Moderators & Panelists

Mark EmdinConference Master of Ceremonies

Mark Emdin of Shell

Mark Emdin, an Australian who calls Amsterdam home, is currently Senior Organisation Effectiveness Consultant for Shell’s Projects & Technology organization based in Rijswijk, The Netherlands. He is responsible for supporting Shell’s executives and senior directors of large capital projects in the fields of organizational design, behavior, leadership and team effectiveness. This global role has Mark working across a diverse range of cultures, environments and organisations.

Mark has been with Shell since 1995, starting his career in Australia. He has held a number of Human Resources based roles and has a passion for supporting individuals achieve their potential and create challenging, stimulating and enjoyable workplace environments. Mark is a past Chair of the Shell Netherland’s LGBT network ‘Pink Pearl’ and works to support LGBT staff in countries where Shell does not yet have LGBT networks. He is also an active member of Workplace Pride.

Mark holds a Masters in Leadership and Management (Hon) degree from Curtin University, Australia and originally trained as an Agricultural Economist. He is a recipient of a Vincent Fairfax Award for Ethics in Leadership through the St James Ethics Centre, Sydney.

Mark lives with his husband, Michael, in Amsterdam. Both are avid travellers and enjoying what the world has to offer those willing to step outside and take a risk.

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Workshop 1: “ERGs to BRGs; The Next Step in LGBT Workplace Evolution”

Co-Moderated by: Marijn Pijnenburg of IBM

Marijn Pijnenburg is IBM’s Business Development Executive for Diversity and LGBT in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In this role he provides strategic advisement to IBM customers in traditional and growth markets on how to leverage human capital, diversity, LGBT inclusion and corporate social responsibility as strategic business drivers to foster innovation and generate new business opportunities in the global market place.
Marijn joined IBM in 1996 and has worked in various roles in Global Logistics, Customer Relationship Management, Strategy & Change and Business Transformation. Marijn has also been an active member of the EAGLE GLBT network group at IBM. And is board member of WorkPlace Pride.     
Marijn studied Business Administration at the University of Nyenrode, Technical University Eindhoven and the Henley University of Reading. Marijn is based in Amsterdam and enjoys playing field hockey and rugby in during his free time.

Silvy VluggenWorkshop 1: “ERGs to BRGs; The Next Step in LGBT Workplace Evolution”

Co-Moderated by: Silvy Vluggen of IBM

Silvy Vluggen is the global LGBT program manager at IBM, where she has worldwide responsibility for the development and implementation of IBM’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender policies and programs. She is working with the senior leaders around the globe to focus on the strategy and challenges connected with the LGBT constituency. Silvy also has worldwide responsibility as a global program manager for Cultural Intelligence. In that capacity she is responsible for enhancing the cultural awareness level of all IBMers and ensuring that every IBMer is capable of working and achieving results in a multicultural environment.

An IBMer since 1993, Silvy was part of IBM’s Software Group before joining the HR organization. Prior to her current role, she served as IBM’s critical situations manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Silvy studied computer science and engineering in Heerlen, the Netherlands. She lives just outside of Paris (France) with her partner Sylvie and their daughter Kay.

 Workshop 1 Panelists: George Gourdiaan, Commerical Banking International, ABN AMRO


Albert RoeleWorkshop 2: “SME’s: Backbone of the European Economy: Examining the LGBT contribution and looking towards the future”

Moderated by: Albert Roele of COC Amsterdam

Albert Roele (1958) has run his own company since 2002. He is a reputation and image strategist and helps companies, organizations and individuals to ‘tell their own Story’.

Albert defines and specifies that Story, writes it down, translates it into things like websites, speeches and other means of communications. But he also trains his clients how to tell that Story in their own words by means of his presentation and media trainings.

Albert has a background as a contemporary historian and a macro economist. He lived and worked in Germany for 4 years, and was a professional economic journalist for a number of several years. Since 2012 he has been actively involved with COC Amsterdam, the LGBT organization in the capital city of the Netherlands. As a Board Member he is especially concerned with setting-up a Business Pride Network for SME’s in Amsterdam.

Workshop 2 Panelists:

  • Sofia Hilgevoord: President European Gay & Lesbian Managers Association (EGMA), Switzerland
  • Angelo Caltagirone: President EDGE, Italy
  • Sebastian Straub: Volklinger Kreis, Germany
  • Marion Mulder: Workplace Pride / MuldiMedia, Netherlands


Arja VoipioWorkshop 3: “Lowering the Barriers to Trans Involvement in the Workplace”

Moderated by: Arja Voipio of Transgender Europe (TGEU)


Arja Voipio Econ. and BA is member of the Executive Board of Transgender Europe (TGEU). Arja is also the chairperson of HeSeta, the biggest LGBTI regional organisation in Finland. She has been working for Trans and other LGBTI Rights  for  a number of years. Arja has had a long career in finance and regulation in both professional and managerial capacities. She has ‘sat round the table’ both as an employer and as an employee representative. She is currently the chairperson of the supervisory board of one of the smaller trade unions in Finland.

Workshop 3 Panelists:

  • Corine van Dunne: Board Member Transgender Network Netherlands, Netherlands
  • Franka van Brakel: Central Service Desk, Prorail, Netherlands
  • Remko Kundersma: Line Service Manager, Prorail, Netherlands


martha-head-ing_427Workshop 4: HR Professionals: A Critical Look at Progress with LGBT Workplace Diversity

Moderated by Martha McDevitt-Pugh

Senior Change Manager at ING Bank 

Martha McDevitt-Pugh was born in San Francisco and has lived in the Netherlands since 2000. She has worked as a director in Silicon Valley tech companies and is currently a Senior Change Manager at ING Bank, where she serves on the board of ING’s LGBT employee resource group Gala.

Martha founded the Love Exiles Foundation in 2002 to advocate for immigration reform in the USA that would give LGBT Americans the opportunity to sponsor their foreign partners as legal immigrants. She looks forward to the day that her marriage of 12 years to her Australian wife, Lin, is legally recognized in the USA for immigration purposes. She is Chair of Democrats Abroad Netherlands and was a 2012 Delegate to the Democratic National convention. Martha speaks and writes frequently on LGBT equality and immigration issues.

Workshop 4 Panelists:

  • Yelly Wiedenaar: Head Diversity and Inclusion ABN AMRO, Netherlands
  • Gebrand Erdkamp: Senior HR Director ING Retail Banking International & Commercial Banking, Netherlands
  • Jeremy Hollister: Head of Compensation & Benefits Cisco, MEA, UK


Nick 2Workshop 5: “Leveraging the strength around us: Taking straight ally involvement to the next level”

Moderated by Nick Barnett of Accenture

CRM Consultant and UK LGBT Allies lead at Accenture

Nick Barnett is a management consultant at Accenture specialising in customer relationship management. Nick was Accenture UK and Ireland’s LGBT Network Co-Lead from 2011-2013 and helped establish Accenture’s allies programme. As LGBT Network Co-Lead, Nick coordinated day-to-day Accenture’s various LGBT activities, from policy and metrics to events, and is uniquely positioned to give an overview of the difference the programme has made across the business. Before joining Accenture, Nick was LGBT lead for Bristol University Student’s Union and a member of the National Union of Students Executive Committee for LGBT. In his spare time Nick is a passionate hockey player and a trustee of the Women’s Sport Trust.


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Workshop 6: “LGBT Corporate Community Engagement: Inspiring LGBT Workplace Acceptance in Society” 

Co-Moderated by: Stephanie K. Blackwood of GLSEN

Stephanie currently serves as the Manager of Institutional Relations at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relations with corporations and foundations.  GLSEN is the leading organization focused on LGBT issues education, both domestically and globally.  In her role, Stephanie has expanded GLSEN’s foundation and corporate funding and created a community engagement program designed specifically for corporate employee resource groups.

Stephanie’s career started in higher education where she held a number of communications-related positions in athletics, art and administration. In 2001, she launched the first of four marketing agencies that focused on the LGBT consumer market, a new segment among multi-cultural segments. Through her leadership, LGBT consumer marketing achieved acceptance via innovative marketing programs that supported such global brands as ABSOLUT, American Airlines, IBM, ING, Crest, Allstate, Procter & Gamble, and PWC.  Stephanie also created some of the earliest corporate partnerships to LGBT nonprofits, which is now an accepted best practice for LGBT workplace equality.  Prior to joining GLSEN, she was the volunteer director of communications and development for the Hospital of Hope Association, a nonprofit healthcare service in Senegal.


GJWorkshop 6: “LGBT Corporate Community Engagement: Inspiring LGBT Workplace Acceptance in Society” 
Co-Moderated by: Gerrit Jan Wielinga of COC Netherlands

Gerrit Jan works as project manager for COC Netherlands, where he is responsible for projects surrounding LGBT’s in the workplace and the Teachers Network of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network Netherlands. With a history of 67 years (and counting) COC Netherlands is the leading LGBT organization in the Netherlands, putting LGBT issues on the national and international agenda and providing advocacy for LGBT people. COC Netherlands activates, supports and brings together people and organizations around sexual diversity and sexual identity in Dutch society, and supports LGBT organizations worldwide.

The CV of Gerrit Jan is a mishmash of LGBT and cultural activism. He studied fashion and theater design and before joining COC Netherlands he worked as actor, artist, writer and campaigner. Together with the education team at COC Netherlands he built the Gay-Straight Alliances at schools into a popular and recognizable brand and as project manager for the Work Place he developed a social media tool to raise awareness around LGBT issues at work. Currently he is working on a strategy for COC Netherlands on how to play their part in the workplace the years to come.

Workshop 6 Panelists:

  • Silvy Vluggen: Global LGBT Program Manager at IBM, France
  • Wester Meijdam: Policy Advisor LGBT Portfolio, Dutch Ministry of OCW, Netherlands


Jeroen-Havers-smallWorkshop 7: “LGBT Workplace Progress in the Public Sector: The Value of Hands-on Involvement”

Moderated by Jeroen Haver: Ministry of Infrastructure and Enviroment

Jeroen Haver (1969) works as a senior policy advisor for the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in The Hague, The Netherlands. His current and previous career has taken him to many corners of the world . Prior to returning to Holland, he lived and worked in London and Brussels. Travelling and discovering the world, its cultures and its peoples is still one of his great passions.

He is one of the LGBTI-network leads at the ministry and is an active volunteer for the Leiden chapter of COC, the Dutch advocacy group on LGBT rights. He frequently provides education at schools and interest groups on the consequences of discrimination and prejudice, on gay life style and LGBTI-rights. As a member of the love-exiles network he fights for equal immigration rights for same-sex couples worldwide.

(Session will be held in Dutch)

Inleider: Rabin Baldewsingh, wethouder Volksgezondheid en Zorg, Duurzaamheid, Media en Organisatie, gemeente Den Haag.

Workshop 7 Panelists:

  • Rabin Baldewsingh: Wethouder gemeente Den Haag
  • Eric van der Burg: Wethouder Zorg en Welzijn, Sport en Recreatie, Luchthaven, Personeel, Organisatie en Integriteit, Dienstverlening en Externe Betrekkingen en Dierenwelzijn, gemeente Amsterdam.
  • Jowi Bijsterbosch: Directeur HRM en Organisatieontwikkeling, Rijkswaterstaat
  • Marion Keislair: Voorzitter (R)Echt Roze, LHBTI-Netwerk van VenJMinisterie van Veiligheid & Justitie;
  • Patrick Leliveld: Secretaris Roze Rood, LHBTI-netwerk, Brandweer Nederland


Caroline PickardWorkshop 8:”Vital Signs: A Diagnostic Approach to Assessing Workforce Gaps and Successes”

Moderated by: Caroline Pickard of Catalyst Europe

Originally from the UK, Caroline Pickard has been based in the Netherlands for the past fifteen years. Since 2004 she has worked as an independent professional, and in her role as Ambassador for Catalyst Europe, Caroline regularly speaks within the corporate community about the practical issues surrounding diversity and talent management.  Her geographical responsibility at Catalyst is broad, covering the Benelux and Nordic countries. Caroline continues to work extensively with organisations, institutes and individuals to design and execute programs in language and communication and has extensive professional experience in multilingual corporate environments, with positions in logistics, recruitment, high-tech and the teaching and training sectors.
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading non-profit membership organisation expanding opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and India, and more than 500 pre-eminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work.

Workshop 8 Panelists:

  • Helene Borgman: Vitality, Diversity & Inclusiveness, Ernst & Young, Netherlands
  • Marion Mulder: Workplace Pride / MuldiMedia, Netherlands
  • Robert Loesberg: Senior Manager, PwC, Netherlands



Workshop 9:”Trust in the Workplace: They Key to Coming Out?”

Presentation by: Ben Capell of ESADE Business School

Ben Capell is an academic researcher and organizational consultant specializing in the areas of developing trust, diversity and leadership. He is a lead member and a head researcher of the Future of Work Chair of ESADE Business School, a research unit that is dedicated to foresee and affect changes in the world of work. Ben´s international career includes various consultancy and people development roles. He worked with several leading companies and educational institutions. Between the years 2004 and 2011 Ben worked for Hewlett-Packard where he held senior internal consultancy and management roles in the area of leadership development and diversity and talent management. Working for HP Ben promoted a regional agenda for the inclusion of LGBT employees, a topic which he is passionate for.

Ben has lived and worked in Israel, USA. Japan and Spain. He holds a Masters of Research in Management, Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and a B.A. in Human Resources Management and he is pursuing his PhD degree in ESADE. Ben is fluent in various languages including English, Hebrew, Catalan and Spanish. 

Workshop 9

Moderator: Charlotte van den Hoeven van Genderen, Management Trainee, Achmea


  • Tamoor Ali: Senior Commerical Advisor, PMO, Exploration Division, BP, UK
  • Antonella Cecca: HR Director, Human Resources Netherlands, Hewlett-Packard, Netherlands