INNOVABRIDGE has a lean management structure. The Board of Trustees is responsible for shaping the strategic direction of the Foundation. It makes key decisions on organizational projects, finances, budget, strategy and policies. The Managing Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation. The professional staff consists of a core team of Strategic Advisors with operational basis in Caslano, Switzerland and of Expert Associates throughout the world.

Core team

Our team of strategic advisors has a wide range of cross-regional and sectoral expertise in the areas of economic development, governance and rule of law and environment and sustainable livelihoods. Our advisors have an average of more than 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating international development projects.

Dieter Von Blarer

Senior Advisor
Member of Board of Trustees

Rule of Law, Human Rights, Governance and Decentralization, Conflict Transformation and Mediation

Jordanka Tomkova, PhD

Senior Advisor
Member of Board of Trustees

Public Sector Reform, E-governance, Civil Society Empowerment, Social Accountability

Nicola Schoenenberger, PhD

Member of Board of Trustees

Biodiversity, Environment, Natural Resources Management, Botany, Plant Genetics

Simone Schoenenberger

Member of Board of Trustees

Management, Coordination, Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction                                                      

Ernst Schaltegger

Managing Director

Agriculture, Energy, Natural Resources Management, Food Security, Sustainable Livelihoods

International Expert Associates

INNOVABRIDGE’s team of international expert associates complement the skills of our strategic advisors where needed to jointly collaborate on international development projects.

  • Francesco Montagnani
    Economic Development Consultant, Financial Inclusion & Research Methods

    Francesco Montagnani is an economist by training, and he holds a master's in economics with a specialization in quantitative economic policy assessment. Francesco is a highly analytical professional with both quantitative and qualitative research and management experience who has focused on the analysis and evaluation of Swiss Referenda, the Maya Declaration, and the effect of financial inclusion in developed and developing countries linked to the ICT phenomena affecting income inequality. He has excellent knowledge of economic trends and an understanding of the global economy for better decision-making. 

  • Bruno Bellosi
    Environment and Plant Sciences

    Italian, is an environmental scientist and plant sciences, specialist. He has solid experience in geo-environmental risk assessments, and is an excellent statistician and field scientist.

  • Gilberto Parolo, PhD
    Environment and Plant Sciences

    Gilberto has a Ph.D. in Plant Ecology. He is specialized in botany and agriculture. He has a solid experience in plant ecology, plant conservation, taxonomy, restoration ecology, and grassland management. He is also a Board Member of the Societa’ Botanica Ticinese. 

  • Simone Merlo
    Environment and Global Change

    Simone is Swiss and graduate in environmental science with a major in global change. He has managed projects related to climate change adaptation, environmental consulting and environmental education. Trained internationally, he is fluent in several languages.

  • Dominique Kohli
    Agricultural and Environmental Policies

    Dominique is Swiss and agriculturalist by training. He was one of the founders of TULUM Ltd., the precursor organization of INNOVABRIDGE. In 2008, he was selected as Vice-Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture and consequently had to renounce to his functions in TULUM and later in INNOVABRIDGE. After his retirement, he is again available with his ample expertise in areas of agricultural and environmental policies, strategies and programmes, both domestic and international.

  • Nando Breiter
    Climate Change

    American, is the initiator of the CarbonZero Project. He has a background in horticulture, manufacturing and computer programming, and is deeply engaged with biochar.

  • Nikolaus Foidl †
    Renewable Energies

    Nikolaus Foidl, our trusted associate of over twenty years, has passed away on 11 January 2020, after a courageous battle against pancreas cancer. He is mourned by his wife and daughter, and all who knew him.                                                                              

    Nikolaus was a relentless thinker out of the box and a genius in finding simple, but non-obvious, solutions. He will be remembered by the community combatting mother and child malnutrition thanks to his ground-breaking work on Moringa oleifera. 

    He pioneered practical and sound engineering solutions that apply the principles of supercritical extraction, thus rendering the use of dangerous organic solvents obsolete.

    His contributions to the understanding of the role humic substances in living organisms such as soil, water, plants and animals will guide us in our efforts of up-scaling and dissemination.

  • Suna Karakas
    Good Governance, Civic Engagement, Social Inclusion, Training & Capacity Building

    Suna has an academic background in international economics, business and development policy analysis. She has worked in the private, non-profit and multilateral sectors for the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and McKinsey & Company. Her core expertise and knowledge areas include governance (transparency, accountability and civic participation), training and skills development, and social inclusion of gender, migrants and vulnerable groups. For the World Bank, Suna provided strategic, analytical and operational guidance for the implementation of good governance and social accountability initiatives across a variety of regions and sectors. She helped develop an extensive Social Accountability Toolkit to guide project teams in designing, implementing and monitoring accountability and governance interventions. Suna has also solid experience in analyzing, monitoring and evaluating socio-economic, political and development policy issues across a variety of sectors.

  • Vanessa Ghielmetti

    Swiss/Italian, is a political scientist with a significant background in the management of not for profit organizations. In her 10 years of professional activity abroad (Bolivia) and in Switzerland in the field of international cooperation, she acquired solid expertise in the management of women’s platforms and in planning and implementing projects for the promotion of gender equality.

  • Verona Groveman
    Gender and Food Systems

    Dutch, has many years of experience as a rural sociologist/anthropologist with an ecological background in rural development, natural resource management and food security programmes. Well-experienced in evaluation and impact studies.

  • Bara Ouloguem, PhD
    Livestock in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Bara is Malian and has a PhD in animal production. All his professional life, he has served his country in areas such as agricultural research and the promotion of animal production based value chains, including dairy in rural and peri-urban settings. His exposure to agricultural and livestock development issues in Sub-Saharan Africa makes him an valuable associate in multi-disciplinarian teams.

  • Gianluca Guidotti
    Water and Sanitation

    Swiss, is an environmental engineer whose expertise lies in the fields of water supply and sanitation. He has worked for humanitarian organizations (ICRC and SDC-HA) in emergencies and conflict related situations as well as in policy advise and development projects with the World Bank.

  • Godbertha Kinyondo, PhD
    Business Administration

    Tanzanian, has a PhD in economics with a strong background in agriculture. She is presently a lecturer at the Mzumbe University Business School in Dar es Salaam.

  • Franklina Mantilla
    Local Government Services

    Belgian/Philippine, is a community development expert with many years of hands-on experience in community mobilization and institutional development, gender mainstreaming for the promotion of gender equality and income generating activities, and improving nutrition governance through multi-sectoral coordination in Asia and Africa. She has also ample experience in project management and evaluations.

  • Anna Matveeva
    Development and Conflict Management

    Anna Matveeva, Russian and UK, is a specialist ist in conflict prevention, rule of law and access to justice with special emphasis on Central Asia. She is proficient in English, Russian with sound knowledge in Tajik. Among other functions, she served in the "Ambassadors-of-Goodwill-Network" in Central Asia, a peace building project of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs.

  • Sara Giovanettina
    Biodiversity and nature conservation

    Swiss, holds a M.Sc. in Biogeoscience. She is a biologist and plant ecologist with a solid experience in the development and implementation of mapping methods in vegetation science, in particular in alpine- and agro-ecosystems.

  • Leonardo Mayorga
    Renewable Energies

    Nicaraguan and a mechanical engineer with ample experience in developing improved woodstoves and charcoal generators.

  • Betty Mlingi, PhD
    Food Security

    Tanzanian, is an agriculturalist and a leading expert in poverty reduction, food security, post-harvest losses and related baseline and repeat surveys.

  • Andreas Obser
    International Relations and Public Management

    German, with extensive expertise in the design and management of international knowledge sharing and learning networks in the fields of public governance, natural resource management and climate change.

  • Francesco Rezzonico
    Rural Development

    Swiss, is an agriculturalist by training, and specializes in animal production systems. He is experienced in community development, decentralization and agricultural development in different post-conflict and fragile environments.