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2012 Recipient: Candace Johnson

8 Oct 2012 6:30 AM | Anonymous

Candace Johnson is extraordinary by every possible standard. She is an entrepreneur, a role model for women, a trailblazer in telecommunications, an innovator in the knowledge economy, a corporate leader and a champion of women. She regularly makes the list of the most powerful women in Europe and beyond.

Candace’s commitment in support of women started a few decades ago, when in her early 30s she found herself being one of the youngest women ever to be on the board of a multi-million dollar corporation… that she co-created! Being the only woman on many of the boards she was invited to be part of, she decided to dedicate herself to the promotion, support and mentoring of women to ultimately fill that gap. In 1995 she founded the Global Women in Telecommunications Association, GWTA, to change the global culture in the telecommunications technology industry and encourage the access of women to technology as well as to the highest leadership levels through networking with female role models worldwide.

Most recently, Candace has dedicated herself to dramatically accelerate the participation of women in the boardrooms of key corporations. The European Business Schools Women on Boards initiative is a crucial element in the battle to move women into boardrooms. It eliminates the ability of companies to justify the absence of women on supervisory and executive boards by saying that qualified women are impossible to find. As a result of this initiative, women have moved closer to the goal of shattering the glass ceiling once and for all.

Candace has undertaken this initiative with her usual panache, bringing all stakeholders together to leverage their synergy in reaching their target audience: education and public institutions, professional associations, CEOs and Chairmen of corporations in addition to well known women board directors and executives from all countries, age groups and sectors.

That’s in her spare time. Candace is currently President of three European High- Tech Investment Funds and is co-founder of the Astra satellite system and SES Global, one of the world’s largest satellite systems. She is founding President of Europe Online, the world’s first Internet-based online service and Satellite Broadband Network, the founder of Loral Cyberstar-Teleport Europe, Europe’s first independent private trans-border satellite communications network and founding President of the VATM, the Association of Private Telecom Operators in Germany.

Candace is also President of Johnson Paradigm Ventures (JPV), which is a principal founding shareholder with AXA,Caisse des Depots, Bayerische Landesbank, and the SPEF in Sophia Euro Lab, Europe’s first trans-border early- stage investment company, in which Candace also serves as Founding Member of the Board of Directors. JPV is also a principal founding shareholder in Ariadne Capital, "Architecting” based in London as well as a founding Member and Member of the Board of the Sophia Business Angels in Sophia Antipolis France.

In her personal capacity, Candace is a member of the Supervisory Boards of Paris-based Iris Capital and Turkey’s Inovent; a founding member and former president of the Board of the Sophia Business Angels in Sophia Antipolis, France; and founding president of three multi-million Euro investment vehicles, Succès Europe, Croissance Europe and Innovation Europe, together with Meeschaert Gestion Prive. Candace has also been instrumental in the creation of the Galata Business Angels in Turkey, the Luxembourg Business Angels and most recently, the Cologne Business Angels.

She is a foundering member of all three groups.

Candace is also a member of the board of governors of EDHEC, France’s largest business school, the University of Haifa in Israel, Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey, and a Senior Enterprise Fellow for the University of Essex in England, working together with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to bring entrepreneurship around the world.

Candace has been featured in articles in Time Magazine, the Financial Times, the Economist, Le Monde, WirtschaftsWoche, and Manager Magazine, to name a few. She has been decorated as Commander of the Luxembourg Order of Merit and as an Officer of the Bundesverdienst Kreuz and the Couronne de la Chene respectively by the German and Luxembourg governments for her work in deregulating and privatizing telecommunications and media across Europe. She is also the second recipient ever of the United Nations-sponsored World Teleport Associations’ "Founders Award” and has been named by Time and Fortune Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in Europe. Ms. Johnson has also received the "Lifetime Achievement Award” along with Vinton Cerf and Tim Berners Lee from the World Communication Awards, the prestigious global telecoms organization 2002. Ms. Johnson holds Masters Degrees with Honors from the Sorbonne and Stanford Universities and a Bachelors Degree from Vassar College.

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