’s first local carbon budget. Rebecca is a Fellow of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) and a Trustee of the New Economics Foundation. From 2011-15 she was a Council Member of the Natural Environment Research Council, and from 2004-11,Vice-Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, advising the Prime Minister and First Ministers of the devolved administrations. Rebecca is an Associate of the think tank Green Alliance and from 20014 served as its director. Previously, she spent two years as a policy adviser at the European Parliament in Brussels, specialising in international environmental issues. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article and more at

Some progress has been made with companies such as UK based LEVC (www. intorducing over 2500 electric cabs (TX model featured) in over 20 cities across the UK and also to the Netherlands, Germany and Norway.



Learn to Move ® Mountains

Design thinking is an essential skill By Elaine France, Founder of Flow In Action


oursera, the online education platform, has just published its Global Skills Index (July 2019)1 analysing the top trending skills in Business, Technology, and Data Science, benchmarked across 60 countries and 10 industries. These are the skills we need for the future of work a.k.a Industry 4.0.

Each of the ten industry categories, including Automotive, Media, Manufacturing and Technology, identifies design thinking in the top ten of trending skills, with 7 out of 10 industry categories placing it first. This resonates well with my own work which uses design thinking around real-world sustainability issues to increase wellbeing and Industry 4.0 skills, as we train children, youth and young people, to be the new generation of leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs taking action for the planet.

Let me just define design thinking for you, so that we’re all on the same page. Design thinking focuses on problem-solving processes, products and services around real people and their needs. This definition from Ideo U2 sums it up: “In employing design thinking, you’re pulling together what’s desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable.” It starts with empathy, an understanding of the need and clarity on the problem that you really care about solving; moves to generating and downloading many ideas to explore; and then makes the space for prototyping as you start turning ideas into reality.

The solutions can be simple and spectacular A recent study by the OECD3 showed that youth wellbeing is at an all-time low. This anxiety is generated predominantly by climate catastrophe and wondering what employment opportunities there will be for them in future. We need to give them starting points for taking action: context, purpose and problem-solving techniques to make their march something even more tangible in challenging the status quo. One of the schools that I have worked with sits at the heart of the Swiss Alps. This mountain school welcomes children ages 3 – 15 years old, combining academic learning with a love of the outdoors and sense of responsibility to care protect the stunningly beautiful local environment.

The resort caters to snow-sports in winter and hiking, biking and music festivals in summer. From the students’ point of view, their concern Is to protect these mountains as a source of fresh water and part of the planet’s cooling system, as well as having a deep understanding of the economic drivers faced by a tourist resort. The focus of working with these young people has been to explore how to make Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Responsible Cities & Communities and Sustainable Development Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption relevant and achievable at a local level within this community, their community. I set challenges linked to these goals and give them a design-thinking road-map from empathy to ideas to entrepreneurship. They show-up with their incredible imagination and creativity.

Educational Excellence in Verbier

From simple solutions to spectacular futures thinking, we have spent time imagining and designing ways to cool the glaciers, become zerowaste and connect with businesses and tourists to build awareness that the mountains are critical for all of our wellbeing; because in the words of John Muir, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” These students’ pet hate? Mégots – cigarette butts, which are not biodegradable and pollute the snow, in turn leaching toxins into the water systems of the mountains. I have been incredibly proud to watch a student pick up a newly dropped mégot and hand it back to the culprit whilst courteously explaining that, “We don’t do this, we keep the mountain clean.” From this simple action, to coming up with ideas for snowcleaning robots to sift, scoop and digest this trash, these young people are a force to be reckoned with.

Design thinking for flourishing

Verbier International School Chalet Mascotte / Route de Verbier Station 88 1936 Verbier / Switzerland For more information, please visit: +41 27 565 26 56 /

Design thinking becomes a thing of spectacular beauty when used not just to create a solution but, to create a solution which places designing for human needs in the context of designing for the wellbeing and flourishing of people AND planet. This is when it starts to become ‘systems thinking’ which is inextricably linked to creating really innovative solutions. Interestingly, in Coursera’s Global Skills Index the Automotive, Media, Manufacturing and Technology industries are the ones which also include systems thinking in their top ten trending skills. Each has incredible potential for innovative solutions which are designed around sustainability. Young people intuitively understand this and their appetite and aptitude for creating solutions is phenomenal. Design thinking is their problemsolving default for personal, community and planetary wellbeing. What about you? Get in touch if you need some coaching to develop this essential skill as part of your life and work. About Elaine France Elaine has worked for 25 years as a change-maker and understands the challenges of taking action as a global citizen, growing sustainable solutions from within communities, rather than ‘doing it’ them to them. She brings expertise and perspectives from across sectors, with tools and strategies that enable every individual to become an adventurer who dares to dream and has the courage to turn their ideas into reality. She works to create a circle of impact, empowering others so that they share and transfer those skills around the globe wherever they are, so that lasting change happens organically from the inside out. Find out more by reading her interview on the next page. This column is sponsored by Lemania-Verbier International School. To find out more visit for more information. Sources: 1



The Verbier International School proposes international boarding and day school for 3 to 16 year olds in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Ski Academy available, combining individually tailored education with an intensive ski programme.


Flow In Action Compassionate problem solvers experience flow in action through social innovation, resilience, hope and entrepreneurial skills

Tell me about you, what did you do before? Interview with Elaine France, Founder, Flow In Action | By Darie Nani

“We are at climate tipping points that are calling on us to do things differently; to embrace being fully human, to reconnect with ourselves, others and the planet that supports us, to understand what it is to flourish.” - Elaine France

I am a coach and consultant specialising in resilience and entrepreneurship for sustainability. I live in the Swiss Alps, in Valais. This is my base and I travel for work within Switzerland and overseas. I’m from the UK and spent my career in London, working on social change in government advisory, NGOs, public sector and social enterprise. I came to Switzerland to visit some friends in 2011 for a two-week ski break and have been here ever since. My passion is connecting people to their wellbeing, so that they are happier and healthier and have the tools to create solutions which sustain people and planet. My first professional qualification as a librarian, taught me to show people how to find answers. This has been the foundation stone of my work in strategic business development for social change. What inspired you to set it up? What lead to you starting this business?


Having spent 17 years living in London, I needed to be in nature. I wanted to stay in the mountains because that is where I experienced wellbeing, flow, joy and resilience. So, I took a leap of faith, started to explore these concepts and how they linked to taking action for the planet, changing how we consume and do business…and that is how it all started.

Tell me about Flow In Action. What problems are you solving? Who benefits? How does it work? Flow In Action helps youth, educators, leaders and entrepreneurs as global citizens, to take action for the planet. We give you the tools to experience ‘flow’ - the pure joy of creating solutions - to become compassionate problem-solvers in your communities. First, we connect you to your wellbeing to increase your creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship skills; and then show you how to imagine and build projects and businesses, designing them around what we know increases flourishing of people and planet. It brings together my 25 years of social innovation expertise with Positive Psychology tools, to place flourishing at the centre of making positive impact for people and planet. We all want a happier and healthier planet, so designing lives and businesses around flourishing, is better economics for everyone. This does not come from consuming more but from learning how to love yourself first, so that you become open-hearted, connected to others, spend time in nature and recognise your interdependence with it. You have to practice wellbeing, in order to know how to create really authentic, powerful solutions around it. This comes from being deeply connected to your unique blend of im-


agination and creativity - as your life purpose, empowering you to be that problem-solver. You also do a lot of youth work, what can you tell us about it? Globally, children and youth are stating their anxieties about the climate catastrophe. I work with them to increase their wellbeing and mental health, through Learn to Move Mountains® activities which connect them to their unique blend of creativity. Empowering them as problem-solvers for the planet, regardless of academic ability. It is breath-taking to see them play with ideas when I set them innovation challenges around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The approach embeds resilience, hope and practical entrepreneurial skills for taking action as global citizens. The positive impact is immediate, there is such contagious joy as they generate solutions in these ‘change-maker spaces.’ I work with schools, partner with UNCTAD in Geneva to deliver workshops to inspire youth entrepreneurship, design curricula and innovation challenges, and train educators as changemakers, to facilitate activities for healthy campuses. And I go into innovation and entrepreneurship educational settings, incubator and accelerator programmes and businesses, to run ‘resilience for the innovator and entrepreneur’s journey’ workshops and 1-1 coaching. Turning an idea into a self-sustaining business is full of challenges. Having the technical solution is essential but it is the human element – ditching your ego, being open to learning, knowing how to overcome failure and set-backs, practicing flourishing – which keeps you moving forward to succeed. It is a groundswell of more love as a social mission, the start of change, the seed of incredible ideas. What is the main source of inspiration for you? Being in Nature is my inspiration and where I get my best ideas. I go ‘mountain energy bathing’ by taking a walk every day and most evenings. And being connected to friends and family. Relationships are the lynch pin in our wellbeing, so talking, having fun, sharing our lives is fundamental to our wellbeing. I am inspired by so many people who dare to be authentic, who create the space for others to have ideas and be open-hearted.


Science & Tech

Helping Patients Around the W rld Own Their Health By Sara Aswegan, Chief Commercial Officer & Managing Director Backpack Health Sàrl


dvancing research, support and treatment for chronic health conditions has always been my passion. Helping others with their health began when I started with Bayer in the field as a representative in the chronic and serious conditions of infectious disease, cardiology and endocrinology therapeutic areas. I continued my career in industry in various positions, most recently I dedicated the last 12 years with a focal point in the global rare disease space. A native of Iowa, I studied Business and Communications at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and began my career as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Through my years in industry – both in the field as well as in headquarters - I learned invaluable leadership, business and communication skills which enabled me to build a career leading teams focused on developing comprehensive strategies, with a particular focus in rare diseases. While serving as part of the HGT leadership team for Shire, I arrived in Switzerland nine years ago for what was intended to be just a short assignment. During this period, I fell in love with the people, the beautiful surroundings of the Swiss mountains and countryside and decided to make Geneva my home. I took up positions in LSD-MPS II and GI Franchises, serving as Vice President Product Strategy Team Lead. I then went on to work for Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals as Senior Vice President of Commercial, Global Strategy. In the last few years I began consulting for patient foundations, biotech/ pharma companies entering the rare disease space and also for Backpack Health, assisting the company in shaping its business strategy. When I first learned about the company and their work in the rare disease field, my interest was immediately piqued. I took them on as a client, and I was impressed by both the high calibre and passionate team and their product, recognizing its immense po-

tential to empower patients to own and control their own health information. My deep understanding of rare disease and expansive relationships across industry, academia and patient foundations especially suited the mission of Backpack Health. After about a year of consulting with Backpack Health, I joined the company as Chief Commercial Officer and Managing Director, with my home base in Geneva. Together, our team offers patients around the world (with a focus on rare disease communities) a centralized platform where users can securely store, manage and share their health data. With the ability to translate their health information into six different languages, the platform allows users to engage with their complex medical teams, family as well as travel more easily, without the burden of lugging around heavy binders filled with their health documentation. The mobile tool not only empowers patients by placing them at the center of their health with full access to their own information, but it also connects users to patientspecific registries and provides critical resources specific to their own needs. By way of these patient registries, users – with consent – are also able to contribute their de-identified data to advance medical research, helping pharmaceutical companies better develop treatments and cures. What first struck me about Backpack Health was how it brings together the pharmaceutical industry and rare disease foundations to truly empower their patients and families affected with rare and chronic conditions. Had Backpack existed when I was leading the teams at my former companies, it would have made a huge difference. The ability to augment personal and non-personal outreach to educate, engage and empower patient communities is powerful, and in so many languages. The multi modal, complete and compliant solution allows pharmaceutical companies to interface


with individuals and families while contributing to the breakdown of the inherent data silos which exist, allowing more robust data to support advancing research efforts. The contribution of patient reported data offers these companies a clear view into the daily lives of patients, such as symptoms of disease and current treatment, providing key insights. Together with our Product, User Journey, Project and Patient Advocacy teams, we have users in over 80 countries worldwide, all of them empowered to be their own health historians, whether they are individual users or part of a larger care team. We reach patient communities worldwide – some as small as 25 members, and others with well over 15,000 members. Our users love Backpack Health, as evidenced by their consistent use of our platform with over 77% using Backpack Health at least twice per month. The information, education and resources that partnering foundations provide to patient communities using Backpack Health has proven invaluable on many occasions. The stories shared by users exemplify how Backpack affects their lives. In one instance, a user was unresponsive in a foreign airport and emergency responders were able to access her secure Backpack Emergency Share Card, providing responders with her health information in their local language, Portuguese. Her emergency card gave a high-level overview of her rare condition, providing the responders with the correct approach for managing this episode and allowing them to treat her properly. Each day since I decided to take the plunge and join Backpack Health’s team last June, I am invigorated by Backpack Health’s mission to help patients with rare and chronic conditions around the world and its commitment to fill patients’ unmet needs. The spirit of the people on our team together with the progressive approach we are taking to become the leading innovator in digital health makes my work at Backpack Health meaningful and thrilling on a daily basis. My days are filled with attending medical conferences and patient advocacy events, meeting with clients, or video conferencing with colleagues and clients from my office in Geneva. Since joining Backpack Health, I have reconnected with many former colleagues, clinicians and patient advocates to spread the word about Backpack Health as a solution. As a non-native living in Switzerland, I am also a Backpack user and find it very useful to have my health information instantly translated to French and other languages as we explore the country and the whole of Europe. It gives me extra comfort and confidence as an expat abroad. I am proud to lead the Backpack Health SARL and bring our platform to individuals, families and clients in the region and beyond. Sara is a seasoned healthcare executive with over 20 years global experience in empowering patients, creating connections, and enabling advancement in research for rare and chronic conditions. She is also an advisor to startup biotech companies and patient organizations, volunteering and consulting to continue her mission to make a difference in rare diseases. Sara serves the team at Backpack Health from its Geneva, Switzerland, office where she resides with her partner, Brian, a diplomat dedicated to humanitarian work. Together, they are committed to making a difference in global health.


Science & Tech

<Mothers who code>

Solving the mystery of professional success and motherhood (without leaving your child behind). Interview with Hana Harencarova | By Darie Nani


ana first felt in love with paragliding but little did she know that her passion would take her away from home and onto a new life in Switzerland. She met and fell in love with a fellow paragliding enthusiast and after a whirlwind romance, she got married and started a family. You may think at this point this is Hana’s story and you would be forgiven as so many woman before her are considered to be just mothers and wives, and we are led to believe this is the end of their story. Not for Hana. Moms learn to code

“Once we have children, as mothers, we are expected to put our careers on hold. For most of us, the chances of finding fulfilling employment that allows us to balance our career goals and our commitments to our family are slim. As a mom I realized I need to redefine my professional orientation and soon after the birth of my daughter I started my freelance business as a web designer. It was something I always wanted to do and with all the changes in my life, this was a great moment to do that. Yet I struggled to find the right courses for myself. Especially since I had a young child and whilst there are plenty of options for where to take a young child, finding courses that gave me the flexibility to look after my baby and study was a lot more difficult. So now, two years later, I decided to tackle this problem by starting a coding courses for moms, where they can take their babies with them. This way they can learn new skills without leaving the little loved ones behind. ‘Moms learn to code’ gives young mothers the chance to learn web design and programming skills. I always loved to teach at university, and I missed this kind of personal contact. I decided to empower women in finding their ways into tech. I run courses in Zurich as well as live events, online courses and also give private lessons.” You have a background in psychology, you are an active paragliding pilot and you even own a paragliding school with your husband. On top of everything, you are creating websites for entrepreneurs and businesses, you teach women how to code and of course, you have a young daughter. How do you find the drive to do so many things at once?

I always loved to solve problems. The new ones, the challenging ones. I was bored by the routine and searched for something new. After finishing my PhD. in psychology I was ready for the next challenge. Learning to code gave me the opportunity to merge my psychological and technical skills. Thanks to my psychological background I can analyse and understand my clients’ needs as a business owner


and what their clients are looking for. This enables me to create user-oriented products with a strong emphasis on results. Sei Online is a web design company. While you create bespoke solutions, there are numerous other businesses which provide similar services. What is unique about your solution? Do you have a different approach? Effective design is not just about looking good. It creates a connection between you and your customers, it builds trust and motivates your visitors to action. If you need your website built from scratch or you want to redesign your current web page to better suit your business’ needs, this is what we do best. Our complete web solutions bring all you need from A to Z. Whether it’s a complex presentation of your services or a simple business web page, we’re are able to make a distant dream a reality. I create modern websites for my clients which create a relationship with their customers. The user experience and technical perfection are in the priorities. The whole process is also designed in a way that the client can to give us as little or as much input as is needed. It’s important to keep the process simple and agile. So I can react to client’s needs promptly and the results are immediate. Thanks to my background in psychology I understand the decision-making processes and the behaviour of the visitors. That enables me to create websites which motivate the visitors to engage with the company. Every customer project is unique and that’s why I love my job. Creating a web page is like a baby being born. Each one is very special and beautiful. And that makes my job so exciting and satisfying. Helping my clients to thrive and free them from the technical struggle by providing them with a highend online presence which leads to more or better clients. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced thus far? Balancing the time between work, family and learning. Me and my husband we are both self-employed and we both take care of our daughter so we need plan for who works when each week. Where do you turn for inspiration and why? Inspiration comes unexpectedly. It’s more about being prepared to listen and write it down than going to look for inspiration. To be honest, I get the best ideas usually during the night or after some good tea. Being free to decide when I work gives me a great advantage. I let myself to be inspired by those random moments and people who come along in my life. This freedom is what I strive to offer to other young mothers, who just like me, have the right to have professional success. Having or starting a family shouldn’t stop anyone from learning to code, starting their small businesses and become successful entrepreneurs.



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EVENTS The new Beyuna D3 is made of lichens and alfalfa herb. Lichen is a natural source of vitamin D3, making Beyuna D3 100% vegan. Beyuna D3 is also Clean Label, meaning the supplement does not contain any synthetic fillers, additives or colourings. Beyuna D3 comes in a plantbased capsule made of Pullulan, naturally fermented from tapioca. These certified organic Pullulan capsules are the purest capsules in the world. D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and normal blood calcium levels. Senior citizens and the people with darker skin should consume extra vitamin D to strengthen their bones. Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system of children. Consumer disclaimer: A dietary supplement is not a substitute for a varied diet. A healthy lifestyle and a varied, balanced diet is vital to maintaining good health.

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Sovereign Magazine August 2019  

The more we investigate the process of closing the gender gap, the more evidence we discover that harmful stereotypes in the media are affec...

Sovereign Magazine August 2019  

The more we investigate the process of closing the gender gap, the more evidence we discover that harmful stereotypes in the media are affec...

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