Award ceremony in San Francisco on October 23, 2019, from left to right: Lukas Sieber (GZA), Dean Zikria (DZ Advisors), Douglas Ebert (GZA), Raffael Marty (Forcepoint), Sonja Wollkopf Walt (GZA), Liz Chien (Ripple), Warren DeSouza (Sila Nanotechnologies), David Tucker (Atara Biotherapeutics), Thomas Schneider (Consul General of Switzerland). Missing in the picture: Alexander Fries (Alpana Ventures), George Scangos (Vir Biotechnology)
“The dialogue with industry peers is a top influencer on perceptions of a region. It’s therefore an important site-selection driver,” explained Sonja Wollkopf Walt before appointing eight new Greater Zurich Honorary Ambassadors at the Swiss embassy in San Francisco. The award program was launched three years ago and recognizes the outstanding achievements of personalities as well as their merits for the Greater Zurich Area in Switzerland.
The Greater Zurich Honorary Ambassadors of 2019 on the West Coast are:
Liz Chien, Vice President of Global Tax, Ripple Labs
Warren DeSouza, Chief Financial Officer, Sila Nanotechnologies
Douglas Ebert, Senior Advisor, Greater Zurich Area Ltd (GZA)
Alexander Fries, Partner, Alpana Ventures
Raffael Marty, Vice President Research and Intelligence, Forcepoint
George Scangos, Chief Executive Officer, Vir Biotechnology
David Tucker, Vice President of Finance, Atara Biotherapeutics
Dean Zikria, Founder, DZ Advisors
After the ceremony, Raffael Marty, Vice President Research and Intelligence at Forcepoint, commented, “in cybersecurity, we are facing a significant talent shortage. Enterprises cannot find enough qualified and experienced talent to help them secure their data and intellectual property. Only through significant global collaboration and breaking down international barriers, will we be able to continue the fight against the various cyber adversaries. The Greater Zurich Area is a unique place where highly qualified experts and a vibrant security culture come together. As a Greater Zurich Honorary Ambassador, helping bring companies to the Zurich area and connecting them with the local community has been very rewarding. It’s only through those global collaborations that we can make progress in the war against cyber crime.”
Ripple Labs is another Greater Zurich success story: Liz Chien, Vice President of Global Tax at Ripple Labs, described her experience with the region saying, "Switzerland is a technical leader with extensive experience in distributed ledger technology and digital assets. Switzerland is a pioneer in architecting a clear regulatory framework and identified the potential and opportunity in this new technology far earlier than most. The regulatory clarity, in addition to the unparalleled sense of community and the deep talent pool, evidenced in our research partnership with ETH, are among the reasons why Ripple decided to establish a presence in Switzerland."
"In 2010 we established the European headquarters of Onyx Pharmaceuticals in Zug, Switzerland. In a company that was patient-centric, valued innovation, trust and integrity being located in Greater Zurich aligned with our core values. I am humbled by the honor conveyed on me and I look forward to representing the Greater Zurich Area as an Honorary Ambassador to ensure that entrepreneurial nature of the area thrives,” said Warren DeSouza, CFO of Sila Nanotechnologies and former Vice President of Finance of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
“I have had the privilege and honor to represent multiple cantons and regions in Switzerland for the past three decades. One thing that has stood out regardless of the canton or region was the willingness of the project team to find innovative solutions to meet a company's project need. Each project was viewed with an eye toward finding a way to meet the company's need, company by company, project by project and canton by canton. This individualized service provided tailor-made solutions and not a 'cookie-cutter' approach," Douglas Ebert, Senior Advisor at Greater Zurich Area, summed up his years of experience working for the region.
Photos from the award ceremony
Preview of the photos from the award ceremony in San Francisco on October 23, 2019. See the full gallery here.
From left to right on the first picture: Lukas Sieber (GZA), Dean Zikria (DZ Advisors), Douglas Ebert (GZA), Raffael Marty (Forcepoint), Sonja Wollkopf Walt (GZA), Liz Chien (Ripple), Warren DeSouza (Sila Nanotechnologies), David Tucker (Atara Biotherapeutics), Thomas Schneider (Consul General of Switzerland). Missing in the picture: Alexander Fries (Alpana Ventures), George Scangos (Vir Biotechnology)