ebbf's 29th annual conference #rethinkmaterialism

ebbf’s 29th annual conference

ethical business building the future

rethinking materialism


In this open international event we invite you to come and rethink materialism,

shifting from the traditional debate about the concept of “stuff” and the focus on “more or less stuff”

and instead centering our attention on the means that are required for progress to occur.

How can we and our organizations reach the dynamic coherence between the material needs of any company and its sense of purpose,

its spiritual essence, in order to allow ethical business to build the future?


ebbf milan 2017

The practical experiences of the global diverse group of participants attending, together with elevated conversations that open our minds and break down old patterns to what is possible, will provide the ingredients to the art that ebbf has crafted over its almost 30 years of experience in creating these learning leading to action experiences.

ebbf geneva 2018

“I come to ebbf to refresh my thinking, to create a new level of energy and to find new and much needed ideas and processes that I can then go an implement in my organization the following week.”  ( View here video testimonials )


ebbf barcelona 2016

The event will take place in Geneva.

It will start at 17:00 on Thursday 16th of May 2019 and end after lunch on Sunday 19th of May 2019


event contributors

ebbf international annual conferences are unique because of the role of participants, an elevated group of people who are designing the future of business, actively exploring the present and future role of their workplaces. Speakers and participants share an equal role in inspiring the thinking and shared learning that allows you to benefit from both a practical useful set of ideas that you can implement next week in your organization and elevated thinking that helps you re-think your role and that of your organization on a wider level.
“By far the most challenging, thought provoking, yet supportive and empowering event. The only place where diversity has an impact … from undergrads to CEOs everyone having meaningful conversations that lead to concrete actions. Unparalleled.” Ralph Blundell, past event attendee.

Below some of the first confirmed contributors ( we look forward to update the list soon, with the rest of the contributors)
Some of the people who will inspire your thinking and actions at this specific event:

Enrico Giraudi
Professional Counselor. Corporate Consultant. Author and Speaker.
With twenty years of experience in the world of brand communication and with assignments related to strategic planning, business development and innovation (Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, JWThompson), Enrico Giraudi is now involved in consulting in the field of organizational counseling and human resources, with particular reference to the themes of identity, change and innovation of organizational systems. Systemic, transpersonal and mindfullness disciplines represent a constant reference point for his work and his research. He is the author and speaker and will soon publish his book “Technologies of Intuition”
Mary Darling
Mary Darling loves to collaborate creatively in all things. She is the co-founder of WestWind Pictures, and has written, directed, produced or executive-produced a string of documentaries on topics ranging from art and religion to children and divorce. She also produced hundreds of hours of lifestyle programming including such hits as This Small Space and Designer Guys. Her television comedy, Little Mosque on the Prairie, is a good example of the kind of content she is interested in exploring “content that can stir hearts towards understanding while laughing”. That series has aired in over 100 countries. She has eight beautiful children doing their part to contribute to the advancement of civilization.
Jose Soto
José is the President of IS Corporation, founded in 1977 and Co Founder at OPTIMO Gestión Empresarial. It´s core business revolves around services and consulting in the areas of energy management, educational technology, document management services, cybersecurity and business applications. Jose makes explicit the foundational principles that make his company successful listing: Unity in diversity, Work as a means to serve others, Integrity and responsibility, Honesty and transparency, Justice and fairness amongst others.
Rhonda Gossen
Rhonda is Senior Policy Advisor, Political, Rohingya Crisis, Bangladesh Desk at Global Affairs Canada | Affaires mondiales Canada.

Over 30 years’ progressively responsible experience in international development, humanitarian and post-disaster recovery and reconstruction and peace operations programming primarily at the Canadian International Development Agency, UNHCR, Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia on human security and conflict; and consulting assignments with World Bank, UNDP & UNICEF.  She has been o Canadian diplomatic assignments in Asia and Africa, recently Pakistan and Afghanistan for the World Bank, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP assignments in Pakistan, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, South Sudan and Southern Africa.
She is also a r
egular contributor to Digital news media on OpenCanada.org

Roya Akhavan
Dr. Roya Akhavan currently serves as Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Mass Communications, St. Cloud State University. In addition to research and publication in the field of international mass communication, Dr. Akhavan has maintained a research and teaching interest in peace studies. Her most recent work is a book entitled “Peace for Our Planet: A New Approach” (Calumet Editions: 2017). She is a frequent speaker at national and international forums on gender issues, social justice, and spirituality in the 21st century.
Dr. Akhavan’s organizational experience includes serving as Vice President for International Marketing at CVSC, a Chinese State-owned Company in Beijing. In addition to extensive international travel, Dr. Akhavan has lived and worked in four different cultures; Persian, American, Japanese, and Chinese.
Svenja Rüger
Svenja is a facilitator and designer of large scale collaborative sessions. Her passion lies in building resilient communities and facilitating collaborative processes to solve complex challenges on a systems level. She cares a lot about the challenges the world is currently facing and wants to support connecting the dots in order to create impactful, meaningful solutions. She promotes listening to understand, not listening to speak, and holds the space for what is trying to emerge.

She took on lead design and facilitation roles for international engagements with the World Economic Forum, LEGO Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, International Red Cross & Red Crescent, INSEAD Business School, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Berlin Civil Society Centre, and many others
She believes in servant leadership, and that facilitation is all about making it easy.

Gigi Alford
Ginous “Gigi” Alford leads the Sport and Human Rights strategy at UNI Global Union’s World Players Association. She also coordinates the Sport & Rights
Alliance, a global coalition of leading NGOs, sports organizations, and trade unions, which she represents on the interim governance committee of the new Geneva-based Centre for Sport and Human Rights. Previously, Ms. Alford
served in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights,
and Labor, where she facilitated the first Sporting Chance Forum. She also
worked stints as a sports reporter and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and San Diego Union-Tribune and in policy advocacy on human rights, governance, and development with Freedom House and the Baha’i International Community.
Gigi holds degrees from Oxford University, the University of Alabama, and
Loyola University in New Orleans, and is a former Knight Foundation Fellow.

Samantha Fowlds
A knowledge management and research strategy design and implementation specialist. One of eight women nominated for the Oracle Women’s Leadership Group (Canada) Top Women Award in 2018 for bringing positivity to the organisation via workshops and coaching.
With a particular interest in knowledge management systems, applied positive psychology, and organisational learning she  earned an M.Sc in Knowledge Management and Consultancy,
Carlos Cordoba
He is the founder of OPTIMO Gestión Empresarial, A Costa Rican national, Psychologist by profession with a Masters in Business Administration, he held management positions in companies with national and international coverage. He is the founder and director of the company HUMANTECH, and is the International Tutor of training processes in human resources management by competencies for the ILO.
He is also an Associate Consultant of the Research and Training Center in Public Administration of the University of Costa Rica, and Associate Professor of the Master Programs and Degree in Human Resources of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica.
Moneshia Zu Eitz

Moneshia has 25 years of experience in M&A, Alliances and Venture Investing working as a strategic management consultant, corporate development professional and strategic investor in IT and healthcare.

She most recently lead the Strategy, Alliances and Venturing team for Royal Philips Healthtech, and prior to that spent 15 years acquiring companies to drive development of new business models at IBM.

With a passion for inorganic value creation for superior performance, Moneshia has directly worked on identifying, acquiring, divesting and integrating over 30 small and medium sized companies including in India, Africa, Europe, Japan and the US . As part of bringing people and processes together in pro-bono she also worked in economic justice as part of IBMs Executive Service Corp in Taiwan, and Michael Porter’s Forestry sector team in Venezuela.

She completed her MBA at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania and has lived in many of the countries in which she has worked and is an active Womens and STEM mentor, Alumni network activator, and advisor to social start ups with a global footprint.

Carmel Khalilian
She is presently the director of Planning Vision a company that provides comprehensive town planning advice to property developers and private individuals, as well as concerned residents and community groups. The key aim is for all stakeholders to fully understand the interdependencies of urban planing, involving all affected parties and creating a truly holistic and effective resulting architectural framework.
She also directed two other creative companies promoting sustainable architecture and responsible events. She brings work experience over ten years across cities including London, Myanmar, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Gibraltar.
Ilona Surgaile
Born in Lithuania, part of Soviet Union at that time, emigrated to US in 1996, crossed the vast ocean of ambiguity and unknown – adapting to the new country, new culture, economic system, language barrier and healed the pain of leaving home country behind… Ilona always considered herself a world citizen and believe that there is one human race on earth; united in diversity, strong in one faith and aiming for the betterment of the world. Through her observations and experiences, she learned something very important: If we are clear on vision, united in efforts and embracing each other’s differences we can reach our personal, professional and organizational dreams. It is possible to transform every end into a new beginning. It is not easy, but it is worth living!

Executive Leadership Coach at Leading Visions, Inc., Ilona specializes in career & life transitions and cross-cultural complexity, effective communication supporting diversity and inclusiveness. Insightful and effective organizational and relationship systems coach, Ilona works with clients on mindfulness to be open and receptive to reality and its gifts permanently honing thinking and behavior patterns that impact business and personal relationships, creativity, and conscious decision making. She has assisted individuals, teams, and organizations in developing the knowledge and skills to create long-term, productive relationships and work satisfaction. Ilona has run various workshops for diverse audiences helping people to excel self and social awareness as well as cultural sensitivity in order to navigate effectively in this ever changing intergenerational and multicultural world.

Randy Vaucrosson
Treasurer, Advisory council at Bermuda Coalition.
He is passionate about the transformative power of someone finding their true self. Stepping fully into who you are by choice… not circumstance.
Anila Hussain
Driven by a strong business mindset since childhood, Anila, a national level gymnast, was raised in Karachi, the cosmopolitan fashion hub of the East. Her zest for knowledge led her to become a Montessori International Educator, settled in Geneva, Switzerland. Alongside her teaching role as a Montessori educator, Anila’s formative years were spent pursuing fashion styling consultancy in Switzerland.

This led her to create SHENANNZ an international brand of couture collection across fashion events and platforms such as Montreux Moda Switzerland, London Fashion week, House of iKons, Swiss Fashion week Manor, Vevey and Globus Geneva.

Anila is committed to emancipation and empowerment of impoverished women, by fostering their creativity to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families. Her dream is to spread the message of gender equality through entrepreneurship and education, across the world.

Conference Prices

We keep conference prices to a minimum thanks to generous donations and to ensure as wide an access as possible.

Full 3-day Conference Tickets – access to over 20 sessions
(excludes accommodation and meals)

SPECIAL repeat event attendee rate
(ended 16th October) :
115 €

Early Bird Discounted Rate
(ends 28th February)
190 €  or  130 € (discounted for ebbf members)

Standard Rate
250 €  or  190 € (for ebbf members)

Corporate Rate
600 € (early bird ends 28th February)  then  Standard rate 990 €


Cancellation policy for conference fee:

Cancellations received before March 15th: 80% refund
Cancellations received between March 15th and April 15th – 50% refund
Cancellations received after April 15th – No refund
(don’t forget to check the cancellation fees of the hotel)

Hotel Room / Meals Booking & Rates

You can choose your own accommodations close to the event’s location ( SEE HERE )

Click here to download and then send to the hotel your booking form if you prefer to follow what most people do and stay at the venue where the event will take place

OR use the online hotel booking form you can find here

No payment will be due until you arrive at the hotel. (please see hotel conditions below).

Rates are FULL BOARD per person per day

. Single Room – 194,00 Swiss Francs
per person / per day (includes rooms and all meals)
. Shared Twin Room – 141,50 Swiss Francs
per person / per day (includes rooms and all meals)
. Shared Triple Room – 131,00 Swiss Francs
per person / per day (includes rooms and all meals)

. MEALS ONLY per day / per person
Meals Only – 74 Swiss Francs per person / per day (lunch + dinner no accommodation)

Pre Event Learning Sessions

ebbf has created for attendees and people not fortunate enough to be there, a series of six learning session that will start this December and continue prior to the dates of the ebbf annual conference.

You now have the opportunity to choose the problem statements that you feel should be covered.
Think of themes that are engaging, relevant and useful to you.
What would help you and your organization most, as you Rethink Materialism and move towards a more balanced dynamic coherence between material and spiritual needs.

Select your preference from the initial list below or add your own ideal topic.

Sign up and vote preferred topic here

  • Choose top three ideally or more if you really cannot leave some out.



Monday January 14th at 20:00 (Geneva time)
TOPIC: What are the underlying reasons that push people and organizations to follow materialistic goals?
using ebbf’s zoom online video conference service link

Monday December 10th




Monday February 11th at 20:00 (Geneva time)
Materialising spirituality in our workplace an open conversation with event keynoter Enrico Giraudi.
using ebbf’s zoom online video conference service link


Monday March 11th at 16:00 (Geneva time)
TOPIC: will be decided by your group vote ( see form on the left )
using ebbf’s zoom online video conference service link


Monday April 8th at 16:00 (Geneva time)
TOPIC: will be decided by your group vote ( see form on the left )
using ebbf’s zoom online video conference service link


Monday May 13th at 16:00 (Geneva time)
TOPIC: will be decided by your group vote ( see form on the left )
using ebbf’s zoom online video conference service link
text of right column

event location

meaningful conversations held last year at this same hotel



The event will take place at a hotel on Lake Geneva:

Hotel Best Western Chavannes-de-Bogis
Les Champs-Blancs 70B
1279 Chavannes-de-Bogis



The hotel is located close to GENEVA (GVA) AIRPORT and is served by a shuttle service.


by plane, by train or by car.

why should we rethink materialism?

A few initial views on why it is necessary and urgent to #RethinkMaterialism offered by registered participants coming to Geneva from around the world to share their views and explore together new ways forward, exploring the “what if” questions that will allow new paradigms to emerge and be implemented in our organizations.  You can comment your views in THIS POST HERE.

Testimonials of past participants

What I find at ebbf events and why I keep coming back
(Gijs van de Fliert – former world bank senior risk officer)

The role of ebbf and its events in developing meaningful careers
(Eleonora Ferrero – director european operations at mind the bridge

Three generations sharing why they keep coming back to ebbf events