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10 years of Pride Business Forum

17/03/2021 | 17:00

We will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Pride Business Forum platform with its founding members. Czeslaw Walek invited to his virtual table those who started the whole initiative and will talk with them about the journey the platform and themselves have taken.



The first annual conference of Pride Business Forum was attended by a handful of people from most of whom discussion on LGBT+ workplace equality was a complete novum. Today we face a completely different situation with 32 (corporate) members. The forum is the only platform that focuses on the discussion on an open and inclusive workplace environment in the Czech Republic and is a leader on the market on this topic.


But what were the beginnings? How hard it was to get from the point where no one was interested in this topic to the point where we are today?


Date: 17.3. 2021 5PM to 6PM on ZOOM or VMX platform

Language: English


Pride Business Forum is realizing the project OUT (no. 881931) funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020).


Event Details

Monika Ladmanová

Advisor to Vice-president Věra Jourová, European Commission 


After graduating from law school, Monika joined the non-governmental sector and started to work for the Czech Helsinki Committee as a lawyer for its Counseling Center for Refugees and Asylum Seekers. In 1999 she was appointed as coordinator for the newly established Legal Program within the Open Society Foundation Prague. The program attempts to broaden the respect for the standards of international human rights conventions and to promote a change in the legal culture and mentality. Monika's agenda expanded to include coordination of the Foundation Gender Program. Several projects of the Open Society Fund Prague have been operated through the public benefit association Open Society, which Monika became an executive director in 2003. In 2008 Monika joined the IT giant IBM based in Czech Republic,  where she promoted corporate social responsibility principles and values. Since December 2014, Monika is an Advisor in the Cabinet of the Commissioner Vera Jourova with focus on gender equality, anti-discrimination and minorities and corporate social responsibility.



Marijn Pijnenburg

Global Business Development Executive at IBM


Business Development Executive for Workforce Diversity and LGBT Markets for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at IBM. Marijin provides strategic advisement to IBM customers in traditional and growth markets on how to leverage human capital, diversity, inclusion, LGBT, and collaboration as critical business drivers to foster innovation and generate business opportunities in the global marketplace. Marijn also manages IBM’s corporate community partnerships with LGBT/Diversity organizations throughout EMEA.

Joining IBM in 1996, Marijn has worked in various roles in Strategy & Change, and Business Transformation. He is an initiator of several LGBT Business Forums throughout EMEA, a board member of Workplace Pride, an NGO focusing on ensuring safe and inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees, and a steering committee member of OUTstanding, a not-for-profit professional network for senior-level LGBT and ally executives.



Christian Schwenke

General Manager, Hilton Prague Old Town, Chairman of Pride Business Forum


Christian Schwenke works as General Manager at Hilton Prague Old Town. In 2011 he was a founding member of the Pride Business Forum and has been a member of its Organizing Committee since the beginning. He chairs the Pride Business Forum Organizing Committee since 2018. Christian is with Hilton Worldwide for 17 years. Within this network, he worked in his native Germany, in Antwerp, Budapest, and since 2011 in Prague. 


Matthijs Welle

Chief Executive Officer, Mews Hospitality Cloud


Matthijs Welle, CEO at Mews Systems, helps drive the team behind this industry redefining hospitality platform, with customers in over 45 countries, 7 office locations, and 250 employees. Matthijs has 20 years of experience in the Travel Industry, but his passion to help re-shape hospitality started much earlier in life. Prior experience includes 9 years with Hilton Worldwide across F&B, Front Office, and Regional Sales roles after the successful completion of the fast-track Elevator management program.


Czeslaw Walek

Chairman, Prague Pride 


Czeslaw has graduated from the Law Faculties of Jagellonian University and Central European University. He worked in both the government sector and the non-government sector. As the Czech Deputy Minister for Human Rights, he was responsible for the creation, adoption, and implementation of domestic policies on human rights protection. Since 2011 Czeslaw chairs the Prague Pride which is the leading organization focusing on LGBT+ rights in the Czech Republic. Until 2015 Czeslaw was a managing director of the Prague Pride festival and made it the biggest Pride festival in the post-communist countries.

In 2016 as a part of the Fulbright Scholarship, Czeslaw was a Global Fellow of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates where he implemented a Global program of the organization. After coming back to Prague he started to manage Jsme fér, the marriage equality campaign, and Pride Business Forum, a platform focusing on LGBT+ equality at the workplace. In 2011 Czeslaw was awarded Alice G. Masaryk Human Rights Award for his dedication to promoting human rights.



Date: 17/03/2021

Start time: 17:00 CEST

End time: 18:00 CEST