Femme Palette brings you honest conversations with inspiring entrepreneurs and professionals; Femme Palette mentors, members, and supporters to talk about their journey, experience, aspirations and the power of connection.
What assumptions do you think are made when it comes to culture, nationality or ethnicity? What can people and companies stop or start doing to help everyone feel included in the workplace? We invited Tereza De Bardi and Alexis Jenkins to get a European as well as an American opinion on this!
About the speakers:
Tereza De Bardi
Tereza is by profession a Director at Deloitte Czech Republic focused on transformations in Finance and Business Services, and co-founded the D&I Shapers, a platform which brings together organizations across Czech market to move the D&I to the next level. Her life is a diversity story itself, spending more than half of her childhood abroad in Bangladesh and Egypt, working for and with multiple international businesses both as employee or as advisor, being a woman in Consulting (still a male dominated business) and finally marrying a "foreigner", all these provide her with a precious observation field for cultural biases topic.
Alexis is the Founder of ANJ Consultancy a DEI firm that helps build inclusive and anti-racist workplaces and the Head of People & Culture at Dame Products. By implementing storytelling, data, and analyzing a company’s needs, she is able to use her professional and personal experience to build standards and policies for companies who are truly ready to begin the work. Alexis believes that leaving any facet of yourself at the door is a thing of the past, especially when the door is in your home. Alexis resides outside of New York City with her husband and two year old son.
Some insights from the speakers:
We need diversity at all levels in companies
Everyone is responsible for making a change in their surroundings
Become an accomplice to marginalized groups
One downside of the D&I efforts can be ‘tokenization’
Language was the biggest barrier for D&I work at Deloitte Czech Republic
Have regional and even local strategy for implementing D&I - no one-size-fits all approach from the HQ
What are the biases towards LGBT+ people and how do we reinforce them? How can companies prevent unfairness in the workplace and we all can do to help everyone feel safe? We invited Lucie Bajgart and Matej Ftacnik to discuss this and more!
About the guests:
Lucie is a freelance designer working with international clients from her studio in Prague. Her clients include companies such as fintech giant Klarna, Czech startups Productboard and Snuggs and San Francisco based Empower. Her focus is branding and product design. Lucie identifies as a gay queer woman with her/she pronouns.
Matej is a co-founder of Vacuumlabs, where he now works as CEO. In 2019, Matej was named EY Technology Entrepreneur of the Year in Slovakia. In the past, he significantly contributed to the creation of the Slovak startup scene and now, in addition to Vacuumlabs, he is also involved in other innovative projects such as Daylight, the first digital banking platform for the LGBT+ community in the USA or the first FintechHub in Slovakia.
Insights from the speakers:
Don’t assume other person’s sexual orientation
Don’t make jokes that put other people down
Keep an open mind, listen to people and respect who they are and what they say
Think about the power of your words and swap some that no longer serve
Don’t let offensive slurs or comments slide around you
Feel free to ask people 1:1 how they wish to be addressed
Don’t beat yourself up for past mistakes
Companies can sign the Diversity Charter to show they are serious about safe environment for everyone
Companies should revisit their benefit packages (e.g. marriage bonuses)
How do you practice leading with empathy? How do you develop such a skill? How to be empathetic yet assertive? We discussed this and more with Azeneth Ferrero Russell and Michal Ptacek!
About the guests:
Azeneth Ferrero Russell is the Global Business Evolution Director at CEMEX, a global building materials company, and the Country Manager of Neoris, a Digital Accelerator and partner of some of the biggest companies in the world providing Tech Consulting services in every continent.
With more than 20 years of experience in leading board-level transformation initiatives, she provides leadership to digital transformation programs designed to enhance customers’ experience.
As the head of NEORIS Prague, she supported AGILE teams composed of members of more than 30 nationalities who were responsible for the development and delivery of CEMEX Go, instrumental to the overall digital transformation journey of CEMEX, and an example of diversity and new ways of working.
Azeneth has lived as a permanent resident in 5 countries (Mexico, US, UK, Switzerland and Czech Republic) and has conducted digital programs in many others.
Michal Ptacek is the Founder and CEO of CzechCrunch and has been an IT guy since he was a kid. As he says, it all started when his uncle gave him a Commodore 64 computer and Michal instantly fell in love with it, especially with programming in BASIC :) Few years later Michal started to develop websites and then got into game development, and made his first adventure game.
In 2014 Michal founded CzechCrunch and currently leads a team of 18 people, who are trying to disrupt the Czech media ecosystem. Besides that Michal also runs a side project - Officelovin.com - focused on showcasing the world’s best office design and still does some programming out of pure passion for creativity.
Tips on enhancing empathy:
Read Radical Candor
Get a mentor
Travel the world
Bonus tip from FP - Meditate
How do people negotiate when they are hired? What are the best practices of successful salary negotiation? When is the right time to negotiate? We discussed this and more with Tereza Machackova and Matej Matolin!
About the guests:
Tereza Machackova is a Talent Partner at Credo Ventures where she helps portfolio companies to be successful in People Ops & Recruitment. She helps startups like Productboard or Around to establish core HR and talent processes and scale these startups. In addition she supports community programs such as Femme Palette, Reactgirls, or LeanIn Czech.
Matej Matolin is a Talent partner at Impulse Ventures and his mission is to help amazing tech startups to scale. He focuses on finding tech talents and C-level executives, setting international operations, building an effective People Ops function or creating an attractive employer brand. Matej contributes to the recruitment and startup community by writing a popular blog Lovec Hlav, recording podcasts, organizing meet-ups and trainings or speaking at international conferences.
Talk to friends, mentors and recruiters to understand your market value
Share your salary expectations early on in the hiring process
When negotiating share an exact amount you’d like to get and add 10%
When re-negotiating prepare evidence for your raise and present your value
Do not accept oral offers that promise salary increase first after the trial period
Get a mentor who can help you with negotiation and boost your confidence
For HR: Present the whole package the employee gets, don’t focus just on money
What makes a good leader? What are the most common leadership mistakes? What are some of the leadership specifics in the Czech environment? We discussed this and much more with Dita Formankova (Prikrylova) and Milan Formanek!
About the guests:
Dita is a co-founder and Non-executive Director of the Czech-based social business Czechitas that is inspiring and educating women and youth in IT and digital skills and today is operating in 8 locations, employing 50+ people, managing a community of 560+ active industrial experts and network of 100+ companies and organizing activities for 15.000 students yearly. Besides Czechitas, she initiated other educational projects: Academy of Programming, Powercoders, Datagirls and Czech GreenFox Academy. She is listed in Forbes 30 under 30, CESA Female Role Model, European Citizen Prize and SXSW Community Service Award. She is a member of advisory board Cesko.Digital and SocialImpact Award International and recently she has also joined Avast on a journey of building a global, diverse and inclusive culture. Her passion is education, innovations, technology, social entrepreneurship, kitesurfing, climbing, downhill biking, and many other adrenaline adventures.
Milan is a positive futurist and lifehacker. He worked in Red Bull for 14 years and was a CEO of a creative communication agency Zaraguza. Milan coordinated 20 countries, built a great team. Successfully tested and innovated complex marketing approaches on more than 300 projects and worked with over 100 world top athletes and artists. He teaches and consults modern marketing, already to 500+ organizations, NGOs, startups, universities and selected organizations like Czech chamber of commerce, Impact Hub, European Leadership & Academic Institute, Omnicom Media Group, T-Mobile, Czechitas, Siemens, Prague Institute of Planning and Development or Expres Menu. Milan has mixed this practice with theory from 400+ business audiobooks. He has visited 55+ countries and keeps exploring various life skills.
Translate vision into concrete steps - simplify, simplify, simplify
Choose the right people aka 'coach the coachable'
Work on your vision - where you want to be in 10, 15, 20 years
Listen to others - that's the key, fu*k charisma
Check out the concept of Servant Leadership - shared effort towards a bigger and meaningful goal
Have personal approach to everyone in team - progress over promotion
Get outside your bubble as often as possible
What biases do we see around ourselves and how do they affect us? What should we think twice before saying out loud? We discussed this and much more with Dinah Spritzer-Richter and Vladimir Prikryl!
About the guests:
For more than 20 years Dinah Spritzer-Richter worked as a journalist covering politics, education, minorities and gender issues in Europe and beyond for outlets such as The New York Times, Jerusalem Post and USAToday. Although she continues her journalistic pursuits, Dinah now runs a training agency, Media Confident that provides courses for students, NGOS and companies in media literacy.
In addition, Dinah is a professor of journalism at two study-abroad programs for American university students at New York University and The Council of International Educational Exchange.
Dinah is a proud native of New Jersey, USA and has lived in Prague for two decades. She has twin boys, age 9, who are 100 percent Czech and 100 percent American. Dinah works every day to help them understand and support equality and fairness in the home, at work, and in the world.
Vladimir Prikryl’s philosophy is: Happy employees > Satisfied customers > Company growth. Vladimir fully believes that through building collaborative and high-performing company cultures we can contribute to a better society.
As a General Manager of CGM CZ & SK, Vladimir was always a fan of everything that can improve company culture, that's how he discovered topics like diversity or gender equality. But Vladimir believes that to achieve and improve anything, you have to measure it. For many years, Vladimir has been searching for a tool to measure company culture, when he finally found platform LutherOne, and joined their team. Vladimir is now helping companies with implementation of their own pulse-check tool for company culture and loves it!
Note: Vladimir mentions VUCA world which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World.
Many of you know Petra Nulíčková from LinkedIn or thanks to the 2019 Recruiter of the year award. In 2016, Petra joined Alza.cz as an intern, and over time she was given more and more responsibilities, progressing in the organizational structure. At the moment, Petra and her team take care of four departments, looking for the most suitable colleagues and delivering HR services of the highest possible quality. The goal of their work is to have great managers and produce results they can be proud of.
Petra is a passionate creator on social networks, where she not only ensures the smooth running of Alza’s HR LinkedIn, but she is also involved in many extracurricular and non-profit projects. The most famous of these is the Holky z Marketingu movement, where she offers tips and tricks in the field of marketing and HR in an entertaining way.
For Petra, the equation holds that ♡ = HR + psychology + marketing. In all her activities, she intertwines these, applying them not only her work experience, but also her psychology background. In the podcast, we talk about the importance of companies investing in their talent development. Petra shares qualities of an ideal candidate and what mistakes to avoid, both on the side of applicants as well as companies.
Follow Petra on her website or IG: @petra.nulickova
Callee Ackland is a serial entrepreneur on a mission to arm you with the knowledge & tools you need to spark progressive change in your community. At age 23, Callee founded Bestowed Essentials – a social enterprise that creates eco-friendly products & provides jobs for people of all abilities. Their products are now stocked in more than 200 stores around the US & Canada. Callee hosts the popular Hippie Haven Podcast, a free weekly resource on holistic living that reaches people in more than 60 countries. In December 2019, Callee & her badass all-female team opened Hippie Haven, a zero waste store & community space in Rapid City, South Dakota. Callee recently joined the Young Democrats of South Dakota as Communications Director, the latest step in her long history of political activism and a new project underway -- the upcoming launch of the Zero Waste Business Alliance, a nonprofit professional networking organization of which she is President. When we aren't in a pandemic, Callee also travels the country in a self-converted campervan, hosting zero waste workshops & trash cleanups.
With Callee we talked about her initial startup costs at the time when she was still shipping her goods from the back of her campervan, navigating change from being a solo-entrepreneur to leading her own company, what waste still exists behind the scenes of a zero-waste business, her tips on the eco-friendly swaps we all can make and much more!
Follow Callee’s journey on Instagram @hippie.ceo, check out Hippie Haven or Callee’s global directory of online zero waste shops.
About mutual aid concept that Callee mentioned:
In mutual-aid systems, people work cooperatively to meet the needs of everyone in the community. It’s different from charity, which features a one-way relationship between an organization and recipients, and often responds to the effects of inequality but not its causes. Mutual aid is an act of solidarity that builds sustained networks between neighbors.
Pavlina Louzenska is a Marketing, Product and Business Consultant with focus on tech startups and fashion brands. She is a Lead Mentor in Google for Startups for Europe and Africa, as well as in various other accelerators and a Google Certified Trainer for Design Thinking.
Pavlina is passionate about giving voice to underrepresented groups, leading her to found #HolkyzMarketingu, a female empowerment community which currently unites 24,000+ women and hosts StartupDisrupt: Female Leaders. She also helps Transparency International as a Board member.
With Pavlina we talked about the Future of Work. What, in her opinion, will be the most dramatic long-term changes that await us in the business environment? How can we assess the positive and negative impacts of remote work on the long-term? What are the skills we are going to need as technology and automation continues to evolve? And how will the education system have to adjust?
Follow Pavlina on Instagram.
Podcast by Esther Perel - Where should we begin
Clayton Christensen - How will you measure your life
Dana Pick has been the Founder and Managing Director of ReloCare since 2008. ReloCare is an immigration and relocation provider that gives support to HR on moving their newly hired or transferred employees to Czech Republic. Dana has led ReloCare with a high level of communication and customer care which they consider a unique and authentic asset.
We spoke with Dana about the process and challenges of starting a new life in the Czech Republic as a foreigner. She shares with us the long journey of ReloCare, one full of difficulties--literally from zero to hero. Determination, persistence, passion for her job and ability to bravely take risks were all necessary features that Dana had to be equipped with.
You will also hear Dana’s thoughts on maintaining work-life balance as well as tips for effective networking.
Julia is an expert on market systems development and trade with a focus on gender and women’s economic empowerment. She works as Senior Specialist at MarketShare Associates. Its a global firm, which believes that both public and private institutions should contribute to social transformation. Julia works with clients such as the IFC, World Bank or USAID to integrate gender into their development aid programs.
Julia‘s passion for women's economic empowerment and gender equality was so strong that she decided to leave Europe and move to Africa. Now, she has been living in Kenya for almost 6 years, where she co-founded Sauti, an award-winning social enterprise that disseminates trade and market information to East African SMEs engaged in cross-border trade using mobile technology.
We spoke about Julia’s life-changing experiences in Kenya and what challenges she faced moving to a different continent. We also discussed the main issues plaguing women in Africa, how her start-up helps them, and what the beginnings of a social impact business looks like along with her plans for the future.
Julia’s social business Sauti: http://sautiafrica.org/
Jana Nováková Stará is a researcher and lecturer promoting wellness in both the Czech Republic and abroad. She has a passion for different cultures and traditions related to healthy living. In the past years she has studied wellness practices and philosophies wherever she could - in Denmark, Turkey and the US. She is a certified Wellness Inventory Coach and assists future coaches from all around the world in their professional preparation. In the Czech Republic, Jana organizes international training courses for youth workers and teaches at Masaryk University in Brno, where she developed and delivers an experiential wellness course for Czech and international students.
Jana founded the Czech Wellness Institute in 2019 with the aim to support, connect and empower wellness professionals across the country. The positive feedback from students, clients, educators and other wellness practitioners support Jana’s belief that better times for European wellness are yet to come.
With Jana we talked about her understanding of wellness and how to cultivate it through self-awareness. She gives us practical tips on how to bring more balance and ease to our lives, along with her story of founding the Czech Wellness Institute.
Anfisa Bogomolova is a user-centric designer with the entrepreneurial mindset and passion for helping other creatives. She was a freelance UX and Product designer for 6 years before moving to re-inventing daily work routines for employees in a product company. Anfisa is also a design trainer and Instagram blogger. Originally from Ukraine, she has lived in 7 different countries and traveled over 45.
With Anfisa we talked about the dangers of freelance work, her lessons from building startups, creating a design community in the early Instagram era and many tips for starting out in Product Design.
Follow Anfisa’s IG @anfisign and take a look at her UX course: uxforfreelancers.com
Anfisa’s Femme shoutout: Tatiana Shalunova - professional photographer
Jana Najbrtova is the founder and CEO of a non-profit agency, Seniorem s radostí (Superhero senior). Jana and her team help seniors stay active by organizing workshops, offering physical and mental training as well as legal help and fair job opportunities. Jana is also a yoga instructor and Decathlon ambassador.
With Jana we talked about bringing classes for seniors to 150 cities in the Czech Republic, along with her failures and successes, her big plans for the future, and also how yoga nidra helps her recover after working hard.
Find Yoga Nidra with Everett Newell here.
Jana’s femme inspiration: Helena Lašková - senior model at Seniorem s radostí
Follow Jana and Seniorem s radosti on Instagram!
Hana Součková has been the Managing Director of SAP Czech Republic since August 2018.
Hana joined SAP in 2014 as Head of Presales for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since the very beginning she was working on close collaboration with sales and marketing departments. On August 1, 2018, she became Managing Director of SAP Czech Republic, leaving her the responsibility of managing the entire team as well as the business results of the Czech branch.
Before joining SAP, Hana worked in several marketing and sales management positions in Ness Czech, Ness Europe, APP and Scala. She studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague and holds certificates from the Czech Marketing Institute. In her free time, she likes sports, especially biking. She also organizes biking races for children.
With Hana we talked about her multiple career shifts, the importance of stepping out of her comfort zone, the challenges of managing managers and her tactics on work life integration. Get inspired by one of the most influential women in Czechia and listen to Hana’s story!
Hana’s leadership recommendation: Predator Code workshop
Sandra Kisic is a former blogger, writer, my university classmate and recently positioned as content manager at Welcome to the Jungle. Sandra was born in Sarajevo, followed by a few years in Split and Tunisia before ending up in Prague. She is a passionate scuba diver, can say ‘thank you’ in 25 languages and dreams of living in a Wes Anderson film.
With Sandra we talked about her start as a blogger, how the blogging scene has changed over the past decade, and the beautiful advantages of being an employee (for the first time in Sandra’s life) that we often take for granted!
Follow Sandra and Welcome to the Jungle on IG.
Pavla Lokajova is a solo-preneur, journalist, Founding Member of Future Farm and a new mother to twins. Her passion lies in telling the stories of our time.
Not quite finding her fit in traditional newsrooms, Pavla pioneered her own way building a couple of newspapers from scratch, filling the gaps she sensed in the industry. From student journalist to content creator to co-founder of Czech employer branding platform, Pavla has learned a lot by telling stories the last 12 years. She has interviewed over 400 CEOs and covered culture in 300+ companies. You can read her work at Naratives.co.
With Pavla, we talked about the importance of being true to yourself, allowing your priorities to change along the way, combining her multiple projects while becoming a mother, and much more!
Make sure you follow Pavla’s Instagram - it is full of inspiration!
Pavla's Femme shoutout: Vladimira Mesko Briestenska - CEO of Future Farm
Andrea co-founded the company Foreigners, a relocation agency providing comprehensive services for expats in the Czech Republic. After over 10 years of leading Foreigners as CEO, Andrea's team comprises more than 40 people working in 6 different offices. She is also a mentor in communities that incubate new projects and just recently, she became a mother of a baby girl.
We spoke about the first years of her business while still completing university, the importance of taking it all step by step, and her current challenges connected not only to the global epidemic, but also to running a company while being a new mom.
Follow Andrea on Instagram!
Andrea’s femme shoutout: Lucie Patkova from Foreigners and Renata Mrazova from Home Credit International
Petra Vaskovych is a Chief Product Officer at Kiwi.com, a Czech online travel tech start-up. She was the fourth Kiwi.com employee hired and played a large part in scaling the team to over 2600 employees by leading product strategy and planning. Petra loves to explore new places, practice sports, folklore and being a dedicated mother and partner.
We discussed her beginnings at kiwi.com and the many lessons learned from being a manager in a fast-growing company along with the main challenges she faces in her career and personal life, especially during these turbulent times where the travel industry has been decimated due to the global pandemic.
Nela Ďopanová is the founder and CEO of Fpohybu - a company created with the desire to increase movement literacy, helping people to create healthy movements habits. In cooperation with physiotherapists, Fpohybu provides workshops, programs and team buildings for companies to take care of their employees, educate them and by this have a healthier and happier company culture. With Nela we talked about her start with her business idea, how her main challenges evolved over time, and the importance of keeping flexibility when building a company.
Make sure you follow Fpohybu on Instagram and Facebook.
Nela’s female shoutout: Marie Havlickova (ex-CEO of Slevomat)
Zuzana Maderova is a Senior VP of Business Development & Expansions at Enehano and Co-Founder of Kilta, a platform with tech experts from CEE. Zuzka is also active in Diversity & Inclusion project Be ID Human and works on creating a Female Angel Investor network.
We connected with Zuzka at the beginning of the nationwide lockdown in the Czech Republic and talked about everything from leading international expansions after studying translation, to time management when juggling so many different projects, and much more!
Zuzka's femme shout-out: Popysky
Ines Gaston is a Clinical Psychologist teaching resilience, and gaining more clarity, confidence and energy. After coping with her own burnout, Ines built a program thanks to which her clients become proactive in managing their own well-being that protects them from exhaustion, burnout, feeling overwhelmed or stuck.
In this On Air Special be ready for an open chat about burnout and Ines’s story!
Get in touch with Ines:
On Instagram: @inesgaston
On LinkedIn: Ines Gaston
Via Email: email@example.com
Daria Hvizdalova leads JHV Solutions, providing the industry with insights on how to automate manufacturing processes. She also takes care of R&D investment and strategy with the focus on spin-offs and joint ventures in the innovative technological fields. Among other things, Daria gave a TEDx talk - twice - can speak 5 languages, is a fresh mom and is only 26 years old!
With Daria we discussed the journey that led her to the Czech Republic, how she got into Artificial Intelligence on a non-tech position, her experience with public speaking and how she's now combining maternity with professional life.
Born to two doctors in Sarajevo, in what soon became a war-torn country, Nina grew up in the Czech Republic and has always been enthusiastic about helping others. Nowadays, Nina and her team have a positive impact on society through her non-profit organization Sifty, where they combine what she considers most important: health and education. She strongly believes in ‘Prevention through education’, which led her to start her second health-tech venture HealthBase.
With Nina, we talked about her journey into the health industry, starting the NGO and later on a health-tech startup while raising two little boys.
Check out Nina's LinkedIn profile and her business ventures Sifty and HealthBase.
Lea Lundblad works as a Platform Specialist at Apple in San Francisco. Her personal and professional satisfaction is driven by the desire to make logistics and people work well together. With this philosophy being at the center of focus in her day, she maintains all parts of her life in balance. The roots of this philosophy sprouted during her adolescence in Hawaii. She kept cultivating it during her business studies at the University of San Francisco, as well as her later in her professional career. Her experience at USF expanded her perspectives globally, on top of being surrounded by innovations in Silicon Valley.
Listen to how the power of connection and the consistency in using her personal and professional motto got her where she is today!
Note: Check out Lea's recent female inspiration - Janaye Ingram's LinkedIn or Instagram.
Cristina Muntean is a consultant, trainer, mentor and coach who specializes in personal branding, strategic communications, emotional and systemic intelligence for leadership. A former journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the Czech, Romanian and international media, she founded Media Education CEE, a PR advisory, and training agency in Prague in May 2010. Her clients are executive-level managers and entrepreneurs with Top100 companies in the Czech Republic and Central and Eastern Europe. Cristina is also an internationally certified trainer and coach with Enneagram, a complex system of personal development, and a facilitator of systemic dynamics in organizations.
In this episode we chat with Cristina about the beginnings of starting a new business as an expat in the Czech Republic, as well as about pivoting it multiple times over the past decade, writing her book in a foreign language, and running her first digital conference on Personal Branding.