Unveiling and expressing our unique essence is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and the world.
Cristina Riesen is a trailblazer and lifelong learner.
Cristina's 20+ years expertise ranges from strategic communications and futures thinking to education innovation and entrepreneurship. She was included in the Top 100 Swiss Personalities and named Digital Shaper by the leading Swiss economic magazine Bilanz for two consecutive years.
Cristina's professional journey started as Radio Moderator in Romania, while studying philology at the university. Fascinated by languages and the science of communications, she entered the field of public relations after moving to Switzerland in 2000, and worked for a few years in an agency managing projects for world class interior design and architecture companies such as Vitra and the Vitra Design Museum.
In 2010, sensing that the emerging social media platforms would have a tectonic effect on how the world communicates, she enrolled in the Executive Master of Science in Communications Management at Università della Svizzera Italiana/ University of California, Los Angeles. During her studies she worked on pioneering projects focusing on social media communications for public authorities and international companies. After graduating, in 2012 she joined Silicon Valley based tech company Evernote, inspired by Phil Libin's vision to "build the world's second brain". She led marketing, communications and sales and held the role of General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa during the company's hypergrowth phase reaching 150+ million users worldwide.
Animated by a desire to contribute to positive change in the world through education innovation, Cristina left Evernote in 2016 to found the nonprofit Educreators (born as We Are Play Lab). Developed as a pioneering, future-oriented organization, Educreators Foundation supported until the end of 2023 transformative learning in Swiss public primary and secondary schools together with its strategic partners (Swiss foundations, universities, cantons and schools). Among its flagship projects, the open education initiative Project Square, launched in 2016 and developed together with researchers from EPFL, SUPSI, ETH and HEP Vaud, contributed to the integration of computational thinking in primary schools in the Swiss Canton of Vaud. In parallel with building Educreators, Cristina managed the launch of Switzerland's first hub for edtech entrepreneurs, the Swiss Edtech Collider at EPFL Lausanne, and worked with the Strategic Development team at ETH Zurich, contributing to innovative strategic foresight projects at the intersection of science, technology and education.
Passionate about supporting herself and others grow, Cristina has coached hundreds of startups, entrepreneurs and executives in the past decade as part of programs such as Kickstart Accelerator, Inosuisse Venturelab Early Stage Startups Training, Unleash and Connectology. As an expert in strategic communications and transformative innovation, she collaborates regularly with forward-looking public and private organisations. Projects to date included expert mandates for the European Commission and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. An inspiring public speaker, Cristina participates regularly in international conferences and events related to entrepreneurship, emerging technologies, transformative learning and innovation, inclusion, equity and diversity. Between 2021 and 2023 she was a Board Member of the European Innovation Council.
A lifelong learner by design, Cristina holds a lic.phil. in English and French with teacher certification from Transilvania University. She is an Executive Master of Science in Communications Management EMScom graduate, a certified Reputation Institute professional, a certified foresight and futures design professional of the Institute for the Future IFTF, a Hasso Plattner Institut design thinking professional and an IMD Mastering Board Governance alumna. Her mentoring methods are anchored in the Evolutionary Dynamics Advanced Training.
With a deep love for languages, design, architecture, and the arts, Cristina enjoys being on a perpetual discovery journey.