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WIIS Moms Power Hour

We’re excited to invite you to our first ‘WIIS Moms Power Hour’ on Friday, 2 April from 12-13h. The objective of this new monthly networking event is to create a welcoming space for WIIS Moms to connect, to be inspired, and to lift each other up. The Power Hour will offer an informal space for conversations that matter to professional moms. The event will be guided by inspirational input and facilitated by Daria Nashat.

The ‘WIIS Moms Power Hour’ will take place every first Friday of the month from 12-13h. Dates are: April 2, May 7, June 4 etc. To sign up for this monthly drop-in event, please send a message to Once you receive the Zoom link, you are welcome to join any of the upcoming meetings (no RSVP required).


Daria Nashat is the co-founder of ‘Women in Politics’, speaker and trainer on inclusive leadership, resilience and selfcare. She is a mother with a vision, a community builder and a circle process facilitator. Daria is a certified Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) trainer, co-founder of the Women’s Sanctuary Circle and has a background in peacebuilding, refugee return and post-conflict development. Since 2020, she is a WIIS Brussels Steering Committee member. For more information visit:

Looking forward to seeing you soon. In the meantime, stay well and take good care of yourself.

Online training: Defining success, getting ahead, and doing it your own way

We’re excited to invite you to the workshop 'Defining success, getting ahead and doing it your own way' on Thursday, March 25 from 12:00-13:30.

Sonal Bahl, career coach, founder, and former HR Director invites us for an interactive workshop and an honest conversation amongst women about what's important, what's holding us back and how to get what we want from our career.

Sign up now by emailing us at

Please note that this event is for members only and spaces are limited. If you’re not a member yet, join our community and become a new member of WIIS Brussels. Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a Zoom link to join the event. Please do not share this link with others.

About the trainer:

Sonal Bahl is a Career Coach and Founder of SuperCharge, a Career Advisory firm. A former HR Director, she has served for almost two decades in HR leadership roles in leading firms like GE, PricewaterhouseCoopers and others, having lived in India, Europe, and Latin America. Sonal speaks English, Spanish, French, Hindi and basic Dutch.

Save the dates!

Tuesday, May 4 from 19:00-21:00: Personal Branding with Yustine Alvarez

Tuesday, June 7 from 12:30-14:00: Speak with Impact with Sylvie Verlewe

Post-patriarchal security: inclusion and equity for the other 55%

WIIS Brussels is delighted to be partnering with Friends of Europe for the event "Post-patriarchal security: inclusion and equity for the other 55%". The event will take place online on 18 March from 5 to 6pm.

Despite institutional commitment to abide by UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), women are still largely under-represented in crisis management, security and defence. NATO and the Council of the EU have striven for more inclusion, adopting a Joint Declaration to consider issues on WPS in 2017. The European Commission has also committed to better inclusion of women in peace and security in its strategic policies. However, the translation of these commitments into practice has fallen short. According to the #SHEcurity Index, women on average make up only 11% of military staff and 25% of police forces in the EU, its member states and the G20. Furthermore, the WPS Agenda lacks a holistic approach to gender and its narrow approach overlooks the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people in conflict and disaster settings, as well as within security institutions. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, a transgender military ban exposed US service members to be discharged on the basis of gender identity, until the Biden administration repealed the ban in January 2021.

In addition to the obstacles in joining security forces, both women and members of the LGBTIQ+ community face stigma and prejudices once serving, which can often go unrecognised. Whether unbalanced representation is caused by a lack of diversity or reluctant hiring processes, a more pro-active approach is needed in order to achieve better inclusion in the peace and security workforce. Additionally, a broader understanding of the WPS framework would strengthen the concept of gender equality and weaken the effects of discrimination, promoting the transformation of military culture into a more inclusive and diverse environment.


Marie Meigård, Sergeant Major in the Swedish Armed Forces

Hannah Neumann, Member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Alan Sneddon, police officer in Scotland and member of The European LGBT Police Association’s Executive Committee


Elena Saenz Feehan, Programme Manager for Peace, Security and Defence and member of the WIIS (Women In International Security) Steering Committee

For more information and to watch live, go on the Friends of Europe event page HERE

Virtual Consultations on Women & Security

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape our lives, and has led many to re-consider the meaning of the concept of ‘security’. Moving beyond conventional understandings of security in defense and military terms, we are offered an opportunity to sharpen our thinking and reflect on the breadth of the meaning of ‘security’ in a post-COVID world.

In 2021, WIIS Brussels will consult widely on this evolving concept of security with various groups. We would like to start this conversation with our members. What does ‘security’ mean to you personally? How has that perception changed over the past years, and what role does your family, employer, or even the state play in providing for your security? What would you say a secure world looks like?

We wish to offer a safe space – a platform – where we can ask powerful questions that will hopefully trigger and nurture a self-reflection process. Members of the Steering committee will facilitate this conversation. Guiding questions will be raised in an effort to find meaning during a time of profound change and uncertainty. We’ll help you navigate your own thinking from the individual, collective, and conceptual understanding of security and compare notes with each other. We are not organizing towards a particular output beyond creating a safe space for members to have a conversation that matters, but we hope to generate innovative ideas to enrich our collective thinking on what security is, and should mean to our community going forward. Let us see where it leads us.

Join us for another virtual conversation on this subject on Tuesday 16 March between 18:30 and 20:00 (via Zoom). Places are limited, so make sure you register by e-mailing us at Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a Zoom link to join the event. Please do not share this link with others.

Our first virtual conversation on this subject took place on 28 January and the second on 2 March. 

Webinar: Our Women in Foreign Policy

On 8 March, Corinna Horst, WIIS Brussels Steering Committee member and senior fellow and deputy director of German Marshall Fund’s Brussels office, led a conversation on women in foreign policy for the Dutch Permanent Representations to the EU and NATO and the Dutch Embassy in Brussels. Held on International Women's Day, the online lunch seminar celebrated the insipring leadership of women, featuring four leading Dutch women in foreign policy in Brussels. 

We were joined by the Netherlands’ Ambassador to NATO Marisa Gerards, Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of the European Council Maryem van den Heuvel (tbc), PSC-Ambassador Delphine Pronk and EU special representative for the Middle East Peace Process Susanna Terstal.

We invited them to share their experiences on opportunities and challenges for women in diplomacy and international politics. A stage in which challenges abound. The EU is facing a resurgent Russia to the east, a more assertive China further afield and increasing instability to its south closer to home. This demands specific answers and a renewed investment in multilateralism and long standing cooperation such as NATO. We talked about the this myriad of complex challenges.

But we also asked the panel what difference it makes to have female voices at the tables of power. How is this perceived by our partners in the theatres of conflict? And what are the lessons learned in their personal journeys as diplomats they bring to the table in this time of global pushback on women’s rights? What advice do they have for future generations and what needs to happen next to get more women into senior diplomatic roles and to ensure more gender parity?

The conversation was led by Corinna Horst, senior fellow and deputy director of German Marshall Fund’s Brussels office, member of the steering committee of the Brussels chapter of Women in International Security (WIIS) and co-founder of The Brussels Binder, an online database of female policy experts. She is also co-author of the book “Women Leading The Way in Brussels”, which looks at women leadership in Europe and Brussels.

Conversation with Rose Gottemoeller and Federica Mogherini

We loved the conversation we had with them last year, so we're delighted to welcome them back!

Please join us for an exclusive virtual event with Rose Gottemoeller and Federica Mogherini on 3 December 2020 starting at 16:00 (CET). This conversation, moderated by the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to NATO, Marisa Gerards and the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the EU Political and Security Committee, Delphine Pronk, will be an opportunity to catch up with our guests on a personal and professional level. 

One year after leaving their leadership positions, at NATO and the EU, we will hear more about what Rose and Federica are doing now in their new jobs - respectively at Stanford University in California and at the College of Europe in Bruges. How are they experiencing the change? Having both worked inside the large Brussels-based institutions, we are curious to hear "what's it like" to look at NATO and the EU from the outside. 

This event is organized with the support of the Delegation of the Netherlands to NATO. Please note that it is open for WIIS members only. Not a member yet? It's not too late - join us!

Online workshop: How to stand out on LinkedIn

Do you want to stand out on LinkedIn? Do you want to know how to attract more views? Do you want to learn how to create and share engaging content?  

Join us on December 1st from 12:00-13:30 and learn from global trainer Petra Fisher how to use your LinkedIn profile to stand out in a competitive environment where people have similar qualifications. After a brief introduction we'll go into more detail of how to do this on your profile and how to do this with active use of LinkedIn. Short presentations and room for Q&A will alternate throughout the workshop. Some quick exercises are also included to enhance the learning. 

Sign up now by emailing us at Please note that this event is for members only and spaces are limited. If you’re not a member yet, join our community and become a new member of WIIS Brussels. Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a Zoom link to join the event. Please do not share this link with others.    


About the trainer: 

‘Cranky old fuddy-duddy claims to know shitloads about LinkedIn. Says she can help global entrepreneurs attract clients’, is the first thing you read on Petra Fisher’s LinkedIn Profile.  

Petra has trained over 3500 entrepreneurs, leaders and other clever cookies and has no intention to stop doing so. Petra lives with a big fat red cat (Bluey) and teenage daughter (who thinks Petra’s brilliant jokes are quite dumb). 

For more info, visit her LinkedIn Profile or website!   

Great news: Due to the huge interest in the ‘Boost your self-confidence’ workshop we will offer it a second time on Friday, January 22nd 2021 from 12:00-14:00. If you were on the waitlist for the first edition, you have a confirmed spot in January. There may be additional spots available on a first-come, first-served basis and we will send out an invitation in due course.

Online training: Boost your self-convidence!

Great news: Due to the huge interest in the ‘Boost your self-confidence’ workshop we will offer it a second time on Friday, January 22nd 2021 from 12:00-14:00. If you were on the waitlist for the first edition, you have a confirmed spot in January. There may be additional spots available on a first-come, first-served basis and we will send out an invitation in due course.


Regardless of age, status, or job position, everyone struggles with confidence issues at one time or another. However, self-confidence is an essential asset in coping with everyday challenges and finding personal happiness. Lack of self-confidence is associated with negative feelings and “self-doubt” which makes it hard to make decisions, plan the future and express our potential.

During their workshop on Tuesday 17 November from 19:00-21:00, Andreea and Gabriela invited participants to look within and explore the factors that influence self-confidence in order to understand how we can influence it. 

Andreea Astilean is a Ph.D.Psychologist and Coach accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). She has been working for more than 8 years in international contexts in the learning and development field, helping young professionals and leaders to improve their capabilities and develop new skills needed in their life or work. She is currently working as trainer and coach with people coming from NGOs, public and business sectors. She is passionate about human development and she would like to help others improve their lives and careers. More info you can find on the website or Linkedin.

Gabriela D. Spencer is a laughter yoga facilitator, a life coach and a trainer enthustiastic about gamified pedagogy for adults. She previously worked in IT project management until she realised that ‘helping others to help themselves’ and achieving work-life balance were more important to her. Her interests include (positive) psychology, body-mind balancing techniques, stress management and connecting with one’s inner child. She currently organises online laughter yoga sessions via The Laughter Room, destined to promote well-being and support mental-health through laughter practice. She also facilitates workshops and is available for coaching journeys. 


Photo credits: CC/Flickr: Kiran Foster

Virtual conversation with... You!

WIIS Brussels cares a lot about its members, and we want to know how you’re all doing. Our latest check-in call on Wednesday 28 October allowed us to get a sense of how our members are doing and how they see things moving forward. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on many aspects of our lives. Having spoken with many of you in spring, we know existing gender inequalities make women more vulnerable to COVID-19 related effects, particularly economic ones. 
McKinsey’s Global Institute has revealed that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs. Our consultations with members have also shown that the increased burden of unpaid care-giving responsibilities disproportionally affect women and are having negative repercussions for female self-care. On the bright side, some of you have shared how this crisis also presents opportunities, in domestic as well as professional spheres.
This conversation was led by members of the WIIS Brussels Steering Committee. No information was shared with third parties. WIIS Brussels feels very strongly about offering a safe space for conversations that matter. Especially under the current circumstances, we want to know how everyone’s doing. 

Training: Jobhunting 101: application and interviewing tips from insiders

WIIS Brussels held an online training  on 'Jobhunting 101: application and interviewing tips from insiders' on Tuesday, 20 October.


Regardless of whether you are a first-time job hunter, an experienced professional, or someone going back into the job market after a hiatus, this webinar served as a practical refresher of the steps in a typical selection process, offering real-life tips on how to best prepare – online and offline!  


The webinar walked participants through the application process (analyzing vacancies against skills, drafting the CV and cover letter) while providing guidance on how to prepare in order to perform better at the interview (key messaging, video interviewing tips, mock questions).  


During this 1.5-hour session, Katja and Liliana shared their top tips from their experience recruiting and interviewing in the private and public sectors. 



Liliana Pao and Katja Paltiel work at the European Commission in the area of HR Strategy, Talent Management and Staff Engagement. They have a combined experience of over 35 years helping people prepare CVs, cover letters, and interviews. They jointly created this training session in 2015 as part of a new internal Career Week initiative, and have been offering it regularly across the Commission ever since. Katja has extensive background in the area of Human Resources and worked as a senior HR consultant in a top international consultancy, with clients all around the EMEA region, prior to joining the Commission in 2010. Liliana's expertise focuses on Talent Management and Communications. Before joining the Commission in 2010, she managed multinational accounts on crisis, corporate and internal communications in one of the world's leading PR agencies.  

Leverage your personal leadership through EQ! Online interactive workshop with Nadja El Fertasi

Life was complicated and filled with stress and competing demands already before the pandemic broke out. Navigating these times of uncertainty and juggling our personal and professional lives at the same time requires different ways of thinking and acting which is not "a one-size fits all" approach. 

This two hour interactive workshop, allowed participants to learn about:

- what emotional intelligence is and how it affects your habit of behaviour and thinking;
- how you can leverage emotional intelligence to exercise personal leadership and feel in the driver seat of your life;
- how to relieve stress through developing new ways of thinking and a large dose of humor;
- how to build personal resilience so you can bounce back from adversity much faster and thrive in life. 

If you would like to learn more about Personal Leadership, you can read Nadja's paper on how to develop Personal Leadership in the Face of Disruption through this link.

Online Leadership Workshop with Isabelle Francois

The world is shifting. Has your leadership changed with it? 

Limited to 10 participants, the ‘Leadership in Crisis Time’ workshop held on 6 May was an opportunity to investigate the leadership style that corresponds best to each participant, and to be the leader that they have always wanted to be. Participants were guided through a number of questions and ultimately came to a greater awareness of where they can best contribute to their environment.

About Isabelle François

Isabelle Francois is the President of WIIS Brussels, a leadership coach, and an expert in international security with 30 years professional experience from the Canadian government to international organizations, NGOs, as well as academia and think tanks.