Dona Bertarelli is, with her brother Ernesto, co-chair of the Bertarelli Foundation, founded in memory of their father, Fabio. A Swiss philanthropist, investor and sportswoman, she was a driving force behind Serono SA’s philanthropy and educational programmes.
As chair for much of the first ten years of the foundation, Dona led the Bertarelli Foundation’s early work to improve the public’s understanding of infertility and sterility, through international conferences bringing together leading researchers, reproductive health experts, patients and patient advocacy organisations, as well as support and advocacy for scientific studies, and dedicated websites. In 2003, Dona was awarded the Kokopelli Prize by the American Infertility Association in recognition of her work.
The Bertarelli Foundation subsequently made marine protection one of its priorities alongside life science, and today it provides global leadership in marine conservation and science. The foundation engages with local communities, governments and scientists to commission and provide research on topics such as analyses of economic outcomes, or the impact of overfishing on biodiversity, which underpin policy decisions. To date, the foundation has contributed to the protection of more than 2.7 million km2 of ocean in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and in the Caribbean Sea. In 2022, Dona was honoured with The Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship for her work in ocean conservation.
In 2020, Dona was named the Special Adviser for the Blue Economy for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She will help UNCTAD promote a sustainable blue economy, particularly in developing countries, to ensure the responsible and regenerative use of the ocean, seas and coasts for economic growth, while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem. She remains committed to the environment, and in 2021, Dona became a Patron of Nature of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and was also appointed a member of the Mission Blue board. Dona is part of a community of advocates, the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action, and is a founding patron of Womanity Foundation. She also launched Sails of Change with her husband Yann Guichard, to build a community of sports and nature lovers who want to create a sustainable future for the planet, and whose first campaign supports the science-based goal to protect 30% of our planet by 2030.
As an investor, with assets in hospitality and real estate, she focuses on long-term value creation.
An accomplished sailor, Dona has won prestigious races and broken records both inshore and offshore, winning the Bol d’Or Mirabaud in 2010 and 2014. She founded the professional sailing team, Spindrift, with her husband, Yann, in 2011. In 2016, the team attempted sailing’s ultimate challenge, the Jules Verne Trophy and while they narrowly missed beating the record, Dona became the fastest woman to sail around the world.