Santander WomenNOW - Congreso

The speakers

José Andrés

Chef and founder of World Central Kitchen

Twice named to Time’s “100 Most Influential People” list and recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal, the Spanish chef JosĂ© AndrĂ©s is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, New York Times best-selling author, educator, humanitarian, and chef and owner of ThinkFoodGroup, a collective of nearly thirty restaurants throughout the country and beyond.


In 2010, Andrés founded World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-profit specializing in delivering food relief in the wake of natural and humanitarian disasters. Notably, his team served 3.7 million meals to the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and has since served tens of millions of meals worldwide.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WCK has partnered with restaurants, farmers, and policymakers around the country to combat food insecurity and enact smart food policy. A naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Spain, Andrés has been a tireless advocate forimmigration reform.

Marta Aisa

Responsible Banking Director at Banco Santander in Spain

Marta Aisa is the Head of the Responsible Banking Division at Santander Spain. With 20 years of experience in the financial sector and a global multidisciplinary vision, she joined the Santander Group three years ago in the Strategy Division and CEO’s Office, where she is a governance director and country coordinator. She has held her current post since 2019, in charge of the Responsible Banking calendar for Santander Spain, with special emphasis on developing sustainable business and managing clients.


Previously, she was the head of the Rating Agencies and Regulation Area and director of Corporate Development projects, all at Banco Popular, which she joined after Fitch Ratings. She started her career in France, where she specialised in macroeconomic analysis in the Trade Office of the Spanish Embassy and, later, at CESCE as a macroeconomic analyst and head of Latin America.

Petra Axdorff


Petra Axdorff has been the CEO of IKEA Spain since September 2018, at which time she also assumed the position of CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) in our country, a reflection of IKEA’s commitment to sustainability. 


With a long career in the retail sector – CEO of the Swedish food group Axfood and Executive Vice-President of ICA – she joined IKEA in 2012 as Purchasing Manager of the Group in Europe and America, and in 2014 she was appointed Manager of the Free Range business area. 


In Spain, she is charged with strengthening IKEA’s role as an employer which is a driving force in society, an example of diversity, equality and sustainability. She has led the transformation process, with the aim of making IKEA increasingly accessible, affordable and sustainable.

Monde Balde

President of the Women’s Survivors Association of Guinea Bissau

The Women’s Survivors Association of Guinea Bissau, led by Monde Balde, and the Ana Bella Foundation are creating the first Shelter and Empowerment Home for Battered Women in her country. It also provides microloans and training to over 700 women in Guinea Bissau.Despite the fact that has been a law against gender violence since 2013, it is rarely applied because judges are unaware of it and there is no budget earmarked to implement the measures and aids involved.


Monde Balde is the director of the Vocational Training Centre in Bafatá and founded the Aramub Association in Bafatá, starting up, along with the Journalists for Solidarity, PressAssociation of Seville, the country’s first secular radio station, Radio Mulher, via which they talk about and report on women’s rights.

Cori Bargmann

Head of Science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Cori Bargmann, a neurobiologist and geneticist, leads the Science program at the Chan ZuckerbergInitiative, and is also the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at The Rockefeller University.


Her research on therelationships between genes, motivational states, and behavior has been recognized by membership in theNational Academy of Sciences and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, among other honors.


Prior tojoining CZI, Cori served as co-chair with Bill Newsome of the NIH working group that planned theBRAIN Initiative, and was an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


MarĂ­a Blasco

Director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO)

María Blasco obtained her PhD in 1993 from the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Centre under the supervision of Margarita Salas. That same year, Blasco transferred to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, joining the laboratory led by Carol W. Greider. As a post-doctoral fellow, she identified the essential gene of telomerase and created the first model of a telomerase-deficient mouse, which served to demonstrate its importance in the maintenance of telomeres, chromosome instability and disease. In 1997, she returned to Spain, and in June 2011 she was appointed Director of the CNIO (Spanish National Cancer Research Centre). Blasco’s work has focussed on demonstrating the importance of telomerase in cancer, as well as in diseases related to ageing. Blasco has published over 260 scientific articles in national and international journals.

Samantha Cristoforetti

Astronaut at the European Space Agency

She is the first Italian woman to become an astronaut. In 2014 and 2015, she spent 200 days at the International Space Station, for the Italian Space Agency Futura Mission, performing scientific experiments.

Samantha has been assigned a second mission to the ISS, scheduled for 2022.

Cristoforetti, an aviation pilot, was selected by the ESA in 2009, after she spent time in the Italian Air Force.

After Futura mission, for several years she led the Spaceship EAC initiative, a student-centred team working on the technological challenges of future missions to the Moon.

She then served for two years as crew representative for ESA in the Gateway project to establish a staging post around the Moon and spent 10 days at Aquarius, the only underwater research laboratory in the world, for NASA’s 23rd Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO23).

Samantha is an ambassador for UNICEF and she gives all proceeds from her book Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut to this organisation.

Alondra de la Parra

Orchestra conductor

Alondra de la Parra has garnered great audience admiration due to her vibrant performances, and she is now positioned as one of the most outstanding conductors of her generation.She is the first Mexican woman to have conducted 100 plus orchestras in 25 countries, including the Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester ZĂŒrich, SĂŁo Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra andthe Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, to name just a few.She was the music director of the Queensland Symphonic Orchestra from January 2017 to November 2019, becoming the first female music director of an Australian orchestra.She is also the official cultural ambassador of Mexico.


Owing to the world pandemic, in 2020 she found herself with the time to help fight violence against women and children, bringing together greats from the world of orchestra music to form ‘The Impossible Orchestra’, endorsing her commitment to society and altruistic works.

Dylan Farrow

Writer and activist for the rights of survivors of sexual abuse

Dylan Farrow, writer, mother and activist for the rights of survivors of sexual abuse, spent her childhood and adolescence in the city of New York and the countryside of Connecticut where she spent countless hours drawing and writing for pleasure.


After graduating from Bard College, she worked as an assistant producer with CNN before entering the world of graphic design. But soon she would discover her real passion: Dylan returned to writing full-time, exploring her love of youth fantasy literature. Silence is her first novel.


Foto: © Ted Ely

Teresa Fernåndez Valdés

Founder of BambĂș Productions

After a stage working as a journalist in different media, she shifted her career focus to audiovisual production. In 2008, she co-founded BambĂș Producciones, which is well regarded for its fiction shows, with series including Gran Hotel, Velvet and Fariña. BambĂș became the first Spanish production company to co-produce, in 2014, a series with BBC Worldwide called The Refugees and, in 2016, the first Spanish production company to produce a series for Netflix: Cable Girls, a categorical international success.

She was selected as one of the most powerful showrunners in European and world television in 2014 and 2016, respectively, by the magazine The Hollywood Reporter. Forbes named her one of the most powerful women in Spain and, in 2018, Reed MIDEM, a company that organises the international audiovisual market MipTV, awarded her the Medal of Honour at Cannes, becoming the first Spanish woman to be honoured with the award.

Laura GarcĂ­a-Caro

Athlete. She will compete in the Tokyo Olympics Games

A Huelva native, Laura García-Caro is one of the leading practitioners of race walking in our country. Born in 1995, she already began to make her mark at different distances in the lower categories, competing internationally for the first time in the under-20s. She then went on to specialise in the 20km walk, in which discipline she has been sixth in Europe (Berlin 2018) and ninth in the world (London 2017). She is also a two-time medallist in the European Race Walking Cup: bronze in 2017 and silver in 2019. That same year, she received the bronze medal in the European under-23s held in Tallinn four years earlier, due to the disqualification of the winner of that race, Russian athlete María Ponomariova, due to doping. She trains in Madrid,  coached by José Antonio Quintana, and she has already qualified to compete in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.

Eva GonzĂĄlez PĂ©rez

Lawyer specialising in labour and social issues in Holland

Born in CĂĄceres, she has lived in Holland for two years, where her parents emigrated in the 1970s. She has worked as a social lawyer since she finished her Law degree at Utrecht University in 2000.


Member of a law firm specialising in labour and social affairs, her name has been splashed across headlines in the international media because she managed to uncover a political scandal that recently led to the mass resignation of the entire Dutch government, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte.


A case she had been working on since 2014, when she discovered that immigrant families were victims of unfounded accusations of fraud, by the Dutch treasury, to cancel the benefits they received for childcare.

Maria Jammal

Cofounder of HumanityCrew and FPdGi International Award

Young activist Maria Jammal is the cofounder and managing director of HumanityCrew, an international humanitarian aid organisation that provides mental health and psychological support services to refugees during times of crisis. She was recognised for her work with the International Award from the Girona Princess Foundation in 2019.



The Arab-Israeli entrepreneur decided to create this organisation after seeing the trauma migrants endured when arriving on the Greek coastlines in 2015. With undergraduate degrees in Law and Psychology, she holds a postgraduate degree in Intellectual Property Law from George Washington University (USA). She is also a member of the board of the Mossawa Center, based in the city of Haifa, an organisation that works to promote equality for Arab citizens in Israel.

Kathleen Kennedy

Executive Director of the Retirement Security for All and professor at Georgetown University

*En colaboraciĂłn con ICLF


An American attorney, she was the 6th Lieutenant Governor of the State of Maryland, from 1995 to 2003, and is currently the Director of Retirement Security at the Economic Policy Institute. She is also a lecturer and researcher at Georgetown University, where she founded the Center for Retirement Initiatives. She has also been the President of the Retirement Security Task Force of the Governor of the State of Maryland, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States. She is the recipient of 14 honorary titles and the author of Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches Mixed God with Politics and Lost Their Way, published in 2007.

Alejandra KindelĂĄn

Head of Research and Public Policy at Banco Santander

Alejandra Kindelán is Head of Research, Public Policy and Institutional Relations of Banco Santander. She is a member of the Board of Santander’s consumer finance operation in Europe (SCF) and an Executive Vice Chair of Business at OECD, an industry advisory board to the OECD. She has also been a member of the board of Santander Argentina.


Among her current responsibilities, Alejandra and her team coordinate Santander’s position in financial regulation, macroeconomic analysis and research, in collaboration with local teams. She coordinates relations with institutional stakeholders and Santander®s presence in international fora. She chaired the European Banking Federation®s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee from 2006 to 2012 and is currently a member of the IIF’s Steering Committee on Effective Regulation and of different advisory boards in Spanish academic/economic institutions (Fedea, Escuela de Organizacion Indstrial, Fundacion de Estudios Financieros).


Prior to joining Santander, she worked as a consultant for the World Bank. She joined the Research Department of Banco Central Hispano, which later merged with Santander, in 1994 to cover macroeconomic analysis of the international economy. In 2001 she was appointed as Head of Research and Public Policy in Santander Group. She holds a degree in Economics and Political Science from Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts) and has completed post graduate programmes in IESE (Madrid) and INSEAD (Fontainebleau). Alejandra was born in Caracas, Venezuela and has also lived in the UK and the US.  She has three children.


Tilly Lockey

The Bionic Girl

When she was only 15 months old, Tilly Lockey suffered from meningitis, leading to the loss of her hands and toes.She has worn protheses her entire life, trying to make her everyday life as normal as possible.


Her story inspired James Cameron to produce Alita, starring a girl with bionic arms.Last year, the film producer 20th Century Fox, along with the company Open Bionics, surprised her by giving her arms similar to those in the film, produced employing the most advanced prothesis technology. They let Tilly hold onto and manipulate objects with extraordinary perfection.


Now this young 14-year-old travels throughout the world spreading her story and inspiring other children experiencing similar circumstances with her spirit to excel.


Photo:  ©Christopher Owens


MÂȘ JesĂșs LĂłpez SolĂĄs

Director of Sales, Network Development and Alliances at Iberia

With a Bachelor’s Degree from the ICADE and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management in Massachusetts, since 2020 MarĂ­a JesĂșs has been Director of Sales and Network and Alliances Development. She previously held the posts of Customer and Loyalty Manager and Network Manager at the airline Iberia, as well as positions of responsibility in Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Latam Airlines, LAN and The Boston Consulting Group.

Jamie Margolin

Filmmaker, activist y co-founder of the Zero Hour climate movement

At just 19 years of age, Jamie Margolin has become one of the most important climate activists in the world, has been included on the BBC’s list of 100 most influential women and won the MTV EMA Generation Change Award in 2019. The movement she co-founded, Zero Hours, led the ‘Youth Climate Marches’ in cities around the world in 2018.


She is the author of the book Youth To Power: Your Voice and How To Use It, a real guide to activism that has been translated into different languages and sold around the world. She is also the writer, directorand star of a forthcoming series called Art Majors which defends LGBTQ+ rights.


She was one of the youth plaintiffs in the Our Children’s Trust trial against the State of Washington for exacerbating the climate crisis and she also worked on Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Pepa Muñoz

Chef and owner of El QĂŒenco de Pepa restaurant

Committed to traditional cuisine, and always respecting seasons, proximity, products and sustainability, she is currently the president of the Federation of Chefs and Confectioners of Spain (FACYRE).


Pepa Muñoz works to revive forgotten tastes, helped by the restoration of fruits and vegetables from ancestral conserved seedbeds, especially tomatoes.


She has been honoured with several awards, including the European Citizens’ Prize for her culinary contribution associated with traditional cuisine, and she was selected as Grande Dame by Veuve Clicquot.


She is a speaker at congresses, companies and universities, discussing traditional cuisine, the associated health benefits of foods, sustainability and ‘recycling’ food, among other topics. She contributes to different television programmes and is a Spanish representative of World Central Kitchen, an initiative by JosĂ© AndrĂ©s.

MarĂ­a Neira

Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment at the WHO

Dr. Maria P. Neira, has been directing and leading the Department of Environment, Climate change and Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland since 2005. There she has led on policy and management in key areas of environmental health such as Air Pollution and Urban Health; Climate Change; Water, Sanitation, Hygiene; or Children’s Environmental Health.


Born in Asturias (Spain), Prior to that she served as Under-Secretary of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency (2002-2005). From 1993-1998 she was Coordinator of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control. She began her career as a medical coordinator working with refugees in the El Salvador and Honduras for MĂ©decins Sans FrontiĂšres (Doctors Without Borders).


Dr. Neira has been awarded an honorary distinction by the International Society of Doctors for the Environment; nominated as an inspirational women of the year working towards protecting the environment, and in 2019 nominated among the top 100 policy influencers in health and climate change.

Remedios Orrantia

Vodafone Spain HR & Property Director, and President of Vodafone Spain Foundation

Born in Bilbao, Remedios Orrantia is a graduate in Law and Business Studies from the University of Deusto and has an MBA from the Business Institute, as well as an ICA diploma as a Member of the Board. 


Remedios is the General Manager of Human Resources and Real Estate of Vodafone Spain and the Chair of the Vodafone Foundation, as well as the Chairwoman of HAZ, Alliance for Education. She began her professional career in consultancy at Accenture, where she participated on a number of different projects, both here in Spain and in the United States. Then, she moved into the telecommunications sector within the France Telecom group, where she held HR management positions in both Uni2 and Wanadoo. Subsequently, she held the position of Chief Human Resources and Digital Transformation Officer at the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and, more recently, that of Head of the Human Resources and Legal Consultancy Department of the Campofrío Food Group.

Isabel PĂ©rez Dobarro

Pianist and activist for sustainable development

International concert pianist and a Sustainable Development Goals activist, a highlight of her musical career was the visibility and recovery of works by Spanish composers and the promotion of Spanish music in great concert halls all around the world such as Carnegie Hall, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow and the BalassiCenter in Brussels.


She has imparted conferences and participated in forums at Harvard University, at Columbia University, New York University, UniversitÀt Vechta (Germany), the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, the UN and the European Parliament, among others.

Ana Rosa Quintana

Communicator and businesswoman

Ratings leader in her time slot with “El programa de Ana Rosa” (Telecinco) since its inauguration in 2005 and winner of the Ondas Award in 2011, Ana Rosa Quintana has had a long and successful career in the field of radio and television.Veredicto, Sabor a ti and Extra Rosa are some of her most successful television programmes.She also established the Cuarzo Producciones production company, of which she was president and CEO from 2000 to 2018. She has also been the editor of her own magazine AR for 15 years.

Susana SolĂ­s

Member of the European Parliament - Renew Group

Originally from AvilĂ©s, she has degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Oviedo and Machine Engineering from the Fachhochschule, OsnabrĂŒck (Germany). She also has an MBA and a Master’s Degree in Marketing Management and Direction from the Business Institute.


She has 19 years’ professional experience in various multinationals in Germany (Mercedes Benz, Robert Bosch) and Spain (Rexel, Essilor and Johnson&Johnson), where she held executive positions until she was elected to the Madrid Assembly in 2015.


Since May 2019, she has been a Member of the European Parliament. As a member of the FEMM Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Susana is a Rapporteur of the ‘Report on Promoting Gender Equality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Careers’.

Benedetta Tagliabue

Architect, Director of the firm Miralles Tagliabue EMBT and president of the Enric Miralles Foundation

The cofounder of the firm Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, which she created jointly with Enric Miralles in 1991, is an architect who earned her degree from the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV).She completed her studies in New York and moved to Barcelona in 1989.She is also a doctor honoris causa at Napier University (Edinburgh).


She combines her professional work with teaching at international schools and universities, including Harvard.Her studio has designed projects in China, Germany, England and Holland, among other countries.Her most renowned works include the Spanish Pavilion for the World Expo in Shanghai (2010), the market and neighbourhood of Santa Caterina in Barcelona (1997-2005) and the Scottish Parliament building (1999-2004).


Her designs have been honoured with awards like the National Architecture Award (1995); the International Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in its 2010 edition; and the RIBA Jencks Award 2013. She is also a jury member for the Pritzker Prize.



Foto: © Vicens Giménez

HĂ©lĂšne Valenzuela

General Manager of Ouigo Spain

HĂ©lĂšne Valenzuela, General Manager of OUIGO Spain, has over 20 years’ experience in the European railway sector, in high-speed networks. With a Master’s Degree in Financial Management from ESCP Europe, her professional career has always been related to railways. She was at the head of the project for the development of high-speed rail between France and Spain, promoted by Renfe and SNCF, and in 2018 she became a member of the executive committee of SNCF RĂ©seau as the director of operations of the south-east region. Her international experience likewise includes her work as Director of Operations with Thalys.



OUIGO is the new high-speed train operator which began to operate in Spain in 2021, with the aim of popularising high-speed rail travel, making it affordable for everyone.

Sandra Velasco

Business Head IHD at Novartis

She has a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and an MBA from the IESE Business School. Certified by the International Coaching Federation, she also has a postgraduate degree in Leadership from the Glasgow Caledonian University, as well as having completed executive programmes in Finances at the Harvard Business School and in Digital Transformation at Stanford University.


At the age of 32, Sandra was the youngest women to take on a senior business management role in Spain, at Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Since then, she has put her experience to good use, leading, developing and transforming business models in different therapeutic fields: Critical Care Management, Neurosciences and Immunology, Hepatology and Dermatology.


She previously worked on strategic consultancy on projects in the commercial sphere in the Automotive, Consumer Goods and Infrastructure Management sectors in Europe and Latin America.

Diane von Furstenberg

Designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist

Founder of her global brand, DVF, her iconic wrap dress became a true symbol for female power and independence in the 70s. Its creation has had a huge impact on women’s fashion and it is one of the first dresses in the Museum of Metropolitan Art of New York.


As a passionate activist and philanthropist, she created the DVF Awards, which supports and honours women for their courage, strength and leadership.She entered the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2019, which pays homage to women who have changed the course of history.


She has written several books. The most recent of them, The Woman I Wanted to Be, has been published in seven languages.

Theresa Zabell

President of Ecomar Foundation

She is the only female Spanish athlete who is a double Olympic champion, after winning the gold at Barcelona ‘92 and repeating her win at the 1996 Atlanta Games. She is also the winner of five world championships, 14 International Olympic Weeks, and was chosen as Best Sailor in the World by the World Sailing Federation.


In 1998, she founded the Ecomar Foundation, of which she is the chair, with the aim of educating and raising awareness on caring for the marine environment.


She was an MP of the European Parliament, international consultant for UNESCO and first vice-president of the Spanish Olympic Committee. She is secretary of the jury for the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports and has the Spanish Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sports Merit, the Spanish Grand Cross of Naval Merit and the Olympic Order.

Hosted by Concha Ortiz

Bilingual Master of Ceremonies. She presents international events in fields such as cinema, sports and medicine, as well as corporate conventions and institutional events. She combines this work with her profession as a Spanish, French and English interpreter and translator. She always enjoys learning from the people and contents she translates. With Andalusian roots, she has explored the world, trying to contribute to equality, respect for diversity and sustainability on the planet. Her strength rests in her quest to always keep learning, being a mother of teenagers and her skill at adapting to change.Her weakness continues to be food. She has run her own company for 28 years.