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and Active Volunteers

Capacity’s work has been possible throughout the years thanks to the engagement of passionate people to whom we are enormously grateful.

Co-Founders and Honorary Members

Emily Elsner (nee Adams), PhD.

Co-founder & Research and Project Management Support

Emily graduated in Biological Sciences from Oxford University and then specialised into nature conservation with an MSc at University College London, and nature-human relationships and honey bee management and science with a PhD at Lancaster University. She has 4 years of experience of working as an independent consultant specialising in NGO management, building on her volunteer work over the past 15 years with various conservation and social charities. Since 2017 she has specialised in impact measurement and management for non-profits and social enterprises, reflecting her commitment to social and environmental justice and sustainability. She co-founded Capacity in 2015.

Valentina S. Velandia


With 10 years of expertise in the areas of Gender Policy Analysis, Migration and Entrepreneurship, Valentina's professional journey ranges from her native Colombia to the US, Asia Pacific and now Europe. She has worked for organisations such as UN Women Singapore Committee, UN-CEDAW, EDGE (As a consultant for the World Bank, The Inter-American Development Bank, Swiss-Re, IKEA, and other global entities), The International Women Rights Action Watch (IWRAW), and The International Disability Alliance, among others. Valentina holds a BA in Intercultural Communication Studies (Rhetoric and Public Discourse), a Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy with an emphasis in Gender Policy and she is a Swiss-certified teacher.

Ana Maria Angarita

Co-founder & Honorary Member

Ana Maria has over 12 years of professional experience in the field of international cooperation, non-profits, and entrepreneurship across the Latin America region, the United States, India, and now Switzerland. She has been promoting impact through building strategic partnerships across sectors and capacity-building initiatives in education, migration, employment, health, and children's rights. Throughout her career, she has also developed communication and marketing initiatives promoting impactful advocacy.

Ana Maria is a former refugee who is driven by impact and has always been passionate about change and transformation. She continues to support Capacity and its community, and advocates for the organisation’s mission. She holds a BA in International Studies from American University, and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute Geneva.

Selina Benke-Bruderer


Selina is a qualified Swiss lawyer with several years of work experience in the public and private sector. She holds degrees from the University of Zurich, King’s College London and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. In addition to gaining extensive project management experience through volunteer work, Selina has won numerous awards in national and international competitions as well as competitive scholarships. She co-founded Capacity in 2015.

Hannah Lüddeckens

Founder and Honorary member

Hannah is a psychologist and works in psychotherapy. She has a special interest in accompanying people on their way to a self-governed life. She is also committed to respecting human rights and integrating people of different nationalities and cultures into our Swiss society. Hannah is grateful to contribute her experience in project management and entrepreneurship as well as her personal interests as a long-term member of Capacity. She co-founded Capacity in 2015.

Alexa Kuenburg

Founder and Honorary Member

Alexa works as a medical doctor in Zurich. She specialised in transcultural issues and continued her training as a conflict mediator. Alexa has extensive experience working on charitable projects in Switzerland, Europe and the Middle East. Her commitment to the personal and professional development of refugees and migrants in Switzerland is remarkable. She co-founded Capacity in 2015.

Nadia Diraä


Nadia has over 15 years of experience as a program manager in the field of diversity, migration and integration. Commitment and empowerment are key words for her, working with and for immigrants, women or people with a disability for quite some time. She is the former Director of Marketing and Events at Faircustomer, a webportal for social, sustainable and fair manufactured goods. She also owns her own label in organic bed linen. Currently, Nadia is Head of Administration, Organization and Projects at diabetesschweiz. She supports Capacity with financial advice and management.

Current Volunteers

Charlène Guillaume

Social Media and Communications

Charlène has a background in communication and sociology. Originally from Lausanne, she moved to Berlin for several years and gained professional experience in a big e-commerce company in the field of brand marketing and public relations. After this enriching experience of living aboard, she took on a new challenge in her life and went travelling solo to Asia. She started her journey in India, where she got her yoga and meditation teacher's certificate. Besides her personal project in the field of yoga and self-development, she aspires to combine her communication skills with a strong purpose such as Capacity.

Ulrike Draeger

Human Resources Advisor

Ulrike is an experienced human resources professional. Originally from Germany she studied Business Administration in Switzerland. For 20+ years she worked as a project leader and line manager in international service companies. In particular she covered recruiting, strategic HR-projects and process optimization. As a newplacement consultant she supported executives to realign their professional career and find a new position in the Swiss job market. Firmly convinced that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential Ulrike enthusiastically supports the ACCESS Programme.


Fanny Gasser

Translation Volunteer

Fanny finished her law degree in 2019 (BLaw in Fribourg, MLaw in Basel) and went on to work as Junior Marketing Associate for International Distributors at Lindt&Sprüngli in Zurich. She is currently doing her legal internships in preparation for the bar exam in 2023.
During her studies she worked various jobs (gastronomy, creative content manager, pension fund etc.) as independence (or at least partially) was really big for her early on.
Fanny is based in Zurich, loves to meet up with friends and socialise, to read, loves fashion and interior design and is always keen to try new foods.

Pallavi Sehgal

Marketing and Communications Strategist

Pallavi Sehgal graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Organizational Sciences. She has spent the last year and half working in the non-profit sector; focusing on helping refugees in Switzerland. Born in India and raised in Switzerland; she grew up in a diverse and multi-cultural environment and understands the challenges faced when integrating into a new culture. She is a proponent for diversity and inclusion and believes in equality for all.

Anna Politanska

ACCESS Programme Support Volunteer

Anna is a Finance and Project Manager. With over ten years of professional experience, Anna leads teams from Europe, North America, and Asia in the corporate world. Anna’s education in international relations, paired with a hands-on professional application, has led to a passion for Intercultural Communication and Team Building. She advocates for empathy, awareness and cultural contextualisation in doing business and is convinced that the strength of any organisation comes from its diversity and inclusion. Anna supports the Access team in Communications Liaising, Logistics, Events and Community Building, with an emphasis on projects that connect corporate entities with the under-tapped talent pool of immigrants and refugees in Switzerland.

Christina Mittmasser


Christina is a PhD fellow at the Geography Institute of the University of Neuchatel and the research centre nccr – on the move. In her research, she tries to understand migration and mobility from an inequality perspective. Her current project focuses on migrant entrepreneurs in Switzerland. Christina studied Sociology and European Ethnology in Austria, where she addressed the issue of statelessness and the diversity of the concept of citizenship within her Master thesis.

Rhythima Shinde


Rhythima is a Ph.D. ETH Zurich student specialised in environmental analytics. She runs a non-profit organisation: Humane Warriors, where she develops social and environmental sustainability solutions for India. She has been engaged in developing a model village project in India as Co-founder of TechGSR and also worked as a Co-founder of Energy Bazaar, a peer-to-peer electricity trading platform for improving energy access in developing countries. Being an immigrant herself, she knows how difficult it is to leave families and identities back home, to realize your dreams. She wants to do a small part in helping realise more dreams.

Anne Murray

Communication Expert

Anne has led communications strategy for global marketing across the product lifecycle in both the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. She has served as a board member for community organizations in philanthropy, music education and family housing. She is active in preserving the dignity of individuals in all life circumstances and celebrating their value. Anne is part of the organizing team working to bring SheEO to Switzerland. She holds an MBA in marketing from Georgetown University.

Guillaume Ladislas

Financial advisor

Guillaume is an IT and financial auditor. He is always looking for great opportunities to meet people and take part in projects. Native from south of France, he has a background in Accounting, Control and Audit, but has also experience in entertainment, sale and outdoor events. He supports Capacity with financial advice.

Negar Shafaeddin

Legal Advisor

Negar was born in Tehran, Iran and left to the UK at a very early age. She then attended an international school in Switzerland as her parents were working for the United Nations, and then went on to qualify as a Swiss lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland. Her first job was in Citibank Geneva which then lead her onto further positions in banks and Trust Companies in Geneva. She is currently a compliance officer with Julius Baer in Zürich, She also took a year off and volunteered in a small village Senegal for the construction of a sewing workshop and then interned in an environmental organization in Ankara Turkey, participating in sustainability programmes.

Zsofia Molnar

Communications Advisor

Zsofia has over 7 years project management experience and she is currently program manager at the Kickstart Accelerator Program in Zurich. She is coming from a cultural field, and she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Communication (Budapest Business School) and a Master’s degree in Sociology-Economics (Corvinus University of Budapest). She is an avid reader, who is always looking for new stories and opportunities to learn. She is motivated to contribute to the work of Capacity and have a social impact by helping people to evolve.

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