Our Team

We are a diverse team of individuals who share experience (either professionally or personally) with migration and the challenges faced by those who are forced, or who choose, to move to another country. We have various professional backgrounds, talents and nationalities and we combine our strengths to empower as many individuals as possible. We are all based in Zurich, which is our city, the place we love and want to transform for the better.

The Team

Emily Elsner (nee Adams)

Co-founder & General Manager

Emily is a consultant and researcher specialising in non-profit management and social transformation. She is co-founder of Capacity, and loves the energy and determination of the Capacity community. Originally from the UK, she has a background in conservation and anthropology, specifically the interactions between people and their environment - something that she finds reflected in the work of Capacity.

Valentina S. Velandia

Co-founder and Partnership Curator

Valentina is a pragmatic idealist with a high dose of global perspectives and experiences. With 10 years of expertise in the areas of Gender Justice and Diversity, her professional journey ranges from her native Colombia to the US, Asia Pacific and now Europe. Valentina is the community and project manager at Capacity, and she ensures that the skills and energy of team members and volunteers are effectively optimised.

Ana Maria Angarita

Programme & Fundraising Manager

Ana Maria is a committed and passionate professional with 9 years of international experience in project management concerning social and development issues. She also specializes in building networks and developing relationships that promote impactful advocacy, communication and marketing initiatives. She currently supports marketing and social media engagement.

Anna Stando

Programme & Event Manager

Anna is an enthusiastic and driven advocate of gender equality and social inclusion. She grew up in Poland, and after completing her master’s degree in Intercultural Communication in The Netherlands, Anna has worked across the globe, learning four new languages and gaining valuable experience of what it takes to make a fulfilling life as a migrant. She works as a Programme & Events Manager for Capacity and as a Project Manager for Advance – Women in Swiss Business. In her spare time, she also co-leads two female LEAN IN networks and works as a photographer.

Isabel Brücher

Fundraising & Partnership Management

Isabel’s background is in the field of architecture, history and conservation sciences with more than 25 years of professional experience in South and North America and Europe. Since 2011, she has become an active advocate and leader of change in the fields of migration and social entrepreneurship. Isabel is committed to supporting human potential and providing equal opportunities for personal and professional development, regardless of background, nationality or religion.

Fiona Smith Reaney

Advisor

Fiona has spent 15 years working at the intersection of learning, international development and social entrepreneurship and spent over 7 years living in and working in South Asia and East Africa. She is currently a Director at the LEGO Foundation in Switzerland. She is passionate about social justice and is inspired by working with innovative entrepreneurs!

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.

Board Members

Selina Benke-Bruderer

Co-founder and Legal Advisor

Having worked for more than two years in an international law firm in Geneva, Selina is currently working at the Bezirksgericht Zurich. Already during her law studies in Zurich, London, Geneva, and Boston, she volunteered for several non-profit projects. Selina is very happy to continue this work with Capacity by focusing on making the potential of refugees and migrants visible in Switzerland.

Nadia Diraä

Treasurer

Nadia Diraä has many years of experience being Project Officer within the sector of diversity, migration and integration. She also has her own label in organic bed linen. She supports Capacity with financial advice and management.

Anne Murray

Communicator and Connector

Anne is a late bloomer and a passionate advocate for equal opportunity. After moving to Basel she started Act II of her career in Communications working in agchem and pharma. She especially enjoys engagement projects and turnaround opportunities. One of her favorite pastimes, is using her network to help young people get a foothold in business.

Negar Shafaeddin

Legal Advisor

Negar Shafaeddin is qualified as a Swiss lawyer from Geneva and has spent most of her career working in the finance sector in banks and trust companies where she later focused particularly on company formation and compliance issues. She has always actively volunteered and has also taken several months off to work as a Project Assistant in an environmental organization in Ankara, Turkey.

Zsofia Molnar

Communications Advisor

Zsofia is coming from a cultural field, having experience in project management, communication and book publishing. 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.

Contributors

Alexa Kuenburg

Co-founder and honorary member

Alexa works as a medical doctor at the University Hospital Zurich in the field of refugee healthcare. 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.

Milena Astray

Communications

Milena is currently writing her Fachmaturität diploma thesis on the topic of integration and is therefore involved as an intern with Capacity Zurich. She is actively involved with other integration projects in Switzerland as well. Her ideal job would like to work in an NGO which focuses on human rights, animal welfare or environmental protection. Milena has always had a sense of justice and respect for human rights, and she strongly believes that each individual should be accepted with her or his own identity and baggage.

Hannah Lüddeckens

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.

Anouk Huessy

Translation and strategic advisor

Anouk brings in her experience and expertise of working in the area of development as well as from the extensive time she lived abroad. Her own often challenging experience in trying to settle down in other countries has shaped the way she looks at migration, in particular at forced migration. With great passion, she has put her efforts into supporting Syrian refugees in Switzerland to start their new lives and previously in setting up a volunteer programme for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Berne. For Capacity she translates and asks critical (and nasty) questions in her role as a volunteer advisor.

Ana Vedia

Event Logistics & Creative Director

Ana is an artist and a yoga teacher who is passionate about cross-pollinating strategic advisory with social and environmental sustainability frameworks. Ana is originally from Argentina and lived and worked in Colombia and now in Switzerland. Her years as a professional dancer and a yoga teacher have taught her that even the smallest of movements can make a big impact. Therefore, she currently supports Capacity through tactful event planning and creative input.