• 11 Apr 2014 11:00 | Deleted user
    In association with the Women’s Business Society (WBS) and the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT)

    Business Luncheon in Geneva with Diane Abbott,
    Member of Parliament for Hackney North & Stoke Newington

    "Elections, elections, elections!
    With a few weeks to go to the European Parliament elections and almost exactly one year to the next British General Election, what will the future hold?"

    Friday 11th April 2014
    11:45 – 14:00

    Business Luncheon in Geneva with Micheline Calmy-Rey
    Twice former President of the Swiss Confederation

    “Swiss Foreign Policy”

    Wednesday 30th April 2014
    11:45 – 14:00

    Hotel Beau Rivage, Quai du Mont-Blanc 13, 1201 Geneva

    How much?
    BSCC Members and guests – CHF 90.-
    OWIT and WBS Members – CHF 90.-
    Non-members – CHF 135.-

    For online registration and more information go to - Forthcoming BSCC Events. On the online registration page you will find boxes marked OWIT and WBS (for Organization of Women in International Trade and Women’s Business Society) which you must tick to get the members special price. Or contact Michael McKay at or 022 776 7520.

  • 24 Mar 2014 21:39 | Anonymous

    Are you enthusiastic, creative and looking for a challenging project?

    As of mid April this year, we are looking for a volunteer to take up the role of VP of Marketing and Communications.

    The role: plan, execute and evaluate OWIT's marketing and communication activities. 

    The volunteer: a strategic thinker with experience in project planning, co-ordination & teamwork and fluent in written English.

    The benefits: get experience of working on a Board, influence a wide group, grow and develop professionally.

    For more details, contact Nasya Dimitrova,
    or Derwyn Cafferkey,

  • 25 Feb 2014 13:37 | Anonymous

    OWIT is always looking for volunteers, this isn’t new, but our Executive Vice President Derwyn Cafferkey has come up with five reasons that volunteering is good for you! Have a read and see if she can convince you to become an OWIT volunteer.


    OWIT Lake Geneva needs volunteers!

    We all lead very busy lives with work, family and friends and as such volunteering is often the last thing on our mind, but before you skip over this part of the newsletter I would like to give you an insight into what volunteering can offer!


    1. Volunteering connects you to others - being a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, boost your social skills and make new friends and contacts.


    2. Volunteering is good for your mind and body – It can boost your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, by helping others and learning something new yourself. It can provide a natural sense of accomplishment – and the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.


    3. Volunteering can advance your career - volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest and meet people in the field. It gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization.


    4. Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life - Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions and can be an energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work or family commitments. It can also give you renewed creativity and motivation that can carry over into your personal and professional life.


    5. Volunteering helps you focus on your goals and interests - You will have a richer and more enjoyable volunteering experience if you take some time to identify your goals and interests. Think about why you want to volunteer and what you would enjoy doing.  Volunteer opportunities that match your goals and your interests will be more fun and when things are fun, the achievements are even better.


    Over to you!

    At OWIT Lake Geneva we have a number of roles that volunteers can do – it can take as little or as much of your time as you want.  If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering please contact Derwyn Cafferkey



  • 25 Feb 2014 08:00 | Deleted user
    *** CONTEST for members ***

    Interlinking OWIT members in a better way, that is our aim and we need your help for that! Help us create a strong OWIT Lake Geneva community and share your skills with other members!

    Update your profile now and win a free entry to an OWIT Lake Geneva event of your choice!

    How to participate:
    1. Log on to the website, click on view and edit profile
    2. Complete the missing sections in the template
    3. Once you're done, send an email to with the subject: CONTEST 
    In case you had already done so before, you can also participate. Just send us an email before 30 March 2014.

    GOOD LUCK! From all entries, the winner will be drawn at one of our next events. We very much look forward to hearing and reading from you!


    About the project:  

    Membership Engagement update: Talent Resources Directory

    Following on from the World Café in February, the Membership Engagement Action Team has been working hard on building a framework for a talent resources directory and for a members mentoring initiative. 

    The talent resources directory allows you as an OWIT member to search for and to easily get in touch with people who you can connect with to help you build your professional career and profile.

    We are now happy to say that we are at the stage where we can start to build a directory both for members to use and as a foundation for our mentoring initiative.

    Our Engagement Team have been hard at work populating their profiles and we would ask you to do the same. We are asking you to provide a link to your LinkedIn profile and to use the drop down menu to highlight the skill areas where you would be happy to help, to provide a photo and a 1000 character insight into yourself that you cannot see in your LinkedIn profile.

    The more people populate their profiles, the more valuable this resource will be for all our members and will help reinforce the benefits of becoming an OWIT member.

    To go to the Members Directory (after your Login in):

    If you would like to consult some good examples, click on the profiles of Derwyn Cafferkey and Sedef Duru Ozkazanc!

  • 31 Jan 2014 11:06 | Anonymous

    Since 1995, OWIT International has celebrated the outstanding achievements and contributions of women leaders in international business and trade, from around the world.

    We are very pleased to announce that 2013 OWIT Woman of the Year award has been given to OWIT Lake Geneva member Meg Jones.

    What is the award all about?

    The OWIT Woman of the Year award honours a candidate who has made an exceptional contribution and improvement to the status of women in international business and trade for a period of at least three years.

    Supporting the greater purpose and OWIT International’s mission, united around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business, the candidate role models OWIT’s values of collaboration, integrity, responsibility, respect, diversity, empowerment, learning, compassion.

    Finally, she is a role model to other women in the field, and recognized and highly respected for her significant achievements and responsibilities.

    Meg Jones - The perfect candidate
    There are many strings to Meg’s bow and it’s no wonder she was nominated for this award. From an early age, Meg has always had a great drive and determination, which she has successfully channelled into a career of empowering women by improving their status in international business and trade.

    With a Master of International Studies and a Bachelor of Economics, Meg studied in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands, and is multi-lingual, speaking English, French and Japanese.

    As the Women and Trade Programme Manager at the International Trade Centre (a joint agency of the United Nations and WTO), she is responsible for the design and implementation of the multi-year, multimillion dollar programme to increase the economic benefits women derive from trade.
    As such, she works with women-owned enterprises to connect them to corporate and government buyers, and with institutions and government to improve the business environment for women exporters.

    Prior to this, her illustrious career has seen her in the role of Deputy Director of the Evian Group at IMD – a trade think tank, staff for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, as well as a member of the Australian delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She also brings her private sector experience gained from working in the financial markets and in management consulting.

    Meg has sat on several boards including the Australia-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Organization of Women in International Trade and is a 2012 ‘World of Difference’ award winner for her contribution to women’s economic empowerment.

    How did you feel when you found out you had won the award?

    “Elated! As a founding member of the Lake Geneva Chapter, I know OWIT International well and have a great respect for all the women who volunteer many hours to achieve the organisation’s goals. I also feel that the OWIT International and its chapters have a brilliant mission: united around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business.

    What would you say to OWIT members for whom you are a role model?

    “I would encourage people to turn their frustrations into actions. If you give up then nothing changes… if there is an obstacle in front of you channel it into action and actually affect change. Do something positive to break the status quo. It is important to pick your battles, but it is also good to join forces with others to make change happen and OWIT is the kind of organization which allows women to work on ideas and projects together to achieve concrete results.

    Read and in-depth interview with Meg from the Network Newsletter of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and learn about the challenges she faces in her work and innovative projects she leads to overcome them.
  • 05 Jan 2014 15:52 | Anonymous

    As 2013 came to a close, so did our president’s tenure. In an interview with Violette Ruppanner, we discover what motivated her to take up the role, the challenges she faced, how she achieved her goals and what her new role in OWIT will entail as we start the year.  

    A little background

    A Swiss national with a degree in Economics, Executive Master in Management of Technology (MoT) and MBA in Marketing, Leadership & Change Management, Violette joined OWIT in 2008 following a recommendation that it was a good place to network and meet interesting people. Having recently returned from the US, it provided the perfect chance, both personally and professionally, to stay connected to the international community and keep up her English.

    Stepping up from member to president

    The path from member to president was gradual and in some ways, a natural process. Violette became more and more involved in the volunteering side – helping at OWIT events with registration or taking photos. Answering a call for volunteers to fill rolls on the OWIT Executive team, she took on those of VP Partnership in 2009, and Executive VP temporarily until the position was filled. When the then President announced she was leaving Switzerland, a lack of successor led Violette to step up and become OWIT President.

    “It was a great opportunity to develop my leadership skills and perhaps open doors professionally, and I also got a lot of encouragement from fellow team members.”

    What did you set out to achieve? Did you succeed?

    “My goal was to make myself redundant as fast as possible... It took me much longer than I thought it would! Joking aside, I wanted to develop the association in a way to make it less dependent on a single leader, a single person in the driving seat. I think that I can honestly say that this has been achieved.”

    OWIT now has a co-presidency, which reduces the burden on one person to be present and represent the association on many occasions – two monthly networking meetings, at least one monthly event over the past years except in July and August, board meetings and other events and meetings to which the Association’s leadership is invited and expected to participate.

    “We have also empowered the executive team members to be fully responsible for their area of action and encouraged them to build and coach their own volunteer teams. We invited our members, through the World Café and Action Café in 2013, to express their wishes and ideas for the association’s future and how they envisage their participation, in the spirit of being (becoming) an organisation that lives for and through its members. Several great projects have come out of this process, and are now being put into action independently by members (the executive team only plays an advisory role). Thus, the responsibility of carrying OWIT forward has been distributed over more shoulders – more heads, hearts and hands are working together to make it flourish.”

    However, on a more practical level, there were a few things to tackle. First and foremost, OWIT’s finances were running seriously low. “Turning around the financial situation was therefore a priority for me. I am happy to say that I am handing over the association to the new team in good financial health, with some reserves for investments if needed.”

    Violette expands on another successful project related to the website, which had been growing organically over the years and become quite cumbersome to maintain and develop. A small group of dedicated volunteers created and launched a new site. It is much easier for all to use and has simplified membership and event management tremendously. Violette also ensured the association’s institutional memory was documented (most OWIT’s practices and processes) and a system for document sharing was established.

    What was the greatest challenge?

    Since OWIT is one of the key English-speaking networking organisations based in the Lake Geneva area, it attracts many people in transition, whose stays range from a few months to a couple of years. Many head hunters and job agencies also recommend OWIT Lake Geneva to job hunters who engage with the association while they are searching for a job, but get back into their non-networking habits as soon as they are back at work. “The regular turnover of membership, and since we are volunteer-based, therefore also the executive team, means a lot of time and energy is invested in explaining and coaching new executive team members and volunteers, and rebuilding the team, rather than focusing on organisational and strategy development work.”

    What have you enjoyed about the experience?

    “There are a number of things I have thoroughly enjoyed throughout the experience:

    • First, I could literally see myself grow in the role as I became slowly aware of what leading a volunteer organisation meant and entailed. Today, speaking in public has become so much easier and more natural for me than when I took over the role.
    • Second, I was able to meet a lot of inspiring people throughout the years, among our members and constituency, the executive team and our guest speakers – I have learned many great things from all of them and some have become friends.
    • Last but not least, I truly enjoyed the membership engagement process that we decided and launched in spring 2013 (and that will continue in 2014).

    It has been very energising and rewarding to see a new generation of volunteers and board members taking up and co-sharing the responsibility to carry OWIT Lake Geneva into the future, always keeping in mind the key question we asked at the outset: How might we as an association fulfil our highest potential for our members and have a positive impact on the world around us?

    What will your new role entail?

    As Co-VP of Partnerships at OWIT International – a role I will share with Susan Baka from Toronto, Canada – my task will be to develop new partnerships with like-minded organisations, mostly, but not only, in Europe. These partnerships should provide new benefits to OWIT members as well as create goodwill and synergies.

    As OWIT Adviser, I also remain available as a resource person for any policy or operational issue that the new OWIT Lake Geneva executive team may wish to address.

    It only remains to say that OWIT volunteers and members would like to thank Violette for her great leadership, dedication, energy and enthusiasm, and fantastic achievements throughout her membership and presidency. We wish Violette all the very best and remain thankful that she continues to contribute to OWIT in her new Advisor role.

  • 22 Nov 2013 14:10 | Deleted user
    In the Lac Léman region, it is considered as a privilege to own a house with a big garden by the lakeside - no doubt about that! In particular, due to the high prices and as residential properties are exceptionally hard to find.

    The alternative, renting a residential property, is equally daunting: real estate agencies have long waiting lists, and most foreigners find their first accommodation through relocation services. The constant demand for accommodation far outstrips the supply for both markets.

    Are you currently dealig with this topic? Are you looking for some advice on buying property? Do you want to learn more on how to proceed and what to avoid?

    Do not miss the opportunity to meet up with the real estate expert Assimina Walther! Sign up for the upcoming OWIT workshop on 2 December here!


    TIP 1: Ask if you can rent the property before you express an interest in buying it. Ask for a quote and for how long you can rent it.

    TIP 2: If you are going abroad for more than a year, retain an agency (or real estate management company) to let and maintain your property. Ask them to provide an exhaustive list of all the services they provide, with prices. Note that the management company may ask a commission – up to 10% above the budget – for repairs and other work. Ask for a minimum of three offers from construction companies for any work to be done.

    TIP 3: Management fees for rented property vary, but usually they are 5% to 10% of the rental income ......

    .... a long list of useful tips to be continued!
  • 27 Oct 2013 08:00 | Deleted user
    Swing by and visit OWIT Lake Geneva at the LEMAN EXPAT FAIR on Sunday November 3rd!

    • Between 11am – 5pm
    • FREE entrance
    • We’re at BOOTH 31

    Not yet an OWIT member, but want to become one? Then don't miss to check out our promotional fair offer!

    To enter the Léman Events tombola, register on and win beautiful prizes.

    See you there, bring a friend or colleague, find a lot of information, and have fun!
  • 26 Oct 2013 12:03 | Deleted user
    Available and interested in volunteering at our OWIT booth for 1-2 hours?
    Between 11am – 5pm
    OWIT LAKE GENEVA booth no. 31
    We would be grateful for your help. If you are free, don't hesitate to contact:

    Many thanks for your help, we look forward to seeing you there!

  • 09 Oct 2013 14:13 | Anonymous
    Our partner International Link organizes this event on 7 November 2013, from 4-6.30p at the CVCI in Lausanne. For more information and to sign up click here.


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