Press release

CaixaBank presents the 14 regional winners of its ‘‘2021 Women in Business Awards”

Commitment to diversity in companies

2021 CaixaBank Women in Business Awards

• CaixaBank will choose the national winner of the award – who will be one of the Spanish representatives at the international 2021 IWEC Awards – from among the 14 selected from the regional stage.

• The award-winning executives represent multiple sectors, with particular focus on the automotive, transport, food and engineering/construction sectors.

CaixaBank has chosen the 14 regional winners of the fifth edition of the "CaixaBank Women in Business Awards" which recognises the talent and professional excellence of leading female entrepreneurs in Spain with standout careers, strategic vision, transformative innovation and leadership skills.

The awards, which have been commended in recent years for their boost to diversity and for their contribution to fostering gender equality in Spanish society, seek to give greater visibility to leading entrepreneurs and encourage their participation in international networks where they can interact and share experiences.

The 14 regional winners will now form part of the "CaixaBank Women in Business Community" on LinkedIn, which brings together the winning businesswomen from previous years and connects them with other networks of businesswomen nationally and internationally, such as the IWEC, International Women’s Forum, Vital Voices and EJE&CON.  

Regional winners who are eligible for the national 2021 CaixaBank Women in Business Award and the IWEC Awards

This new edition has seen an increasing presence of Spanish executives from the transport and automotive sector, as well the food sector. Although the award-winning executives in this edition represent various sectors of the economy, the competition gravitates towards the automotive and transport sectors, with four of the total winners;  followed by the food sector, with three representatives, and the engineering and construction sector, with a further three.

The 14 winners of each of the regional CaixaBank departments competing for the national "2021 CaixaBank Women in Business Award" and to become one of the Spanish representatives at the IWEC Awards 2021 are: 

  • Western Andalusia and Extremadura: Begoña Romero Hita, manager of Transfrutalla, a company with more than 50 years of experience dedicated to the handling, marketing and wholesale of fruit, vegetables and products in the pre-prepared convenience food range. Romero Hita's management has been characterised by growth, professionalisation of processes and the fostering of female representation in positions of responsibility at the executive, technical and commercial level. The executive is firmly convinced of the company's role in society, collaborating with social programmes. 
  • Eastern Andalusia: Pilar Martínez-Cosentino, executive vice president of Grupo Cosentino, a global company created in 1979 that produces and distributes innovative surfaces for the world of architecture and design. The company, family-owned, distributes brands such as Silestone® or Dekton® in more than 110 countries. Pilar Martínez-Cosentino leads a strategic plan that advocates for international expansion and mobility of people. She supports an active gender equality policy and employs 5,300 people around the world, of which 2,000 are located in Almeria. 
  • Balearic Islands: Carmen Sampol Massanet, CEO of Grupo Sampol, a family company of applied engineering with a history spanning more than 86 years. The executive has led the group for 26 years, driving its international expansion across four continents and developing climate actions by innovating with sustainable systems of highly effective energy production, which combine renewable energy, energy saving solutions and digitalisation. She actively collaborates in various NGOs and foundations, undertaking numerous initiatives in the social field. 
  • Barcelona: Elisabeth Stampa, CEO of Medichem, a laboratory asset provider, which has been in business for five decades and has commercial subsidiaries in the United States and China. During Elisabeth Stampa's management, the company has doubled its turnover, has grown internationally and has diversified its business by expanding its product portfolio of FDF and APIs pharmaceuticals products. The executive leads the internal social initiative "Thinking Out of the Box," which fosters the proposal and creation of projects and/or businesses enclosed in the Medichem sector.  
  • Canary Islands: María Victoria López Fuentes, chair of Grupo Fedola, a fully family-owned group from the Canary Islands comprising 17 companies and 28 trademarks. With the generational succession in the company three years ago, Victoria Lopez became chairwoman of the Group and created new brands to offer more innovative proposals to the market related to hospitality, establishing the chain as a model in the management of environmental sustainability in tourism activity. She drives the empowerment of women in the company’s leadership positions , in which women represent 50% of the positions of responsibility. 
  • Castile-La Mancha: Ana Isabel Rebollo Díaz, CEO of Grupo Rebollo, a family company with a history spanning more than 130 years, with its origins in the hotel industry, and today also in the food, transport and fuel sectors. Under her management spanning around 30 years, the group has driven the food business with the launch of a gourmet food brand. The company collaborates with the Nipace Foundation, which develops processes of comprehensive care for children and young people with cerebral palsy and neuromotor disorders. 
  • Castile-Leon: Mar Casas Prieto, founder and CEO of Transleyca, the first woman in Spain taking part in creating and leading a company dedicated to the national and international transport of goods by road, present in 8 European countries. The main qualities of her management include commitment to R&D+i and ongoing growth. She shows her commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs within the Leonese Federation of Entrepreneurs. 
  • Catalonia: Alba Carre Colls, CEO of Transports Calsina Carre, a transportation, logistics and software services company, founded in 1971 and present in five countries. Alba Carre has been in her position for three years, committed to digitalisation, internationalisation and fostering gender equality through an equality plan and the presence of women in the enterprise. The company also sponsors the Girona women's basketball team (Uni Girona). 
  • Valencian Community: Araceli Ciscar García, CEO of Dacsa Group, an industrial group founded in 1968 dedicated to the development of food ingredients, a trailblazer in Europe in the dry milling of maize in all its sectors, and a distinguished rice producer in Spain and Portugal. The executive has driven the group’s growth and international expansion in all maize area, together with the creation of the Food Solutions division, from where the company drives its innovation, and which is also internationalised. She is on the Board of Trustees of the University of Valencia's Chair of Business Culture. 
  • Ebro (Aragon, La Rioja and Navarre): Ainhoa Zabala Versteeg, CEO of Zabala Innovation Consulting, a consultancy company that offers specialised services in the search for financing opportunities, investment analysis and project development. The executive has been in her role for four years, driving innovation as a key factor in competitiveness and an axis of growth. In her commitment to equality, she gives training talks in which she shares the company's experience in this field. 
  • Madrid Metropolitan Area: Luisa Berenguer Muñoz, CEO of Farmalider, business group dedicated to the research, development and manufacture of pharmaceutical specialties, covering the entire value chain from the concept of an idea to its authorisation by the health authorities of each country. The group is present in more than 50 countries and its strategic plan considers growth to reach a presence in more than 110 countries in the next five years. In recent years, the company has grown with the creation of Nutra Essential OTC, from where all nutritional supplements and OTC drugs are managed, and with Toll Pharma, the Grupo Farmalíder's own manufacturing plant. 
  • South Madrid: Elisa Gil Vilches, CEO of Grupo Gil, a vehicle dealership company with 29 multi-service sales and after-sales points, founded in 1979. The executive has led the group over the past 35 years, expanding the business with the opening of new dealerships, and has driven investment in R&D+i in its sustainable commitment to the environment and electric vehicles. She drives internal mentoring programs, as well as support campaigns for Caritas and sports sponsorship in Alcalá de Henares and Torrejón de Ardoz. 
  • Murcia: Lidia Gracia Gómez, director of the Board of Directors and vicechair of Himoinsa, an almost 40-year-old company that designs, manufactures and distributes power generation equipment worldwide. During the last 20 years, she has held various management and executive positions in many areas of the Group, contributing to the international expansion of the company in EMEA, Asia and America. At present, Himoinsa has 8 plants and 12 subsidiaries worldwide. 
  • North (Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia and Basque Country): Carmen Lence, CEO and chair of Lence (Grupo Leche Río), a family dairy company that has a history spanning more than five decades, focused on the production and marketing of milk, chiefly packaged under the flagship brands Río and Leyma. During her management since 2019, Carmen has created a strategic plan focused on investment, innovation, brand image and commercial expansion. Her social commitment is reflected through rural conservation, sponsorship of children's and youth sports entities, and encouragement of women as a mentor to the NGO Women’s Initiative in San Francisco (USA), working with women immigrants.

Following the regional phase, a jury formed of the CaixaBank Diversity Committee, comprising members of the Management Committee and various diversity project leaders, will select the national winner from the 14 regional winners. The winner will be one of the Spanish representatives at the 2021 IWEC Awards given out by the International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge; the global network of leading businesswomen from all over the world who cooperate internationally, which will be delivered next November.

CaixaBank has also taken its “Women in Business Awards” to its subsidiary BPI, with the aim of also championing diversity and gender equality in Portugal, recognising the careers of business leaders in the country. The winner will be the Portuguese representative for the IWEC Awards from BPI.

Wengage, CaixaBank's commitment to equality

Diversity, meritocracy, equal opportunities and talent recognition are some of the pillars of CaixaBank's corporate culture. Under these premises, it works with a commitment to be a pacesetter for its employees, promoting inclusion and participation and bolstering projects that promote equality, both within the company and across the whole of society. In fact, 41.7% of managerial positions at CaixaBank are held by women (at the end of 2020), and it has a public commitment to reach 43% in 2021. Furthermore, the Board of Directors is made up of 40% women, one of the highest ratios of the sector.

CaixaBank's Wengage diversity programme is a cross-disciplinary project developed by people from all areas of CaixaBank, based on meritocracy and the promotion of equal opportunities, which works to foster and visualise gender, functional and generational diversity. Wengage includes internal measures to foster flexibility and work-life balance, to raise awareness regarding diversity and strengthen the role of women, with training programmes and female mentoring plans, through which female managers will guide other professionals in developing their careers. 

Wengage also develops external initiatives for customers and society, based on championing the diversity and equal opportunities in three fields of action: leadership and entrepreneurship, innovation and education, and sport.

Furthermore, CaixaBank has had an Equality Plan since January 2020 to promote the principles of equal opportunities and diversity in work teams, increase the presence of women in managerial positions and strengthen measures to enhance the work-life balance. The plan considers the scope of gender in managerial development programs and in recruitment and training processes, and the fostering of teleworking and flexibility.

In addition to this, since 2018, CaixaBank has adhered to the EJE&CON Code of Good Practices for Talent Management and the Improvement of Company Competitiveness, committing itself to fostering the presence of women in managerial positions, and working actively to drive their international outreach. It is also part of the STEAM Alliance for Female Talent “Girls on the Science Stand,” an initiative led by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to promote STEAM careers in girls and young women. It is also associated with the international programme Target Gender Equality and the Women’s Empowerment Principles, of the United Nations and the Diversity Charter, promoting equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory measures.

Recognition of diversity

As a result of this commitment, CaixaBank has received recognition as the world's best bank for gender equality according to the international 2021 Bloomberg Index, and ranks first in Spain in the EWoB Gender Diversity Index.

It also boasts other distinctions in this field such as the Equality in Business Badge (DIE), managed by the Women's Institute, and has been recognised by the Másfamilia Foundation with EFR Certification (Family Responsible Company), being the first Spanish company to obtain level of excellency A.

These awards come in addition to the 25th Anniversary Award of FEDEPE (Spanish Federation of Women Directors, Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs) and the Diversity Foundation's distinction of the Wengage programme as “Best Practice of a Large Enterprise 2020”.

The IWEC Awards

The International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge is a worldwide network of female business leaders who nurture company ownership and cooperate on a global scale with the goal of creating and distributing wealth in the business world.

Every year, within the framework of its Annual Conference, IWEC hands out prestigious awards in recognition and support of businesswomen all over the world. Among other aspects, the IWEC awards aim to increase the awareness, credibility and responsibility of businesswomen, so that they can represent a major and decisive element in the development of the 21st century global economy.

Since its founding in 2007, the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) conference has rewarded 384 entrepreneurs from 42 countries. The companies led by these entrepreneurs generate 268,516 jobs and a joint revenue of over $35 billion .