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WIF Team

President
Martine Liautaud

General Secretary
Virginie Liautaud

Treasurer
Jean-Louis Duquesnoy

Director Research and Studies
Annie Combelles

Director, New-York Operations
Sidonie Ruban

Representative of the Women Initiative Foundation in the US
Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine

President

Martine Liautaud

Martine Liautaud

CEO of Liautaud & Cie

Martine Liautaud is an investment banker, entrepreneur and investor, and specialises in mergers & acquisitions and financial engineering.

After 16 years as director, then partner, in Bank lndosuez, she left in 1990 to set up her first independent advisory and investment company.

Since 2000 she has successfully run Liautaud & Cie, which specializes in M&A, financial engineering, and advisory services for major French groups (CAC 40).

As investor, she has taken stakes in several companies either as a majority shareholder or important minority shareholder. These include Meccano, a leader in the toy sector (sold in 1995), and the publishing group, La Martiniere, where she was also Vice-Chairman.

From 2003 to 2006, Martine was President of the Stanford Business Club, French branch of the Stanford Business School alumni association; she is now Honorary President of the club.

In 2010, she founded WBMI (www.women-business-mentoring-initiative.com), a voluntary mentoring program aimed at women entrepreneurs whose businesses are at least three years old.

Martine Liautaud is a board member of Group Savencia (formerly Bongrain), is on the board of the Entrepreneurial Committee of the MEDEF, and is a board member of Centrale-Supelec (the merger between the two best known engineering schools in France). She was also a board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in France from 2010 to 2015.

Martine Liautaud is married with two children.

General Secretary

Virginie Liataud

Virginie Liautaud

Lawyer

Virginie Liautaud is an international lawyer, admitted to the Paris Bar and to the New-York Bar, and a counsel in Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt and Mosles (Paris).

Before joining Curtis, Virginie worked in New-York for the US law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore and in Paris for Bredin Prat.

Her legal qualifications include a postgraduate diploma in International Trade Law and a master in International Business Law as a well as a LL.M degree obtained at Cornell Law School, USA.

She is General Secretary of WBMI (Women Business Mentoring Initiative).

Her personal interests encourage her to get involved in helping to develop businesses in France and abroad.

Treasurer

Jean-Louis Duquesnoy

Jean-Louis Duquesnoy

General Manager - Liautaud & Cie

Jean-Louis DUQUESNOY started his career as a commercial banker. He held various positions within the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) Group such as branch manager, auditor and finally head of the Inspection Générale.

In 1986, he joined Banexi, the investment bank of the Group. There, he was in charge of managing and developing a large portfolio of industrial holdings. He then turned to M&A, financial engineering and advisory services. Since 1989, he has been successively a Partner of Saint Honoré Finance et Conseil (Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild) and General Manager of Compagnie Industrielle et Financière Concorde. In September 2000, he assisted Martine Liautaud in the foundation of Liautaud & Cie, of which he has been General Manager ever since.

In the same time, he was assistant in financial analysis at the University of Paris II and lectured in two business schools : ESLSCA (Paris) and ISEFI (Marseilles).

He is Treasurer of WBMI (Women Business Mentoring Initiative).

Jean-Louis DUQUESNOY graduated in Law from the University of Paris (Panthéon-Assas). He also holds a degree in Political Sciences (Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris) as well as an Executive MBA degree from the French business school HEC.

Director Research and Studies

Annie Combelles

Annie Kuntzmann-Combelles

CEO & founder Inspearit

Annie Combelles starts her career as Project manager in SFENA (Société Française d’Equipements de Navigation Aérienne). During 10 years she is responsible for the design, implementation and certification of Airbus automatic pilot systems. The technology and solution she develops is still flying with the most recent plane generations. In 1982 Annie Combelles joins Thomson CSF and in 1987, she becomes Managing Director for CISI Ingénierie in Paris, the IT subsidiary of CEA (Atomic Authority).

In July 1989, she creates Objectif Technologie, a consulting company. She sells it to Q-Labs (spin off of Ericsson) in 1999 and becomes President of the new Group. Then in 2006 she sells it again to Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and becomes member of the Executive Committee of DNV in Oslo. Following a MBO in July 2011 she takes back the control of DNV IT Global Services Group ; it becomes inspearit operating in France, Holland, Italy, and Asia.

Graduated from Sup’Aéro in Toulouse, Annie Combelles is Associate Editor of IEEE Software Magazine and member of IEEE Board. Annie Combelles is also member of the Scientific Committee for Quality Engineering Laura Bassi Lab (QE LaB) in Austria and has been in multiple international conferences committees.

She is member of the Executive committee of Les Journées de l’Entrepreneur (JDE) and a mentor of the Women Business Mentoring Initiative (WBMI).

Annie Combelles is married, has two children and two granddaughters.

Director, New-York Operations

Sidonie Ruban

Sidonie Ruban

Director, New-York Operations

Sidonie is the Director of WIF's North-America Operations. Passionate about the Women in business cause, she drives the Transatlantic Mentoring Program, lead the WIF communication activities in North-America and build-on key partnerships that will contribute to the Foundation growth.

Sidonie Ruban holds Engineering degree of both Ecole Centrale de Lyon and Ecole Nationale du Génie Rural, des Eaux et des Forêts (ParisTech Grande Ecole) and a Master of Environment Engineeringand Management. During her 20 years career within Air Liquide Group, she worked in very different type of businesses: Industry, Engineering&Construction, HealthCare, Sciences and New Technologies.

in the Research Department then in the Engineering Division she assessed risks on large gas (Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Carbon Monoxyde) production plants and pipelines. She developed the Environmental Standards and Generic Risk Analysis systems still in use within the company after 15 years.

In 2001 Sidonie joined the European platforms as Project Manager and Risk Manager Representative where she developed a European network of expertise in Cryogenic Applications Engineering and the corresponding standards. In 2006 she joined VitalAire within the HomeCare business as Regional Sales Manager, managing the sales team and organizing congress and symposiums.

Starting 2008 she developed and managed leading collaborative French and European funded projects on Hydrogen Safety for the Hydrogen Energy clean mobility.

From May 2013 until her departure for New York, she managed within the Engineering & Construction Department the supervision of the construction of the largest Oxygen Production Plant in Korea and the design of a Carbon Monoxide production Plant in China and leaded the Lean Engineering Piping initiative within Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions .

Sidonie Ruban is married with 4 children. Since her arrival in New-York she enjoys ice-skating, attending the conferences of the Global Energy Center in Columbia University, being involved in Citizen Climate Lobby and meeting women entrepreneurs!

Representative of the Women Initiative Foundation in the US

Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine

Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine

CEO and founder Connecthings

Laetitia is the founder and CEO of Connecthing, the European leader in NFC tag management system with services operating in 19 cities on 2 continents. Connecthings cloud based platform allows managing tags’ life cycle and their associated contextual services and applications: proximity services, mapping, coupons and e-ticketing, interactions with mobile apps, etc. Connecthings is based in Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Milan, London.

To fund its New-York branch (opened January 2016), Connecthings raised €10m equity in September 2015.

Prior to Connecthings, Laetitia worked for mobile operators, solution providers and major device manufacturers. In 1999 she managed the implementation of the first Mobile internet gateway for Orange. In 2001, she founded a consultancy company to provide operational support in mobile value added services implementation. Her vision of the mobile internet and the internet of things took Laetitia to found Connecthings in 2007.

After the 3rd anniversary of Connecthings, Laetitia was selected by WBMI to following the mentoring program. After a fruitful experience, Laetitia is proud to be part of the WBMI program!

She heads the Women Initiative Foundation Bureau of New-York.

Laetitia is an engineer, Supelec High School 1994.