Meet the team

Board of directors

Yann Borgstedt – Founder, President and UK Trustee

“Be the change you wish to see in the world. May this citation, widely attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, inspire and guide all of us in changing the world.”

Yann Borgstedt is a Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist. Born and raised in Geneva, he pursued his studies in the USA. He has created, invested in and managed a wide range of companies in the real estate development, relocation and storage domains in France, England and Switzerland.

In 2005, he created the Womanity Foundation, which focuses on the education, training and empowerment of women in Afghanistan, Brazil, India, the Middle East and North Africa region and elsewhere.

Amongst other innovative initiatives, Womanity created the first commercial women’s radio exclusively in the Middle East, called “Radio NISAA FM”, and played a key role in the transformation of the largest school for girls in Afghanistan into a model school (Al Fatah). Womanity’s WomenChangeMakers Fellowship was launched in 2009 to identify and support social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions for the empowerment of women. The program was inspired by the Ashoka model, which Yann has become familiar with in recent years, particularly through his participation in Ashoka’s Support Network in Switzerland and France, where he worked with François Marty development sustainable social housing.

Yann also sits on the board of the “Gender Equality Project”, a Swiss Foundation working towards equal professional opportunities for men and women. He is also on the board of Internews, an international non-profit organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect and the means to make their voices heard.

He has a small portfolio of social investments as with www.microdon.org, www.mymela.com, www.twodegreesfood.com, http://zewaow.com/en/ and http://alter-equity.com and is also a member of YPO network (Young Presidents Organization).

He also has focused on green development projects including the most recent plans for the development of a green neighborhood in Geneva’s Praille-Acacias-Vernets (PAV) district, creating 400 residential apartments (including two-thirds for social housing) and a green residential tower.

Yann has been welcomed by Women Moving Millions as the first European and as one of the rare male members in recognition of his contribution to women’s empowerment and has received the BNP Paribas Award for Individual Philanthropy (Special Jury Prize) in May 2016.

It was an honour for him to be invited to speak at the 2013 TEDx CoventGardenWomen. In this powerful talk, Yann demonstrates the benefits of investing in girls and women.

 

 

 

Felix Bollmann – Member Of The Board

Felix Bollmann has been a leading actor in the world of cultural tourism, public service media and humanitarian aid in Switzerland and beyond for over 30 years.

In the 1980s, Mr Bollmann moved into the humanitarian field with the Swiss Development Corporation, before entering into the arena of public service media management, spearheading major projects such as the creation of World Radio Geneva, an English radio station in Geneva, the celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation and the universal exhibition hosted by Switzerland in 2002.

Connecting the worlds of media and humanitarian aid from 2000-2012, Mr Bollmann acted as Director of the Swiss Foundation for Swiss Solidarity, successfully leading the expansion of this collaboration between public service media and major non-governmental humanitarian organisations that raises support from the Swiss public for emergency relief world-wide.

Mr Bollmann continues to be actively engaged and in-demand within civil society with his involvement in a wide range of organisations including support to various social and cultural organizations such as Vice Chairman of Land of Men Foundation in Lausanne, Médecins du Monde Neuchâtel, SOS-Women Geneva, the Flying Anvil Foundation and Fonsart, the Swiss public service media Foundation for the preservation and development of radio and TV heritage.

Dr. Maximilian Martin – Member Of The Board

“I believe that social entrepreneurship can make an exceptionally powerful contribution to achieving the pattern change required to enter a genuinely gender-equal world. When the founder of the Womanity Foundation first reached out to me with his vision in 2005, I was delighted to mobilize my know-how, networks, platforms and students to assist him in building Womanity’s programmatic work.”

Maximilian Martin advises on, conceives and develops social change and impact investment concepts, platforms, programmes, products and services. His work has involved creating the first university course on social entrepreneurship in Europe at the University of Geneva and Europe’s first wealth management philanthropic advisory and knowledge exchange platform, UBS Philanthropy Services. In addition to lecturing appointments at the University of Geneva and St. Gallen, his engagements include or have included serving as founding chief strategist at IJ Partners as well as global head, managing director of UBS Philanthropy Services, head of research at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, senior consultant with McKinsey & Company, instructor at Harvard’s Economics Department, and fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Maximilian Martin has authored over a hundred articles on philanthropy, impact investments, and related topics, and is a frequent speaker at international gatherings in the areas of wealth management, philanthropy, and impact investments. He holds advanced degrees in anthropology and economics and a Ph.D. in economic anthropology. In addition to the Womanity Foundation, he serves on the boards or advisory boards of Dazzling Oceans (Singapore), FSG Social Impact Advisors (Boston, USA), Haniel Group (Duisburg, Germany), Oasis Fund (Geneva, Switzerland), and the World Toilet Organization (Singapore).

Arnaud Mourot – Member Of The Board

“The world needs innovative social entrepreneurs, who have the capacity to provide effective responses to major societal challenges. Their success rests on a close collaboration with organizations that have the ability to assist and guide them through each and every step of their development. That is what the Womanity Foundation does with professionalism and engagement, and the reason why I decided to support its mission.”

Since 2005, Arnaud Mourot has served as the CEO of Ashoka France, Belgium and Switzerland. He launched and developed the activities of the association in these countries, with a focus on the core programme of Ashoka: the selection and support of innovative social entrepreneurs. 26 Ashoka fellows are now part of the network.

Arnaud Mourot graduated with a major in “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris, a business school accredited by the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

At the same time, he led a high-level sportsman career, spending 10 years competing with the French National Wrestling Team, and coming 5th during the 1998 World Championship. As a result of his sporting career, Arnaud created Sport Sans Frontières (Sport Without Borders) in 1999, of which he is president today. This non-governmental organization uses sport as a means for education and psychological reconstruction in post-conflict countries and troubled neighbourhoods.

Audrey Selian – Member Of The Board

Audrey Selian is a driving force in the sustainable investment and social development fields, worldwide. Ms Selian started her career in management consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, with a few short stints within the ITU, telecoms-focused agencies at UN. In 2000, she pursued her interest in technology policy and development, completing a PhD at Tufts University focused on the interactions of technology and political development in former Soviet transition states in 2005.

Since that time Ms Selian has worked as a consultant for various organizations, including USAID on the use of information and communication technologies for development, as well as in a technology start-up. Since 2006, she transitioned into advising venture philanthropic foundations in their strategic portfolio development. She is presently acting as Director of Impact Investments for Rianta Capital Zurich, an advisory structure to the Singh Family Trust.

In 2008, Ms Selian founded the Artha Platform, a bespoke technology platform and social network designed to connect private investors and donors interested in India into an exclusive ‘community of trust’, with the purpose of sharing due diligence. Artha Platform has been licensed now in other geographies, including Latin America, and Artha Networks Inc. has been formed as a spin-out in 2012. Additionally she is a co-founder of the Impact Hub in Yerevan, Armenia.

John Rea – Special Advisor To The Board

John Rea, born in Belfast N. Ireland in 1952. He was educated at Belfast Royal Academy, and graduated with Honors in Law at Queens University Belfast and was enrolled as a solicitor in the N. Ireland Supreme Court in 1978. He practiced for a number of years in the UK and then worked in banking becoming Managing Director of the trust division and private client asset management group of Grindlays Private Bank. For the last 12 years has been the Director of a large private Family Office. He is very interested in issues surrounding Leadership and the creation of Leaders who possess clear and demonstrable qualities of empowerment, high ethical standards and a desire to bring humanity and a sense of inter-connectedness into a workplace whilst maintaining efficiency and accountability. John has recent experience of working in a supporting role in a Ugandan based Foundation, which focuses on Malaria prevention through education, effective use of malaria nets and direct treatment. Latterly also focusing on Mother and Infant issues including basic hygiene, nutrition, birth control and infant healthcare.

He has been happily married for 26 years to Versha, a Yoga teacher and father to Rose (23) and Samir (19). John is interested in reading, personal development, inspiring movies and music; he plays golf (badly), skis (moderately) and walks dogs in the mountains (splendidly).

Ranajoy Basu – UK Trustee - Chairman

Ranajoy Basu is a Partner at Reed Smith and the Co-Chair of Reed Smith’s India practice. He is dual qualified in England and India. His areas of practice include structured finance, securitisation, derivatives, debt capital markets and debt restructurings. He has significant experience in renewable energy project bonds, particularly solar bonds and solar securitisations. He also has extensive experience in advising on cross-border social impact finance structures and has been recognised as one of the leading lawyers in this space, having advised on some of the most innovative financial inclusion structures around the world, including the Development Impact Bond (DIB) of Educate Girls in India (one of Womanity’s WomenChangeMakers Fellow organisation). He is one of the founding members of the firm’s Social Impact Finance Group.

Natalie Pinon – UK Trustee - Treasurer

Natalie Pinon graduated from the London School of Economics and Sciences-Po Paris. In 2013, she joined Social and Sustainable Capital (UK) from the Charities Aid Foundation, where she had managed the global philanthropy advisory practice working with philanthropists and investors to help them achieve their social impact objectives.

Natalie Pinon began her career in financial services before moving to the international development field, where she worked for the United Nations Secretary General’s office and later the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). She was also Head of Social Investment at the London-based family office Novator.

Natalie Pinon is an affiliate of the Marmanie Consulting platform, one of the first UK-based impact investment advisory firms. She is also the co-founder of the social enterprise Development Ratings, an intermediary service for donors to assess the performance and impact of social sector organisations.

Ruth Szabo – UK Trustee- Secretary

Ruth Szabo has worked as in-house legal adviser for international not-for-profit organisations, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the GAVI Alliance, for over 18 years. Since 2012, she has been an independent legal consultant providing services to international organizations and their employees in the areas of organizational development, governance and workplace conflicts.

Ruth Szabo qualified as a solicitor in the UK, holds a Bachelors degree in Law from the University of Southampton, UK, and a Masters in Public International Law from University College London. She has been involved in a number of charitable initiatives, serves on the Executive Committee of Giving Women in Geneva, and has been a volunteer for the Womanity Foundation since its inception.

Ziad Tabet – UK Trustee

Ziad Tabet is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Amakor Capital.  He has over 20 years’ experience in finance. Prior to founding Amakor Capital, Ziad ran for over 7 years, as the sole portfolio manager, the event-driven fund at Jabre Capital and managed the segregated event-driven book within Jabre Capital Multi-Strategy Fund.

Previously, Ziad Tabet worked for three years with Tribeca Capital where he launched the firm’s European event-driven strategy. Prior to that, he was a senior analyst at Holte Capital.

Ziad Tabet started his career in 1993 with Morgan Stanley in New York, where he spent two years in Mergers and Acquisitions and two years in Emerging Markets. He then worked for four years in Private Equity: two years at Texas Pacific Group, a multi-billion Dollar LBO fund, and two years at Deep Capital, a mid-market buyout boutique he co-founded.

Ziad Tabet holds a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Economics from McGill University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Aastha Gurbax – UK Trustee

Aastha Gurbax is an Executive Director and Senior Banker at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, responsible for leading Entrepreneurial Client Coverage. She is responsible for client advisory, discretionary, credit relationships and for developing business principally in the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) International Market in the UK both for principals and family offices.

Aastha Gurbax joined J.P. Morgan from Morgan Stanley where she worked as an Investment Advisor in the Wealth Management Group covering UHNW families, family offices and charities managing both advisory and discretionary portfolios for clients across UK, Emerging Europe and Africa.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Aastha Gurbax was a Tax Consultant advising UHNW families at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte and Touche in London. Before that, she held various roles in foreign exchange trading, specialised derivatives and strategic business development. Aastha Gurbax holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science with honours from Cass Business School, London. She won the Spears Young Wealth Manager Award in 2016 and is also a professionally qualified tax consultant in the UK. Aastha Gurbax also sits on the EMEA Advisory Council at J.P. Morgan and on the board of Harvard Business School Angels.

Our team

Womanity brings together decades of collective experience and entrepreneurial skills to curate a team that pushes the boundaries of women and girls' empowerment.

meet the staff

Board of directors

Our Board of Directors provide critical guidance and inspiration to innovate for lasting change

meet the board of directors

Our team

Antonella Notari Vischer
Director

After working for over 18 years with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a field-based delegate and as the main spokesperson, Antonella Notari Vischer entered the microfinance sector as director of corporate communication at BlueOrchard in Geneva from early 2008 until November 2009. From January 2010, she has headed the Womanity Foundation. She also sits on the board of directors of “Geneve roule” and “Giving Women”.

Antonella Notari Vischer holds a MSc in Media & Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a Licence ès Letters from the University of Geneva.

Valentina Di Felice
Program Manager

Valentina Di Felice joined the Womanity Foundation in 2010 as program manager in charge of supervising and monitoring a number of the foundation’s projects. She has over 4 years experience in community-based online media and not-for-profit organizations dealing with integration of immigrants and women’s empowerment. She was press officer for Africa e Mediterraneo, an association based in Bologna, and a radio producer and presenter for Asteriscoradio.com. She collaborated with Il Tamburo and VITA Europe, two online magazines based in Italy and in the UK.

Valentina Di Felice holds a MA in Media and Communication from the Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna as well as a MAS in the management of international and not-for-profit organizations (IOMBA) from the University of Geneva.

Aurelia Ovan
Executive Assistant In Charge Of Administration, Communication And Events

Aurelia Ovan started her career as a researcher in sociology and as a freelance consultant for the Geneva Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO). In 2007, Aurelia joined the Womanity Foundation and has been responsible for administration, communications and events.

Aurelia holds a Master of Human Sciences in Sociology of Arts and Culture from the University of Grenoble and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Savoy.

Servane Mouazan
Womanity Award Project Manager

Servane Mouazan has worked for 15 years as a conscious innovation entrepreneur, helping organisations understand other people’s needs in a changing economy.

She is the founder and director of Ogunte C.I.C  an award winning organisation that enables women – social entrepreneurs, socially responsible executives, and finance providers to make an impact on people and planet.  At Ogunte, she has developed the first incubator for women social entrepreneurs in the UK and has run the International Women’s Social Leadership Awards with over 130 finalists from 23 countries.

Her expertise includes women social entrepreneurship, sustainable supply chains, challenge prizes and social business incubation. She has worked across industries in Brazil, France, Holland and the UK and sits on various social innovation organisations’ advisory boards.

Servane holds an Master in Modern Dutch Studies from the University of Lille, France and a Diploma in Social Enterprise Support.

Mohammad Zia Noori
Program Director In Afghanistan

Mohammad Zia Noori joined the Womanity Foundation in September 2011 as program director in Afghanistan. He has over 12 years experience in project planning, management, supervision, budgeting, implementation and reporting in the areas of education, child protection, health and hygiene education and promotion, community development and training of social workers.

Previous to the Womanity Foundation, he worked for several national and international organizations including Save the Children, UNICEF, Aschiana and others. Noori holds several certificates in his areas of competences and conducted several training programs.

Tiana Vilar Lins
Representative Of Womenchangemakers In Brazil

Tiana has been committed to the non-profit sector for 15 years and has worked across Brazil, Paraguay and India to deliver impactful results on social projects, primarily with a focus on youth and social enterprise. Tiana has worked in youth and adolescent development at Alliance Institute and managed the selection of social entrepreneurs in Brazil and Paraguay for Ashoka. Additionally Tiana’s professional life has taken her into the realm of improving organizational development of organisations at the social mobilization agency she cofounded, Aracati, and at ICEP, institution focused in enhancing public education, as general manager.

Tiana is a communication postgraduate of Sao Paulo University (Brazil) and is currently attending a post graduation course on Reflexive Social Practice by GRA (Brazil), The Proteus Initiative (South Africa), Crossfields Institute (England) and Alanus University (Germany).

Caitlin Fisher
Advisor To Womenchangemakers In Brazil

Caitlin, a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently finished her Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil. She has been carrying out ethnographic research on gender, the body, and economic development through the lens of football and she is co-founder of the GUERREIRASPROJECT, an international multimedia initiative on gender and development. She previously worked as a Portfolio Specialist for the Nike Foundation in New York City and Portland, Oregon where she contributed to the launch of the girl effect. She is also a former professional football player, who played internationally in Brazil, Sweden and the U.S.,while simultaneously carrying out anthropological research for FIFA. Caitlin received her BA in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University (2004), and her MSc from the Gender Institute, London School of Economics (LSE) (2010).

Indrani Sharma
Representative Of Womenchangemakers In India

Indrani Sharma has been engaged in the non profit sector for past 13 years and has worked with various national and international organizations of repute on wide range of development projects which briefly includes social entrepreneurship, microfinance and livelihood. Her area of involvement has been community mobilization, capacity building and community engagement. She has experience of working not only within India but also in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and represented South Asian projects at global level. She has successfully worked with organizations like Ashoka and PlaNet Finance and is currently also involved with Ashoka Changemakers.

Asmaa Guedira
Program Leader for Be 100 Ragl fiction series

Asmaa joined the Womanity Foundation early 2016. She is passionate about social innovation, and very interested in the impact of collaboration enabled by digital technology in creative and innovative communities that emerge in organizations and in society in general. She believe that collaborative communities offer new alternatives to social and economic development for developing countries.

Asmaa is also a connector for OuiShare, an international community of innovators working together on emerging paradigms such as collaborative economy, open source manufacturing, decentralized organizations and zero waste societies, that she joined after working 4 years as a management consultant at PwC. Her focus has been on creating synergies in the areas of digital innovation and social entrepreneurship between Europe and MENA (Middle East and North Africa). This is an area of particular importance as she is naturally from Morocco and has lived 10 years in Paris. She is now a nomad, living and working around the world, and will spend most of her time in various MENA countries this year.

Sabine Rosset
Partnerships and External Resources (Switzerland)

Sabine Rosset holds a MA in Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva. She began her career as a journalist for the Swiss television and private media. Pursuing her interest in the cultural sector, she led for the national cinema promotion agency in Zurich, the distribution strategies of Swiss films abroad.

Since 2011, she is specifically focused on fundraising and advising philanthropic organizations in developing their partnerships and funding humanitarian programs.

In 2016, Sabine joined the Womanity Foundation to strengthen the network of donors and investors in Switzerland, supporting social innovation benefiting women and girls around the world.