The Board

The IWF has the following objectives:

  1. Promote professional networking, resources, and opportunities;
  2. Support community projects and other philanthropic endeavours;
  3. Organize meetings with speakers with significant personal experiences;
  4. Promote guided cultural visits;
  5. Organize excursions around the city and in the region; and
  6. Organize meetings for cultural and linguistic exchanges.


The Board members of the IWF are elected by IWF members during the May Monthly meeting in a ‘Assemblea Ordinaria’ and are appointed for a period of 3 years.

The Board meets on a monthly basis (excluding the summer months) to monitor progress on its objectives, make decisions and plan for the future. If you have an issue that you would like discussed at a Board meeting, please email our secretary (details below).

In addition to the elected Board positions there are several Volunteer Leadership roles that are not actual elected board positions but are key in supporting the Board.

For specific enquiries, please email one of our Board members or Volunteer Leadership members whose profiles and details are listed below. We would love to hear from you!

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRESIDENT

Antonella Berni
Antonella joined IWF Bologna in 2018, became VP in 2022, working with the Programming Team and focusing on institutional relations. In 2023, she became the 2023 - 2026 IWF Board President. She has lived in Bologna for 20 years and has recently co-founded a publishing house, being her main interests writing and editing. She enjoys nature but also social life, philanthropic activities and wellness.

On the board since 2018

Email: president@iwfbologna.com

VICE PRESIDENT

Nicole van Leenen
Nicole has been living happily in Bologna with husband and daughters since the summer of 2021. She is Dutch and has an international background, growing up in the Middle East, Africa and Europe and working in the Netherlands, Vietnam and the UK. Nicole is a legal consultant who specialises in data protection law. The IWF made her feel very welcome in Bologna and it is her objective to do the same for new and current IWF members, and contribute to the wonderful women’s organisation the IWF is. Being a mum Nicole also co-leads the IWF’s Ciao Ragazzi kids group. She loves to sing, travel, cook, watch movies, listen to Desert Island Discs on BBC4, enjoying the Italian sunshine and spending time with family and friends.

On the board since 2022

Email: vicepresident@iwfbologna.com

SECRETARY

Stephanie Sinclair
Stephanie is a consultant working mainly in Artist Legacy and Private Collection Management. She’s worked long-term in both the United States and United Kingdom before moving to Italy in 2018. She works with a select set of international clients and travels often. Stephanie is passionate about philanthropy, supporting women's initiatives, and engaging with her community. She's excited to be part of the IWF board helping empower and support all women in the Bologna community by creating opportunities for learning, growth, and connection. As the IWF Board Secretary, she is the administrative point of the Board, writes the Weekly News Flash, and coordinates the IWF website. In addition, Stephanie heads the IWF Diners Club which allows her to indulge in her gluttonous appetite for dining amongst good atmosphere, good bubbly, and even better conversation. In her down-time she enjoys over-loving her plants, attending the theatre and symphony, swimming and beachside sun, and most of all spending Sunday mornings in bed reading with her marmalade kitty Hubble.

On the board since 2021

Email: web@iwfbologna.com

TREASURER

Dorothea Knoebl
Dorothea is IWF member since 2005 and was already on the board in 2006/2007. Currently she is IWF's treasurer and lives in Bologna with her family for many many years. Travelling, skiing, aperitivo with friends & movies are some of her hobbies.

On the board since 2021

Email: treasurer@iwfbologna.com

MEMBERSHIP

Sigrid Hulisz
Although originally from the Netherlands, Sigrid has lived the last 19 years in Italy and Asia. She graduated in Law and worked as civil law notary in Amsterdam, before moving to Milan to follow her husband. After several years in Asia (Shanghai and Singapore), they moved to Bologna in 2017, where Sigrid soon started working as a trademark attorney. To meet international like-minded women and help her integrate in the new environment, Sigrid joined the IWF that same year. The next year she joined the board and has been part of the membership team ever since. In her free time she loves travelling, enjoys walking in the Bolognese hills, spending time in the mountains or at the seaside with her family, Pilates and reading books.

On the board since 2018

Email: membership@iwfbologna.com

MEMBERSHIP (Interim)

Natalia Woldarsky Meneses
Natalia joined the board in 2016 as Secretary. In 2018, she became the group leader of the runners and walkers group, a role she continues to fill. She served the board as Secretary until September 2019, a year she juggled a baby and toddler. In 2021 she joined the board again, this time with the Membership team and as the Interest group liaison. Her role involves supporting group leaders as well as coordinating and communicating updates and group news with the social media contact for IWF. Since 2021, she has been working along side other board members, Secretary and Web Support, to revise and rebuild the Professional Network. At the core of this work is the intention ensure the Professional Network operates as a system of support and connection for members and not as another interest group as it has in the past.

On the board since 2021

Email: membership@iwfbologna.com

PROGRAMMING

Cinzia Pais
Cinzia was born in Padova but raised in the USA for most of her life before moving to Bologna in 2021 to be closer to family. Cinzia is a multidisciplinary creative director guiding global brands and startups in creating innovative brand designs, specializing in the luxury, hospitality and lifestyle sector. Her professional experience spans from Los Angeles, New York & currently Milano. She's excited to join the IWF Board and is looking forward to connecting with the IWF community in creating memorable and unique events that will engage, empower, and connect women of all backgrounds to beautiful Bologna! In her free time, she loves traveling, taking photos, fitness, socializing, spending time with friends and family. She finds inspiration in art, design, culture, books, films & life!

On the board since 2023

Email: programming@iwfbologna.com

PROGRAMMING

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Lorna Piazzi
Lorna has been a member of IWF since 2022 and has attended every monthly IWF meeting since then. As you can tell, she thoroughly enjoys being part of the IWF group and social life. Originally from Bologna, she returned there after living in Spain for 13 years. She is currently relishing yet another new job and another new apartment, as her motto is "nothing is permanent except change!

On the board since 2023

Email: programming@iwfbologna.com

BOARD SUPPORTING POSITIONS

WEB ADMINISTRATOR

Stephanie Sinclair
Stephanie is also IWF Board Secretary since 2021and Interest Group Leader of the Diners Club since 2018.

SOCIAL MEDIA CONTACT & INTERN

Ruth Culligan
Ruth is from Ireland and moved to Bologna in 2022 after spending three years in the Netherlands. She studied Political Science and International Relations at Leiden University. In Italy, Ruth is pursuing a cooperative Master's degree from the University of Bologna and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Ruth has worked with non- governmental organisations advancing human rights. In her free time, Ruth enjoys travelling, hiking and cooking for friends.

INTEREST GROUP LIAISON

Andretta Stevens
Andretta coordinates Language XChange and is the liaison across the IWF interest groups. She very much enjoys connecting members by curating relevant experiences. Andretta moved from Chicago to Bologna in 2018 along with her husband and 2 teenage sons. The adventure includes discovering her Italian roots, rooting on her two sons, and savouring quiet moments with her husband.

IWF BOLOGNA FOUNDER

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Julie Wade
Julie originally arrived from Chicago to study at the University of Bologna. Passionate about the Italian language and intrigued by the city, she chose to live in Bologna after graduation. Fast forward seven years, now feeling fully immersed into the local language and culture, Julie realized that she was beginning to feel disconnected from her “past” self. So, to bridge the two worlds she inhabited, she sought out to create a community with other internationally-minded women. The IWF was founded with the purpose of creating an English-speaking cultural, professional and social network both for foreign women who had moved to Bologna as well as for Italian women with similar international experiences. Despite having moved to Ravenna shortly after the IWF’s inception, she has stayed an active member of the group, her focus being on community outreach and volunteer work. Julie is always amazed at the countless inspiring women she has met along the way.

Founded the International Women’s Forum of Bologna in 1998 

Email: development@iwfbologna.com