A short message from our Co-Presidents, Geraldine O’Grady & Brigid O’Donovan:
“The success of the IBN in Switzerland all comes down to its people – the members of our volunteer Committee and the Irish people who support and attend our events. Under the leadership of its founder Valerie Guertler-Doyle, the Committee made great progress over the 10 years from 2008. We are excited by our vision for the future and we are actively working with the Network in each of the three chapters to ensure we put on meaningful networking events for everyone involved and have an enjoyable time too.”
Our Committee Members
Below you can find out more about our current Committee who were voted in during the June AGM for 2019/2020. All Committee members are proud of their Irish heritage and fulfil their role alongside demanding careers and active lives.
Brigid is passionate about using technology to benefit people, organisations and our planet and is relentless in her focus on value creation. She advises high technology and medical wearable companies on growth and innovation strategy based on her first-hand experience creating and growing start-ups, family enterprises and new markets in multinationals.
A native of County Wexford, Brigid studied Engineering at UCD and after some time in the US and UK, moved to Switzerland while completing further Marketing and Management studies.
She has been a member of IBN Switzerland since the early days, actively supports business and technology collaboration between her native and adopted homes and mentors on integration into Switzerland and career growth. She enjoys waking up to a view of Mont Blanc each morning and having lived in four different cantons is still discovering new areas of this beautiful country.
Geraldine has over 20 years’ experience working in the food sector, including in marketing and strategy roles for major FMCGs, and consulting for the UNDP. She now heads sustainability for a leading Swiss Flavours company. She is excited about the potential role of food in a sustainable future and loves keeping connected to all the amazing and innovative start-ups in this space.
A Cork native, she holds a BSc in Food Business from UCC as well as a Post Graduate in Marketing from DIT.
Having lived in Zurich since 2008, Geraldine has really enjoyed being a member of the IBN and meeting fellow Irish professionals living abroad. As Co- President, she is passionate about the potential of the IBN to bring Irish people together and keep the strong cultural connection to home.
ZURICH CHAPTER CO-LEAD
Joanna moved to Zurich in 2016 and works as a corporate lawyer in a leading Swiss law firm focusing on Swiss domestic and international mergers and acquisitions transactions, private equity and general corporate and commercial law.
Prior to that Joanna lived and worked in Luxembourg where she practiced at a Luxembourg business law firm. She also worked in Brussels on EU Projects, including working with the Irish language.
She is a qualified solicitor, holding a Bachelor in Civil Law (European) from University College Dublin and admitted on the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland, England and Wales, as well as the Luxembourg Bar (List IV of foreign lawyers).
With over 10 years of personal and professional experience as an-expat, Joanna understands the opportunities and challenges that arise in day-to-day life as an ex-pat. She is currently Co-Chapter Head of the Zurich IBN with Therese Langan.
ZURICH CHAPTER CO-LEAD
Therese is originally from Limerick and now lives in Winterthur after moving to Switzerland in 2011. She currently works in Zurich as a Project Manager where she has many years’ experience working in large financial services companies in Dublin, London and Zurich. She has led large, complex projects in the areas of GDPR, Digital Transformation and M&A.
Therese joined the IBN in 2014 and in 2018 became a member of the committee. Together with Joanna Long, she is responsible for organising activities for the Zurich chapter.
BASEL CHAPTER CO-LEAD
Angela is passionate about HR, the future of work and enabling change. Having spent almost 10 years working on the transformation of work across all types of organisations she cherishes the opportunity to enable people and organisations to develop a more concrete picture of their future and prepare accordingly.
She has worked on topics such as women in leadership, the compatibility of work and family life and work and age from both an employer’s and employee’s perspective. As a mediator and coach, she supports people in undergoing change and in dealing with conflict or issues that arise during change processes.
A native of County Sligo, Angela studied International Business and Languages in Dublin. She emigrated to Germany in the 1990’s and spent her career working in Germany and Switzerland through German.
She has been a member of IBN Germany for many years now and has spent some time volunteering for IBN Frankfurt as Co-President.
Angela enjoys getting out and about for good hikes and keeping up with an Irish community in her home away from home. Having moved here in late 2016, she is still discovering much about life in Switzerland and how to do things the “Swiss” way.
BASEL CHAPTER CO-LEAD
Petra has a vast array of experience in FMCG companies and the hospitality industry in Ireland, Germany, America and Switzerland and is currently looking for new opportunities.
She originally moved to Basel in 2013, to be a manager in an Irish Pub. Petra loves bringing people together, connecting individuals and bringing an idea to life.
Petra comes from County Roscommon and understands the challenges that one faces when they moved to a new country whether it is alone or as part of a family. She believes that keeping a strong connection to her Irish roots and culture has kept her open-minded, grounded and appreciative of what lies ahead.
SUISSE ROMANDIE CHAPTER CO-LEAD
Mary is an accomplished solicitor, mediator and law professor. An expert on Business and Human Rights, she is regularly requested to give presentations and advice to different universities and business schools globally.
Her interests and expertise encompass human rights, women’s rights and education. She is the president of CLAFV (www.clafvd.ch) an organisation representing 35 associations in the Canton of Vaud, a member of the CCCE (Commission Cantonale Consultative de l’Egalité) and the bureau of Politiciennes.ch (http://politiciennes.ch).
Mary works in English and French and is the Chapter Head for the IBN in the French speaking region of Switzerland.
SUISSE ROMANDIE CHAPTER CO-LEAD
Nikki is a former international athlete and passionate sports person, who now works at the International Hockey Federation as the Digital Manager. She moved to Switzerland in 2013 to study her Masters in Sport at AISTS in Lausanne.
Prior to moving to Switzerland, Nikki was a member of the Irish Women’s Hockey team and a teacher at St Andrews College, Dublin). In 2013, Nikki became the first athlete in Ireland to reach the 200 cap milestone and went on to retire from International hockey that same year. Nikki also played Cricket for Ireland, underage and senior while on a break from Hockey.
She is the current AISTS Alumni President and is involved in many conferences and gatherings as a speaker or a panelist for a range of topics from digital marketing to diversity and inclusion.
Nikki joined the IBN committee in 2018 to the help with the Suisse Romande Chapter activities.
Joanne, a Mayo native, is an experienced corporate governance professional, working with boards, committees and management at a senior level in the fields of scientific cooperation and international development.
After graduating with an MA from DCU, Joanne lectured for a short period at the Institut Universitaire de Technologie in Mulhouse, France. In 1996, she joined the European Science Foundation in Strasbourg, France, where, over a 15-year period, she worked in various roles, including project management, data protection and corporate governance.
Joanne joined Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in 2012, a Geneva-based international organisation which brings together both the public and private sectors, with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. She has been Head of Governance at Gavi since 2015.
Joanne joined the IBN in 2020 and looks forward to working with the Committee and in particular leading and developing the new Geneva Chapter.
Michael moved to Switzerland in 2010 just after completing his MBA in County Dublin. A qualified accountant, he has over 20 years finance management experience in global HQs in Switzerland and in subsidiaries of blue chip MNCs in Ireland. His work has taken him to the FMCG, IT, Retail and Manufacturing industries.
Michael is a bit of a sports and social nut and will be delighted to introduce you to the best watering holes in Switzerland and that’s not even mentioning bars and restaurants. Needless to say he can be found in an Irish pub in Zurich whenever his County Cork hurling team are playing. Passionate about connecting people he is excited about the opportunities the Irish Business Network provides.
IBN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Patrick has been in living in Switzerland since 2006. He joined the IBN Switzerland committee in 2008. Originally from Co. Kildare. Patrick is a serial Entrepreneur and has built up and sold a number of companies in both Ireland and Switzerland. Patrick now represents a number of Irish companies in the DACH market including Smarttech 247 (Cyber Security) , Poppulo (Internal communications software) and Getvisibility(Data classification software). Patrick has integrated well into Switzerland and is heavily involved in Ice Hockey. He assists a first division team and assists also with the U14 and U15 Swiss pre-selection squads for the National Team.
Enjoying the work around the Irish Business Network Patrick thrives to introduce people to each other where opportunities may exist. A keen eye for an opportunity and always willing to help people with their ideas and provide advice on doing business in Switzerland.
Aidan has built a successful international career spanning the commodities, banking and airline industries in London and Chicago working for companies like Standard Bank, Citi, ICBC Standard Bank and United Airlines.
He currently works as a consultant for Arviem.com, a container monitoring service for industry. With premier clients like Nestle, Dow and Rocoh Aidan is helping to use the monitoring service to provide innovative ways to finance small and medium sized organisations. Aidan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from University College, Dublin and a MBA from Warwick University.
In 2007 Aidan returned to Switzerland with his family. He lives in Steinhausen with his wife and four children. He became involved with the IBN in 2018 when less overseas travel was required.
Aidan keeps in close contact with his family in Dublin and alumni through UCD Boat Club. He is a prolific cyclist, spending many hours in the Swiss mountains trying to find the perfect pass.
Seán lives on the “Röstigraben” with his Swiss family. In a previous life he worked with companies like Microsoft, Lotus, Fujitsu and Swisscom in probably every technical role you can think of. In his spare time he now runs Greenstrands GmbH / WordPressforGood where he manages websites and provides all-round technical support for B Corporations and sustainable online businesses.
ENTERPRISE IRELAND REPRESENTATIVE
Vincenz is the liaison with Enterprise Ireland where he currently works since 2013. He is the Senior Market Adviser for Switzerland across such sectors as Life Sciences, High Tech Construction, Agritech and Industrial Products.
Prior to this he was involved in banking, consulting, mobile and online advertising, mobile apps and in business development with the ICT sector in Italy, the U.S., Spain, Germany, and the Emirates.
Vincenz was born in Hanover and has been involved with the IBN since 2014.
Born in County Dublin, Simon is a world citizen, “storyliver” and sustainable business professional living in Switzerland with his family since 2012. Born in Ireland, he brings more than 20 years’ international cross-sectoral (food, agribusiness, environmental, FMCG), experience in strategic and tactical communications for both internal and external audiences. Working with businesses ranging from start-ups to global leaders his interest is in helping organisations fulfil their potential as stewards of the world’s resources achieved through a healthy communications culture.