These are the members o the International Women in Business Leadership team:
Katy Kennedy, UK
I am originally from the UK and started the International Women in Business Network when I came to Dusseldorf with my husband and two sons in 2015. I wanted to experience working in a foreign country and discovered that other like-minded women were looking for support and a network to help make that happen!
I trained as a chemist and worked in laboratories for several years and I have previously run 24 hour large operational teams; been Head of Operations running 5 laboratories; Programme Managed large change projects and even been part of Emergency Incident Command Centres.
When I came to Germany, I needed to create a “career in a suitcase” and decided to use my love of talking to people about their aspirations, their life dreams and their career goals.
I became a certified, Executive Coach specialising in working with middle managers seeking advancement in their careers and SME Executives wanting some help with their businesses.
I play and coach rugby and even had trials for England when I was much much younger!!
Amaia Izar de la Fuente, Spain
I was born in Spain. As a kid I lived in México for seven years, spend a year in a boarding school in the US and moved back to Spain at the age of 12.
I started my working career just after finishing my degree in Business Administration. My first job was as a Business Consultant in Madrid. During those years, I gather experience in process analysis and reengineering, system implementation, and change and project management.
After four years in consultancy, I worked as a marketer for an industrial company for 13 years. During those years, I got my Master’s Degree in Marketing and Sales Management and had two kids.
In 2016 our family happily followed my husband in his expatriation to Germany. We wanted our kids to discover the advantages of living in an international environment and knowing new people. I wanted to enjoy the opportunity to rethink my future and maybe start my own business.
Since we moved to Düsseldorf, I have worked as a volunteer at events and as a class rep at my kids’ schools but, at some point, that wasn’t enough. I needed to do something that made me use my skills. In 2018 I joined the leadership team of the International Women in Business Düsseldorf. That gave me the strength to motivate myself. Since then, I worked with some businesses on their marketing strategy, and I help the network grow.
Catherine Guillou, UK
I grew up in the UK and have always had a strong interest in different cultures and the visual arts. I studied languages at London University and have always loved travelling. After University I began work in London in the NHS and discovered my love for training and development . Implementing non discriminatory good practice was central to much I did – I was trained in women’s development early on. Three months in the USA on an exchange programme gave me great new insights. I published articles about innovative work I led during my time as head of training and development at a big London teaching hospital. This included development of new networks and relationships during the merger of two large hospitals, previously rivals.
I moved to France to marry 20 years ago and started my own coaching and training business. I did other local jobs experiencing being ‘from outside’ in spite of my good standard of French. Whilst in France I became a member of the board of a not for profit organisation, looking after people with HIV – I facilitated their planning seminars.
In 2007 my husband and I went to Brazil for 2 months to adopt two boys – a radical change in our lives! My focus since has been watching out for them – and managing a number of moves internationally. We moved to Sweden for 5 years first to Lund then Gothenburg , then to Germany, following opportunities for my husbands career. It has been rich, interesting and hard work! In Gothenburg I was on the board of a women’s networking group similar to this one. Helping out at the kids school was something I did in both places including facilitating some large meetings to improve communications between parents and the board of the school.
Soon after I arrived in Germany I organised collections for the massive influx of refugees with a group of mothers from the school. I went to IWIB meetings early on and when Katy invited me to join her I said yes right away.
Now my boys are on their way to college and I am ready for more work as an executive and life coach and as a facilitator – I can do it in English or French!
Agnieszka Okoniewska, Poland
Since childhood, I have been talking about working with people, and traveling.
My first professional experience dates back to student times. Initially, it was just a job in telemarketing, nothing demanding.
In my first full-time job, I discovered the world of numbers. From 2001 to 2015 I worked in various areas of finance in Polish and international companies.
Three years ago, my life changed and we moved to Dusseldorf. Not working I engaged myself in many different activities: volunteering in school, being a part of the International Women in Business Düsseldorf leadership team, learning German, and painting. I’ve met many interesting people, made friendships, traveled, and above all I’ve got closer to my two great daughters and my husband.
I love numbers, working with people, being active and creative.