Strong Voices Interview #8: ISABELLE WILDHABER - Full Professor at the University of St. Gallen

We are so happy to announce our next #StrongVoice: Isabelle Wildhaber, Full Professor at the University of St. Gallen for Private Law and Business Law. In our interview, she tells us about her professional journey, and how she juggles work and family and what advice she would give rising women.


Isabelle has been a Full Professor for Private Law and Business Law at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) since 2015. Before that, she completed an LL.M. at Harvard Law School, worked as a lawyer in Basel, New York and Frankfurt, and wrote her habilitation monograph at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She is married, has three children and a dog.

When I first met her in our office in Zurich, I didn't know her background, but she was so full of energy, charm and drive. I am more than happy to have Isabelle as one of our strong voices and share the interview with you.

"Don't let yourself be put off, believe in yourself and don't despair if something doesn't work out." Isabelle Wildhaber 


You are a professor at the HSG and before that you were a lawyer in New York and Frankfurt for several years. What are the most important lessons you have learned from your professional career so far? 

There will be hurdles, there will be doubters, there will be mistakes made. Not everything works out the first time, unfortunately not always the second time either. That’s why I think it’s all the more important: Don't let yourself be put off, believe in yourself and don't despair if something doesn't work out. It pays off to stay on the ball and give it your all. And whatever happens in life, don't lose your sense of humour!

Do you have a certain principle that you try to live by and that motivates you? 

I always try to set priorities and focus on what I want to do. That way I don’t get lost in a flood of duties that take away my motivation. Stay authentic and go get it!

As a working mother, you have a great deal of responsibility at work, but also at home. How do you manage to juggle everything and (do you) still have time for yourself? 

An open mind, good organisation and a dose of humor and serenity always help to combine responsibility at work and family. Sometimes even a smear on perfection can be beneficial. I explicitly try to do something every day that is good for me. I go for a walk with the dog, do sports, play the harp, or have a chat with someone close to me.

Is there any advice you would give ambitious young women to help them achieve their goals? 

You can't predict which doors will open for you and which path you will take. But you can set individual goals and pursue them consistently. You can break down the big dream into smaller goals, which are realistic and doable and which make you feel good. That way you will get where you want to be.


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