Made by Members: Sandra-Stella Triebl
Sandra-Stella Triebl is one of the best connected women in Switzerland. The founder and owner of the Swiss Ladies Drive publishing house has been working in journalism for over two decades. And started her project with a clear vision.
When Sandra-Stella Triebl founded the first Swiss business magazine for women, Ladies Drive, together with her husband Sebastian in 2007, she was confronted with one thing in particular: skepticism. Is there really a need for such a magazine? Can you even do it without investors? Aren’t you in over your head?
Today, no trace of skepticism remains. Today, it’s admiration. The Handelszeitung promoted Triebl to 5th place in the Top Ten Leaders Ranking 2020. Right behind Alain Berset, Joos Sutter, Roger Federer and Roland Brack. She tells us in this interview where she gets her drive.
Sandra-Stella, why did you start Ladies Drive?
Initially, I wanted to raise the profile of women in business. Google "businesswoman". You’ll see tons of pictures of a woman looking seriously into the camera with her arms crossed. She’s probably wearing a black blazer and a white blouse. That can’t be all! And right from the beginning, I had something like a business sisterhood in mind, which meets at events, which is networked online and which is given a higher profile through a high-quality print magazine.
Aren’t there established media outlets for that?
The Global Media Monitoring Project clearly states: Women are significantly underrepresented in the media. This can be explained historically: The media landscape is very male-dominated. Especially in business publications where practically all the editors-in-chief are male. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself – please don’t get me wrong! I don’t believe in gender warfare 2.0. But as a journalist, you often use your own network for research or interviews. If it mainly consists of men, you’re always asking the same people.
And you wanted to counteract that?
Exactly. In addition to raising the profile of women, it is also about creating role models. To show the next generation that there are many successful women in the business world. Our authors are all active in business themselves. It gives you a completely different picture. As an author for a magazine, every author understands exactly what they are talking about, be it a sommelier, a headhunter or a doctor.
Did you feel a lot of opposition when you started?
Yes – but that was to be expected. Many large publishers had tried to launch a business magazine and failed. But apart from the initial skepticism as to whether I could manage it at all, I was often asked why I was publishing a quarterly magazine and not a weekly one. That is not frequent enough.
And your answer?
That’s true for readers who have a lot of time on their hands. But I’m producing a magazine for businesswomen who have drive and want to make a difference. Who have noticed that in order to motivate others, you have to motivate yourself. They don’t have that much time to read. But when you do take the time, the content should be high quality, innovative, unique and inspiring. "Quality offline me-time" so to speak.
The fact that you also organize events was certainly a novelty too …
Definitely. That received the most criticism. Practically everyone in the industry was saying things like, "Why on earth are you doing events? You can’t possibly do that!" But they didn’t reckon with me and my conviction, in fact my infatuation, with my idea. Apart from that, I had the honor of organizing or helping organize more than 150 events in a single year as project manager for the Aargau government and the "200 Years of Aargau" celebrations in 2003.
Was your motivation for the events the same as for the magazine?
Kind of. The transfer of knowledge is extremely important to me. It helps to hear from other women where they had difficulties and what they did about it. That’s why we’ve organized a lot of things: League of Leading Ladies, Female Innovation Forum, Angels for Ladies, Bar Talk events – all created by us.
What are you most proud of?
That we have built a business sisterhood that has a real impact on our members’ lives. Of the six women in the Handelszeitung’s top 10 list, all are somehow connected to the Ladies Drive universe. I’m extremely proud of that.