About Heidelberg International Professional Women’s Forum

The HIP Women’s Forum was founded 2007 as an informal network of international women in the Rhein-Neckar region by Shuchi Sharma, who was soon joined by Fabiana Bianchi, Jennifer Watson, Frédérique Thiriet-Smith and Stefanie Gerlach. They had the vision of bringing together international women of the Rhein Neckar region who share international backgrounds and professions in order to build a platform for professional development and a network to promote the individual and collective potential of each member.

Women working for multinational companies abroad or in an international environment face many of the same challenges related to being a female professional in a foreign country. Through this forum, international women can help one another to grow and achieve personal and professional success. To help us achieve this objective, the HIP Women’s Forum provides a full program of events for professional networking and leadership education throughout the year.

Our Vision and Mission

The purpose of the Heidelberg International Professional (HIP) Women’s Forum is to bring together women from various international firms and backgrounds to exchange ideas, learn from one another’s experiences, and develop skills that will enhance both professional and personal success. Our hope is that such a forum will also provide an opportunity to connect women who are seeking new challenges and directions with others who have distinguished themselves in their profession and community.

Our Values

  • Contribute to the advancement of women
  • Facilitate learning and professional development
  • Peer mentoring through networking
  • Fun!

Steering Committee

Martina Knobloch HIP Steering Committee

Martina Knobloch PhD

Head of HIP Steering Committee

Martina is a Marketing & Event Professional with a scientific background. She set up her own business in Marketing and Event project management. With a strong sense of responsibility, she supports her customers depending on the demands. This „Marketing on Demand“ concept in an international business environment motivates her. For more information see Martina Knobloch, Marketing, Kommunikation, Events.

Wiebke Wetzel Kundenzauberin Customer Experience Trainer

Wiebke Wetzel PhD

Member of HIP Steering Committee & HIP Webmaster

Wiebke did her PhD in science. She changed careers to work in technical support for an international biotechnology company and was soon appointed a manager. After nearly 9 years in technical support and support management she set up her own business as the Kundenzauberin. She does customer service trainings and management workshops on customer centricity. Training and facilitation is the one thing she likes to do most – besides horses, writing, graphic recording, photography and creating websites.

Gabriela Zuliani

Member of HIP Steering Committee

Maria Barros HIP Steering Committee

Maria Barros Weiss PhD

Member of HIP Steering Committee

Maria is a Senior Programme Manager and technologist, with a holistic view on Networks, Cloud, Digitalization and Data Innovation. She has a Ph.D. in Communications and a M.Sc. in Computers and Electrical Engineering. Maria has demonstrated background in managing international projects, with participation in 16+ international and national projects, and evaluation and follow up of 50+ projects, in a wide area of information technologies and vertical industries domains. She has an extensive International network across Industry, Research and Public Sector. Maria is Portuguese, living in Germany since 2008, married and mother of two boys.

Frédérique Thiriet-Smith

Frédérique Thiriet-Smith

Member of HIP Steering Committee

Frédérique is French, living in Heidelberg since 1999. She is a HIP member from the very beginning and is passionate about the human side of change, knowledge exchange and learning. She is a natural networker and a “senior digital native”, supporting others’ learning. Amazed about the progress of technology since she studied Computing sciences …some time ago, she enjoys all opportunities to collaborate at a worldwide scale. With more than 30 years professional experience alternating employment with self-employment for international companies in diverse industries, she has worked as project manager, team leader, consultant and coach with focus on strategy implementation, global collaboration, adoption of changes, and knowledge exchange. Her favorite hobbies and interests are cooking with friends, hiking, travelling, sustainability, leadership in the digital age, sciences and technologies, learning and girls education.