Together, and in collaboration with our partners – leading experts in their fields – we are working to help drive changes in practice that will increase rates of breastfeeding, and improve the health of mothers and children worldwide.


Dr. Katharina Lichtner

Managing Director

Katharina combines decades of deep, complimentary expertise in science, business building, investing and leadership to guide the foundation in its daily operations and toward achieving its long-term strategic goals.

Katharina joined FLRF in 2015. Under her leadership, the foundation has developed from a newly established philanthropy with a big vision to an internationally recognized funder and innovator in the field of breastfeeding and breastmilk. In less than 10 years, FLRF endowed five independent research centers, funded over 20 discrete research and tool development projects, and launched the LactaHub knowledge platform – an open access source of evidence-based information and resources for policymakers and practitioners. This work exposed a know-do gap between policy and implementation. With sustainable impact in maternal and child health firmly in focus, Katharina is now leading FLRF in the development of an innovative operationalization approach to close this critical gap, particularly in low resource settings.

Katharina launched her career with McKinsey & Company, then co-founded Capital Dynamics in 1999, co-leading the private asset manager operationally and strategically for nearly 15 years. What began as a team of three grew to 160 professionals in 14 offices worldwide, managing over USD 18 billion in assets for institutional investors (as of 2013). Next, she took Digital Overlay®, a ground-breaking virtual replacement technology for in-stadium perimeter advertising boards, from a technology invention to market entry in three years, with startup AIM Sport Vision.

Katharina is lead editor and co-author of several books. She has written numerous articles on private equity, clean energy and business creation and is frequently invited to speak at global investing, health and development conferences. She currently serves on the steering committees of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium and Stronger Foundations for Nutrition, the Landfair Capital Board of Directors, the Swiss Technology Fund Credit Committee and the Kuratorium Stiftsschule Engelberg.

Katharina trained in biochemistry and molecular biology and holds a PhD in immunology from the Basel Institute for Immunology.


Martin Elbel

Lead Swiss Strategy

Martin is responsible for the development and the implementation of the foundation’s Swiss strategy. As a proven communications and marketing specialist with extensive experience in external, internal, employee and change communications, and as an educator, facilitator and networker, he is directing his expertise to establish a coordinated national approach to breastfeeding promotion, protection and support.

Martin joined FLRF at the beginning of 2021. One of his major tasks is to build a Switzerland-wide Breastfeeding Alliance of key organizations and institutions committed to breastfeeding and to shape its future fields of activity. He is the coordinator and the contact person for these different stakeholders, which range from breastfeeding associations to health, education and governmental groups. Within the foundation, Martin is responsible for communications and editing publications in German.

In a previous role as head of communications for a global company in the healthcare sector, Martin acquired a profound knowledge of breastfeeding and breastmilk. He has worked as a journalist and in various senior communications roles in banking, insurance, cultural institutions and trade promotion organizations. In his spare time, he teaches communications topics at Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. Martin holds a Master’s Degree in History, English and Musicology from the University of Zurich.


Michaela Hefti

Senior Associate Research

Michaela conducts research and analytics activities at FLRF. With her research expertise, predominantly in nutrition and health, combined with her expertise in education, Michaela is expanding the foundation’s scientific understanding and knowledgebase on breastfeeding and breastmilk.

Michaela joined FLRF in 2021 to further develop and maintain its internal scientific knowledge management system and research datasets. She is a central point of contact for the team’s scientific and research-related questions. Michaela manages various projects and is responsible for the FLRF due diligence process. She is helping to build the foundation’s reputation as an open source provider of science-led breastfeeding knowledge and resources through collaborations with global experts in human milk, and her involvement in international conferences and webinars. Additionally, Michaela is helping to building a Switzerland-wide Breastfeeding Alliance of key organizations and institutions committed to breastfeeding and to shape its future fields of activity in Switzerland.

Michaela taught both adults and youths before she started working at FLRF. She holds a Master’s degree in Food Science from the ETH, Zurich and two Bachelor’s degrees: one in Food Science from the ETH, Zurich and one in German Linguistics and Literature from the University of Zurich.


Iman Kramer

Head Finance & Operations

Iman is responsible for financial and operational affairs at FLRF. In her role, she draws on the intercultural and professional experiences she gained during extended stays in Germany, Spain, the UK and India to oversee the foundation’s international philanthropic activities.

Iman joined FLRF in 2019 to develop project and financial monitoring. Her work includes the preparation and provision of financial decision bases and the development of relevant performance measurement systems, reports and analyses for management and Swiss regulatory authorities. Iman contributes her contract analysis experience as well, and she is building out the foundation’s formal processes with both eyes firmly on risk management.

Iman has many years of professional experience in business unit and project controlling, sales and supply chain controlling, with leading companies in the global industrial sector. She studied economics and business administration, specializing in controlling, marketing and logistics at Justus-Liebig-Universität in Giessen. She holds the German federal diploma in business (Dipl.-Kauffrau), recognized internationally as an MBA.


Kay Kutschkau

Lead Knowledge Management & LactaHub

Kay leads knowledge management activities at FLRF. Passionate about empowering people with knowledge, he uses his skillset to increase equitable access to information and foster new channels for effective knowledge exchange in the field of breastfeeding and breastmilk.

Kay joined FLRF in 2017 to develop an online platform that offers free, evidence-based breastfeeding knowledge and resources to healthcare practitioners, researchers, decisionmakers and other stakeholders in human milk and lactation. LactaHub launched successfully in 2020 and is expanding to meet stakeholder needs. Kay also works closely with the foundation’s international partners and team to manage projects, produce webinars and symposia, and to promote LactaHub’s global outreach. He is always happy to connect, chat about new ideas to improve knowledge dissemination or share his experience and expertise.

Kay’s interest in knowledge management began when he immersed himself in the vibrant city and student life at Freie Universität Berlin. Fascinated by the economic and technical conditions of disseminating information and knowledge in the quickly developing digital media world, he consequently started a career in the digital sector of a major German publishing house. Kay holds a Master’s degree in Media and Communications Studies and Economics from Freie Universität Berlin and certifications in Media Management from Hamburg Media School and Advanced Knowledge Management from Henley Business School.  


Cassandra Petrakis Zwahlen

Lead English Communications

Cassandra leads English communications at FLRF. Combining curiosity with journalism, sales, marketing and corporate communications experience, Cassandra strives to make complex scientific topics accessible.

Cassandra joined FLRF in 2018 to develop the foundation’s public position and expand its communications with stakeholders globally. From the website and social media to conference, webinar and symposia materials, newsletters and more, Cassandra creates content and gives voice to the work of FLRF and its partners. She is always happy to connect and exchange ideas and best practices.

Cassandra started her career as a reporter with a daily newspaper in the United States. She moved into international sales for a global publishing company, ultimately leading her to Swiss-based journalism, communications and marketing. She holds a Master’s in Education from Endicott College, a Bachelor’s in English from the University of New Hampshire and a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (CELTA) from Cambridge English, University of Cambridge.


Dana Prosser

Executive Assistant

Dana is assistant to the Managing Director, and she is responsible for managing the office operations and administration. Combining her passionate admiration of all things culture with extensive international life and work experiences in Germany, Portugal the UK and US, Dana enables the FLRF office and team to function efficiently within a global context.

Dana joined FLRF in 2020 to coordinate office and personnel activities for the growing foundation. She organizes each aspect of the office’s daily operations – from all things technical to all things practical. As FLRF expands its global scope and forges new partnerships and collaborations, Dana also ensures related travel, meetings and engagements run smoothly. In addition to her day-to-day functions, Dana arranges foundation events locally in Switzerland and internationally.

Dana has over 25 years of professional office management experience. She launched her career in Germany at a startup, then accepted an invitation to work for the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Berlin. Dana expanded her knowledge and experience in office management with various medical consulting companies in Europe before moving to and working in the US, and then choosing Switzerland as her new European home. Dana has a Diploma as a Foreign Language Correspondent from The London Chamber of Commerce and Bildung und Integration e.V. and a Higher National Diploma in Business and Finance Degree from Swindon College of Business and Finances (UK).


Dr. Michaela Turan

Head Research

Michaela leads research and analytics activities at FLRF. With her rich blend of research expertise and technical knowledge, predominantly in the realm of molecular biology, she serves as the key point of contact for FLRF’s scientific partners and global research network.

Michaela joined FLRF in 2020 to expand and curate the foundation’s scientific knowledge and related activities. She ensures FLRF keeps current on relevant research and the important relationship between evidence-based information and improved health and nutrition. Her learnings on emerging and pressing topics flow into her technical project evaluations and her educational outreach. Through her collaborations with experts in the field of human milk, and her involvement in international conferences and webinars, Michaela is helping to build the foundation’s reputation as an open source for science-led breastfeeding knowledge and resources.

Michaela worked as a postdoc in Inselspital and later as a clinical scientist in a Swiss-based company developing artificial intelligence technology for biomedical research and precision diagnostics. She has authored multiple significant research papers that have been published in high impact journals. Michaela holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Bern and two Master’s degrees: one in Business Administration and one in Biomedical Physics.