The Nine – Europe

THE NINE: Lead Angels for the Rising Tide Program-Europe


Brigitte Baumann, Switzerland

Brigitte is the Founder and CEO of Go Beyond Ltd., is an active Business Angel and serves on a number of selection and investment committees in Europe including the WEF’s Tech Pioneers. She is a Member of the Präsidium of KTI, the Swiss commission for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Brigitte is President Emeritus of EBAN, the European trade association for Business Angels and Seed Funds, previously holding the title President for two terms and also chairs Young Presidents Organization’s global Angel Investing interest group. Brigitte has 15 years of experience in bringing new technologies to market in the US and Europe. She was the CEO and Director of iWORLD Group, a VC backed, global developer of mobile content.

She came to iWG from American Express Corporate Services where she held the position of Senior Vice President and General Manager Internet. Whilst there she launched a variety of new internet businesses including online travel (strategic partner of, e-Procurement, online servicing of cards and online payment. Prior to that, Brigitte spent three years as President for US and Canada of GEMPLUS (now Gemalto), the world’s leader in smart card technology and applications to orchestrate the introduction of smart cards to the US. She moved to GEMPLUS from American Express TRS Inc., where she had spent over six years in different Vice-Presidential/General Manager positions in the UK, France and Switzerland. She also spent five years with McKinsey & Company Inc. as Senior Engagement Manager, based in New York, Paris and Tokyo. She began her career in manufacturing and sales with Rohm & Haas, a leading specialty chemicals company.

Brigitte holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University, Boston and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. Born and raised in France, Brigitte and her family now live in Zurich.


Candace Johnson, France

Candace Johnson is a global infrastructure, network and innovation expert and entrepreneur. She is co-initiator of SES/ASTRA and SES Global, the world’s pre-eminent satellite group. She is also founding President of Europe Online Investments S.A. and founder of Loral Cyberstar-Teleport Europe. Ms. Johnson is also founding President of the VATM, the Association of Private Telecom Operators in Germany and founding President of the Global Telecom Women’s Network (GTWN). Ms. Johnson is currently President of EBAN, the European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and Early Stage Market Players.

Ms. Johnson is also President of Johnson Paradigm Ventures (JPV), partner in Sophia EuroLab. JPV is also a principal founding shareholder in London-based Ariadne Capital. She is currently a Member of the Board of SES, a publicly quoted company in France.

Ms. Johnson is a Member of the Supervisory Boards of Garage Canada, Iris Capital (Europe) and Inovent (Turkey). Ms. Johnson is founding Member and former President of the Sophia Business Angels, France as well as founding president of three multi-million Euro investment funds, Succès Europe, Croissance Europe and Innovation Europe.

Ms. Johnson is Member of the Board of Governors of EDHEC, France’s largest business school, the University of Haifa in Israel, Sabanci University in Istanbul Turkey, and a Senior Enterprise Fellow for the University of Essex. Ms. Johnson serves as a Member of the Advisory Board of KACST, Saudi Arabia.

Ms. Johnson has been decorated as Commander of the Luxembourg Order of Merit and Officer of the Couronne de la Chene as well as Officer of the Bundesverdienst Kreuz 1. Klasse (FRG). Ms. Johnson has also received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the World Communication Awards in 2002 and in 2012, Ms. Johnson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The International Alliance of Women in Washington D.C. Johnson holds Masters Degrees with Honors from the Sorbonne and Stanford Universities, a Bachelors Degree from Vassar College and her high-school degree from Punahou, Honolulu, Hawaii.


Florence Korhonen, Finland

Florence is the CEO at Miraflo Ventures Ltd, an investment company based in Finland that believes that Angel investor role is not simply one of financial investment but even more about providing knowledge, experience and networks to the benefit of the entrepreneur and the company.

Florence is the Chairman of Board at Nordic Female Business Angel Network (NFBAN) and a member of the Finnish Business Angel Network (FIBAN) and works with seed and early stage startups as an advisor and angel investor.

Main focus areas of investment are social impact investing, female investor networks, female entrepreneurship. Florence also invests in software and services, Internet, mobile, games and digital media as well as healthcare and wellness.


Hedda Pahlson-Moller, Luxembourg

Hedda Pahlson-Moller is a Business Angel focusing on Social Investing.

Hedda currently holds board positions with the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) where she leads the Impact Investing Committee, the Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN), the Luxembourg Microfinance and Development Fund (LMDF), Chameleon Invest (CHI) seed capital fund as well as the companies in her investment portfolio.

Hedda is Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Sacred Heart University’s Executive MBA program and lectures for the University of Luxembourg on Social Enterprise & Social Innovation as well as Strategic Management and Business Policy at the European University MBA program.

Hedda invests and provides advisory services through OMSINT (Omnisource International) and TIIME ( She co-founded the Impactory, a non-profit offering community-based support and working space for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs – which has evolved into NYUKO (

Hedda has an MBA from Copenhagen Business School, an M.A. in Political Economics from Lund University and an undergraduate degree from Brown University. She is an Executive Fellow with Essex University.



María Eugenia Girón has over 20 years experience in premium and luxury brands growth, strategy and business development. She has led and operated successfully as CEO business and brand turnaround.Ms. Girón led the management buy in of Carrera y Carrera, in 1999 with private equity group 3i. She turned the company into a global luxury brand creating shareholder value of 3X before leading the successful exit in 2006. In 2012, she led the acquisition Le Chameau and subsequently served as Executive Chairman of that leading French brand of premium rubber boots and rainwear. Le Chameau was the first investment of the Silvercloud fund. Her previous experience in the luxury goods industry was at Loewe, the leading Spanish company from 1992 to 1997. She led the development of a strategic plan for the brand and managed Loewe International, including 32 stores in Japan and 15 in Southeast Asia. She played a key role in the sale of the Company to LVMH in 1996.

Ms Girón is currently Executive Director for the Instituto de Empresa (IE) Business School Premium and Prestige Business Centre; sponsored by MasterCard. The Centre does applied research on luxury and premium consumption. She also teaches “Premium, Luxury and Creative Venture Entrepreneurship” at IE Business School and has been a member of the Board of Trustee of IE University since 2009. She was awarded as Best Women Executive of Spain by FEDEPE in 2004.

Committed to entrepreneurship, she is member and deal leader of Go Beyond business angel platform and is involved in digital luxury early stage investments such as 24Fab. In 2013, she was a member of the investors’ panel on the Spanish Dragons Den television series. She is dedicated to her profession and environmental matters; she is member of the International Board of OCEANA and Treasurer where she also served on the Nominating Committee of this leading environmental organization. Ms. Girón is a member of YPO/WPO and was a former member of the European Board of YPO (Young Presidents Organization); she co-founded the YPO Madrid chapter. In 2010, she co-founded Awards for Sustainable Premium and Luxury Entrepreneurship now presented by IE. She is also Chairman of Fundación para la Diversidad, member of the Board of Real Fábrica de Tapices, member of Advisory Board of Spain Start-Up Summit, an Advisor to Ashoka and former Advisory Board member of the Stowe School’s Madrid Campus.

Ms. Girón is the author of Secretos de Lujo/Inside Luxury, published in 2009. She is the director and co-author of the Dictionary for Luxury and Responsibility, published in 2012 and co-author and co-editor of “Luxury and Sustainability: Stories from the Pioneers” published in May 2014. She writes a biweekly blog for Forbes Magazine Mexico and is an active lecturer, teacher, and advisor at various Universities and Business Schools.



Jeanette Anderson, Sweden

Jeanette Andersson is active as angel investor and member of the board in a handful companies. She is invested in a couple start-ups where she takes an active role, works as an advisor for a Swedish VC-firm and is involved in different business angel projects. Jeanette is engaged to improve the conditions for the early stage venture capital market in Sweden.
Jeanette previously ran Sweden based CONNECT’s business angel network for six years, where she worked both on national and Nordic level. She held a number of appreciated seminars in investment – and investor readiness. Before that, Jeanette has several years of operational sales & marketing experience in international automation industry and more than 10 years years experience in entrepreneurship and company development in the startup field, e g as Managing Director for a VC-financed start-up.
Jeanette holds an MSc in BA from University of Lund and an MBA from Henley Business School, UK.


Patty Dimond, U.K.

Patty is currently an NED, Advisor and Investor. She was previously a Retail Executive and McKinsey consultant with 25+ years of experience at board level in International consumer and retail markets. She is a chartered accountant, MBA and a CFA. Patty joined the Go-Beyond Network in 2008. Her first angel investment was in 1992.

After receiving her CA with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells, Toronto, Patty moved to the London office and focussed on Financial Institutions. She then joined some private investors in New York and as CFO/EVP, managed the turnaround of L’erin Cosmetics. Having restored the company to profit, she oversaw the valuation and sale.

Patty joined McKinsey’s London office for 5 years working with Retail and Financial service clients, she was a member of the Retail and Consumer Practice as well as the corporate finance practice.

Later, she joined Storehouse PLC. After divesting BHS, as an operating board director and the managing director of Mothercare Direct, Patty oversaw the launch of and the consolidation of its direct division including catalogue, online and direct in store. Most recently, she was the Chief Operating Officer of Value Retail Management, an owner and operator of 10 Luxury Retail Villages in Europe and China.

Patty received her MBA, from IMD, Switzerland and her HBA from Ivy School of Business, University of Western Ontario. Her NED experience includes: The development board of the MicroLoan Foundation, Vice President of The Swiss CFA Society, Vice President of Humewood House, and The Boys & Girls Club, Toronto.



Selma Prodanovic, Austria

The Start-up-Grand-Dame Selma Prodanovic is one of the most influential startup and new business developers in Europe. An entrepreneur, speaker, advisor, and angel investor, she is renowned for her ability to identify, develop, and connect business potential. Selma supported over 300 startups and shaped the growth of the creative industries, the startup, and the business angel eco-systems in Austria and beyond. Selma is founder of Brainswork a most influential startup and investment consultancy acting worldwide. She is co-founder and board member of the Austrian Angel Investors Association and board member of the European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and Early Stage Market Players (EBAN).

She initiated the one million startups worldwide campaign, established the Brainswork – Make a difference Award, founded IncrediblEurope 2049, and holds advisory and board member positions in a number of companies and organizations. Selma has pioneered various concepts such as Chief Networking Officer, the business development strategy brainsworking, and the Business-Angelina investment approach.

An inspiring speaker, Selma was over 1000 times on stage sharing her expertise in entrepreneurship, connecting, creativity, and innovation at universities, companies, and conferences. She edited and published the „Brainsbook on Networking” (2009) and her book “Between Steel and Chocolate – Inspiring Success Stories from Austria” was published in 2013. She was an investor in the Austrian startup TV show “2 minutes 2 million” and has media coverage in over 40 countries.

Selma believes that making a positive difference is a fundamental human right.
For her innovative approach to business and commitment to entrepreneurship and social change, Selma received numerous awards such as the Austrian “WOMAN Award” in 2006, the “100 World of Difference Award 2013” awarded by The International Alliance for Women in Washington and the “Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2014”.

Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Selma lived in several countries in Europe and North Africa and has been based in Vienna (Austria) since 1991. Educated at the University of Sarajevo, Saint Louis University in Madrid, and the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Selma speaks five languages.  Selma is happily married to her first love and proud mother of two fantastic teenagers.


Cindy Naegel, Belgium

Cindy is an active member of Be Angels (Belgian business angels network) and Go Beyond, giving her cross-border experience and exposure in her investments.

Her investment strategy relies mainly on her assessment of the entrepreneur(s)’ capabilities to achieve their goals and their willingness to take on board the added value of their investors. Cindy believes that entrepreneurs and investors have a common social responsibility to create, innovate and lead by example for the future generations.

Cindy’s background is both international and atypical: she has built a long management employee’s career around Human Resources and international mobility in companies such as Standard & Poor’s DRI, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Sheraton Hotels and The Geman Marshall Fund of the United States. Strong of this experience, she created her own company and became a Business Angel.