Karen van der Zanden

Country President, Netherlands

Karen has held different executive management positions, including global responsibility for all partnerships and alliances of Air France KLM and thereafter CEO of several midsized (>500 fte) companies in tourism. She has worked in the Middle East, France, UK, USA, Belgium, and her home base the Netherlands.

Her curiosity has driven her into diverse industries from airline business, tourism to information technology the last couple of years. As an entrepreneur she has built the largest community of IT professionals in the Netherlands, serving big companies like Shell, NXP, DAF, ABNAMRO and large public organizations like the Dutch Tax Authority, Ministry of Infrastructure, Police and so on.

Being a leader that can quickly grasp the essence of situations, she uses her flexibility to find the way forward. She excels at achieving the goals by being firm on the content whilst continuing to take care of good relationships with all involved.

Next to her professional life she is an active member of the Rotary Foundation. Donating a significant part of her time to different projects to conquer poverty in and outside the Netherlands. Asylum seekers in the Netherlands, shelter boxes for several large international crises, local projects for the elderly. She is also a board member and advisor amongst others iPoort, a non-profit foundation to entertain the dialogue between Dutch Parliament members and Dutch companies and society regarding digitalization and new technologies.   

Often being the only woman at the table during the past 25 years, she knows by experience the importance of empowering women in their professional lives. The current pace of diversity is far too slow and needs more dedication and effort. “Paving the way for the next generation”

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