SMITA SUCHDE GRUETTER
EMBA – Executive Management Degree – IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland
BA in Economics, Political Science and Law (India)
Diploma in Fashion Design – Parsons School of Fashion – NYC
As a young girl, growing up in India, Smita was influenced by her mother, HEMLATA, an ardent believer in the power of quality education, on whom the organisation is named.
Over two decades of active philanthropy in India have given Smita an in-depth understanding on how quality education along with sustainable support can impact the lives of the most vulnerable in India, especially young girls. She is committed to creating opportunities for this vulnerable group, to break their cycles of inter-generational poverty, to enjoy a life of dignity and purpose and to act as changemakers in their communities.
Smita’s professional education and her experience as a serial entrepreneur reflects in her structured, collaborative and impact-oriented approach to philanthropy. Her travels across India to meet and engage with local communities and to identify, evaluate and connect one on one with beneficiaries, has led her to create the HEMLATA 100 or H100, a social innovation project.
The H100 Initiative seeks to empower 100 talented girls from India’s lowest socio-economic class and caste, with full college scholarships, supported individually by Mentors and Peers, along with Life-skills coaching to build resilience and create the “now” generation of young leaders.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Physics and Business Administration – BSc. Chartered Financial Analyst – CFA
Languages spoken: English, German, French
Gillian is a partner and CEO of LABHA Investment Advisors SA since August 2005. She built up the corporate actions department of Citibank, Zurich and was Jt. Head Value- & Strategy Funds (Vice President) Bank Julius Baer, Zurich.
Gillian was born in India and has been supporting the education of girls for many years. She is now looking forward to making a greater impact by working with the motivated and dedicated ladies of HEMLATA to be an enabler for change in the lives of talented Indian girls.
Education: MA – Masters in Media Science, Biology and Political Science, Zürich University.
Languages spoken: German, English, French
Sandra has worked in media as a radio and TV host since 1988, moving to the PR department at Zurich Financial Service’s headquarter. In 2004, Stella turned entrepreneur and is currently owner, founder and CEO of Swiss Ladies Drive GmbH since 2007.
Sandra-Stella comes from a diverse family background with grandparents coming from France, Italy, Sweden, Germany – and Switzerland. She is aware that it is a precious privilege being born in Switzerland. This serial entrepreneur is supporting HEMLATA in its vision to make a difference to the lives of talented girls in India.
CO- HEAD OF PEER PROGRAM
Education: Studying Interdisciplinary Sciences BSc, ETH, Zürich
Languages spoken: English, French, Dutch, German, Russian
With Dutch, French, British and Swiss roots, her diverse cultural background has led her to gain profound curiosity as well as respect towards the world’s different nations.
Passionate about advocating women’s rights and sustainability, Chloé is hoping, after having completed her university studies, to apply her scientific knowledge to solve real-world problems related to the two fields. She is delighted to be part of the HEMLATA team alongside inspiring and dedicated women to contribute to empowering India’s next generation.
CO-HEAD OF PEER PROGRAM
Education: BSc International Relations and History, The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. International Baccalaureate, Geitonas School, Greece
Languages spoken: Greek, English, French, Spanish, Arabic (conversational)
Anna has been born and raised in Greece. She recently completed her Research Assistantship at the World Bank, evaluating development projects in the Central African Republic. In summer 2018, she interned at the French Embassy in Athens, gaining an insight into the challenges and complexities of international affairs.
Anna aspires to work in the field of diplomacy and international organisations and has been actively engaged in various volunteer activities and always seeks to make a positive contribution to society. That is why she believes in HEMLATA’s purpose and vision in empowering the girls in India.
Education: Master’s degree in Business Administration, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Strategies for Leadership, IMD Lausanne, Creative Problem Solving, IESE Barcelona. Finance Excellence Program, Harvard Business School, Boston
Languages spoken: Spanish, English, Portuguese, German
Silvina has more than 15 years of experience in finance roles mainly in the Pharmaceuticals and Telecommunications industry, developing her career at Novartis Pharma AG where she held a variety of roles.
She was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina in a family with Spanish roots. Prior to coming to Switzerland, she has lived in a handful of Latin American countries and Canada. She joins HEMLATA with her strong beliefs that academic education and life skills will grant the opportunity to the young girls to become the future female leaders, capable to build up better and more inclusive societies.
SINJA RÜBERG WIEDERSEINER
Education: Coach / Consultant IBP and Coach / Organizational Consultant BSO (IBP Institute Winterthur, Switzerland / BSO accredited);
PhD Law (Magna cum Laude, University of Konstanz, Germany) and Attorney-at-Law (Germany)
Languages: German, English
Sinja is founder and CEO of Levista LLC, a coaching practice boutique in downtown Zurich focused on top executives and lawyers using innovative methods like integrative body psychotherapy and hypno-systemic technics. She conducts lectures and workshops in self-leadership, resilience and health as well as conflict resolution and target-oriented communication for individuals and firms. Sinja is member and lecturer of the student coaching program of University of St. Gallen. Prior to her current work, she has worked as an Attorney-at-Law and as a corporate lawyer in the insurance industry.
Sinja strongly believes in HEMLATA’s vision and purpose. For her, life skills are central building blocks for personalities, who then act in a committed and responsible way. She is extremely delighted and motivated to partner with HEMLATA to build up related necessary non-cognitive skills for the H100Intiative.
Languages spoken: German, English, French, Italian
Monique has been with the HEMLATA Foundation almost from the beginning.
She is now retired from the KLM Airlines Sales Team and lives in Zürich. Travelling and experiencing different cultures is a big part of her life and her journeys have led her to several visits in India.
Monique understands the challenges in this fascinating country and the importance of helping to make a difference in a young women’s life. This is why she continues to play an active part as a HEMLATA Team member.
MRS MEERA ISAACS
M.A. (Pune University)
B.Ed. (Mumbai University)
Mrs. Meera Isaacs, M.A.; B.Ed; has been associated with The Cathedral & John Connon School for the past 41 years out of which 22 years have been spent as Head of the School and the first female Principal of this 158 year old institution.
During her tenure as Principal, she introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, started the Pre-primary Section of the Cathedral School and created the Advanced Placement Programme.
“In very simple terms my credo as an educationist is to put the child as the focus of all educational activities so that she/he may grow into an assured and confident person who is able to evolve strategies and skills to deal with the ever-changing environment. If they are able to do this, it naturally follows that the joy of life will be theirs.”
For her work in the field of education, Ms. Isaacs has been a recipient of several awards over the years. Here we list just a few:
Recipient of the prestigious Asia One Black Swan Women Empowerment Award
Recipient of the Women Achievers Award
Received the Women of Excellence Award
Received the Eminent Educationalist Award
Recipient of the National Award for Teachers under the Ministry of Higher Education, Government of India
As an Honorary Advisor to HEMLATA, Ms. Isaacs’s immense knowledge with students, schools and educational bodies supports HEMLATA in its journey to identify the right student, as a Scholar of the H100 family.