For the past three years, our Forbes Women’s Summit has been celebrating and spotlighting the achievements of women from around the world. The Covid-19 crisis has only reinforced the need for a platform to uplift women and drive change. Join us on November 18 to hear from the ‘Superwomen’ who are reaching new heights and offering solutions for a more equitable recovery.

There are many reasons to be hope­ful. In the year since the Forbes DACH team and 26,000 viewers gathered for our 2020 Women’s Summit, we have witnessed huge milestones. Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd became the youngest woman to take her company public – with her 1-year-old son in tow. Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to take home the Oscar for Best Director. Kamala Harris became the first Black, South Asian-American and female Vice President of the United States. This all forms the backdrop as we reconvene for our annual Women’s Summit under the banner of “Superwoman”.

But even as we continue to celebrate women and their accomplishments, it’s important to bear in mind that we are far away from the finish line just yet. To echo Moira Forbes, publisher of Forbes Women, in 2020: “We know that women have advanced in remarkable ways, but we’re still at an inflection point.” The crisis has only accentuated ­gender disparities. In Europe, women represent the majority of those who work on the frontline. They are also more likely to work in sectors (from retail to hospitality) most impacted by the pandemic. In the first year of Covid-19, around 54 million women were left without work, according to the International Labour Organization. Overall, women’s employment will fall by 13 million in 2021 compared to 2019. These are tough numbers to swallow and a stark reminder that there is still a long road ahead.

The Women’s Summit is just one way for us to put women back in focus. In November, we will hear from Vitra CEO Nora Fehlbaum, previously featured in our March 2021 issue on “Artificial Intelligence”. Fehlbaum represents the third generation of the Swiss furniture and design company and will provide a window into our future workplaces in her keynote ‘An Office Perspective’. What’s the purpose of an office and why do we come in? How do we create inviting and collaborative environments? Fehlbaum will share her vision in this new climate of distributed work.

“We know that ­women have advanced in ­remarkable ways, but we’re still at an inflection point.”

Also on the agenda: Christine Rogers-Raetsch, Chief People Officer of Duolingo. The language-learning app has 500 million users worldwide and made its debut on the Nasdaq in July, bolstered by the move to online education and people picking up new languages during lockdowns. Rogers-­Raetsch will discuss the diversity of its learner base, inclusion efforts and how the app brought people closer together – in a time when we couldn’t be further apart.

And for those who have jumped on the podcast bandwagon, Saruul Krause-Jentsch will join the stage in her role as Head of Studios for Spotify. She’ll be tackling issues such as the visibility of women and migrants’ voices in the podcast space. Plus, how we can elevate the stories of marginalized communities especially in the German-speaking landscape.

The event is made possible with the support of our partner Snipes, which is already channeling the theme of “Superwoman” with its own Girl Squad; other partners include Austrian law firm Dorda. You will find more on that in our October issue, which will be dedicated to ‘Women’, namely the female entrepreneurs and business minds of the DACH region.

Behind the scenes, we are busy putting together a lively program of one-on-one interviews and meaningful breakout sessions. At the same time, we would also love to hear from you: What discussions do you want on the agenda? Who would you like to hear from? What has resonated with you since we last gathered together? Save the date: November 18, 2021. We look forward to seeing you there!


Nora Fehlbaum, Ceo Vitra

Nora Fehlbaum is CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra, leading the family-owned company in the third generation. Fehlbaum joined Vitra in 2010 and was initially responsible for the Vitra Campus, the global launch of the online shops and the expansion of the Vitra Accessories Collection, before taking the helm in 2016 as CEO. While the first generation laid the company’s commercial foundations and the second added a cultural dimension through the development of the Vitra Campus and the Vitra Design Museum along with its collection, the third generation – represented by Nora Fehlbaum – puts the spotlight on sustainable thinking and action.

Yvonne Bettkober, General Manager Amazon Web Services (AWS) Switzerland

Yvonne Bettkober is the General Manager of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Switzerland. AWS is the market-leading provider of public cloud infrastructure and services. Bett­kober has led teams and businesses across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. For more than 15 years, she has been ­working with new technologies and their transformation potential for companies of all sizes.

The executive is passionate about helping businesses and institutions leverage technology to improve outcomes for the customers and communities they serve. Additionally to her main professional duties, Bettkober serves as advisory board member for several startups and associations and is a member of the board of Digital Switzerland.

She holds a master’s degree in Telecommunications ­Engineering and an MBA from Warwick Business School. She has been living in Switzerland with her husband and three sons since 2006.

Belinda Bencic, Tennis Player Olympic Gold Medalist

Born in 1997, Swiss tennis prodigy Belinda Bencic is the ­female Swiss sensation behind her male counterpart of Roger Federer – at only 24 years of age.

Her first big breakthrough came at the 2014 US Open, where she became the youngest quarterfinalist since Martina Hingis in 1997. In 2015, Bencic captured her first two WTA titles including the WTA Masters event in Toronto, while upsetting the world’s No. 1, Serena Williams, in route to the title. In 2016, Belinda made her top 10 debut while still only 18 years old.

In July 2021, Bencic wrote her name in the history books after claiming both a Gold and Silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a monumental performance over the course of the week. By winning the singles Gold medal, Belinda became Switzerland’s first ever female singles player to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

Sasha Bühler, Director International Films Netflix

Sasha Bühler, joined Netflix as Director International Films in December 2019. Bühler started her career in production, first in news, then across documentaries, animation and feature films. This was followed by positions as Head of Acquisitions at Square One Entertainment and at the Munich Film Academy (HHF). Her most recent position was Head of Acquisitions and International Co-Productions at Constantin Film, where she stayed for eleven years.

Bühler grew up in the US and graduated from Vassar College, then lived in Germany for 30 years before moving to London for her current position. Recently, she has relocated to Berlin to spearhead the entire DACH film production for Netflix. She is active in several women’s networks and is a regular lecturer on women’s issues.

Saruul Krause-Jentsch, Head of Studios Dach Spotify

Since April 2020, Saruul Krause-Jentsch has taken on the role as “Head of Studios DACH” at Spotify. The team she leads is responsible for the selection, production and editorial supervision of German-language Spotify Original and Exclusive Podcasts as well as the communication with podcasters and partners. Saruul joined Spotify in September 2019 as Strategy and Operations Manager.

Prior to Spotify, Saruul worked as a Digital Business Strategist for several magazines at Condé Nast Publishing and as a Director of the Corporate Network at Bertelsman. Most recently, she worked in the field of audio strategy and podcasting as an independent consultant, advising numerous companies in developing their own podcast strategies.


Text: Olivia Chang
Fotos: Tom Ziora, Marlen Stahlhuth, AYS, Netflix_James Gillham

Dieser Artikel erschien in unserer Ausgabe 7–21 zum Thema „Smart Cities“.


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