Executive Board 2013 - 2014

Maryan Herr

Maryan Herr – PRESIDENT

With a long history of serving on school, church and women’s associations’ boards, Maryan has the experience, empathy and understanding of what ZIWA stands for.  Her commitment to peace and understanding through intercultural friendship go hand in hand with her love of languages, literature, music and the arts.
Maryan, we understand that you have spent your life travelling?
Indeed.  Since graduating from university I have worked in the world of hospitality, which led me to live and raise a family in Mexico City, Dacca, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Dublin, Limerick and Cork, Ireland, Munich and Frankfurt Germany.
Having retired 15 years ago do you still love to travel?

With 4 children and 11 grandchildren we try to visit them or have them visit us as often as possible.  Holding a family together in our globalised world is indeed a challenge.  My husband and I have also learned over the years to "bloom where we are planted", so while we continue our travels to meet with friends and family, we also give our time to engage in our local community.  Our local and international friendships have nourished and sustained us through our various relocations.  That spirit of good will and friendship is what makes ZIWA so essential to Zurich.


Rossana De Lazzer-Orth



Rossana De Lazzer-Orth – VICE PRESIDENT


Born in Mexico, Rossana comes from a close and loving family. With an artistic, background and a dedication to projects of charity and social help, Rossana joined ZIWA in 2006, which has personally been for her a positive source of energy.
Rossana, have you always had a love of the arts?
Since I was a child I liked to paint, write and read. Music has been my lifelong companion.  Painting portraits, writing poems and short stories give me lots of happiness and joy whilst reading the great philosophers’ works brings balance to my life.
Do you believe that your multicultural experiences enhance creativity?

I think so.  Belonging to a multicultural family, living in different countries, being multilingual and teaching in international schools have opened myself up to new opportunities to learn more about our world, especially the ways in which people think and act. All these experiences have been reflected throughout my work and dynamically impact the way I am.
Amber Bowen

Amber Bowen – TREASURER

Over the years Amber has moved, because of her husband’s job, to Belgium, Italy, France, Vienna and now Zürich.  She is a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and has 37 years’ experience working as a bookkeeper and administrator in various industries from engineering to the British National Health Service and a local charity.  She is currently self-employed and a company director.
As a career woman how difficult was it for you to stop work?
When I first left the UK I found it hard to give up my career so joining an international women's association was a good way to meet people and a way to use my skills to help others. ZIWA, as with all international women's associations, is a great way of making friends and a good place to find support in a new country. I have always found ZIWA to be a very friendly and welcoming group.
When you are not on the Board what Interest Groups do you belong to?

With my work and studies ZIWA offers me the perfect opportunity to join Interest Groups when I have the time.  I enjoy attending the Monthly Events, coffee mornings and when possible the Friday hikes.
Junita Keil


Junita Keil – SECRETARY

From South Africa, Junita relocated to Switzerland in 1994 with her Swiss husband and two children.  Having worked in many administrative roles she reinvented herself as a German to English translator.  As a member of ZIWA for over 7 years Junita has been involved in many ZIWA Interest Groups including Co-Chairlady of the Thalwil Coffee Corner, a member of the Informal Lunch group and is a volunteer driver for the Flying Croissant Project.
Junita, we believe you have a passion for arts and crafts.  Is this true?
Most certainly!  I am a serious hobby artist, and spend many hours in my studio working in different mediums. Painting watercolour landscapes and acrylic “pop art” animal prints are amongst my creative activities, as is, collecting hand-made South African crafts.
What do you believe your role as Secretary for the ZIWA Board entails?

Apart from undertaking all the administration regarding the committee meetings and creating and maintaining records, it is important to work closely with the President and the Executive Board.  Having many years’ experience in this role, I understand the need for clarity and being concise to ensure the smooth running of the Board.
Liliana Winkelmann


Liliana Winkelmann came to Zürich in 2001 and has been an active member of the international community here since joining ZIWA in 2007. While completing her master‘s degree in Managing Diversity at Luzern University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Liliana worked hard to bring to life ZIWA’s ReachOut programme and was also pivotal in establishing the English around the World ZIWA week in Wädenswil.
We understand that you have a passion in cultural diversity, is that correct?
It's actually behavioural diversity that I concern myself about. While culture may play an important role in our diversity, there is as much perceptual, cognitive, and attitudinal - and so behavioural diversity - within demographic groups as there is one group to another.  A range of human differences such as age, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, race, and sexual orientation matter and the role that the culture of the organisation itself plays is paramount.
Do you have a motto or quotation that you live by?
Peace is not something you wish for. It’s something you do, something you are, and something you give away.

Eldor Smit

Originally from South Africa, Eldor has relocated around the world since 2003.  With a background and passion for education, she realised her dream of equal opportunity education for children by being owner/principal of her own private Education Centre.  Previously Eldor served as News Editor, VP Events and for 3 years President of the South African Women's Club in the Netherlands. 
Since joining ZIWA in 2013 Eldor, which Interest Groups do you belong to?
Immediately on joining ZIWA I attended a Newcomer's Coffee Group and joined the Thalwil Coffee Corner - I am also a member of the Fitness Walking in Ruschlikon, Discover Zurich, Off the Wall, Central Plaza Coffee and started Let's Scrap. I am a regular at the "Stammtisch" and you will see me at most of the Monthly Events.
The South African Country Meeting was a great success.

Thank you, we certainly all had a great time organising this event and showcasing our beautiful country.  Coming from a country with a rich cultural heritage and a diverse and beautiful countryside, landscapes, coastlines and animals it was easy to share it with our enthusiastic ZIWA members
Rocio Loeliger


Born in Mexico City, and having lived and worked in the US, Taiwan and now Switzerland, Rocio understands the challenges of living abroad.  She embraces the constant learning life has to offer. She believes that it is up to us to take those things in life that benefit our persona and choose to let go those that cause discomfort. She considers herself a lucky woman who treasures her life together with her husband and her two sons.

How do you manage your busy life?
Being a lawyer I have learnt the importance of carefully listening to others in order to communicate effectively.  This is the basis to deal with conflicts and to be able to set priorities in order to find the best solutions. These skills have helped my professional as well as my private life. Although, I have to admit that trying to mediate a conflict between my two boys sometimes remains challenging. 

Rocio, when you have 30 minutes of free time how do you like to spend it?
Usually my hobbies take more than 30 minutes so let's say 60 minutes, which should give me enough time to enjoy a beautiful day out practicing some golf or at home by adding colours to my paintings.  But if it comes to just 30 minutes, a good cup of tea with a book can make my day too.