Welcome to a recap of the inspiring Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024 event, an event designed to champion women working in careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), to raise awareness about gender inequity in subject and career choices and to inspire young people through networking with role-models. This edition of the annual event to mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science was organised and hosted by Roman, Gloria and Chloe (students from the International School of Lausanne) in collaboration with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) and with support of BPW Lake Geneva, to inspire students to dream big and co-create a more equitable future workplace.

“If you can see it, you can be it.”

In the opening plenary, Mayka Van Acht ( Vice President for Human Resources EMEA for ADM) showed the Dream Gap Project, Barbie and stated: “We have come a long way but there are still a lot of gaps. It starts early in life when you see these little “dream gaps” appearing. Gaps that come between girls and their full potential.” Mayka quoted recent studies showing that when gender-stereotypical images are over-represented in the media, it influences females subject, career and leadership aspirations. She spoke of the importance of having systems in place in order to “check for bias” in relation to making people related decisions. Utilising the power of networks and mentorship were also suggested as solutions during the information session delivered with Deborah Croft of Thriving Talent Solutions.

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

”Advocating for gender equality is my superpower.”

Equally important is for us to capture systemic inequalities and address them in a timely manner as highlighted by Claudio Zironi of Bristol Myers Squibb. He highlighted the research which shows that only one per cent of women attempt to negotiate their salary and that women do not tend to even apply for jobs unless they fulfil the majority of the job competences and explained that with this knowledge in mind he has systems in place to manage recruitment and to catch biases.

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

Female Empowerment

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

In contemplating what they had learnt from the event a student called Anna commented “…We have the right to do anything, and to be good at what we do”  echoing the inspirational speech of hand surgeon Dr Esin Rothenfluh who told her story of resilience and perseverance through medical studies in Zurich and at Oxford.  She shared her insights into overcoming doubts when in male-dominated environments. A couple of senior students were rewarded with work-shadowing opportunities by showing their passion for pursuing medicine during the networking event.  Students immersed themselves in the stories of remarkable role modelsin a variety of careers from finance to management to science and technology related careers. 

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

Dr Tereza Horejsova, (ISL parent and Outreach Manager at the Forum on Cyber Expertise), highlighted that sometimes career paths are squiggly and the mindset you cultivate is as precious as the qualifications you earn. A student commented that “you should pick a wider path and not be scared to switch for what you want.” This empowering message encourages students to explore a variety of career paths and embrace the freedom to pursue their dreams fearlessly. Through engaging conversations and meaningful interactions, students gained invaluable insights into the vast opportunities awaiting them in the world of STEM.

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

Impactful Takeaways

As our participants reflect on their Potenti’ELLE en Science experience, their words echo the profound impact of the event:

“I think it gave me a lot of tips, for example not abandoning my ideas of what I want to do just because people tell me that it will be too hard as I am a female… etc. I will keep this in mind when choosing my subjects in school, and later on in life!” 

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

“Things can change and anything is possible.” 


“It is rare to find people, as teens, to look up to… The addressing of hardship and in some cases discrimination that women face in both educational and working environments was very important. Realizing that there is actually a gap and a difference between the way men and women are treated in such environments has definitely inspired me as a guy to always stay on the lookout and try to make sure that all my classmates and colleagues are not being left behind or treated differently based on gender.”

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

Parental Insights and Community Support

Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024 would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our dedicated parents and community partners. ISL parents Mayka van Acht and Tereza Horesjova offered invaluable insights into various career paths, enriching the event with their wisdom and experience.

We extend our gratitude to Lorretta Sonz Cuff and Fondation IFPD / Alter Start for their invaluable contributions, as well as to Simply Souperlicious – Nourish Yourself and Sara Barradas for catering the event. Their commitment to female-led sustainable entrepreneurship is truly commendable.

We are also grateful to our generous sponsors, Merck Group and Bristol Myers Squibb, for their unwavering support and commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. Your contributions have made a lasting impact on the lives of our students, empowering them to pursue their dreams with confidence and resilience.

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

Looking Ahead: Shaping the Future of STEM

As we reflect on the success of Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024, we are inspired to envision an even brighter future for STEM education and empowerment. Moving forward, we remain committed to expanding our outreach efforts, reaching more schools and communities to ensure that every aspiring young mind has the opportunity to explore the wonders of STEM.

Inspiring inclusion in STEM: Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024

Empowering Dreams, Shaping Futures

In conclusion, Potenti’ELLE en Science 2024 was not just an event — it was a transformative experience that ignited passion, sparked curiosity, encouraging us all to dream big. As we continue on our journey of empowerment, let us remember that the power to shape the future lies within each of us. Together, let’s build a society where diversity is celebrated, inclusion is the norm, and every dream is within reach. Here’s to a future filled with endless possibilities and boundless opportunities in STEM for all.