Dona Bertarelli

Dona Bertarelli is a Swiss philanthropist, ocean advocate, investor and sportswoman. She is a Patron of Nature of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), chair of Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy, and co-chair of the Bertarelli Foundation.

She has been deeply committed to impactful philanthropy over three decades, from improving public understanding of reproductive health and infertility, and advocating for ocean protection and environmental conservation, to education and social causes.

Dona Bertarelli is co-chair of the Bertarelli Foundation, alongside her brother, Ernesto. The philanthropic organisation was established in 1998 by the Bertarelli family in memory of Fabio Bertarelli, her father.

As chair for much of the first ten years of the foundation, Dona Bertarelli led the Bertarelli Foundation’s early work to improve the public’s understanding of reproductive health and infertility, 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.

Today, the foundation strives to implement real change in marine science and conservation; life science research; and support for local communities.

Dona Bertarelli is also the chair of Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy, which strives to advance environmental conservation and foster a balance between people and nature through efforts in various fields, from advocacy, science and technology, to life sciences, education, and awareness raising.

For nearly two decades, Dona has contributed to the creation of ecologically significant, large-scale marine protected areas through Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, which she founded in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts . As a natural progression in ocean conservation, she is now advocating for the connectivity of marine protected areas, to help conserve key migratory species and entire marine ecosystems, for the benefit of the communities which rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.

She is the founder of Global Fishing Watch Marine Manager, a dynamic technology portal created to help transform the management of marine protected areas, visualising ocean ecosystems spanning more than 10 million square kilometres.

She was honoured with The Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship and the Prince Albert I Grand Medal, Mediation Section, from the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco, for her work in ocean conservation in 2022. Ecuador awarded Dona as a Commander of the National Order of Honorato Vasquez in 2023, recognising her long-term commitment and efforts to preserve the unique marine biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands, including support for the country’s historic debt conversion which will ensure financing in perpetuity for marine conservation in the Galápagos. Also in 2023, Dona was awarded as a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor of France.

Among Dona Bertarelli’s other philanthropic activities, she supports several initiatives focused on the ocean, and she is part of a community of advocates, the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action. Supporting girls’ empowerment and education is important for Dona Bertarelli, and she is a founding patron of Womanity Foundation, which works to accelerate gender equality through innovative investments.

In 2014, together with her husband Yann Guichard, she created Spindrift for Schools, an educational programme for schoolchildren in France and Switzerland. The programme was created to share the couple’s passion for the ocean, and, to coincide with the first attempt by their sailing team Sails of Change, to beat the Jules Verne Trophy record, the first ‘Adventure Book’ was shared. Spindrift for Schools is approved by the French Ministry of Education, and the educational kit “Inspired by Nature: committed to action!” has been included by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-Unesco) in its programme for the Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development.

In 2019, Dona Bertarelli became a Goodwill Ambassador for #TOGETHERBAND, raising awareness for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water, a campaign which matched her commitment to the ocean as well as to the wider United Nations Global Goals.

In 2020, Dona Bertarelli was named the Special Adviser for the Blue Economy for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) serving until 2023. She helped 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.

In 2021, Dona Bertarelli and her husband Yann Guichard became Patrons of Nature of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A year later, in a joint initiative of the IUCN, International Olympic Committee (IOC), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy, the Sports for Nature Framework was launched, which aims at delivering transformative nature positive actions across sports for the protection and restoration of biodiversity.

Dona Bertarelli also became a member of the Mission Blue board in 2021. Founded in 2008, Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots.

In 2012, the Ledunfly family office was established to serve the personal business interests and philanthropic activities of Dona Bertarelli, her husband, Yann Guichard, and her three children, while shared Bertarelli family assets continue to be managed by B-Flexion, led by her brother, Ernesto.

As an investor, with assets in hospitality and real estate, she focuses on long-term value creation. She believes strongly in the power of business to do good for society, and drove the development of the family pharmaceutical business Serono’s philanthropy and educational programmes, when she served as Executive Director, Public and Professional Affairs from 1992 to 1997.

A keen sportswoman and sailor, Dona Bertarelli co-founded Sails of Change , in 2011 alongside her husband, Yann Guichard, who is a renowned French skipper. Their professional sailing team is based in Brittany, France. The Sails of Change name aligns closely with the founders’ values and passion for sports and nature, and the sailing team continues to support the mission of the Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy foundation to raise awareness for biodiversity conservation, and is a signatory of the Sports for Nature Framework.

Dona Bertarelli has won prestigious races and broken records both inshore and offshore, winning the Bol d’Or Mirabaud in 2010 and 2014, as well as two Fastnet races. She holds the record from Ushant to the Equator on the Jules Verne Trophy route, and for the Transat Québec-Saint Malo and the Discovery Route. She has twice been named Female Sailor of the Year, in 2014 and 2016, at the SUI Sailing Awards. In the winter of 2015-16, Dona Bertarelli was helmsman-trimmer aboard the world’s largest maxi-trimaran, as the team attempted sailing’s ultimate challenge, the Jules Verne Trophy. Although the team narrowly missed beating the record, Dona became the fastest woman to sail around the world.


Dona Bertarelli reveals the stark reality and determination behind Spindrift’s record attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy, through her log book, published as J’ai Osé in 2016.

The only woman on board among thirteen men, Dona Bertarelli reveals, in a deeply personal account taken from her log book, her experience of sailing the oceans aboard the world’s largest racing trimaran, Spindrift 2 – and how she become the fastest woman to sail around the world.

She is donating all her royalties from the book to The Womanity Foundation, of which she is a patron.

L’Aventure Spindrift, published in 2016, chronicles the first five years of the Spindrift team created by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard. This photographic essay invites readers on a journey of emotions and marine odysseys.

Spindrift is donating all its royalties from the book to the lifeboat station at Auray, La Trinité-sur-Mer.

“Suisses en Mer” presents 14 Swiss sailors, including Dona Bertarelli, who have sailed the seas of the world with a great deal of success.

By Jean-Guy Python, Joël Cerutti, Grégoire Surdez and Pierre Nusslé

Dans ce livre post confinement, Elsa Floret, journaliste et auteur genevoise, s’interroge sur la place, le rôle, le sens et la responsabilité individuelle de l’être humain… ce mammifère qui a oublié qu’il était de passage sur la Terre. À ses côtés, elle a convié 20 personnalités; artiste, auteur de fiction, directrice et conservateur de musées, comédien-scénariste, illustrateur, photographes, publicitaire, éditeur, professeur des sciences, directeurs et directrice d’institutions internationales, femmes entrepreneur, philanthrope ou mécène.Ces personnalités romandes nous aident à repenser notre rapport à la mondialisation, à la nature, à autrui bref à nous.