Harbour masters have one big job – making sure that vessels come into harbour safely and that they stay so throughout their stay. That’s exactly what Gina Empson, CEO, and Founder of
The Business Harbour, a Swiss payrolling company based in Geneva, has done with passion over the last 14 years, guiding independent consultants and matching them with employers and, along with her team, keeping both happy throughout the working relationship.

With her previous experience in financial auditing and as a financial analyst, and then running a fiduciary services business, as well as time spent serving on various company boards in Switzerland, Gina recognized that companies wanted the flexibility to hire experts for specific projects, without having to administer their salaries and social charges.

Similarly, she saw that consultants and freelancers were keen to work independently but were more comfortable with having the status and security of an employee.

The Business Harbour steps in between the clients and the consultants, offering payrolling, or salary hosting, as a smart solution to all these needs, sorting out the administration, providing advice and guidance during contract negotiations and much more. In many cases, had it not been for The Business Harbour, working independently would have stayed in the realm of dreams, never a reality.

For The Business harbour consultants and hiring companies, it is indeed a more straightforward way to navigate this work model. Gina is immensely proud of this achievement and making sure that her ”harbour” continues to offer this service is of primary importance.

As Gina is so fond of saying, there are many lives in one lifetime. So, after a full and rich career in finance, when the perfect opportunity came up to work in her first passion, botany, Gina grabbed it: starting a vanilla farm on the Caribbean Island of Nevis. The prospect of spending less time in front of a computer, and much more time out in the open, hand-pollinating and, eventually, harvesting and marketing this fascinating and versatile plant was a dream come true.

But Gina would not have contemplated this momentous change in her life had she not identified a “safe pair of hands” in which to place the symbolic keys to “her” harbour.

This “safe pair of hands” belong to Wanda Swetzer Bender, COO, Managing Partner of Thalent Group.

Wanda grew up in Geneva and has spent much of her career abroad, working with international corporate clients in the banking and insurance sector where work-life admin can get complicated, especially for those arriving in a new country. Wanda started her career as an Interior architect, worked as a project manager on real estate and workplace strategies and implementing IT infrastructure concepts.

Lately, Wanda, with her business partner Michael Bender, has been running Swiss companies Thalent.com, a payrolling company, Talents Connection, an IT services recruitment agency, and PEC Consulting, a company offering engineering services. No stranger to the needs of the consultant, Wanda has the expertise and the experience to understand what top Swiss enterprises are looking for in a consultant, and what support consultants needs to best do their work.

Both Gina and Wanda negotiated working life with the demands of a family, being flexible, having to work part-time, and experiencing first-hand how this can impact on pensions, especially for working women. A perfect match of hard-working, entrepreneurial women, open to innovation and able to move ahead of trends in the workplace.

As Gina heads off to her future on Nevis and her vanilla farm, handing over the keys of The Business Harbour to Wanda, both are starting on new phases of their careers. The Business Harbour is in good hands and the world will soon have a new brand of premium vanilla! We wish them both well!

Article by Antonina Marenco

Contact us: The Business Harbour – Phone : +41 22 908 02 45