Woman of the Week (40)

Who is Véronique Goy Veenhuys?

Véronique Goy Veenhuys,
BPW Clubs of Lausanne and Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Véronique is the founder and CEO of equal-salary, a certification for equal wages between women and men, which is presented on the Equal Pay Day (EPD) Switzerland webpage as a solution for companies that want to check and promote their faire wages policy.
Three equal-salary certified companies have been involved with EPD events. After the participation of CSEM in 2009, CORUM deluxe watches gave a testimonial of its experience in Zurich and SIG, Canton Geneva Electricity, water & gaz supplier did the same in Geneva this year. Véronique is an active member of EPD Switzerland taskforce. She enjoys the energy and the leverage that BPW provides both in Switzerland and around the world.

Women are facing a fantastic challenge,” says Véronique Goy Veenhuys. “Companies hire more and more women because a large majority of products & services (including cars, electronic products and financial services) are today purchased by women. As a result, companies need more women at all levels of their organization to be as close as possible to their markets. So inform yourself about the right salary level for your qualifications, negotiate instead of immediately accepting a proposed salary, if you believe you deserve a raise, prepare your case and ask for it, instead of waiting until it is spontaneously offered to you…

Véronique Goy Veenhuys BIO

After obtaining in 1985 a Master Degree in Economics at the University of Geneva, Véronique Goy Veenhuys worked for 2 years for a top executive recruitment firm before founding her own company and brand “drap de coeur”, line of high quality baby bed linen.

Seven years later, she sold her brand and started a corporate communications consultancy business. Feeling the urge to broaden her knowledge while working, she obtained in 2005 an EMBA. For her graduate paper Véronique developed the idea of equal-salary, a certification that allows companies to prove they apply an equitable and non-discriminating salary policy between women and men. Upon graduation Véronique requested and obtained financial support from the Swiss state to develop equal-salary.

Established in 2005, the equal-salary certification has been developed in collaboration with the Observatoire universitaire de l’emploi (OUE) - The Geneva University Employment Observatory - and SGS, the world leader in certification and inspection services.

After a two-year test phase during which 6 companies and institutions have been certified (CSEM in Neuchâtel, the World Economic Forum, the City of Fribourg, CORUM Deluxe Watches, the Reformed Evangelical Church of Neuchâtel and SIG, Services Industriels de Genève), equal-salary is now available, nationally and internationally. Any company or organization based in Switzerland or abroad employing over 50 people (of which at least 10 women), may apply for certification.

In 2009 Véronique was nominated for the Prix de la Femme d'affaires VEUVE CLICQUOT in Switzerland.

Véronique is the eldest of three girls, from a Swiss farther and an Italian mother. She is married to David, a Dutchman, with whom she had two children: Charlotte, 23 and Arthur, 21.  
Véronique energy is kept alive thanks to the nature from which she is never far. She enjoys travelling to discover other people’s life. She has followed several times a Moroccan nomadic family on its yearly route to the High Atlas. She skis, swims in Lake Geneva, takes long walks through the forest and rides her horse whenever she can.

Véronique Goy Veenhuys may be reached at veroniquegoy@equal-salary.ch. The website is www.equal-salary.ch

Vevey, March 29, 2010/vvg

Woman of the Week (41)

Who is Heidi Elizabeth Hunton?

I was born in Santa Monica California in 1981, the same year my father, at sixty-two years of age, a physician, was forced to retire due to a car accident that damaged his knees. My father had always dreamed of travelling so my parents bought a motor home and packed up my two brothers and myself and began an adventure that lasted eleven years and took me through the U.S., Canada and Australia where we temporarily settled. My father home schooled us in between homesteads and was a very good teacher. My mother, Micheline, was born in, what was then, East Berlin and was my dearest friend and the most tender caretaker I would ever know until her passing in June of 1996. She taught my brothers and I French and German and took us on harrowing trips to Europe to visit our relatives almost yearly.  My mother battled breast cancer for four years, and in those years she never missed a beat until the last.

After my mother passed I left school and left home, I worked to save money and returned to Australia in search of some comfort. I returned home and decided to get my own place at the age of fifteen and I never looked back. I met a wonderful man and was married to him six years later, the year after I graduated as the Valedictorian of my high school and my first year of college, all at once. I still have not quite managed to finish my degree but have one year left to complete a Communications Major from Simon Fraser University. I started working for BC Assessment in 2005, where I am currently employed as a Real Estate Appraiser for the province.  I am currently on maternity leave with my second son who is four months old. My first son Lincoln is two, and they are both my dearest gifts in life and continually ground me and make me feel thankful for every moment I get to spend with them.

I will graduate from the Sauder School of Business through the University of British Columbia in several months with my Diploma in Urban Land Economics and my Designation in Appraisal from the British Columbia Real Estate Institute.

The Business and Professional Women’s Group of Victoria came to fruition because of the hard work of a key group of ladies who have put forward their best efforts to relaunch this meaningful group back into our community. I originally joined the Abbotsford, BC club last year and found it to be a very supportive force in my life and career. I was inspired to relaunch the Victoria Club because of my dear friend Liz Benham who is ever inspiring for the work that she does 24/7 around the world. I firmly believe that we can illicit change in our community as strong women banded together through the sisterhood of BPW and look forward to the many accomplishments we will reach in the years to come!

Words from BPW Canada President Sue Calhoun:

It was my great pleasure to be in Victoria, BC, Canada on March 30th to charter a brand new club. Founded in 1921, BPW Victoria was one of the first Business and Professional Womens clubs in western Canada and one of the founding clubs of the Canadian Federation in 1930. The history of BPW Canada (With Enthusiasm and Faith) notes that BPW Victoria members were involved in a range of activities from attempts to help unemployed women during the Depression, contributing to the Womens Disarmament Committee in Geneva during World War II to a Career Preview program for high school girls.

Sadly, membership dwindled, and the club turned in its charter in 2008. Two short years later, the club has been re-chartered under the dynamic leadership of President Heidi Hunton and her team, 1st Vice-president Laura McConnell, Treasurer Beki Zajac and Secretary Catherine Prowse.  With 14 founding members, these women are determined to learn more about BPW, to grow the club, and to get involved in making a difference in the lives of girls and women in Canada and around the world. Here's what Heidi has to say about this new club:

"The Business and Professional Womens Group of Victoria came to fruition because of the hard work of a key group of women who have put forward their best efforts to relaunch this meaningful group back into our community. I originally joined the Abbotsford, BC club last year and found it to be a very supportive force in my life and career. I was inspired to relaunch the Victoria Club because of my dear friend Liz Benham who is ever inspiring for the work that she does 24/7 around the world. I firmly believe that we can illicit change in our community as strong women banded together through the sisterhood of BPW, and look forward to the many accomplishments we will reach in the years to come!"