The new award honours Professor Dianne Bevelander, who founded ECWO at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) in 2014.
Prof. Bevelander died in August 2021 and, recognising the importance of ECWO and Bevelander’s passionate desire that its good work continue, her family initiated a memorial fund in her name.
Through the awarding of an annual prize and supportive grants (which will be implemented from 2023 onwards), the Dianne Bevelander Memorial Fund furthers ECWO’s aim to empower women and to highlight and honour those who have made a significant contribution to the professional advancement of women.
In announcing the winner - on what would have been Prof Dianne Bevelander’s 63rd birthday on June 17th - ECWO’s Executive Director, Prof. Hanneke Takkenberg, described Rosier as both inspired by ECWO’s founder and as embodying her 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 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.”
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. Alongside a strong mentoring programme, together with RightBrains partners she has created a digital leadership educational programme, and is co-author and initiator of the book ‘Ronde vormen in IT’ (2011), among other achievements.
One of the main reasons why Rosier established RightBrains was “to contribute something meaningful for society and our economy”. That’s why I started RightBrains, so I can leave something meaningful behind for the next generation women.”
Following an open nomination process, the winner was chosen by a jury comprising Prof. Takkenberg, Dr Natalie Cleton (ECWO Faculty and 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, TNO.
“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,” commented Cleton.
“The range of nominees included women in academia, in the private sector, in the public and NGO sectors - all 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.”
“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 supporting society at large. This is certainly what Geke Rosier has committed herself to in her mission to help the number of women in digitally and technology-oriented positions grow. In the end, the jury fully agreed with the 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!’”
As the winner of the Dianne Bevelander Prize, Rosier will be awarded a € 1,500 grant o be used for a project – of her choosing - that amplifies gender equality. The prize will be handed over during ECWO’s conference, taking place on Friday November 18th at the Van der Groot Building, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Please keep an eye on ECWO's platforms or sign up for our newsletter for conference details.