MAVA is staffed by a small and dedicated secretariat based in Gland, Switzerland. We work as a team to implement the MAVA strategy and support our implementing partners. Each one of us is passionate about the environment and committed to improving the state of the world’s biodiversity.
Lynda Mansson - Director General
Lynda joined MAVA as Director General in August 2010. She is responsible for defining and implementing the strategy of the foundation and leading the secretariat team. Since joining the foundation, Lynda has overseen a complete reshaping of MAVA including changes at the levels of the board, staff, strategy, processes, project selection, and communications. Lynda is deeply interested in sustainability issues and led the foundation to incorporate a new programme to work on the intersection of economic growth and natural resource depletion. She is also committed to increasing the level of transparency and accountability of the foundation.
Before joining the foundation, Lynda spent 13 years with WWF International in Switzerland. She brought with her the experience of managing and directing global strategies for all aspects of office operations in the WWF Network and developing performance tools for its offices. Prior to that, she spent five years in charge of WWF leadership and organisational development.
Lynda began her career as a San Francisco stockbroker and then earned an MBA from Berkeley Business School. Her two private-life passions are literature and travel, and she enjoys hiking and tennis. She is American and Swiss and has two grown sons.
Lynda serves on the Governing Council of the European Foundations Centre and is active in the European Environmental Funders Group.
Suzanne Amrein - Executive Assistant
Suzanne provides administrative support to the Director General while also being responsible for Board-related matters and communications. Prior to joining MAVA in March 2011, Suzanne worked at WWF International as assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and then in the Major Donors’ Unit. She previously held administrative positions in a variety of organisations including the European Football Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the latter both at the headquarters in Geneva and in the field (Bosnia, Kenya and Haiti). A Swiss/English national, Suzanne is an enthusiastic yogi and enjoys travelling and cooking.
Rachel Sturm - Head of Administration and Finance
Rachel joined MAVA in August 2010 as Head of Administration and Finance to ensure reliable accounting, forecasts and reporting for the foundation. She manages our bank accounts and cash flow, ensures compliance with all legal requirements, takes responsibility for audit and develops the annual budget. She also manages the integrated grants management software for the foundation. Before MAVA, Rachel worked in accounting for SC Johnson, Dentsply International and Johnson Controls International. She studied at the Université Robert Schuman in Strasbourg, France, where she achieved the equivalent of a Master in Finance and Business Administration. Rachel, who is French and the mother of a little baby boy, enjoys running, trekking, alpine and cross-country skiing and cooking.
Laurianne Demierre - Financial Analyst
Laurianne joined MAVA in August 2012 as financial analyst. She supports the Head of administration and finance with day to day accounting, invoice payment, legal, HR and IT matters, and is superuser for the foundation’s new integrated grants management system. Before this, Laurianne lived and worked in Switzerland, Liberia, Palestine and Costa Rica, having first obtained a “maturité fédérale” in modern languages and a diploma in tourism management. Laurianne has worked for a number of humanitarian and environmental organisations and has a deep passion for nature. Laurianne, who is Swiss, loves travelling and enjoys sailing, swimming, winter sports, dancing and artistic activities.
Holger Schmid - Programme Manager Alpine Arc
Holger is responsible for managing all projects and partner relations in Switzerland and the Alpine Arc. Together with the other Programme Managers and the Director General he also jointly manages MAVA’s overall project portfolio, including global projects. Holger is a member of the European Coaches Network for adaptive management using the Conservation Measures Partnership open standards for conservation practice. Holger joined MAVA in 2005 having previously worked for WWF in the Mediterranean and in Mongolia. He has a Masters degree in biology from Bayreuth University in Germany. Holger is a German national, enjoys the outdoors and mountain sports, as well as tinkering in and around his house and garden.
Paule Gros - Programme Manager Mediterranean Basin
Paule is responsible for managing all projects and partner relations in the Mediterranean Basin. Together with the other Programme Managers and the Director General, she also jointly manages MAVA’s overall project portfolio, including global projects. She joined us in June 2009 and has a doctoral degree in Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis, awarded for her work on wild cheetah populations in East Africa. Before joining MAVA, Paule implemented research projects aimed at the conservation of mammals and birds in the Mediterranean, California and Nicaragua. All of this was prior to conducting ethnobiological work with Mayangna people of the Nicaraguan rainforest. Paule, who is French and American, has a 7-year-old daughter. She enjoys hiking, cross country skiing and horseback riding. She also runs her dog in agility competitions.
Marko Pećarević - Programme Officer Mediterranean Basin
Marko is a biologist by training and holds a master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. Before joining MAVA, Marko was Head of Protected Areas section at the Croatian State Institute for Nature Protection (SINP). Having also had experience working in forestry and agriculture sector in Croatia, as well as working on a sustainable development project in Dominican Republic, Marko has gained a unique view of the challenges involved in achieving a fine balance between conservation and development in the ever more urbanizing world. A Croatian national, Marko has an interest in marine conservation, urban ecology and ants, and is also serious about cooking.
Thierry Renaud - Programme Manager Coastal West Africa
Thierry is responsible for managing all projects and partner relations in Coastal West Africa. Together with the other Programme Managers and the Director General, he also jointly manages MAVA’s overall project portfolio, including global projects. He joined MAVA in February 2009, bringing his experience of scientific research as a biologist and cross-disciplinary project coordinator in Switzerland and Africa. Previous work included coordinating an ethno-biological study of Mount Hombori (Mali), a participatory democracy initiative for the Graduate institute of International and development Studies, and leading Helvetas’ organic cotton production programme in Burkina Faso. A Swiss national, Thierry spends most of his free time outdoors enjoying the ever-changing beauty of nature.
Carol Wuersch - Programme Assistant
Carol joined MAVA in July 2009 as an executive assistant to the President and the Director General. During MAVA’s development phase, she took the opportunity to join the Programme Manager’s group in order to be directly in touch with the work of nature conservation. She is now in charge of all project payments and administration, as well as the organisation of missions and workshops. She also coordinates the project submissions we receive and acts as office manager. Carol, who is a Swiss national, previously worked in a variety of multinational companies performing similar administrative roles as well as database and website maintenance and updating. She loves to travel, particularly in Asia, and spending time with her grown son and her cats.