Lifestyle & Culture

Women’s Business Initiative International: International Women’s Day March 8 celebrates women entrepreneurs

(Editor’s note: This post was updated at 9:30 p.m. on 3 March with additional information. Women’s Business Initiative International member Nira Satguru asked Dispatches to make clear men are invited to this event, and tickets are available at the door.)

Get ready for a full afternoon and evening of events celebrating international women entrepreneurs in The Hague.

Women’s Business Initiative International is holding its International Women’s Day event Tuesday, March 8 at the Crowne Plaza Den Haag-Promenade in The Hague. The theme for 2016 is “The Impact of Women Entrepreneurs in the World.” The event will also mark the 10th Anniversary of WBII’s founding.

International Women’s Day, which is scheduled to run from 3 p.m. to midnight offers a full roster of guest speakers events including:

• Madi Sharma, “Women! – You must be the change you want to see!”

Madi Sharma founded and runs the Madi Group, a group of International private sector and not-for-profit companies, and NGOs.

From the WBII release:

Madi Sharma


Victim-to-change maker Madi Sharma will show you how to exceed your ambitions and achieve your goals without using a business plan! She will share how her role in the European Economic and Social Committee empowers her to represent women and entrepreneurs across the world. Madi Sharma is an Entrepreneur who founded and runs the Madi Group, a group of International private sector & not for profit companies, and NGOs.  The philosophy is to create innovative ideas tailored to local action which can achieve global impacts beneficial to a sustainable society.  She is also a member of The European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.

Madi is a public speaker internationally, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship, female entrepreneurship, diversity; gender balance and her passion for corporate social responsibility CSR. Her presentations, spoken from the heart, motivate and inspire and seek to make others consider their ability to affect change.  It is now tagged #MadiEffect.



• Dr. Elizabeth Stroble, President of Webster University, USA

Stroble began her tenure as the 11th president of Webster University in 2009. She leads Webster University’s mission as a worldwide institution transforming students for individual excellence and global citizenship. During Dr. Stroble’s tenure, Webster has advanced global academic and operational excellence through strategic investments in new academic facilities and technology infrastructure. Webster completed the largest comprehensive campaign in its history, more than doubled its endowment, and significantly increased scholarship support for students. Expanded partnerships locally and globally have strengthened the university’s reach and impact in the eight countries and four continents students call home. Enhanced support for academic programs and services for students in the U.S. and internationally have increased students’ success.

Dr. Stroble was named one of the most influential businesswomen in St. Louis by the St. Louis Business Journal. She received the Distinguished Citizen award by the St. Louis Argus. She was recognized by the St. Louis National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as an inspiring leader. Dr. Stroble was the recipient of the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Norman A. Stack Community Relations award. The St. Louis Community Empowerment Foundation named Dr. Stroble a Woman of Achievement in Educational Leadership, and she received the Diversity Visionary Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Creating Local and Global Networks with Expertise and Empathy

Jo Parfitt (Summertime Publishing), Jacinta Noonan (Platform B) and Colleen Reichrath-Smith (CJS Career Consulting)



Jo Parfitt is a serial expat entrepreneur and a natural networker. Her portable business, Summertime Publishing, has supported over 100 expats to publish their stories and has travelled with her to five countries. Her worldwide network is made up of thousands, largely created from her time as editor of Woman Abroad.

Jacinta Noonan is a coach, trainer & facilitator who has had to build a “career in her suitcase” which she carried from Australia to the Netherlands, then Singapore and back to the Netherlands again. She is passionate about helping people achieve their full potential.

Colleen Reichrath-Smith, co-founder of the Career in Your Suitcase Way, is a certified freelance career consultant with 18 years experience supporting career journeys, first in Canada and since 2005 in the Netherlands. Colleen believes the skills she teaches are essential life skills and is committed to equipping people for career transitions.

• Workshop/Presentation: Leaders like YOU

Sarah Brown (Partner and expert on Women’s Leadership), Manuela Damant (Co-Founder) and Johanna Nesbitt (Founding Partner) Women’s Leadership Company, Open The Door.



The world needs leaders like you. Women’s tendency for inaction, hesitation and ‘need to please’ is holding us all back. The world NEEDS you and your fresh perspective.

During our 45-minute workshop we will shatter your preconceptions of what it takes to be a leader, reconnect you with the powerful leader inside you and move you towards purposeful action knowing you’ve got the support of the amazing women around you.

Your Open The Door Team
Sarah, Manuela & Johanna

Sarah Brown, Manuela Damant and Johanna Nesbitt are the three passionate, inspiring and energetic women behind the Women’s Leadership Company Open The Door. They get what it’s like to be female leaders in today’s world. They are three international professionals with diverse backgrounds who have combined their unique specialties & strengths to offer coaching, mentoring, training, and workshops to women on a wide range of topics including influence, assertiveness, personal engagement, professional and personal leadership, and managing relationships, in both professional and personal life.

IWD2016-480x300Here’s the full International Women’s Day schedule:



Women Leadership: “Leaders like YOU”
Manuela Damant, Johanna Nesbitt and Sarah Brown from Open the Door Leadership

Women! You must be the change you want to see!
Madi Sharma, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
Rapporteur Female Entrepreneurship

drinks, ‘planking’ dinner, keynote speakers, networking, silent auction, dance

Educating Women as Entrepreneurs
Dr. Elizabeth Stroble, President Webster University, USA

Creating Local and Global Networks with Expertise and Empathy
Jo Parfitt (Summertime Publishing), Jacinta Noonan (Platform B) and Colleen Reichrath-Smith (CJS Career Consulting)

Brilliant Entrepreneurs

Yvette van Dok, Co-Motion Consult

Madi Sharma, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
Rapporteur Female Entrepreneurship

Marleen Zuijderhoudt, Executive Director Westholland Foreign Investment Agency

Panel discussion with all speakers

The evening program starts at 18:00 with a welcome drink and snacks, followed by a “planking dinner” (a combination of several dishes, served on large driftwood planks with the idea being you can move around the tables and eat further; have one at one table, and another elsewhere): an evening of networking and celebrating women’s achievements worldwide; and our 10th Anniversary “birthday,” interspersed with inspiring keynote speakers. There will be a silent auction which will be running in parallel.

A portion of the profits to benefit the Bijlmer Project, a project supporting women victims of sex trafficking in the Bijlmer area and the rest to enhance operational support for the WBII.

There will be a chance to speed date with our sponsors, and for those who stay long enough: the chance to dance the night away!


Date: 8 March 2016
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel Den Haag – Promenade
Van Stolkweg 1, 2585 JL The Hague


Ticket sales close noon on 7 March.

Full day: 100 euros
(Includes: 2 presentations, break with tea & coffee, welcome drink and nibbles, 2 additional drinks, planking dinner and festivities)

Evening only: 75 euros
(Includes: welcome drink and nibbles, 2 additional drinks, planking dinner and festivities)

Free parking and garderobe

Stay the night: Special deal at Crowne Plaza of 169 euros including breakfast (excluding local tax of 3.25 euros).

You can book here via using the promotional code WBII2016

Dress code: Dress for success. This celebratory event is open to members/non-members, women and men.

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