The American International Club of Geneva aims, through the Professional Programs, to enlighten, inform and entertain our evening audience on a wide range of topics. The Programs are generally held in a workshop format, with presentations by a guest speaker or panel followed by interactive discussions.



Sarah Santacroce

Sarah Santacroce

Friday April 29th, 2016








October 28 - EVEREST, the followership : secrets of a successful climb - Sophie Lavaud

On October 28th at the Swissôtel Metropole, the AIC hosted a professional program with Sophie Lavaud, a dedicated mountaineer who has successfully climbed four peaks of over 8,000 meters and earned the nickname of “The 32,000 Lady”.

Over 40 participants shared the highs and lows of her daily life during the extraordinary journey to the summit of Mount Everest (8’850m) last year. For two months her courage, determination and perseverance were challenged in extreme climate conditions.

Being in the role of a follower and one of very few women in the international expedition, she discovered seven powerful secrets of what she referred to as ‘followership’. It’s the coming together of leadership and ‘followership’ that can not only create a successful team to climb to the top of the world, but also to achieve excellent results in the working world. Her story on climbing new horizons is a true inspiration for personal and professional development.

September 15 - How open are the doors for a career change between the Profit and Not-for-Profit Sector?

Diana Ritchie moderated a panel on the importance of cross sector transition among the private, not for profit and government sectors during an AIC Professional Program. As we sit in Geneva, historically an international city, where the UN, NGO’s, local government and private business share the same geography, do we also equally share the same talent ? The panelists Janet Voûte, Karen Saddler and Judith Webster shared with the 60 plus participants their personal stories and valuable advice on how to navigate transition between sectors, and the challenges, such as learning the language of each sector, being aligned with one’s values, and finding a cultural environmental and aspirational fit with the employer. 

Janet Voûte, Head of Global Public Affairs at Nestlé, a “Tri-sector leader” made it clear that business and social issues go hand-in- hand and that the benefits of her experience within the 3 sectors contributes to her present position at Nestlé. Karen Saddler, Chief Communications Officer ofAOG Private Investment Group and Executive Director of Addax and Oryx Foundation spoke at length on aspirational and cultural fit as strategic elements within a career change, while knowing oneself and developing one's network. L’AGEFI interviewed Karen, prior to the event, for an article entitled “De la philanthropie à l’entreprise” with a sub-heading “La convergence des approches entre organisations à but non lucratif et entreprises permet aujourd’hui le transfert de compétences d’un univers à l’autre”. Judith Webster, Co-Founder of Jhamtse Switzerland spoke about her successful career in Finance, and the opportunity to become part of Jhamtse, when she founded the Swiss charity with two friends.

She shared with us a short clip from a documentary film of the Jhamtse project in a remote part of India and the heart felt emotions she experiences when she visits the school, which reminds her of what is most important in life. There was some agreement that the private sector had much to offer the not for profit and government sectors and the importance of gaining experience before moving sector. The panelist agreed that there was so much personal and professional satisfaction in transiting between sectors.

January 27 - How to Find Love in Switzerland over 40 - Lesley Lawson Botez

Early in the year, AIC Professional Programs held a conference and book signing with Ms Lawson Botez, the author of “Holding Out For a Hero : Five Steps to Marriage over 40.” She herself met her husband in her 40s. The hows and whys of late marriage raised so many questions for her that she decided to investigate further. She comes to this issue from a broad professional and educational background in communication, psychology, coaching and behavior therapy. At both the conference and in her book, Ms Lawson Botez recounts the experience of meeting her future husband in the desert, and then follows their relationship from dating to marriage. Each relationship is different, but they all seem to pass through certain stages – she outlines five of them. But while similar, there is no “silver bullet” that works for everyone.

The book offers many insights from others that she was able to contact from around the world - people who found a partner or spouse late in life. Each of the five stages is accompanied by exercises to help the reader look deeper into their own situation. During the evening, she asked the participants to find someone that they did not know (of the opposite sex, please) and try one of these exercises with them. At the conclusion, she offered her book at a special price, and they sold out!


Personal Branding Storytelling for Entrepreneurs & Professionals

At the first event of the year, Mrs. Bernadette Martin came from Paris to teach entrepreneurs and professionals how they can fuse personal branding with storytelling to strengthen their brand across online & offline platforms and media channels.

What you never wanted to know about startups

This event was the first of a series of entrepreneurship-based workshops and was sponsored by the Swiss Entrepreneur Association. Mr. Tarek Kettaneh visited from Beirut to share with us an informative and humorous event on key points for successful startups, including lean startups and finance startups.

Business Model You

This very practical workshop had all participants standing and writing on post-its as they worked through their person Business Model You canvas taped to the wall. Mrs. Diana Ritchie shared her expertise on how the model can be effectively used by mid-career professionals, managers, team leaders, entrepreneurs and job seekers.

Anyone can meditate, even you!

The first of our self development workshops was a great success with a comparison between Sophrology by Mrs. Dorna Revie and Vedic Meditation by Mr. Will Williams. There was a nice sharing of of information on different types of Meditation, how to meditate and why, followed by a Sophrology meditation guided by Mrs. Revie and a Vedic Meditation guided by Mr. Williams.

Lean Startup

Lean startup is a movement that is transforming how new products are built and launched and Mrs. Doris Edwards an expert on the subject delivered an informative and interactive workshop. The participants took away a clear understanding of the Lean startup methodology, who were the key players, how to use it to be visible, the importance of testing your hypothesis and why not to fall in love with your idea.