Inspirational Speakers

Fernanda Lopes-LarsenFernanda Lopes Larsen is executive vice president (EVP) of Yara’s Africa & Asia operations, employing 1,800 staff in 22 market economies, with an annual revenue of USD 3 billion.Passionate about driving equity and inclusion in business and society, Fernanda spearheads several DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) change initiatives at Yara, including the Black Talent Initiative.  She also serves as a key sponsor for the company’s Women in Agronomy program, which encourages female and ethnic minority talent and participation in technical and leadership roles at Yara and across the global agricultural sector. Originally from Brazil, holding dual Brazilian and British citizenships, and based in Singapore. She talked about how supporting a cause that truly matters to one, can give us a sense of purpose. Truly an Inspirational lady!

LIS Woman Grooa, Frenanda Lopez poster


Tove Andersen:  Tove Andersen (President and CEO of TOMRA, holds an MBA from the Norwegian School of Management, and a MSc degree in Physics and Mathematics from the Norwegian Institute of Technology. A member of the board of directors of Equinor and Borregaard) shared her guiding principles of her career and the belief that businesses have the power and responsibility to help manage our planet’s precious resources—today and tomorrow. She discussed the strategy she adopted when she accepted the invitation to head TOMRA.

Tove Andersen, Inspirational Speaker for Grooa.

Maria Persson Gulda: Maria Persson Gulda (CTO at H2 Green Steel. Prior to joining H2GS, she was a partner at McKinsey, and has a doctorate in Applied Physics from Harvard University. She presented at several events at COP27) showcased, in a fascinating talk, the assertive confidence of leveraging on professional partnerships, the unapologetic enthusiasm for wanting to engage in a new business adventure at the same time as having a baby, and even the joyful mindfulness of living intensely, grasping every moment.

Maria Persson Gulda Inspirational Speaker for LIS Woman Grooa

David Ek: David Ek (a Swedish nutritionist, author, health coach and innovator, and former Olympic athlete coach) brought us valuable perspective on the holistic approach to health of body and mind, including how to spark motivation — the art of going from wanting to doing and how to squeeze health into your busy lifestyle, answering the many questions that this topic sparked.

David Ek Inspirational Speaker for LIS woman Grooa

Chris Bridges-Taylor: Chris Bridges-Taylor (at the helm of Australian-based B&R Enclosures for over 40 years, first as General Manager and currently as Chairman of the Board. MBA and various executive degrees from i.e., Harvard) shared much wisdom with us, not only about her decades-long dedication to running a private enterprise of Australia’s largest manufacturer of enclosures, racks, cabinets and switchboard building systems, with clients including BHP Billiton, Telstra, Rio Tinto and the Federal government, but also about continually growing as a person, staying young and agile with curiosity, passion, and a constant desire to learn.

Chris Bridges Taylor - Inspirational Speaker LIS WOMAN - GROOA

Anne-Mieke Martyn: Anne-Mieke Martyn (Global Executive Talent Acquisition Specialist at Rabobank, an accomplished Career Strategist, speaker and author, former Founder and Director of a Boutique Executive Search and Career Coaching company in Africa) brought many sound examples and stories about being true to yourself, being present, clear and firm. Underscoring that ‘Agility’ means asking and listening in order to understand the organisation’s needs and adapt, also means finding out what you can do to address those organisation’s needs, while setting limits keeps us effective, and that agility also means accepting to make mistakes along the way, and not being afraid to learn; including taking responsibility for what we can control without wasting energy worrying over what we cannot control.

Anne-Mieke Martyn, Inspirational speaker for LIS WOMAN GROOA

Parisa Hove: Parisa Hove (founder of Varrak, has a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship, and has diplomas and certificates in cognitive behavioral therapy, expressive art therapy, EMDR, and executive coaching and coaching through trauma) led us through her story after a very unfortunate accident in 2018 which meant she needed to be isolated (not reading, doing nothing) for her brain to recover, Parisa started to wonder “Who am I, what is the purpose?” She shared that the social environment impacts how we react, that change of habits takes time, needs repetition, that we need to be open and gentle to ourselves and to accept that life is a school and you will never graduate.

Parisa Hove founder of Varrak Inspirational Speaker For LIS woman Grooa

Rasha SharkiaRasha Sharkia (founder of Boossala (Compass in Arabic), a coaching service with focus on Leadership, Identity and Growth, mainly for Arab female executives and leaders. An Israeli-Palestinian social entrepreneur, is leading the establishment of an intense annual leadership program in Israel in order to strengthen the Arabic leadership network and its intellectual, socio-economic and political impact on the future of the region) shared with us her inspiring story and led us to question how it is that we define ourselves. What part of it is really me or which parts am I adjusting or faking?  Which part we think might be unconsciously borrowed/learnt from the culture around us? What part might be trying to emerge? Ultimately, challenging us to be our authentic selves.

Rasha Sharkia inspirational Speaker LIS Woman Grooa

Francesca Racioppi: Francesca Racioppi (Head of Office at the World Health Organization European Center for Environment and Health) Taught about her philosophy of surfing the waves of change in life and work that we were not looking for, how not to be overcome and overwhelmed. Based on her perspective of seeing that change happened and was successful when people were came in with something deeply personal, and that when people are passionate and ambitious you become yourself by doing what you are doing; that business is like art – you cannot be an artist if that is not the way through which you are yourself.

Francesca Racioppi Inspirational Speaker For LIS WOMAN Grooa

 Chris Litherland: Chris Litherland (founder of Mariposa Consulting International and a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD) spoke about the challenges of leadership and if it is a future-fit concept, leading a discussion with us how to define the future and the different aspects of leadership.The good and bad, impact, motivation, influence and then the purpose of leadership with some of the contradictions and challenges now and into the future.

Chris Litherland. Inspirational Speaker For LIS WOMAN

Veroniek Vermeulen: Veroniek Vermeulen (founder of Silatha, the fastest growing meditation app to empower women) shared how paragliding on the Himalaya brought an abrupt change to her life and how she developed a deep sense for the value of meditation, especially for busy women squeezed by demands from all sides; she shared how she launched a successful new business, offering meditation programs in an app and supporting jewellery; leading a practical demonstration right at the end, a super relaxing meditation exercise.

VERONIEK VEREULEN Inspirational Speaker For LIS WOMAN Grooa AS

Elisabet Lagerstedt: Elisabet Lagerstedt (Swedish Author of Better Business for Better Future, and founder and principal of Future Navigators) brought her own perspective around some fundamentally important themes of our interest that international ladies are in influential positions and that our responsibilities do not stop at doing our job; we are role models and influencers, and a major force in sharing the future of business.

Ingeborg Gasser-Kriss (Board NED; Entrepreneur; Mondelez executive) leveraged on her passion for gardening and her decades of successful innovation in Fortune 500 firms to bring us surprisingly simple examples of how to make innovation happen, by addressing the corporate contradictions that so often slow progress down and may keep us stuck in the past: short- vs. long-term, expertise vs. curiosity, efficiency vs. flexibility, prediction vs. experimentation, planning obsession vs. growth obsession, and competition vs. collaboration.

Guest Speaker: Ingeborg Gasser-Kriss - LIS WOMAN

Marit Roed Ødegaard (SVP Yara International; Board NED) advocated the importance of fun, to energise us and to help us cope with critical moments of uncertainty and crisis. Covering a broad range of examples, from the “happiest man alive” who survived concentration camp through friendship, to her own moments of happiness in discovering originality and creative disruption, and to the HI-POWER initiative that rocked the Yara establishment bringing up colour, smiles and untapped talents… Marit suggests to practice: awareness, gratitude, and … laughing … offering us also 5 minutes of “laughing yoga”.

Guest Speaker - Marit Odegaard - LIS WOMAN

Kavitha Varathan (Founder and CEO Expat Spouses Initiative, TED Talk Speaker) shared her own story as a refreshing example of entrepreneurial identity struggles. After giving up her successful architectural design career to follow her husband abroad, and not finding a suitable architect job in the new country, she launched a successful initiative to help other talented spouses get reintegrated in the job market. But the hardest part of it all was finding the courage to let go and to let the future emerge: “I could no longer attach my identity to the title of architect, had to accept to go off course, watching change unfold, to find my real identity beyond any titles, like the peace after the storm”

Guest Speaker - Kavitha Varathan - LIS WOMAN

Sarbani Bhattacharya (Director ASML; KPMG; Unilever; Board NED) took us with witty humour through the breath-taking array of her passions and interests. Behind the deceptively simple title of “life is an ice-cream” we heard the story of the Indian girl who’s shrugging off biases and enjoys playing with boys, of the financial guru who’s daring to discount numbers and enjoys a tougher confrontation on values, of the transformational leader who’s shattering engrained habits and enjoys creating a Coalition of the Willing’s, and finally of the social advocate of sanitation (SDG #6) who’s on non-profit boards to help bring toilets to the 150 million people who defecate in the open, so that we can all enjoy a healthier planet. A true story of challenges, resilience and success, as promised in title!

Guest Speaker - Sarbani - LIS WOMAN

Yimika (Oyieymika) Adeboye (CEO Mondelez West Africa; CCHBC; Board NED) presented her life story with amazing energy and humble tones. The first black woman to hold a CEO position at Mondelez and Cadbury, she is also a runner, a volunteer in several charitable organisations, and a dedicated mother of 4 (after adopting the 2 children of her deceased sister). Still, she did not boast her amazing successes, but gave us inspiring examples of learning and growing through hard work as well as leading and working with empathy and uncompromising ethics, including refusing positions meant just to tick boxes: an unforgettable story of leading with the heart and the head.

Guest Speaker - Oyeyimika Adeboye

Hanne Leth Andersen (Rector Roskilde University; Board NED; Professor Copenhagen Business School and Århus University) held for us an interactive session to collectively reflect around the tricky subject of “female self-confidence” for which Hanne generously offered her own multicultural experience, specific examples from the academic field, and a wealth of well-researched documentation. Prejudice that belittles women is still deeply rooted and hard to eradicate, so Hanne advocated self-reflection and proactivity. Too often do women underestimate themselves, over-prepare and seek external approval; we can do and feel better if we focus on being more authentically and more disruptively ourselves.

Guest Speaker - Hanne Andersen - LIS WOMAN

Sara Lisa Ørstavik (Officer of UNDP; WFP) engaged us in a conversation about the Sustainable Development Goals, providing a useful update about the just recently published Impact Standards and also calling our attention to the complexity and ambiguity of sustainable decision making. In a humble and touching way, she both shared her deeply felt beliefs in a future of equality and fairness, and she also told us of the many struggles, contradictions and self-doubts that populate her days. The goals are clear and we know that working towards them is vital for our very existence, but we also got a very clear insight into the major challenges that organisations are facing when trying to go beyond the sustainability “window dressing”. Highly though-provoking!

Guest Speaker - Sara Lisa - LIS WOMAN

Shabana Basj-Rasikh (Funder and President of SOLA; National Geographic, Girls Rising; TED Talk Speaker) shook our minds with a touching story of courage, dedication and resilience. After founding (and running for over a decade) SOLA, the first and only boarding school for girls in Afghanistan, winning numerous awards and high honours, she was lately forced to rapidly relocate SOLA, quitting Kabul in the chaotic August days of the Taliban re-occupation, relocating 250 people (students and staff) to Rwanda and now additionally working with refugees. We were all fascinated by her story and inspired by her courage, energy and wisdom. She reminded us of something very important: The power and impact of human beings when we have a high purpose. Even during the darkest times, she never lost sight of her long term vision. In her words: “Any person who selects a goal in life that can be fully achieved has already defined their limitation”.  Her story of courage, intelligence, dedication and persistence, was told with many nice personal details and she also shared her own occasional self-doubts, often asking herself “am I doing enough?” and always striving to do more and go forward. Always staying positive and always serving a dream bigger than her and us. Amazing!

Guest Speaker - Shabana - LIS WOMAN

Cristina Parma (L’Oréal) excited us with unexpected insights into the worlds of street art, virtual travel and app-based community. An art scholar, successful international marketeers of luxury products from Armani to Lanvin, currently in charge of the most important real estate program at L’Oréal – the revamping of the historical Rue Royale Headquarters in Paris, her life is dominated by unstoppable curiosity and fascination for collective human creativity. Already a member of the “Space-Invaders” community, she found the connection to the world of street art and virtual travel a fantastic antidote to the depressing solitude of the pandemic, eagerly searching on Google Earth the secret places where the Invader had placed his mosaics (“invading” public spaces).

Guest Speaker - Cristina Parma - LIS WOMAN

Andrea Sordi (Professor Haslam Business School, University of Tennessee; Mondelez) presented his views and advise about Inclusion Leadership. The subject of Diversity and Inclusion is over-represented in social media and it might be hard to find reputable and practical advise. Andrea covered the subject with competence and simple clarity, giving us a heart felt rendition of the purpose and values that guide his choice of inclusive leadership style. The world is diverse and we want to embrace the diversity because it is enriching, but how can we develop the skills to overcome biases, fear, suspicions and prejudice towards the “different”? An advocate of Inclusive Leadership and a Scholar of the Grooa CLEAR Mindset Method, Andrea took us through his tips for developing sound and effective Inclusive Leadership capabilities.

Guest Speaker - Andrea Sordi - LIS WOMAN

Leonor Grandsire is Senior Strategic Advisorto the joint CEOs of Morgane Group, an independent group specialized in Audiovisual, Feature Films and Events production. She supports the group in its evolution to face the production sector’s consolidation and to seize arising opportunities following SVOD platforms development, with a clear focus on scripted content development. Before that, Grandsire was Managing Director, NBCUniversal International Networks, Southern Europe, responsible for the company’s channels business across France (and 32 French-speaking countries)along with Italy, Spain and Portugal. She maintained leadership of NBCUniversal International Networks channels’ portfolio in France –13TH STREET, SYFY and E! Entertainment Television –adding 13 THSTREET and SYFY in Spain,SYFY and E! in Portugal and Diva and Studio Universal in Italy.She oversaw all aspects of the business, including operational management of linear channels, as well as development of new businesses. Grandsire previously held the position of President, Universal Networks International, France from January 2009, following her recruitment as Managing Director in May 2008.

Leonor Grandsire, Inspirational Speaker for LIS WOMAN GROOA

Ralu Nistor-Lustermans is a coach, a seasoned internal auditor, a board member, part of the audit and risk committee, and the founder of ERNL a business advisory and coaching consultancy, which aim is to awaken and transform organisations’ consciousness and create human centred organisations.

In the last two decades Ralu lived and worked in Italy, Ireland, France, the UK and now in the Netherlands. She worked for Deloitte Italy, Smurfit Kappa, Atos, Post Office UK and Grant Thornton UK, holding various leadership positions. Ralu holds various masters’ degrees in applied statistics and corporate governance, and she trained in NLP, applied neuroscience, positive psychology and as a mental health first aider.

She is a wife, mom to two super energetic boys and stepmom to a wonderful young man.

Her personal mission is to contribute to create a world & communities in which everyone gets the chance to be at their best, where we learn to celebrate what makes us unique and accept our diversities as a source of co-creating result.

Pauline Lindwall has worked with some of the most recognized global Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG´s) brands at Nestle’ and Mondelez and has international experience from Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Indonesia, Germany and Switzerland. She currently sits on the boards of Swedish Match AB, Duni AB (Sweden) and McKesson Europe AG (Germany). She also works as senior advisor for Ernst & Young.

Viktoria Sundquist holds a PhD in Technology Management and is now a senior lecturer at the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. Her research focus is on innovation and renewal within the building sector with a special interest in inter-organizational interaction. Recent research projects aiming at a more sustainable built environment address, for instance, gender equality in the construction process, future scenarios of digital transformation in the built environment ecosystem, and logistics in circular material flows. She is also the scientific leader for Sustainable Construction Logistics at the Centre for Management of the Built Environment, and leader of the thematic area Value Chains and Business Models in the strategic innovation programme Smart Built Environment.

Hanna Johansson holds a Master of Science in Construction Management at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. She now works as a contracting engineer at the construction contractor ByggDialog, which builds community properties in partnering and runs projects from preliminary study to final inspection. Currently working with an reconstruction of sewage treatment plants in Kungsbacka municipal for approximately SEK 1.2 Billion. She has a professional interest in organizational culture and norms in the male dominated construction industry. In the research project “Gender equality in the construction process for an attractive construction industry” she, together with Viktoria Sundquist and William Stensönes, developed a road map for the Swedish construction industry to create favorable conditions for gender equality and achieve greater diversity.


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