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4th edition of The ‘Women Entrepreneurs Program’: 40 women entrepreneurs will benefit from an international networking and business support at Stanford

BNP Paribas Wealth Management and the Women Initiative Foundation hold the 4th edition of the Women Entrepreneurs Program at Stanford Graduate School of Business from 8 to 13 July 2018

    • 40 talented women entrepreneurs from 14 countries will attend a week-long program on leadership and accelerating business on the Stanford campus (California, USA).
    • This exclusive customized program aims to offer a mix of knowledge, skill acquisition and development. The entrepreneurs were selected for their experience and their growing companies with a broad international appeal.
    • Participants will benefit from an international networking and business support 
    • Over the course of this 4 year-long initiative, BNP Paribas Wealth Management will have provided more than 150 women with training from the Stanford Graduate School of Business along with personal and professional development

In partnership with the Women Initiative Foundation, BNP Paribas Wealth Management will gather leading international women entrepreneurs from Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. These entrepreneurs represent various sectors of activity including education, hospitality, health, wholesale, fashion, film production, ultra-cleans, data capture, navigation solutions, consulting, OTA, manufacturing,  real estate, food & beverage.

 As a leading private bank, we create connections to empower entrepreneurs, in finance and beyond. This program is all about connecting these talentful women with new ideas, new people, new places and actually new business opportunities!” explained Sofia Merlo, Co-CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management.This 4th edition also underlines our commitment to support them in the long term to accelerate their growth”.

 This content-rich week is built on three pillars:

  • Academic insight with faculty from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • Company and incubator site visits in the Silicon Valley.
  • Networking sessions among participants to explore potential business opportunities.

 What’s new this year:

  • A roundtable discussion chaired by the former President of the Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco with women having succeeded in setting up in Silicon Valley
  • A fireside chat and dinner with Jeff Clavier, Founder and Managing Partner of ‘Uncork Capital’, one of the original seed venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.
  • Visit of ‘Hive Data’, an incubator specialized in artificial intelligence

 "Through educational programs, mentoring and outreach activities, the Woman Initiative Foundation is a resource for women entrepreneurs, employers and public policy makers. We are proud that The Stanford Program contributes to the global discussion on gender diversity and to the promotion of women in the entrepreneurial space", added Martine Liautaud, president of the Women Initiative Foundation. "Plus, it's an incredible opportunity to discover the vibrant campus and intellectually challenging atmosphere of this world-renowned academic institution."

 The Stanford Program highlights BNP Paribas Wealth Management's commitment to understand, serve and celebrate women entrepreneurs.

Follow the event on Twitter #GoWEP18 or @BNPP_Wealth and on our Facebook page dedicated to Elite Entrepreneurs.




Marie-Hélène Baudoux, President of CONFORMAT

After 3 years as Managing Director of CONFORMAT, the French leader of Cleanroom Supply (17 M€ within 25% export with 28 persons). Marie-Hélène Baudoux has taken it over in July 2016. The company – specialized in wiping, disinfection, packaging, protection and equipment mainly for Big Pharmaceuticals – has been recording a significant growth since then and is now targeting an international expansion mainly in the Americas.
Engineer with an MBA, Marie-Hélène has mainly been in the automotive industry holding different positions in Executive Committees. Being MD of a French leading NGO gave her the experience of lobbying and Governmental relationship.

Marie-Hélène is a Science Po Paris graduate, Independent Board member certificate and Board Member of two women associations.

Philippine Janssens, Founder & CEO of Philippine Janssens

In 2010, Philippine Janssens obtained her MBA from leading French business school ESSEC, following-up with courses at the l'Académie Internationale de la Coupe (the International Patternmaking Academy).  It was upon meeting André Guillerme-Guilson, master tailor and president of the National Master Tailor’s Association of France, that Philippine discovered the secrets of bespoke tailoring.  After only 7 years, Philippine Janssens has become the reference in women’s bespoke trousers, with over 2,000 made each year for her loyal client base, 85% of which return each season to continue their purchases of customised trousers.  Since November 2017, Philippine can be found in the prestigious rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré shopping district in Paris and you can also see her works at the Parisian luxury department store Bon Marché Rive Gauche.

Bénédicte MERCIER, co-Chair of Sodebo

Bénédicte is the co-Chair of the French leader of freshly-prepared meals, Sodebo. She currently holds this post with her two sisters, Patricia and Marie-Laurence. This second generation has been managing the company since 2000 which was founded by their parents in 1973. Sodebo produces and distributes pizzas, sandwiches, salads and pasta box. This independent and family company chose to integrate, where possible, the raw material manufacturing into the production process: 82% of their products and a part of lettuce used are cooked and cultivated on site. Therefore, there are 100 + different job types within the company and the 2,270 employees have been in one and only production site in Vendée, France, since 1973. Sodebo is also established in Brazil where a production site is under construction. Bénédicte, her two sisters and all the employees are passionate and proud to create and give a wide range of healthy and tasty products.

Béatrice Korsakissok, co-Founder of SYNTONY

Béatrice Korsakissok created SYNTONY in 2015 with her husband, Joël. SYNTONY is a high technology company, developing GNSS simulators and receivers aimed for Aeronautics, Space and Public Transportation. SUBWAVE is a unique product in the world, enabling the geolocation indoors in underground locations where ever the GPS signal is not available: it offers then the possibility to locate emergency calls, technicians’ teams and ease the passenger experience; in other words, it helps saving lives.

The name of the company has been chosen in a special way: SYNTONY means “synchronisation of waves” or Harmony, which is exactly true in 3 ways: syntonization in the music field (Joël has been playing piano, saxophone and the guitar since childhood), syntonization of 7 different satellite signals for 1 geolocation point, and moreover, harmony within the team, to better ease their faculties of creativity, innovation, passion and human values.

Before co-creating SYNTONY, Béatrice used to work by Airbus HQ within several teams and Airbus subsidiaries for over 15 years:  with the CEO team, Marketing, US sales and contracts, Communication, Strategy, customer services and engineering.

Béatrice has a master degree of Business Management, of the Toulouse Business School (TBS).

She likes painting, singing, walking, cycling and enjoying time with her family (3 grown-up kids).

Laurence Lascary, Founder of DE L’AUTRE COTE DU PERIPH’ (DACP)

A production company which represents contemporary France with stories that captures its plurality. In 2011, she launches the Young Independent Producer’s Day, an innovative marketplace dedicated to the new actors of audiovisual industry. Her first feature film, The Climb, directed by Ludovic Bernard, was released on January 25th, 2017 and gathered more than a million admissions. Besides making features, Laurence Lascary also produces the Dans Mon Hall short-film project which gives a voice to the communities of working-class neighborhoods across France. In 2018, Laurence received the title of Chevalier in the National Order of Merit for her contribution to the French Film Industry.

Sophie Mouterde, Founder of Alter’Agir

Sophie launched Alter’Agir in 2018, whose mission is to help leaders to both succeed professionally and to be happy in their life.  Sophie offers a customized service of career and leadership coaching. She also helps organizations to manage cultural changes. Sophie collaborates with other talented coaches and is part of a French ecosystem and network engaged in boosting women leadership and diversity in French companies, for a more inclusive workplace.

Alix Pradère, Founding Partner of Opusline

Alix Pradère is the founding and managing partner of OpusLine, the French leading strategy consulting firm dedicated to the health sector. Her team advises and supports the French major health and benefits insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceuticals companies, digital players as well as public institutions.

Solving strategic issues, building pathways for relevant transformation and leveraging health data is the passion of her team of 80 consultants.

Nathalie Sokoloff, Founder of A Different Kind of Animal

Nathalie Sokoloff is the founder of A Different Kind of Animal (ADKOA), a creative agency based in New York City & Paris. ADKOA creates and produces integrated campaigns via their unique spin on advertising, branding and digital media. For companies looking down at the daunting task of entering the US Market, ADKOA offers their proven track record of success.  Nathalie draws upon her strong knowledge of digital marketing to enable her team to generate carefully crafted campaigns which in turn deliver exceptional results for brands such as Cartier, Krups, Mustela, Rowenta, Vichy, Wet n Wild, and many more.

Karine Tardon, Founder and CEO of Karine & Jeff

A family business established in Revel, in the South-West of France – that creates organic ready meals made using cereals, vegetables and legumes.

At the age of 26, after travelling the world for six years, Karine decided to set up her own business alongside her husband Jeff. Inspired by her culinary knowledge of her native region, and by that of the people encountered during her travels, together they produce recipes that are authentic, original and delicious. Karine may be a mother to seven children, but that hasn’t stopped her; Karine & Jeff has grown steadily and continues to grow both in France and abroad, notably in the United States of America. This outstanding quest has led Karine to build a dynamic and successful business that already boasts numerous awards, by creating high quality, environmentally friendly, and health-centric cuisine.



 Valentine Berghmans, Plant Manager Hermalle, LHOIST GROUP.

Valentine holds a BA in economics from the VUB Brussels and a MBA from INSEAD. After university she has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity for 6 months in Costa Rica. She started her career in finance, working for Grupo Santander in Madrid. After her MBA she joined SHV holdings in the Netherlands, as part of the talent management and succession planning team. She joined the Lhoist Group 6 years ago where she held the position of sales manager and associate Director Europe. She is currently in charge of the world 2nd largest lime plant in the South of Belgium. She and her team are focusing on bringing added value to the customers while bringing responsibility back to every worker in the plant.

Monique Coppieters, CEO of Sopura Group

For over 70 years, Sopura, a family-owned business, has been developing cleaning and disinfection solutions for clients in the brewing, beverage and food industries. Monique joined the family company in 1990 where she was first responsible for the engineering department start up and development. She then took over operations in Belgium as well as international development. She has been CEO of the Sopura Group since 2006. Sopura has now 5 plants in Belgium, Spain, Vietnam, Australia, and South Africa, and delivers products and services in 90 countries.

Monique graduated from a Master’s degree in physics in Gent.

Ann De Raedt, Owner and director of Medina

Ann holds the position of commercial director in a group of private medical laboratories in Belgium. For the past 10 years she and her team focused on the expansion of the lab group through M&A and organic growth. The latter was achieved through positioning of the company as a one stop shop solution. The group now offers a wide variety of tests for general practitioners, gynecologists and dermatologists and is active in the classical health reimbursement system, as well as in preventive health monitoring.

Ann also sits on the strategic board of the group.



 Alessandra Angelini, Partner at Altesino srl, Borgo Scopeto srl, Gaiae II srl, Gaiae International

Following an Aerospace Engineer degree and a specialization in Aerodynamics in Aeronautical Engineering and structure, Alessandra worked in several architectural and naval firms to restructure and optimize sailing racing boats. Alessandra was also part of the designing team for Rolls Royce Trent 1000 TEN engine (2014-2017). Since January 2017, Alessandra has been back in the family business, which is branched out in 4 wineries (Altesino, Borgo Scopeto, Caparzo, Doga delle Clavule) where she is in charge of export, a hotel (Relais Borgo Scopeto) and logistics warehouses rented out to major logistics companies such as DHL, SDA, and Bartolini.

Previously, Alessandra has had a juvenile athletic career first in fencing, then in Olympic sailing, with 2 campaigns (London, in match racing, and Rio, in Nacra16).  Alessandra is passionate about traveling and photography. She is currently trying to finish her piloting (plane) license.

Sonia Bonfiglioli, President of Bonfiglioli Riduttori S.p.A.

Through her strategic vision, Sonia has led Bonfiglioli Riduttori into a broader international dimension, promoting investments in new activities as well as major acquisitions in Italy and abroad, and laying the foundations for the construction of factories in India, Slovakia, Vietnam, China, US and Brazil.

Formed in Bologna in 1956, the Bonfiglioli Group today is present in over 80 countries and on 5 continents. The Group has 21 subsidiaries, 14 production plants and nearly 3700 employees worldwide

Entrepreneur, Sonia holds a degree in mechanical engineering, MBA at Profingest (now BBS) and AMP Advanced Management Program at IESE.

Annalisa Macchiaverna, Board Member at Brookers SPA and Casoni Fabbricazioni Liquori S.p.A.

Annalisa is a chartered accountant specializing in Business Management and Consulting.

Following her Bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2013, Annalisa joined the family business Macchiaverna, an accounting firm in Reggio Emilia. Working cheek by jowl with her father, she is very passionate about her job and is quickly learning the ropes of the business.

Annalisa is also Board Member of two important Italian companies: Brookers S.p.A and Casoni Fabbricazioni Liquori S.p.A.

Valentina Volta, CEO of Datalogic S.p.A

Valentina Volta previously worked one year for Mediobanca as Credit Analyst and more than 10 years in Ferrero Group, covering different managerial positions in Sales and Marketing area, including the role of Country Marketing Manager for Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg with offices in Bruxelles.

Valentina Volta is also Chairman of Datalogic S.r.l., Datalogic IP Tech, member of the Board of Director of IMA S.p.A. and of the General Board of Confindustria.

Valentina Volta graduated in Economics from Bologna University and attended the “Owner President Management Program” at the Harvard Business School in Boston, USA.



Carole Muller, CEO of Fischer S.A.

Carole Muller started her career as a Junior Expert at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since 2006, she joined the family business Fischer S.A., a Luxembourgish Bakery founded in 1913.

Since 2014, Carole Muller is CEO of Fischer S.A. In this position, she manages and develops the Fischer bakeries in Luxembourg and in France.

She holds a Master in Management as well as in European Studies. In 2009 she obtained a Diploma from Lenôtre Bakery in Paris.

Furthermore since October 2017 she is secretary of Luxembourg Federation of Young Leaders (Fédération des Jeunes Dirigeants au Luxembourg) and will be their President in October 2018.



Loubna Chraïbi, CEO of Mouna Holding

Loubna Chraïbi is the CEO of Mouna Holding, a family business specialised in industrial rental property, real estate promotion and housing developments.  The conception and execution of her real estate projects is fully in line with her country’s need for lodging.  The Moroccan government has applied a scheme to encourage builders to construct needs-based housing.  Mouna Holding helps carry this policy to realisation, participating in this project for social betterment.  Mouna is also a major player in industrial rental property, proposing to national and international clients properties for their industrial, commercial, or storage needs.

Facing the challenges of any family business owner, Loubna worked to keep family ownership in place.  Supported by shareholders, and by engaged Mouna staff, Mouna Holding has earned great notoriety due to the strong relationships it has with its clients, vendors, and partners.

Salwa Rabi Andaloussi, co-Founder and Chief Executive Manager Elbilia Léon l'Africain Group

Salwa has dedicated her carrier to give to the student the best education they need to succeed in life. She has always been passionate about transforming people and their life trajectories.

Taking into account a person’s psychology and background Salwa co-founded the Elbilia Leon l’Africain Group. This educational organization ranks #1 in Morocco with 9200 students and offers an inclusive approach to teaching based on each student’s positive and dynamic transformation. 

Salwa firmly believes that a school is much more than a learning institution: when raised as a means of intercommunity solidarity, it will enable everyone to fight against exclusion, vulnerability and injustice. Salwa has been committed to this cause for over 25 years and contributed to develop a network of excellence and a positive and constructive transformation of society.



Teresa Drozdz, Restaurant Owner

Teresa comes from an entrepreneurial family and bought her first McDonald’s restaurant over 19 years ago. In 2018, she is now the owner of 11 restaurants in 3 different districts. She is convinced that people and family members are at the foundation of her company and that they are the reason of this success.



 Nihan Colak Erol, CEO

Nihan is the founder and Chief Operating Officer of Turkey’s leading OTA in flights,, and its global operations Nihan has a BSc degree in Computer Engineering  and an MBA degree from  Bogazici University, Turkey. Before, Nihan founded and managed Turkey’s first online business and social networking platform until 2008, when it was acquired by a global company. She is currently managing a team of 160 professionals in developing cutting edge online travel technologies and working on strategic goals of building a global travel company.



 Tala Al Ramahi, Chief Strategic Officer of the Special Olympics World Games 2019

Tala is Chief Strategic Officer of the Special Olympics World Games 2019. In this role, she leads strategy and legacy for the Games. Tala was also member of the Bid Committee, helping lead the efforts to develop Abu Dhabi’s winning bid in along with key government, semi-government and private entities, as well as NGOs in the UAE. Tala is also a Manager at the Office of Strategic Affairs at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, where she leads rich public policy analysis on socioeconomic issues pertaining to Abu Dhabi and the UAE in various fields, including education, health, governance and citizen wellbeing. She is currently seconded from the Crown Prince Court to the Local Organizing Committee. Previously, Tala was Programs Director of Al Bayt Mitwahid, an NGO founded by employees of the Crown Prince Court, that plans and implements initiatives across the UAE to address societal needs and challenges utilizing innovative and sustainable practices.

Tala has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford University, and Master’s Degree in Journalism for the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.



Viola Chen, Founder & President of Kuan’s Living

Viola Chen is the founder and philanthropic entrepreneur of Kuan’s Living Company, an award-winning home & lifestyle group.

Since its establishment in 1991, Chen has led the company from a luxury bedlinen brand to a globally textile industry pioneer in the home & lifestyle sector. With her precision, astuteness, vision and sophisticated taste, Kuan’s Living has developed a number of successful global brands and in 2004, Chen was invited to joinly launch the Home Collection with Adolfo Carrara for global fashion house Emanuel Ungaro at Maison&Objet Paris, the world’s leading home décor fair.

Spirited by and cooperated with traditional Italian haute couture house and her business establishment in Milan and Taipei, Viola has proven total consumer satisfaction with introduction of her home & lifestyle line to Asia and beyond. In recent years, Kuan’s living has extended its reach and has worked on a portfolio of luxury departmental stores, premium hotels, yachts and major airlines such as Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Capella Shanghai, China Airlines and many more.

Kuan’s Living has successfully integrated decades of innovative manufacturing and fabric expertise while gaining recognition for their efforts with numerous awards won around the world. With Chen’s specialization in resources integration and creative design on top-tier materials from Europe, Kuan’s Living is focused on adding values to modern home textile with innovation, details and comfort.

Kristine Li
Senior Deputy General Manager, Portfolio Leasing
Henderson Land Development Company Limited – Hong Kong

Kristine Li is the Senior Deputy General Manager of Portfolio Leasing Department at Henderson Land Development. She oversees the Group’s investment properties in Hong Kong. She recently launched the world’s first purpose-built vertical art gallery tower “H Queen’s” in Hong Kong, and is passionate about building out themed lifestyle projects that engage communities from the arts, creatives, to medical. She is also an Executive Director of Citistore (HK) Limited, the department store arm of the Henderson Land group. She holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from The University of Hong Kong and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, USA.

Elizabeth WANG

Executive Vice President of Chia Hsin Cement Corporation - Taiwan

Elizabeth is the Executive Vice President and spokeswoman for a listed company in Taiwan.  As the company expands its business from cement manufacturing into service and hospitality, she and her team created the company, JAHO Life Plus+, focusing on health and postpartum care.  She currently sits as chairman of company.  She and her team are passionate about women’s healthcare and believe that combining the benefits from east and west provide a more comprehensive and holistic approach to pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond.



Cindy Galardi CULPEPPER, CEO of Galardi Group

Cindy Galardi Culpepper leads The Galardi Group, parent company to restaurant brands Tastee Freez, Hamburger Stand and Wienerschnitzel, the World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain,as Chief Executive Officer. Stepping into this leadership role in 2013 when founder John Galardi passed away. Galardi Culpepper has since grown the business into what it is today, formalizing the company’s structures, culture, values and sense of purpose that used to operate under the surface. In addition to supporting store operations and managing revenue, her main focus is helping others, especially those in the community without the means to help themselves. With the mission of “serving food to serve others,” Galardi Culpepper adopted a plan for Wienerschnitzel to contribute a portion of its annual revenue to child-related charities. She currently serves on the board of directors for the California Restaurant Association scholarship foundation, as well as The Literacy Project, a non-profit which helps to eliminate the literacy gap of emerging 2nd-graders who are functionally illiterate. 

Hazel Hu, Founder and President of Permasteel Inc

Hazel Hu is the founder and President of Permasteel Inc located in California.  Her company specializes in making and distributing quality Gas Grills, BBQ Accessories, Patio Coolers and Patio Heaters.  In the US, most major retailers such as Sears, Kmart, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, True Value, Kmart and Menards sell her company’s products. Globally, her company’s products sell in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia.  Her business philosophy is to always look for business deals that result in a win-win for both sides. She is a hardworking, no nonsense leader, who is committed to running a business where all of the people working at her company can feel proud.  Hazel feels the key reason for her successful business is the fostering of a culture where her dedicated and talented employees feel they are an important part of the company, respected and appreciated for their contribution to the company.

Mitra Malek, CEO & Founder, MPM Corporation

Mitra Malek is the Chief Development Officer and Founder of the Development Group at MPM Corporation.  The company celebrates 50 years of success focusing on mixed-use, residential, and commercial properties around the United States with a specialized concentration within Silicon Valley.  MPM actively owns and operates over 1700+ units, including multifamily apartments, office buildings, retail centers, and hotels, and has developed a number of commercial and residential properties.  MPM is the first all-female integrated platform in Silicon Valley history to own, operate, develop, and invest in real estate.

Prior to joining MPM, Mitra rose to the role of Project Designer at Barry Swenson Builders, a 100-year-old Design-Develop-Build platform delivering unique designs, quality developments, and dynamic construction methods.  Previously, Mitra was a Designer at William Maston Architect & Associates.  Mitra graduated with a Masters in Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California and a Bachelors in Environmental Design in Architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Chrisa Pappas, co-owner of Pappas Investments & founder of

Chrisa Pappas is co-owner of Pappas Investments, a real estate development and investment company specializing in ground up commercial real estate development.  In addition, she is a fashion influencer for luxury brands including Valentino and Saks Fifth Avenue through her Instagram @chrisapapaps and website Chrisa graduated from Boston University in 2001 she earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Business. She is able to use her love for fashion and design in her daily style as well as through the architectural design of Pappas Investments’ real estate projects.  Chrisa has been married to her husband Dean Sioukas for 15 years and they have two lovely children. She is an active member in her community and sits on several boards including the Crocker Art Museum and Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation.

Tina Woodside, President and co-owner of Earth Basics Contracting

For over 24 years Tina has served as President of Earth Basics Contracting, a General and Heavy Civil Engineering company that specializes in turn-key grading operations.  As a self-starter in business from a young age, Tina is a committed and passionate leader that has sought after almost every challenge imaginable. She has been an integral part of increasing the banking, bonding and financial structure of the business.  Her successes at Earth Basics has stemmed from the innovative, integrated and insightful core beliefs held.  She looks forward to growing the company while working in California and Texas and believes that communication is the key along the way.  Tina is finishing her BSA in Liberal Studies and will pursue her Masters soon after. She lives spending time with family, yoga, cooking, traveling to new territories and expanding her mind.

BNP Paribas Wealth Management is a leading global private bank and the largest private bank in the Eurozone. Present in three hubs in Europe, Asia and the US, over 6,800 professionals provide a private investor clientele with solutions for optimising and managing their assets. The bank has €364 billion worth of assets under management (as at 31 December 2017).

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Launched in 2016, WIF gathers, organizes and leads a large network (WIFs Global Circle Network) composed of mentees and mentors, strategic partners such as BNP Paribas, company managers, experts and friends, in France as well as on an international scale (Europe and the United States). WIF encourages the promotion of women in business and in economy generally and aspires to become a laboratory of ideas as well as a strong voice in favor of the equality, respect and recognition of women in business. Beyond its action of philanthropic sponsoring, its goal is to encourage research on these themes through studies, Pan European reports and specialized works. At the end of 2016, WIF launched a transatlantic program intended for the French entrepreneurs wishing to develop their activities in the United States, receiving support from American mentors, and to the American entrepreneurs willing to establish their companies in Europe with the cooperation of a European mentor.