Meet Our 2023 Honorees: Monique Gieskes

Monique Gieskes

NHEF Impact Leadership Award

The Impact Leadership Award celebrates individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in driving positive change and impacting their communities and beyond. This prestigious honour recognizes those who have shown unwavering dedication to creating a better world through their actions, innovation, and commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

A Transformative Business & Social Impact Leader

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Monique Gieskes has built up an impactful portfolio transforming companies worldwide. Ms. Gieskes is the CEO and Director General of Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC), the largest agribusiness company in DR Congo. In this role, Ms. Gieskes leads a Congolese management team instituting a new culture of sustainability and community engagement.

She has led the transformation of PHC into a profitable enterprise – doubling output in the space of 3 years – and improved the lives of thousands of employees and their families. Ms. Gieskes is highly honoured in the communities in which PHC operates and has been instrumental in creating greater engagement and shared prosperity for all stakeholders.

She began her career as a patent and trademark lawyer before launching the Vlisco Group in the DRC, which she took from a start-up to an iconic Central African luxury goods company in three years. In addition to her senior role as Central Africa Representative for the Vlisco Group, she has held several senior positions in Group-wide brand protection, managing brand protection operations in 3 operational zones (Asia, Africa, Europe), including 12 countries and the headquarters in the Netherlands.

She has played a leading role in various European and international organizations such as the European Brand Association, the Comité Colbert, the United Nations Forum, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) to obtain lower import tariffs, as well as to advance the cause of intellectual property rights and reduce unfair competition in certain markets.

She has been at the forefront of major actions to revitalize trademark protection in Africa and was behind the training of judges in Togo, as well as working closely on major activities such as Biyela and Vice-Grips II by the WCO. A highly influential woman, she was the first to assume the presidency of the UN Global Compact in DRC, a UN initiative aimed at encouraging companies to adopt a socially responsible attitude.

Ms. Gieskes holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

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