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On the 100th International Women’s Day, Media Wise Managing Director Emma Robson interviewed one of the Netherlands’ few female CEOs on how she got to the top.The Netherlands has a high ratio of female university students and junior-to-mid professionals. But the female quotient in senior management roles and in the workforce as a whole is below the world and European average level.

The protagonist in this public interview, staged during a lunch organised by the Netherlands-France Chamber of Commerce, was Caro van Eekelen, a Dutch hotel and catering professional who spent most of her career in France.

Caro was the first female in the 44-year history of Europe’s leading hotel chain, the Accor Group, to be appointed country manager, in this case of the Netherlands, in 2010.

Caro attributes her success to attitude – turning obstacles into challenges and successes – being organised, working hard and getting things done, and communicating clearly and directly.

The lunch was held at Sofitel  Legend The Grand Hotel in Amsterdam, one of the Dutch capital’s most elegant and exquisite hotels. It was attended by approximately 50 female entrepreneurs and aspiring stewards of industry. Two men attended too (excluding the hotel personnel).