Meet the #VGLForum Speakers

Speakers 2020

Barbara Covarrubias Venegas, leadership trainer, leadership development, vienna global leaders, leadership vienna, vuca, vgl, eurasia
Gregor Hofstätter-Pobst

Gregor is currently the CFO of UniCredit Bank Austria and has pursued an international career in Finance and Risk related jobs in the UK, Slovenia and Czech Republic. Gregor is passionate about people management, corporate culture and industry transformation in a VUCA world. 


Barbara Covarrubias Venegas, leadership trainer, leadership development, vienna global leaders, leadership vienna, vuca, vgl, eurasia
Dr. Silke Maurer

Silke is the Chief Operating Officer of BSH home appliances, globally managing Innovation, R&D, Production and Supply Chain.

She changed to the consumer industry after almost 20 years of working with BMW cars & motorcycles in various positions in technology and HR in Germany, the UK and Italy.

Despite her degree and Ph.D. in Engineering, Silke is as much into people as into technology and enjoys being a coach in her leisure time.


Roman Koch

Roman is the Managing Director at Gebr. Heinemann Vienna and is responsible for the operation of all ten Heineman Duty Free Shops at Vienna International Airport. Prior to Vienna, he managed the operation of Heineman Duty Free Shops in Italy and other Austrian cities. Roman studied in Germany, Sweden and the US and has international professional and management experience in the tourism and retail sector.


Torsten Kolind

Torsten is the Co-Founder & CEO of YouNoodle, Inc. A bioinformatics engineer by training, Torsten co-founded YouNoodle in San Francisco, a technology platform to source, select and engage the most promising startups in the world. He has judged startup programs at Stanford University, MIT, and Imperial College, and has written opinion pieces for both Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine. Torsten is an advisor to a number of startups, and an investor in two venture funds. He is a frequent speaker on corporate innovation, and on how governments can spur ecosystem growth through global startup engagement.


Raul Cuadrado

Raul leads Continuous Improvement in DHL Express Europe, focusing on driving a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organization and on implementing programs, tools and approaches that deliver substantial positive impact on the experience of customers and on the satisfaction of employees. He is a director with over 20 years of international experience in large-scale Optimization and Continuous Improvement Programs. His experience spans both line management and support responsibilities across multiple areas and countries. Always in search of the hidden potential, he is passionate about Operational Excellence, Customer Experience, Change Management and unleashing human potential.


Barbara Covarrubias Venegas, leadership trainer, leadership development, vienna global leaders, leadership vienna, vuca, vgl, eurasia
Sambhav Rakyan

Sam is the global business leader for data and software practice at Willis Towers Watson. He is a results-driven business leader with over 16 years of rewarding experience in General Management, Sales, Business Development, People Management, Product Development, and Operations. Sam was recognized as Asia’s most innovative compensation and benefits leaders at the Asia-Pacific HRM Congress.


Hatti Johansson

Hatti is the global leader for product development and innovation for the data and software practice at Willis Towers Watson. She is a strategic thought leader and rewards expert with over 20 years of rewards experience at WTW. She leads the vision and strategy for Data and Software products, identifying opportunities for continued innovation due to the evolving landscape and emerging trends in compensation data and software.


Lord Professor John Alderdice

John is a professor in psychiatry and applied his professional understanding to addressing politically-motivated violence in Ireland, where he was one of the Party Leaders who negotiated the 1998 Belfast Agreement that brought an end to the conflict there. He then served for some years as the first Speaker of the new power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly. 

He has been a Liberal Democrat member of the British House of Lords for over twenty years and is currently a Deputy to the Lord Speaker. He was formerly President of Liberal International – the global network of some 100 liberal political parties and is now the Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict based at Harris Manchester College, which is part of Oxford University.


Dr. Coline Covington

Coline Covington, Ph.D., is an experienced psychotherapist with a background in political science and criminology. She is a Fellow of International Dialogue Initiative (IDI), a think tank formed by Prof. Vamik Volkan, Lord Alderdice, and Dr. Robi Friedman to apply psychoanalytic concepts in understanding political conflict and the effects of trauma on political behaviour.

Coline also works in the corporate sector promoting ethical leadership within organizations in the process of change.

Coline’s recent publications include: Everyday Evils: A Psychoanalytic View of Evil and Morality (Routledge, 2017) and For Goodness Sake: Bravery, Patriotism and Identity (Phoenix Publishing House, 2020).

Coline is in private practice in London.


Barbara Covarrubias Venegas, leadership trainer, leadership development, vienna global leaders, leadership vienna, vuca, vgl, eurasia
Dr. Barbara Covarrubias Venegas

Barbara is a senior researcher and lecturer at different universities in Austria and abroad, the founder of virtualspacehero and will co-moderate this session. Besides, she is Visiting Professor at the University in Valencia/Spain. Her research focuses on New Ways of Working and particularly leadership strategies for complex environments. Barbara is the project leader for Vienna Global Leaders and EUNEPA’s different leadership programs. She is also a passionate dancer and fell deeply in love with West Coast Swing.


Edgard Edmond Bou-Chahine

Edgard is the General Manager at Schneider Electric Algeria and Tunisia, and has over 18 years of experience in finance, performance management and business development. His career at Schneider Electric has been developed around the fields of Finance, Performance Management and Business Development not only in Europe (France, Spain) but also in different African countries (South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria) and the Middle East region (Turkey, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, Iran). 


Ilona Tomzac

Ilona has over 20 years of experience in HR – operational HR business as well as conceptual HR. Currently, she is a Senior HR Manager at adidas and focuses on Diversity & Inclusion topics as well as Culture and Engagement. She has initiated and leads the Europe DiveIn Team with the purpose of driving and steering D&I topics across Europe. Ilona is also a Co-Active Coach. Her coaching philosophy is, “Too many people die with their music still in them.” (Oliver Wedell-Holmes). Her intention is to listen, dance and let the music out. She inspires her coachees to trust in themselves  and to create their purpose to live their life to the fullest.


Stefan Andexer

Stefan is Head of HR Development at Lidl Austria. He is responsible for training and development, talent management, global mobility, and apprenticeship training. After studying “International Economics”, he joined Lidl as sales manager in 2008. He later changed to the sales organisation of Lidl, before joining the HR department in 2016. In all his positions, he was able to make use of his passion for HR and test new management approaches in practice.


Dr. Markus Ebner

Markus teaches economic and organizational psychology at the University of Vienna and the University of Klagenfurt, works as a coach and trainer for numerous companies, and owns a management consultancy. He has specialized in Positive Psychology and is one of the leading experts on the subject of Positive Leadership in the German-speaking countries. His work has received numerous awards. His book “Positive Leadership” was placed on the economic-relevant German bestseller lists in 2019; the English edition will be published in 2020.


Dr. Tayyab Rashid

Tayyab is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Faculty at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). He has also taught Self-Development course for five years at the Executive master’s in Leadership & Strategy Program, IE University, Madrid, Spain. Tayyab’s expertise includes strengths-based clinical practice, resilience and posttraumatic growth. Tayyab’s work has been published in academic journals and his book, Positive Psychotherapy, with Dr. Martin Seligman, has been translated into several languages.


Rita Wuebbeler

Rita facilitates, trains and coaches individuals and groups in the areas of leadership effectiveness, high-performance team development, diversity & inclusion, mindfulness and intercultural competency. She teaches Mindfulness at Work programs in corporate settings and online helping participants be more intentional in their approach to work and personal life and maximize their effectiveness at achieving their goals.


Marcus Pietrzak

Marcus has been Leadership & Executive Development Leader at IBM for the past 15 years. In his global role, he blends extensive international consultancy experience with a range of responsibilities: from creating and managing programs for aspiring managers and executive leaders, to driving culture change initiatives – e.g. Positive Leadership in Europe. His expertise is grounded in a Master’s degree in I/O Psychology, and in HR Management and Organisational Development. He also teaches leadership topics at the University of Vienna.


Speakers 2019

Iketina Danso

Iketina is an intersectional gender and international human resources professional with over 15 years of experience in international policy organizations and the private sector. She currently serves as a consultant at an international organization. Her responsibilities include the development, promotion and facilitation of learning opportunities for multidisciplinary staff from over 100 countries. She has also worked as a consultant Gender Expert to several UN organizations in Vienna and Geneva. In 2014, she founded  to support professionals with writing successful job applications in English.


Dr. Stefan Teufl

Stefan is Head of UniCredit Academy as Vice President of Learning & Development in Bank Austria. He is particularly interested in new ways of working, corporate learning and positive leadership. Stefan is also volunteering as reviewer for the journal Organisationsentwicklung and a lecturer at Vienna University of Economics and Business. He has been awarded as Speaker of the year 2017 from imh.


Dr. Barbara Kump

Barbara is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Small Business Management at the WU Vienna, organization developer, and business coach. She is particularly interested in the role of cognition in change, and in intuition at the workplace.


Sascha Bernardis

Sascha is a co-founder of dwarfs and Giants. The innovation lab for organizational design was founded in Vienna in 2015 and supports SMEs and large corporates in their corporate development across industries. Sascha focuses on agile-systemic transformation processes as well as purpose-driven organizations and holacracy. Prior to joining organizational consulting, he was a managing director of a social profit organization.


Nina Alice Bauregger

Nina is a senior marketing & sales expert, boasting a decade-long leadership track record with global players, SMEs and start-ups. Her fields of expertise include corporate communication in change projects, digital transformation and intercultural leadership.


Dr. Bijan Khajehpour

Bijan is a Managing Partner at EUNEPA, Managing Partner at Atieh Capital and a veteran strategy advisor for the West Asian markets. He has over 25 years of strategic consulting experience with global companies.


Dr. Gudrun Gaedke

Gudrun is a specialist in personnel and organizational development and works as a lecturer and trainer. She was Head of Study Programs Human Resources & Organization at FHWien der WKW University of Applied Sciences. Gudrun is particularly interested in resource-based approaches like positive leadership, resilience or solution-focused training to develop people, teams and organizations.


Pari Namazie, leadership trainer, leadership development, vienna global leaders, leadership vienna, vuca, vgl, eurasia
Dr. Pari Namazie

Pari is the founder of the platform Vienna Global Leaders. She is an executive coach, facilitator and the Managing Partner and Head of the Leadership and Organizations Division at EUNEPA. She has over 25 years of experience in the field with multinational and international companies.


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