Senior executive Karen de Sousa Pesse has won the Dianne Bevelander Prize in June 2023 for her work in advocating for women’s rights in STEM over the past year. She is at the forefront of addressing gender bias in artificial intelligence and has made tangible changes to her business environment to better the position of women. Read more at the Erasmus Centre for Women in Organisations (ECWO) of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Brazilian born-and-raised Karen de Sousa Pesse is a nanotechnology and material science engineer at Salesforce. She lived, studied and worked in several countries across America, Europe and Asia. As a female business leader in Europe, she has a strong personal interest in shining a light on topics such as gender bias in artificial intelligence and the importance of gender perspectives in technology.

Equality in AI field

One jury member for the Dianne Bevelander Prize described de Sousa Pesse as a role model for Latin-American natives, for women in the field of artificial intelligence, and for people who care about equity and equality in the AI disciplines.

De Sousa Pesse was chosen following an open nomination process by a jury comprising entrepreneur Geke Rosier (last year’s award winner), Dr Natalie Cleton (faculty member at Wageningen Food Safety Research and Prof. Bevelander’s daughter), Professor Hanneke Takkenberg (executive director of ECWO), Professor Nicola Kleyn (dean of education at RSM), Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen (former chairman of Aon Holdings), and Christine Balch (director European affairs at TNO).

Professor Dianne Bevelander

The award honours Professor Dianne Bevelander, who founded RSM’s Erasmus Centre for Women and Organsiations (ECWO) in 2014 as a centre of teaching, research, advisory and advocacy, focusing on redressing the gender imbalance in organisations and empowering women to reach their full potential, create communities and drive change in society. Prof. Bevelander died in 2021 after a three-decade career at RSM. She put gender balance, equality and diversity firmly at the top of the agenda across the international business and academic community. The Dianne Bevelander Memorial Fund continues her pioneering work to support women and promote gender equality.

The inaugural Dianne Bevelander Prize was won in 2022 by Geke Rosier, the founder of RightBrains. The 2023 prize will be handed to de Sousa Pesse at the next ECWO conference, which will take place on RSM’s campus on Friday 24 November 2023.


The Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO) is committed to fostering inclusion, empowering women and creating a level playing field by building communities for organisational change. Its mission is to create a sense of belonging for everyone within organisations for all, regardless of gender or identity, through diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). ECWO conducts research and produces evidence-led educational programmes, events, coaching, advocacy and advisory services.

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.

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