As Guest of Honour of the event, we welcomed Colleen Bell, former US Ambassador to Hungary, US diplomat, television producer and the Executive Director of the California Film Commission (CFC) who had a HARD TALK with Borbála Czakó, Honorary President of the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF) and the President of the HBLF Women Forum.
They have had a direct conversation covering different key topics – women leaders, gender roles, social, political and family matters. Ms. Bell shared her thoughts and experience in a very open and kind manner.
Monitoring Ms. Bell’s life path we have a chance to see a distinguished career in several areas.
She is a graduate of Sweet Briar College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy and also attended St. Andrews University in Scotland, where she studied International Relations.
Ms. Bell had a prominent career in entertainment production, business and diplomacy. She was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary from 2014 – 2017. As Ambassador and Chief of Mission of U.S. Embassy Budapest, Ms. Bell led engagement on military cooperation, law enforcement and economic development between the U.S. and Hungary. She supervised a team of more than 300 while working on initiatives including treaty negotiations, cybersecurity, migration, biotechnology, cultural diplomacy, support for Ukraine and women’s issues. For her work as U.S. Ambassador, Ms. Bell was the first woman bestowed the Dr. Iván Völgyes award for business promotion from the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary. In addition, she received the Order of Merit Middle Cross, which is the second-highest State Order of Hungary.
Prior to her diplomatic service, Ms. Bell was a producer at Bell-Phillip Television Productions — an award-winning production company responsible for some of the world’s most-watched TV programming. Her work, which reached more than 40 million people in more than 100 countries across five continents, frequently earned the industry’s most prestigious recognition for creative content, social awareness and public health education. Ms. Bell continues to be regarded as a leading voice for the profound and very positive impact entertainment content can have on the lives of marginalized people across the world.
As Film Commissioner, Ms. Bell oversees governmental efforts to facilitate motion picture, television, commercial and new media production statewide. She works directly with all levels of state and local government to promote California as a production locale and create production-related jobs. In addition to directing the CFC’s wide range of services, she is also tasked with educating legislators, production industry decision makers and the public at large about the value of filming in California. Bell is responsible for the administration of California’s 1.3 billion dollar Film&TV Tax Credit program and tracking all legislation and regulations that affect the entertainment production industry.
Ms. Bell is a longtime philanthropist and advocate committed to tackling some of the most complex domestic and international policy challenges. Her public service work and her record of strategic and organizational planning have led directly to the implementation of critical initiatives in natural-resource protection, child-abuse prevention, crime victim counseling and care, public-health awareness and art accessibility.
Ms. Bell speaks frequently on topics related to economic development, security, democracy, cultural diplomacy and women’s empowerment. She also supports programs and initiatives by top U.S. International Policy organizations, serving as a board member of several councils and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
She is married to writer/producer Bradley Bell, with whom she has four children. With her husband they run a thriving TV and film production company founded by her father-in-law and have accomplished a successful generational renewalwhich is an excellent proof of being a „strong couple” always results productive and rewarding life paths. Their family business is also based upon supporting each other in their roles and tasks.
Borbála Czakó is also a former Ambassador – she served as Ambassador of Hungary to London between 2006-2010. After her diplomatic career she joined the prestigious Ernst & Young as a Partner. As a strong female leader she had a great affinity to utilise her abilities both in her work and private life.