The founder of a mentoring organisation dedicated to increasing the number of women in digital-focused leadership roles has won the inaugural Dianne Bevelander Prize from the Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO) at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM)Geke Rosier wins the € 1,500 grant for championing women via her career platform RightBrains, which aims to bridge the digital gender gap through dedicated mentorship.

The new award honours the late Professor Dianne Bevelander, who founded ECWO in 2014. Prof. Bevelander’s family, recognising her passionate desire that the important work of ECWO should continue, initiated the Dianne Bevelander Memorial Fund to award an annual prize to people who further ECWO’s aim to realise its vision of a world where all women have an equal share of organisational power and influence.

Principled approach to work

ECWO’s Executive Director, Prof. Hanneke Takkenberg, described winner Geke Rosier embodying Prof. Bevelander’s determination to have meaningful and lasting impact. “In her establishment of RightBrains – incredibly in the same year that Dianne founded ECWO – Geke has the same determination as Dianne had. She also has a passionate and principled approach to the work that RightBrains does and that is exactly what Dianne displayed throughout her life.”

“I am honoured to be awarded this prize,” said Geke Rosier. “It also feels very special because I met Dianne a long time ago, at one of her events. She’s an inspiration for many women and I was one of them.” 

Talented women for the digital economy

Rosier is an entrepreneur with over 25 years’ experience in developing marketing strategies for technology companies. In 2014, she founded RightBrains, underpinned by a belief that the digital economy needs more talented women in order to close the digital talent gap, drive diversity, innovation, and growth. With a strong mentoring programme, and together with RightBrains’ partners, Geke has created a digital leadership educational programme. She is also co-author of the book Ronde vormen in IT – Inspirerende visie op competenties, keuzes en kansen in IT-organisaties published in 2011. 

Rosier established RightBrains “to contribute something meaningful for society and our economy,” she said, “and to leave something meaningful behind for the next generation of women.”

Following an open nomination process, the winner was chosen by a jury comprising Prof. Takkenberg, Dr Natalie Cleton, ECWO adjunct faculty and Prof. Bevelander’s daughter; Prof. Nicola Kleyn, RSM’s Dean of Executive Education; Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen, president of the advisory council of SER Topvrouwen and Chairman of the executive board at Aon Holdings; and Christine Balch, Head of EU Affairs, Corporate Strategy at TNO. The announcement of the winner on Friday 17 June was timed to coincide with what would have been Prof. Dianne Bevelander’s 63rd birthday.

Exceptional women nominees

Natalie Cleton said: “We were thrilled to read about the many exceptional women who were nominated, and we thank the nominators for their commitment to promoting the influence and position of women – a cause that Dianne herself was committed to limitlessly.” 

Nominees included women in academia, in the private sector, in the public and NGO sectors. “All of them are undertaking a courageous professional journey very much reminiscent of Dianne's efforts to place gender equality and diversity squarely on the agenda of male-dominated organisations and businesses,” said Cleton.

While only one person can be awarded the Dianne Bevelander Prize, we encourage the nominators and the nominated to keep up their efforts to support women to support one another, and thus support society at large. 

“This is certainly what Geke Rosier has committed herself to in her mission to help grow the number of women in digitally and technology-oriented positions. In the end, the jury fully agreed with Geke’s nominator who said: ‘While Geke continuously puts so many women in the spotlight, it seems to me a perfect time to appreciate her for the topper that she is!’”

Geke Rosier can use the € 1,500 prize for a project of her choosing that amplifies gender equality. The prize will be presented during ECWO’s conference on Friday 18 November at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.

For more information about ECWO contact Diane Coetzer dcoetzer@rsm.nl

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