Executive Board 2012 - 2013

Dawn Powling

Dawn Powling – PRESIDENT

Dawn Powling was born in England and came to Switzerland fourteen months ago and now lives in Regensberg. Like so many members, it was her husband’s work that brought her to Switzerland. She retired from her job as a specialist nurse in child protection and NHS manager, after fourteen years in the role, to join him.

She trained as a nurse in her twenties and then took further qualifications in midwifery and health visiting. She completed a BSc (Hons) in nursing and psychology while practising as a health visitor and later undertook a Masters course in Child Protection.

In her recent management role she lead a large team, was responsible for writing local policy and for offering specialist advice and training. She was a member of a Board comprising around 25 social care leaders and representatives of voluntary groups with a remit to ensure close liaison and collaboration between services.

Dawn found ZIWA an essential part of settling into living in Switzerland.

She wanted to offer something back so took over the role of membership secretary in November 2012. She has really enjoyed meeting new members and the role has given her knowledge about the way ZIWA works.

Dawn Powling

Amber Bowen – TREASURER

Amber was born in Southsea, Hampshire. Due to her husbands’ work she first came to Zurich in 2001 and became a member of ZIWA within days of arriving. She has since then she has been back to Zurich five times. She has 37 years’ experience as a bookkeeper and administrator working in various industries from engineering to the NHS and a local charity. She has also been self-employed and a company director for 21 years. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.

On leaving school she attended College to study HND Engineering. After only completing one year she decided to move to the Midlands to be with her family. Unable to continue her engineering a friend who was just starting his own business asked her to do his accounts and administration. In 1992 when she decided to move back to her home city, where she met her husband. In 1998 her husband was offered a contract in Belgium. From there they moved to Italy, then France, then Vienna where they made their home.

When she first left the UK she found it hard to give up her 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 must for women as a 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.

Judith Westhoff

Judith Westhoff – SECRETARY

"The founder members of ZIWA had wisdom and foresight and understood that new ideas and fresh people are needed on the Executive Board; this is why the Board members change. It is so that the Association develops and grows and does not become static. This is not always easy, new ideas bring concern and a fear that ZIWA will change beyond recognition and not remain true to its values. The familiar is safe, but let us use all our experience and understanding to build on this foundation and use that to inspire and move us forward."

It is with these thoughts in mind that Judith will be working on behalf of ZIWA members as one of their representatives on the Board, bringing fresh ideas and energy to the Association.

Judith has already been on the ZIWA Executive Board for 1 year as Secretary. With over 5 years in Association Management, she is able to appreciate the unique challenges that face a multicultural Association.

Also, although she did not get to complete a marathon, she did run another half marathon. Maybe having run 2 half marathons this now counts as a marathon? Who knows, being inspired with a second year as Secretary she will run that elusive marathon, also encouraged by ZIWA’s new running group (shameless plug here for “Run Along”).

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. Her recent BBC initiative, Building Bridges Communications, aims at raising questions of relevance to the international community and entails interviewing business, political and community leaders in Switzerland about leadership challenges which they have faced in working with us or which concern them.

In the role of Director Monthly Meetings, Liliana’s focus is on 3E’s :- Empower, Engage, and Entertain. When not busy managing a diversity project or organizing a next Monthly Meeting or sampling a new venture hosted by a creative ZIWA lady or exploring the pristine beauty of the Swiss outdoors with fellow enthusiasts, Liliana enjoys discussing the future of work with her twenty year old son and debating the future of leisure with her Alps loving husband. She believes that the greatest glory of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall, and has never asked aloud, Why is nothing written in English in Migros.

Deirdre MacLeod


Deirdre is a Canadian who, like many, has moved to Switzerland due to her husband’s job. After leaving Canada, they first spent 7 months in Ireland and then 9 months in Paris, so by the time she arrived in Zürich, she was quite adept at being the new girl in town. The first thing she did upon arrival was to Google Ex-Pat organisations and found ZIWA and she is glad she did.

Her first ZIWA event was the kick off meeting where she was lucky enough to meet some wonderful women, who welcomed her into ZIWA and helped her settle into Swiss life. She volunteered for English Around the World, where she met more wonderful ladies from ZIWA. Deirdre believes that there is nothing like throwing yourself into volunteering to get over that outsider feeling.

Deirdre's my many years of experience with non-profit organizations as a volunteer, board member and paid staff, gives her the required skills to be an effective member of the ZIWA Executive Board. She has served on the development committee of a shelter for at-risk youth, she was the vise-president of a board that established a community off-leash dog park, and she was also a Services Specialist for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Her educational background includes fundamentals of project management as well as developing effective non-profit organizations.