Monthly Archives

September 2013

Meet the Panelist: Liselotte Hägertz Engstam, HCL Vice President, Nordics

By | News

LiselotteWe’re pleased to introduce the sponsor representative of this year’s Annual Trestle Group Foundation Event at the Widder Hotel 18 September, Liselotte Hägertz Engstam, HCL Vice President of the Nordics.

Liselotte is an international executive with passion for innovation and leadership. She is currently responsible for HCL’s business in the Nordics and has quickly established HCL as the fastest growing Technology services & IT services company in Nordics.

HCL is a global technology and IT Enterprise that operates in 31 countries. Its headquarters is in Noida, India.

HCL’s well-respected and Harvard-endorsed Employees First philosophy helped fuel a surge in the company’s growth over the past five years, including during the depths of economic downturn.

Prior to HCL, Liselotte contributed more than 20 years in various international leadership positions at IBM, including start & expansion of several new service lines. She has extensive multicultural experience leading operating units and teams in the Nordics, Europe, the US and Asia. “Liselotte is a dedicated and innovative leader with a passion for business who is thrilled with challenges and sees solutions even in complex scenarios.”

We look forward to introducing Liselotte to our large and growing Trestle Group Foundation community, and take this opportunity to thank HCL for its generous sponsorship of the 7th Annual Trestle Group Foundation event at the Widder Hotel 18 September, 2013.

Meet the Panelist: Fatma Riyami, NatureRipe Kilimanjaro

By | News


This is the 200-acre mango orchard in Tanzania’s coastal Mkuranga District where most of Fatma Riyami‘s NatureRipe Kilimanjaro mangoes are grown. It started as a family getaway spot where she and her husband would go with their four kids.

The mangoes started as a family hobby; Fatma’s background is in finance. Then in 2000 the family had so many mangoes moving through their kitchen, they exported 1 – 2 tons per week to Dubai!


Fatma at the NatureRipe nursery.

They’ve gone from being the first Tanzanian exporter of mangoes to manufacturing and distributing a product range including processed mango products (pickle, sauces), roasted nuts, and packaged nut products.

Family-owned NatureRipe Kilimanjaro maintains a nursery of over 50,000 mango seedlings and other plants for sale. The company is in growth mode, with annual turnover expected to double from 2011 – 2013

Through the Trestle Group’s Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Partnership Program, a Credit Suisse executive team addressed Fatma’s primary challenges including: review of business plan, cash flow analysis and review of product line profitability, as well as providing valuable connections to new markets and distributors. For Fatma Riyami’s NatureRipe Tanzania, the Credit Suisse analysts recommended the company’s focus should be on expanding the exportation of the cashew product line, not the original mango products. The team also connected Fatma with potential international distributors, with whom she is in ongoing dialogue.

At the conclusion of the program Fatma said, “Through this program, I’ve realized I had priced my products for only 10% of the potential market. I didn’t realize I was pricing myself out of a large and growing middle class local market.”

We look forward to introducing you to Fatma at our September 18 event in Zurich. Welcome to Switzerland, Fatma!

Meet the Panelist: Bemi Okorodudu

By | News, Rebecca Self

At the Trestle Group Foundation offices on Limmatquai in Zurich, we’re gearing up for our 18th September 7th Annual Event featuring a panel of executives and entrepreneurs from recent partnership programs.

Credit Suisse’s Bemi Okorodudu recently worked with an entrepreneur in Tanzania through a Trestle Group Foundation Partnership Program.

Bemi is a Senior In-House Consultant in the CFO Program Services department of Credit Suisse and a certified Lean Sigma Black Belt practitioner with extensive project management experience. She started her career in London and relocated to Zurich in 2007. She is a certified accountant, earned a BA in French and German, and holds a post graduate diploma in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics. She is passionate about diversity and mentoring, plays an active role in the Credit Suisse Multicultural Forum and is a mentor in the CFO and Women’s Network mentoring programs.

Here’s what Bemi had to say about Credit Suisse’s participation in the Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Program:

Meet the Panelists: Figen Çakır

By | News, Rebecca Self

In preparation for last year’s Annual event at Zürich’s Widder Hotel 18 September, the Trestle Group Foundation’s very first entrepreneur, Luna Shamsuddoha, reflected on her experience six years earlier, saying, “It’s given me so much confidence as a woman in technology. I’ve seen a change in myself. I can’t stop talking about education. I’m heard in many places — in government, in NGOs, in Universities — saying, ‘Girls should study science, math, English.’ It’s the Trestle Group Foundation program that gave me the confidence to be in these positions.”

Our most recent entrepreneur, Figen Çakır of Figgi Yarns in Golcuk, Turkey reports the same:

“A lot of things have changed since we began just a few months ago. The most important thing is how I approach the people I do business with and how I communicate with them. My PepsiCo coachVera’s amazing insights and support has changed me a lot. The Foundation’s belief in me is beyond valuable. I’ve conducted my first successful negotiation with a supplier – I just waited him out – and have also found a new spinner at much lower cost.”

In Figen’s case, the results are tangible. The team from PepsiCo Europe has created a brand toolkit complete with new mission statement, a digital strategy, and a robust financial dashboard that’s clarified her primary strategic focus for the coming years: increase sales volumes.


We’re thrilled to have Figen and several members of the PepsiCo team join us at the September 18 7th Annual Event. For more information, contact us.

Meet the Foundation’s Voice: Katie Ledger

By | News, Rebecca Self

Katie LedgerThe Trestle Group Foundation is thrilled to announce that for our 7th Annual Event, former BBC journalist Katie Ledger will lead a panel of executives and entrepreneurs from recent Foundation programs.

If you’ve followed our work over the years, you’ll recognize Katie’s voice. She’s the narrator of every film we’ve produced. What most viewers don’t know is that Katie has been a supporter and participant in our work and growth from the very first partnership, when she trekked through Dhaka, Bangladesh with our founder, Dana Smith, to capture Luna Shamsuddoha’s story on film. Of the experience Katie says, “I have never seen such determination and courage by a female leader, in a traditionally male industry against a backdrop of such unrelenting poverty.”

“I believe business has the potential to solve much of the world’s suffering. Many female entrepreneurs instinctively understand this and use their social & emotional intelligence help people, profit and the planet.”

We’re pleased to introduce Katie to you in person September 18th at the Widder Hotel, downtown Zurich. For more details, please contact us.


* Special thanks to our generous event sponsor: HCL.