• The 13 regional winners of the “CaixaBank Women in Business Awards” compete for the national prize, which also involves being one of the Spanish representatives at the 2023 international IWEC Awards, which will be presented in Turin in November this year.
• All the regional winners are invited to join the CaixaBank Women in Business Community on LinkedIn, bringing together the winners of the seven editions and connecting them with other networks of national and international businesswomen.
CaixaBank has chosen the 13 regional winners of the seventh edition of the “CaixaBank Women in Business Awards”, which acknowledge the talent and professional excellence of leading businesswomen in Spain based on their track record, strategic vision, capacity for innovation and transformational leadership.
The 13 winners who are competing for the national “2023 CaixaBank Women in Business Award” and, consequently, to be one of the Spanish businesswomen honoured at the 2023 IWEC Awards are:
- Andalusia: María Dolores Morales Vicente, CEO of Biosabor, a company working in the agri-food sector.
María Dolores Morales holds a degree in Business Administration and Management and an Executive EMBA Master’s Degree from ESIC. She currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Biosabor, of which she was a founding partner in 2008. Located in the town of Níjar in the province of Almería, the company is a leader in the agricultural sector for its precision ecological and sustainable agriculture. It provides 1,000 direct jobs and makes a decisive contribution to the development of the local economy. Under her management, Biosabor has been a pioneer in innovation and research, as the first company in the sector to combine agriculture and health, developing an R&D and innovation department in nutrition and health, in partnership with technology centres and hospitals.
- Balearic Islands: Begoña Amengual, General Manager of MAC Hotels, a company in the hotel sector.
Begoña Amengual holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Barcelona and a Master’s Degree in Taxation from the UIB, as well as the PADE Business Management Programme from the IESE Business School. In 1996 she joined the Administration Department of MAC Hotels, founded by her father Miguel Amengual, where she has held a range of positions including Head of Human Resources and Deputy General Manager until, in 2018, she was appointed to her current role as General Manager of the company.
Throughout her professional career, Amengual has actively participated in the group’s strategic decisions, such as designing and launching the ‘all-inclusive’ at Club Mac Alcudia, Spain’s second largest hotel; the creation of the Puré SaltLuxury hotels brand, a luxury benchmark in the Islands with 5* establishments in Mallorca; and the group’s internationalisation project to branch out into the Dominican Republic.
- Barcelona: Elena Massot Puey, vice-president and CEO of Vertix Grupo Inmobiliario, a company dedicated to real estate development.
Elena Massot y Puey has spent her entire professional career in the family business, where she started working in 1996. Elena holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the Sarrià Chemistry Institute and in Law from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). In 2013 she took on executive duties in the group, and the generational handover culminated in 2018 when she was appointed CEO. She led the group’s modernisation, rolling out a new ERP, digitising processes and diversifying and internationalising its asset management activity.
Vertix's equal representation of men and women in management and middle management positions is a testament to the company's commitment to equal rights and opportunities.
- Canary Islands: Yukonda Esparragoza, owner of Lavandería Romeral, a company specialising in the industrial laundry sector.
Esparragoza has been working at Lavandería Romeral for 26 years, offering textile washing services to companies in the tourism sector: hotels, apartments, and restaurants. In 2010 she took over as owner and implemented new management and production criteria, which led to the establishment of an integrated quality management system, that was certified to the ISO 9000 and 14001 standards.
Furthermore, as part of the commitment to sustainability, she has also made a major investment in R&D by installing a photovoltaic energy system. This system helps the company to improve its energy efficiency and reduce its environmental impact.
- Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura: Carmen López Serrano, CEO of Vegenat, a company operating in the agri-food sector.
Carmen López Serrano, who has also been awarded the SME prize by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, has been spearheading the management of Vegenat for the last 3 years. Vegenat is a family company with over 40 years experience in producing high quality, low bacteriological raw materials. Its products are exported to more than 50 countries.
López Serrano is leading the company’s internationalisation endeavour, which targets an annual production of 12,000 tonnes.
- Castile-Leon: María Eugenia Clemente, CEO of Alestis Aerospace, a company specialising in the aeronautics sector.
María Eugenia Clemente joined the family business in 2001. Since then, she has gained in-depth knowledge of the aerospace industry, enabling her to support its intense growth process, actively participating in the acquisition and integration into Aciturri’s structure of companies such as Aries Complex, Aerosur and Alestis Aerospace, the company she currently manages.
Aciturri is one of the leading global benchmarks in the development and manufacture of aeronautical components and has two distinct business lines: design, manufacture and assembly of aerostructures, and manufacture of engine components. The company currently employs upwards of 2,500 people, who work in production centres in Spain, Portugal, France and Brazil.
- Catalonia: Sonia Plana, CEO of Exquisitarium SL, a company specialising in the hospitality sector.
Sonia Plana, who owns a majority stake (71%) in Exquisitarium S.L, has spearheaded the management of the company for more than 18 years. The company has achieved sustained growth since its creation, turning a profit every year and establishing itself as a benchmark in the sector. Exquisitarium is a leading producer of deep-frozen products for the catering industry, offering a wide range of recipes and solutions. The company is also in the process of international expansion and is committed to sustainability.
- Valencian Community: Maite Marín, CEO of Mas Camarena School.
Maite Marín has headed the management of Mas Camarena School for 26 years, consistently positioning it as the best school in the Valencian Community since 2011, and currently in fourth place in Spain. Marín leads the internationalisation project with the International Baccalaureate programmes, and the specialisation in sports-academic programmes, working to invest in R&D, driving sustainability and making a social commitment with aid projects and scholarships.
- Ebro (Aragon, La Rioja and Navarre): María Mariné, CFO of Quality Corn Grain, a company engaged in the agro-industrial sector.
María Mariné, owner and CFO of Quality Corn Grain S.A., Quality Corn SA and other companies related to the activity, is leading an initiative with upwards of 25 years of know-how in the production of popcorn, corn for frying, snacks, and milling with its corresponding derivatives such as germ, flour, semolina, also offering agricultural services related to receiving and processing corn grain.
These companies have succeeded in transforming irrigation systems into highly efficient units, and their investment in R&D has allowed them to adapt the most suitable maize genotypes for each industrial use to the latitudes of Aragon. The company is committed to sustainability, assuring traceability, and the possibility of organic, sustainable and local agriculture.
- Madrid: María José Cascajo, founder and CFO of C. Clover Productos y Servicios, a company operating in the pharmaceutical sector.
María José Cascajo has been managing H.C. Clover Productos y Servicios for 15 years. During this time, the company has grown from a headcount of three to the 400 people it currently employs. Cascajo has led the company’s internationalisation project by opening its production plant in Brazil and prospecting new markets. It is currently engaged in the construction of a new plant with a manufacturing capacity of more than 1,500 million capsules and in investment in R&D.
H.C. Clover Productos y Servicios is a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Madrid. It has 100% Spanish capital, was founded in 2008, and since 2010 has focused on the manufacture of soft gelatine capsules for third parties.
- Madrid: Benita Martín, CEO of Copladur, a company in the construction sector.
Benita Martín has been the CEO of Copladur, a company that specialises in the installation of plasterboard and drop ceilings in Spain, for over 30 years. In a male-dominated sector, she has managed to break down barriers and gain respect in the sector by achieving sustained growth, as well asparticipating in the most prominent projects in Spain through constant investment in R&D that incorporates the latest generation tools available on the market.
- Murcia: Encarna Ortiz, CEO of Grupo Vigilant, a company specialising in private security.
Encarna Ortiz started her career in 1995 in the world of security, performing administrative work, combining it with her studies and working as a security guard in 2000.
In 2002, after completing her academic training, she took over from her parents and became Chairwoman of Grupo Vigilant’s Board of Directors, providing work for more than 1,000 families throughout Spain. During her career for the company Vigilant, S.A. she created the R&D Department dedicated to major projects in CCTV installations, image transmission, and access control systems, as well as research into new technologies on the market, providing it with highly qualified personnel to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and security guarantee.
- North (Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia and Basque Country): Adriana Domínguez, Executive Chairwoman of Adolfo Domínguez, a group in the fashion industry.
Adriana Domínguez was named ‘Manager of the year’ by APD last year and in 2021 she was selected as the leading businesswoman by the Spanish Marketing Association. The Galician executive has been Executive Chairwoman of Adolfo Domínguez since 2020. Before becoming the head of the designer fashion group, she held the positions of general manager (2017-19) and CEO (2019-present). Domínguez has been linked to the company for more than two decades and is leading the brand’s transformation with creativity, sustainability and innovation as its cornerstones.
In 2022/23, Adolfo Domínguez had a turnover of 114.2 million euros in sales, 24% up on the previous year. The brand has 347 boutiques in 22 countries.
The CaixaBank Women in Business Community and the Women’s Leadership forum
All 13 winners are also invited to participate in the “CaixaBank Women in Business Community”, a private virtual LinkedIn community, that has been set up as a platform to share knowledge, ideas and experiences, and also as a meeting point to establish professional connections between the group of award-winning female executives.
The Community also offers access to exclusive experiences, such as forums, debates, conferences and domestic and international events, with which it aims to contribute to the development and leadership of women in the business world.
Last year, as part of the awards ceremony for the sixth edition of the “CaixaBank Women in Business Awards”, the “Women’s Leadership” forum was held in Madrid, the first in-person gathering of the Community. The forum brought together over 40 female business owners and was attended by the CaixaBank CEO Gonzalo Gortázar and many of the bank's executives.
The IWEC Awards
The International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC), with headquarters in New York, is a worldwide network of female business leaders, who nurture company ownership and cooperate on a global level through chambers of commerce and business organisations with the aim of networking and developing female leadership.
Every year, within the framework of its Annual Conference, IWEC hands out awards in recognition and support of businesswomen all over the world. Among other aspects, the IWEC awards aim to increase the awareness of businesswomen, so that they can represent a major and decisive element in the development of the global economy.
In the 15 years that the awards have been running, IWEC has awarded 501 businesswomen from 47 countries. The companies led by these businesswomen have a combined workforce of over 338,000 people and an annual turnover of USD 44.3 billion.
CaixaBank’s commitment to diversity and business excellence
The “CaixaBank Women in Business Awards” fall within the Wengage diversity programme, a CaixaBank-wide project developed by people from all areas of the bank based on meritocracy and promoting equal opportunities, striving to encourage and implement diversity in all its dimensions: gender, functional, generational, LGBTI or cultural, among others.
Wengage includes internal measures to foster flexibility and work-life balance, raise awareness regarding diversity, and strengthen the role of women in the bank, as well as external initiatives for customers and society, focused on promoting diversity and equal opportunities along four lines of action: leadership and entrepreneurship, innovation and education, sport, and rural settings.
A total of 42.7% of managerial positions at CaixaBank are held by women and 40% of seats on its Board of Directors are occupied by women, some of the highest ratios in the sector. Due to this commitment, CaixaBank is among the top three companies in the world on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2023.
The project is also promoted by the CaixaBank Business division. The bank has consolidated its stance as a leading bank for the business fabric thanks to its specialisation model, with products and services tailored to the specific needs of this customer segment. CaixaBank Business provides its services through 220 specialised centres and branches throughout every region of Spain, staffed by 2,400 highly qualified professionals with a solid reputation in business consulting. The company has specialists in financing, foreign trade, treasury, tourism, real estate and SMEs, who offer a personalised service beyond financing to support and promote the corporate sector.
Internationally, CaixaBank supports its corporate customers with various operational solutions that provide effective access to 127 markets in different countries, and it offers the best guidance for their operations abroad.