Our Team

Meet the team behind Swissnex in San Francisco, located at Pier 17.

Our Team

Part of a world-wide network, Swissnex in San Francisco is Switzerland’s innovation outpost in the Bay Area. We are a dynamic, international team connecting Switzerland, North America and the world in science, education, innovation, and art.

Photo: Leyla Ismen

Emilia Pasquier

“The Envisioneer”

If you visit Pier 17, be prepared to appear in Emilia’s Instagram story.

As our CEO, Emilia’s job includes telling people what to do without giving them the feeling of telling them what to do. Before joining Swissnex, Emilia was an Advisor to the Swiss Federal Council. She holds a MA in Political and Economic Philosophy from the University of Berne. In her spare time, you can find Emilia at Dolores Park and buying overpriced cappuccinos.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Deputy CEO & Head of Programs

Corine Thommen


Remembers everything, except where she left her water bottle.

As Deputy CEO and Head of Programs, Corine is keeping the overview over our diverse programs ranging from arts, entrepreneurship to academia and corporate innovation. She graduated with a MA in International Affairs from IHEID/Graduate Institute in Geneva. In her spare time, you can find her hiking in national parks or trying out new restaurants in and around San Francisco.
Head of Finance & Operations

Caitlin Miller

“The Finance-Sis”

What do Harry Potter, Cats and Taylor Swift have in common? Right, they are all loved by Caitlin!

As Head of Finance and Operations, Caitlin handles our budget and administration. She is not just great at her job, but also able to make the most complex topics easy to understand. Caitlin graduated with a MS in Accountancy from San Francisco State University. In her free time, she likes to go on a hike in the redwoods and spend time with her cat.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Ad Interim Head of Programs

Sharon Ambrosio

“The Entrepreneur”

Founded a startup herself before becoming a startup mentor.

Sharon is responsible for our entrepreneurship programs, connecting Swiss startups to the US market and supporting them in their internationalization process. She graduated with an MBA from the University of London and is currently spending valuable time with her lovely toddler.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Head of Communications

Sophie Bohnen

“The Everything-Enthusiast”

Gets excited about everything, all the time.

As Head of Communications, Sophie is developing and overseeing our multi-channel communication strategy. She holds a BA in Journalism and Corporate Communications from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). In her spare time, Sophie can be found ecstatic dancing or roller skating in Golden Gate Park.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Creative Industry Program Manager

Alicia Rieckhoff

"The Adventurer"

Brings a French touch into our office vocabulary. Some of her favorites include “Ouh là là”, “noooo”, “ah voilà”.

As our Creative Industry Program Manager, Alicia is connecting Swiss creatives of all creative industries with the US west coast. She holds a MA in Music from the Basel Academy of Music and a MSc in Global Health and International Affairs from the University of Geneva. Alicia’s free time is a mix of experiencing California’s wilderness and the vibrant San Francisco cultural scene.
Photo: Felicia Kieselhorst
Programs & Events Associate

Amara Cespedes

"The Chameleon"

Will listen to every niche interest of yours like a sponge and then make it her hyper fixation for the next week.

Our Programs & Events Associate, Amara, works with our different programs in academia, creative industries, and startups to connect Swissnex’ various stakeholders across Switzerland and the US. Through event planning and execution, she strives to create a collaborative space in order to make these connections as meaningful as possible.
Before joining Swissnex, she completed her BA in Economics at the University of St.Gallen (HSG). She spent one semester of her studies at USC in LA and has had an “on-off”-relationship with the US ever since.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Community & Events Manager

Diego Riva

“The Swissnex Model”

Will rate and judge our daily outfit choices.

As Community & Events Manager, Diego is creating a unique event experience for our visitors. He’s also in charge of our team’s lunch break entertainment. Diego holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Lausanne. In his spare time, he likes going to the ocean for a walk or reading a book in Golden Gate Park.
Photo: Felicia Kieselhorst
Facilities & Office Manager

Dana Piercy

"The Hiker"

Always ready to plan the next themed office party.

As the Facilities & Office Manager, Dana ensures that everyone who comes through our office has an excellent experience at Pier 17. She welcomes you not only in English or German but also always with her bright smile and happy attitude. Dana graduated with a Dual Degree in International Business from Northeastern University in Boston and Reutlingen University in Germany. Before starting at Swissnex, she spent six months on the Pacific Crest Trail, hiking from Mexico to Canada.
Communications Associate

Gwenaëlle Gisiger

“GenZ Kid”

Will take the best pictures of you for any occasion.

As the Communications Associate, Gwenaëlle is responsible for developing and executing communication strategies that promote Swiss innovation, startups, and our brand as well as attracting people through our various channels. Because of her talent in multimedia content creation, she will work on developing our TikTok channel. Before joining Swissnex, she completed her BSc in Political Economics at the University of Lausanne (HEC) with an exchange at Altoo Business School Helsinki and a Swiss Mobility at the University of St.Gallen (HSG). In her free time, you can find Gwenaëlle cooking and trying new recipes or strolling through flower stores, buying sunflowers.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Senior Communications Manager

Julia Kuhn Mirza

“The Swissnex Memory”

Loves sweets and can be tricked into coming to the office for desserts.

As Senior Communications Manager, Julia is responsible for letting the world know about all the amazing things our team is working on. One of her many specialties is the monthly newsletter from Swissnex in San Francisco. Julia graduated with a MA in Marketing, Services, and Communications Management from the University of St. Gallen (HSG). In her freetime, Julia likes to escape Karl The Fog and explore new playgrounds with her gazillion kids who never seem to run out of energy.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Matteo Cariglia

“The Traveler”

After visiting more than 40 countries, he still insists that Pizza is the best food.

As the Programs Associate, Matteo is organizing and executing events and programs that connect Swissnex’s diverse stakeholders in science, education, art, and innovation with the US. He holds a MS in Economics from the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) as well as a MS in Economics and International Policies from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. Outside the office, Matteo loves to surf in the Pacific Ocean and explore all the Italian places in the city.
Programs Associate

Pascale Speck

“The Cross-Disciplinary Combinator”

Loves nerd-talks about AI, surfing, and performance art

As the Programs Associate, Pascale is organizing and executing programs that connect Swissnex’s various stakeholders in art, science, education, and innovation across Switzerland and the US. Pascale holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), as well as a BA in Art Education from Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) with an exchange at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Cross-Disciplinary Strategies. In her free time, you’ll find her browsing bookstores, scouting new foodie places, doing yin yoga, or simply at the beach.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Communications Associate

Raffael Hüberli

“The Paparazzi”

Carries his camera everywhere.

Our Communications Associate, Raffael, is developing and executing communication strategies promoting Swiss innovation, the Swissnex brands, and our events. Before joining Swissnex, he completed his BA in International Affairs at the University of St.Gallen (HSG). In his free time, Raffael can be found on the Football field or using his electric skateboard to find the best photo spots in San Francisco.
Photo: Leyla Ismen
Academic Engagement Program Manager

Sarah Burckhardt

“The Pop Culture Enthusiast”

Will always mention Pop Culture in her conversations.

As Academic Engagement Program Manager, Sarah is cultivating strategic relationships with Swiss and US universities and academic institutions. She holds a MS in Political Science from the University of Geneva. In her free time, she likes to explore the city, visit bookshops, and is into gaming.

Contact Us

For inquiries, email [email protected].