Gemic

Meet the Gems

We are a team of serious thinkers and collaborators.

Explore the methods that power our engine room

Abdullah Khalayleh

Director of Strategy

Abdullah Khalayleh

Abdullah is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s London office.

He brings over 7 years of education and strategy consulting experience. He believes that strategies are most impactful when they create learning organizations that are able to self reflect and proactively respond to change. Deliberate learning, whether at the individual, organization or system’s level, is always at the heart of his work.

Abdullah holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University and an MBA from the Quantic Institute of Business and Technology. He has worked on improving and reforming education systems and organisations across several countries, including the UAE, KSA, Jordan, Pakistan, and Lebanon.

Aditi Surie von Czechowski

Strategy Lead

Aditi Surie von Czechowski

Aditi is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

A true believer in interdisciplinary research, Aditi combines theoretical tools from science and technology studies, anthropology, history, and literary studies to understand the cultural, societal, and technological forces shaping peoples’ lives. They believe that the most innovative strategy is inclusive and draws on stories from unexpected sources.

Aditi holds a PhD in Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University, and has been a research fellow in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Aditi has worked extensively in the non-profit sector, with a focus on humanitarian aid for refugees and addressing climate change in the Global South. Outside of Gemic, they can be found in their ceramics studio, on a long hike, or reading Japanese fiction.

Aija-Rose Farnill

Senior IT Manager, Global

Aija-Rose Farnill

Aija-Rose is Gemic’s Senior Manager of Global IT, based in New York.

She believes the best possible support is derived through empathy and efficiency. She has spent her career improving and improvising process across industries including arts non-profit, publishing, digital fabrication, private household management, and health tech.

Aija-Rose is a graduate of SUNY Ulster, a public community college in upstate New York. On Saturdays she is a volunteer teacher with the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, a local organization dedicated to prosperity through education. 

Alex Cheston

Strategy Lead

Alex Cheston

Alex is a Strategy Lead based on Gemic’s New York office.

He has 5+ years experience identifying new product and service opportunities for F500 companies in tech, food, fashion and automotive. He believes that the future doesn’t just happen – it’s made – and that big companies have the power to proactively shape the future of their industry.

Alex holds a Bachelors in English from Bowdoin College and an MBA from INSEAD. He loves classic literature and science fiction, and on windy weekends can be found kitesurfing in the harbors of Brooklyn.

Alexander Spalding

Strategy Lead

Alexander Spalding

Alexander is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s Helsinki office.

He is passionate about understanding how changing political, social, environmental, and economic realities around the world temper the ‘things’ that affect subjectivities. This allows him to curate those compelling and evocative stories of people’s lived experiences that underpin truly meaningful strategy. 

Alexander first read for an honours BSc in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. After this, he read for an additional MPhil in Health, Medicine, and Society (with a specialisation in Medical Anthropology) as a Wellcome Trust Scholar at the University of Cambridge. 

When he’s not occasioning strategy magic at Gemic, Alexander can be found dreaming of the gluten-free food revolution or working on his writing skills. He hopes to one day write with the clarity, minimalism, and emotional elegance of, say, Hemingway—or a Dane. 

Arth Gupta

Senior Strategist

Arth Gupta

Arth is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s Toronto office.

He is a definite optimist and believes that successful innovation comes from ‘secrets’ – truths about the world that are not yet public knowledge. At Gemic and beyond, he’s on the hunt for secrets across disciplines, peoples, and cultures by incorporating a multidisciplinary approach in his thinking. He believes that the best strategies start with a bold, disruptive image of a better future and deploy meticulous planning to get there.

Arth graduated with a BA in Economics and Philosophy from the University of British Columbia. He is interested in everything ranging from existentialism to credit default swaps, and has previously worked in equity research and in product at an AI startup.

Outside Gemic, he can be found talking to strangers, practicing guitar, or chasing down esoteric ideas.

Ashlinn Quigley

Strategist

Ashlinn Quigley

Ashlinn is a Strategist based in Gemic’s London office.

She explores cultural intricacies and growth opportunities by actively listening to various stakeholders and ideating. Drawing on her interdisciplinary education, which has equipped her with expertise in research methods such as ethnography, literature review, experimental design, and hypothesis testing, she discovers valuable insights that inform strategic decision-making.

Ashlinn holds a Master of Philosophy in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Aberdeen, complemented with a visiting semester at the University of Florida. Being of both German and Irish nationality, Ashlinn grew up bilingual, speaking both English and German. Outside of work, Ashlinn enjoys walks in nature and saying hello to as many dogs as possible.

Audrey Bucciarelli

Senior HR Manager, EMEA

Audrey Bucciarelli

Audrey is Gemic’s Senior HR Manager, EMEA based in Berlin.

She believes that supportive, compassionate and people-driven practices are essential to company culture and effective operations. She brings years of experience in employee experience, people operations and workplace management in Berlin based startups.

Prior to relocating to Germany, Audrey studied and practiced veterinary technology and hospital administration in Seattle Washington. In her spare time, she continues her work with animals at local shelters.

Behzad Sarmadi

Director of Strategy

Behzad Sarmadi

Behzad is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s Toronto office.

He believes in the combined power of Social Science and Human-Centered Design to identify new product and service opportunities while generating the actionable strategies required to unlock them for clients, their customers, and stakeholders. 

Behzad has honed this ability across client-side and agency-side roles, from steering exploratory innovation projects detailing new lines of business to the design and de-risking of new products to enable them. He holds a PhD in Socio-Cultural Anthropology and specializes in the social study of finance, technology, and identity. Prior to joining Gemic, Behzad led design research initiatives for AI product teams and helped clients discover customer-facing AI opportunities while working at Element AI. 

On the weekends, he enjoys cycling with his son. 

Benjamin Pape

Digital Lead

Benjamin Pape

Benjamin is with the Enablement Team as Digital Lead, based in Gemic’s Berlin office.


A trained cultural analyst, experienced strategy consultant, and full-stack developer, Benjamin’s focus is to enable Gemic’s project teams in the fields of Data and Development.

In Data, he helps teams build architectures to facilitate both research and analysis. He guides them in leveraging large-scale datasets, employing automation and AI, while staying true to Gemic’s social science DNA. In Development, Benjamin enables content delivery innovation by creating client-tailored digital platforms and web-apps. He also helps integrate Gemic’s various digital tools to improve workflows.

Benjamin holds a degree in Communication & Cultural Studies from Zeppelin University. In his free time, he is a passionate father of two, skier, musician and mushroom hunter.

Bernardo Presser

Visual Design Lead

Bernardo Presser

Bernardo is with the Enablement Team as Visual Design Lead, based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

He believes visual design is an instrument for fostering clarity, understanding and action. Bernardo has honed his ability to tell stories visually through his background in the editorial, web and information design fields. He has also helped brands transform strategy into visual expression.

Bernardo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and a Master’s degree in Information Design. Prior to Gemic, Bernardo has worked as a designer at an independent publishing house, co-founded a design studio in Brazil, and worked for a fintech startup in London. When not working, he can be found admiring the beauty of vernacular graphic design he finds on the streets.

Carmen Enrique

Strategist

Carmen Enrique

Carmen is a Strategist based out of Gemic’s New York office.

Carmen utilizes skills honed through the scientific study of language to recognize patterns, analyze diverse cultural influences and trace the historic roots of social changes. She believes in curiosity as a powerful tool that should be at the foundation of any project.

A graduate of Harvard College, Carmen has pursued her passion for language and culture by studying Linguistics and Comparative Literature. She brings varied professional experience that ranges from research for international non-profits to creative work at a start-up.

Caroline Laidlaw

Director of Operations

Caroline Laidlaw

Caroline is Gemic’s Global Director of Operations based in Gemic’s Toronto Office.

Results oriented and empathetic, Caroline believes that no initiative can be successful without the involvement of the people who it aims to empower. Leveraging this philosophy, she brings over 10 years of operational and project delivery experience,  managing the lifecycle of strategy and innovation projects and enabling teams to yield human-centered solutions to complex problems. 

Caroline is Prince 2 certified and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland, with a major in Psychology. Formerly at Idea Couture, she led delivery excellence initiatives, the creation and management of a Project Management Office, and the integration of project delivery and operational systems into those of the parent company post-acquisition.

Catherine Paris

Strategist

Catherine Paris

Catherine is a Strategist based out of Gemic’s Abu Dhabi office.

She thrives on making deep research meaningful for clients, leveraging her empathetic approach to understand their challenges and uncover the underlying narratives and forces that shape future decision-making.

Before joining Gemic, Catherine spent a decade working in advertising, where she led the development and execution of innovative campaigns across industries. She holds an MBA from the University of Bologna, Italy, and a Master’s in Communications from Swinburne University, Australia. She enjoys exploring new cities, and is captivated by the constant evolution of fashion, design, and cultural trends.

Chloe Mandel

Strategist

Chloe Mandel

Chloe is a strategist based on Gemic’s New York office.

Chloe’s liberal arts background drives her to seek interdisciplinary approaches to strategic inquiries. Inspired by the diverse academic interests of her colleagues and former classmates, she believes successful strategy development harmonizes the unique perspectives of a range of disciplines. 

Chloe holds a BA in Political Science from Pomona College in Claremont, CA. She brings experience in strategic communications and digital marketing, having worked for companies whose clients ranged from start-ups to multinational corporations. She’s passionate about food in work and in life, spending much of her free time exploring New York’s gastronomy.

Christian Laheij

Strategy Lead

Christian Laheij

Christian is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

He believes in the power of holistic insight to drive the creation of valuable futures. Attentive to the productive interspace between what is, and aspiration, he helps clients uncover lived experiences of consumers as well as emergent perspectives that shape tomorrow’s world.

Christian received his PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics. Prior to Gemic, he was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany where his research explored dynamics of cultural change, radical uncertainty and urban transformation.

Constance Mueller-Trimbusch

Senior Director

Constance Mueller-Trimbusch

Constance is the Senior Director of Business Success at Gemic and responsible for Finance, HR & People, IT, Legal & Compliance and Project Operations for our offices world-wide and is currently based in Berlin.

She believes in human connection, data based decision making and efficient process design to solve problems, reach strategic goals and create an environment that serves a company’s purpose and people alike. 

Constance holds a BA(hons) from European Business School in London and has more than 20 years experience in the field of operations. She has lived in Germany, France, Argentina, the UK, Spain and India. In her spare time she is a passionate mum, studies Hindi and takes care of her little home zoo.

Dave Archer

Senior Advisor

Dave Archer

Dave is a consumer insight and market strategy expert with 32 years of experience in identifying opportunities for Procter and Gamble to launch and grow brands and businesses. He was inducted into P&G’s ‘Brand Mastery Society’ in recognition of a life-long career of brand-building. He’s guided the launch, growth and sometimes the revitalizing of dozens of household-name brands in multiple countries, categories, and market contexts.

Dave’s skills in insights and pattern recognition, honed over decades, enable him to rapidly ‘see the wood for the trees’ and highlight where to focus to maximize the value of your ideas for both you and your customers.

Dave received a first-class honors degree and MA in Human Geography from Cambridge University, and has served on the advisory boards of several US universities.

David Alworth

Partner

David Alworth

David is a Partner based in Gemic’s Abu Dhabi and New York offices.

As the head of Gemic’s Education & Societal Impact practice, David applies systems thinking to advise senior leaders in both the public and private sectors on their most complex strategic challenges. Under his leadership, Gemic helps to build flourishing communities through projects in areas such as learning design, public school reform, environmental and social sustainability, individual and collective wellbeing, interfaith cooperation, and the future of knowledge and innovation.

A former university professor, David earned his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Chicago, where he serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.

He loves to cook, swim, and swing kettlebells.

David Ginsborg

Senior Strategist

David Ginsborg

David is a Senior Strategist based in Europe.

An anthropologist by training, David is supremely interested in the stories that people tell about themselves. And as a strategy consultant, his aim is to help clients become a transformative part of those stories, in a positive and empowering way.

Originally, from Florence, Italy, David has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. In his academic research prior to Gemic, he explored questions of individual and collective self-cultivation and cultural change from the somewhat unusual perspective of hardcore football fandom. He is an experienced and highly analytical field researcher.

Davina Nelson

Senior Finance Manager, North America & UK

Davina Nelson

Davina is Gemic’s Senior Finance Manager, North America & UK based out of our Toronto Office.

With a proven comprehensive understanding of financial intricacies and a proactive mindset, Davina approaches complex challenges in Finance with a strategic blend of analytical precision and innovative thinking.

Davina has a BBA from the University of Toronto and is a seasoned Accounting and Finance professional with experience spanning over a decade. Prior to working at Gemic, Davina has held roles in finance within technology consulting and commercial real estate with a special emphasis in M&A and the implementation of new financial systems.

Devika Kumar

Senior Strategist

Devika Kumar

Devika is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s New York office.

Driven by curiosity and a commitment to following her intuition, Devika believes a multi-disciplinary perspective is key to understanding human decision-making outside of a one-dimensional, homo economicus framework. In her work, she delivers growth strategies that sit at the intersection of generations, cultures, and spaces, with an understanding that sustainability has to underpin any system bent on success.

Devika graduated with Special Honors in International Relations and Global Studies, Economics, and Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Gemic, she led research in sustainability, circularity, and international environmental regulation at an Austin-based research lab. When she’s away from her computer, Devika can be found testing new blends of hojicha tea at home or creating something new at the local pottery studio.

Duncan Lomax

Senior Strategist

Duncan Lomax

Duncan is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s London office.

He is interested in the interrelation of complex systems, the way that networks of culture, economics, technology, and human behaviour coevolve. He believes that in order for businesses and institutions to anticipate and proactively respond to non-linear change, they must first understand their position within this complex topography, and their relational proximity to other actors.

Duncan holds a MEng degree in Engineering from Imperial College London and a BFA in Fine Art from the University of Oxford. Before joining Gemic, he worked in insight consulting and energy policy research.

Away from the office, Duncan makes art, and cycles up hills in his native West Yorkshire.

Duo Chen

Visual Designer

Duo Chen

Duo is with the Enablement Team as a Visual Designer, based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

Curiosity and empathy weave through the evolution of design. Being a pragmatic thinker, she believes good visual design tears down the language barriers by translating the intangible, complicated into the tangible, meaningful.

Coming from a Business and Hospitality background, Duo made the leap into Design where she has over 5 years of in-house experience working for startups, an advertising agency as well as freelancing, she had helped brands tell their stories by elevating their visual identity and leading numerous campaigns which reached an impactful, measurable goal. Out of her working hours, she can be found documenting lasting moments on her analogue camera, or appreciating renaissance art in the local gallery.

Eléonore Joassin

Strategist

Eléonore Joassin

Eléonore is a Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office..

She is passionate about understanding the relationship between human societies and businesses by not only looking at social structures, norms, and laws, but also art and broader sociocultural imaginaries. She loves drawing inspiration from unconventional sources in order to help her clients think outside the box and claim their place in an undetermined future.

Eléonore holds a bachelor’s in Social Sciences from SciencesPo Paris and a bachelor’s in Biology from Université Pierre et Marie Curie. She also holds two master’s degrees: one in Public Policy from SciencesPo Paris and another in Anthropology from Université Paris-Descartes.

In her spare time, Eléonore can be found experimenting with different forms of dance (especially swing and hip hop), in search of the most creative ways to express herself. Through art, she aims at getting closer to understanding what makes humans feel connected to each other and to Humanity at large.

Elisabeth Bennett

Partner

Elisabeth Bennett

Elisabeth is a Partner based in Gemic’s Toronto office.

Over the past 13 years, Elisabeth has been immersed in both brand and innovation strategy worlds, namely within life sciences, health delivery, consumer health and technology sectors. She has a passion for human understanding and delivering solutions that is deeply shaped by her philosophy that good strategy is both a critical and creative endeavour.

Elisabeth came to Gemic from her role as Head of Strategy of the Health Team at innovation firm Idea Couture, and since joining Gemic has led the growth of both the Toronto team and the Health & Wellbeing practice. She holds a diploma in Fashion Design and a B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology, Literary Studies and Political Science from The University of Toronto.

Emily Kuret

Director of Strategy

Emily Kuret

Emily is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s Toronto office. 

She sits at the unique intersection of strategic thinking and product development, working with clients to solve for system change, rather than symptoms. Emily has spent the last 8 years fostering meaningful relevance and sustainable growth for clients around the world, in industries such as public health, transit, banking, and technology. 

Emily graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelors of Industrial Design. Prior to Gemic, she worked as a Design Strategist at Fjord. At the start of the pandemic, she enrolled in a tour of duty with the Canadian Federal Government to support the pandemic response, where she partnered with top leadership in Canada to develop and deliver key digital initiatives.

Outside of work, you will find Emily leaning into a lifetime of learning – from renovating houses to riding motorcycles – she’s on this planet for adventure.

Enya Trenholm-Jensen

Senior Strategist

Enya Trenholm-Jensen

Enya is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

She believes that the big picture is a mesh of the minute and so-called mundane. Enya strives to decode systems of signification—understanding their externalised manifestations in the wider world, and their internalised meanings in people’s everyday lives. Her original research, including topics such as subcultures and soft power, has honed her ability to translate complexity into coherence.

Enya holds a BSc in Applied Psychology from Glasgow Caledonian University and an MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University. She has lived in Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, South Korea and Germany. In her spare time she can be found working on her own art practice or appreciating someone else’s

Giulia Luvisotto

Strategist

Giulia Luvisotto

Giulia is a Strategist based in Gemic’s London office.

A decade in Philosophy taught her that there is no uninteresting question. Her passion is to seek the hidden assumptions of any theoretical system or cultural phenomenon, unhinge them, and find alternatives. She believes that radical evolution requires analytic rigour, intellectual courage and a convincing, overarching vision of complexity. Her research has focused on responsibility for beliefs, virtue theory and normativity.

Giulia holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Warwick and is a member of the Advisory Board for the ERC project The ethics of doubt at the University of Southampton. Prior to Gemic, she was a postdoc in Helsinki and a visiting scholar in Los Angeles, Chicago and Berkeley. In her free time, she hops between Italy and Greece, talks to her plants, probes questionable culinary affinities and hunts for underrated music gems.

Hani Sabra

Director of Strategy

Hani Sabra

Hani is a New York-based Director of Strategy for Gemic.

He is a political risk analyst with more than 20 years of professional experience focused on the Middle East. Hani believes that a sophisticated knowledge of politics, history, and culture is necessary to understanding and projecting future trends. He applied that philosophy during his 10-year tenure at Eurasia Group and at his own boutique practice, Alef Advisory, since he established it in 2017.

Hani graduated from the American University in Cairo and has lived in Toronto, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and New York. He is not fast but running keeps him sane.

Harper Hagedorn

Partner

Harper Hagedorn

Harper is a Partner based in Gemic’s New York office.

She believes that the most powerful brands are those that do not rely on constant competitive audits, but stay true to what they are all about. Carving out and deploying a unique position in the world as a means for innovation is Harper’s specialty. She has led this kind of thinking for brands across industries and around the globe.

Prior to joining Gemic, she led brand strategy for MINI within the BMW Group, growing the brand value by 35%, according to Interbrand Top 100 rankings. Previously, Harper worked at the innovation agency, Redscout, and global advertising companies, like Ogilvy & Mather. Her work spans categories, from automotive and consumer packaged goods, to fitness and media, to e-commerce and cultural institutions, to real estate and non-profits. She won an Effie for her strategy work within CPG, conceived award-winning new products in food and beverage, and starred in a national campaign of one key client. 

Harper has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Vermont and is a born and bred New Yorker

Ian Beacock

Strategy Lead

Ian Beacock

Ian is a Strategy Lead based out of Gemic’s Toronto office.

He believes in driving sustainable value by putting ideas to work for the public good. A historian by training with a journalist’s heart, Ian helps teams build strategies and products by clarifying what’s most deeply at stake for people, organizations, societies, and the planet.

At Gemic, he advises clients and leads teams within our Technology and Health practices. Recent work has focused on digital creator needs in the Global South, nursing burnout, Covid vaccination policy, and protecting youth from online misinformation. A globally-experienced advisor and thinking partner, he has led immersive fieldwork in a range of established and emerging markets including The Philippines, Brazil, and Mexico.

Ian maintains a public profile on technology and democracy by writing for major publications like The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and The New Republic. He has also coauthored prize-winning academic work in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) together with clients at Google, and a major policy report on public health communications featured in The New York Times. He holds a PhD in History from Stanford University and is happiest when hunkered down in a woodsy cabin.

Iida Pyy

Senior Strategist

Iida Pyy

Iida is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

She believes that organizations embracing their role in making social change find sharper focus and opportunities for differentiation. Iida also believes that the best strategies draw from a deep understanding of the human condition. Building on her academic research in collective emotions and their motivational power, Iida helps companies, NGOs, and educational institutions create authentic social impact.

Iida holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from the University of Helsinki. She has also studied Intercultural Education, English Philology, Visual Arts, and Cultural Studies in the University of Oulu and in the University of Melbourne. Iida has more than a decade of experience across the education sector, including teaching in K12 and higher education. A former competitive synchronized swimmer, Iida feels most at home in the pool or on the yoga mat.

Ikumi Taneya

Senior Strategist

Ikumi Taneya

Ikumi is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

Growing up in Japan where collective responsibility and unspoken rules play a pivotal role in shaping people’s perceptions and behaviours, Ikumi truly believes that understanding cultural narratives is essential to the success of a brand. A keen observer, her empathy and curiosity towards people and cultures have been instrumental in her ability to help brands develop powerful innovation strategies.

Ikumi holds a Master’s degree in Critical and Creative Analysis from Goldsmiths, University of London. Before joining Gemic, she worked as a consultant at boutique brand strategy agencies in Tokyo and as a brand manager for a music education app in Berlin.

Jahmel Edwards

Global Director of Finance

Jahmel Edwards

Jahmel is Gemic’s Global Director of Finance based in our Berlin office.

He believes that an effective and impactful Finance function is based on transparency, accuracy, and a forward-looking mindset to changing business needs. 

Jahmel graduated from York University with a double degree in Business Administration and History. Before Gemic, he has worked for 8 years in technology and professional services. 

Jana Jevtic

Strategy Lead

Jana Jevtic

Jana is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s Toronto office.

She brings the belief that foresight is a capacity to cognize change and consequence and inform action in the present. At Gemic, Jana links foresight to action to develop winning strategies, and provide insights into cultures, perspectives, and interests that lay the foundations for the future people want to create.

Jana earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Central European University, where she studied the intersection of Islamic ethical traditions and consumer boycotts in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. She continues to remain active in academic spheres, both teaching and publishing.

Jenna Sullivan

Global Director of Project Operations

Jenna Sullivan

Jenna is Gemic’s Global Director of Project Operations based in Toronto.

She prides herself on combining operational rigour and empathetic leadership backed by years of marketing and agency experience. She thrives in the details and ensures seamless execution across all Gemic’s project teams globally. 

Jenna holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University and has lived in the Cayman Islands. 

Jere Seikkala

Director of Strategy

Jere Seikkala

Jere is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s Abu Dhabi office.

He believes that human value and business value intertwine, focusing his efforts on helping European companies align their strategy with emerging paradigms of what people truly find meaningful. Over several years at Gemic, he has duly guided business leaders across FMCG, finance, tech and luxury toward sustained growth, helping them identify and innovate around new engines of value in European, Asian and American markets.  

Jere holds a Master’s in International Relations from the London School of Economics. Prior to Gemic, he worked in a variety of fields ranging from construction and nursing, to manufacturing and foreign affairs, which trained him to intuitively connect pragmatic know-how with abstract theoretical knowledge. Wherever he is in the world, he likes to start the day with a run, soaking in all he can of the local air and culture.

Jessica Hamel-Akre

Senior Strategist

Jessica Hamel-Akre

Jessica is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s London office.

She has over 10 years academic experience in deep historical, textual, and philosophical analysis, Jessica explores how people navigate moral life with everyday storytelling and material culture. She believes that the future can be found somewhere between the real and the imagined, and with her interdisciplinary approach, she aims to reveal the meaning within the belief systems we use to ground our daily experiences. Before joining Gemic, she worked as a research fellow in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge where she studied the intellectual and cultural history of women’s appetite control, dietary medicine, and body image. 

Jessica holds a PhD in English, plus a specialization in Gender Studies, from the University of Montreal. She is also a creative writer and an avid home seamstress.

Johannes Suikkanen

Founder & Chairman

Johannes Suikkanen

Johannes is the Founder and Chairman of Gemic. Based in New York, he advises executives in fashion, automotive, tech and FMCG on how to respond to cultural, structural and behavioral change.

To do this, he believes in starting with the right questions: What business are banks really in? What role do “indulgences” actually play in our lives? Where is the value in being an “iconic” brand? In helping executives arrive at the right questions, Johannes has helped top-tier companies define their markets and create meaningful value for shareholders and everyday people. 

Johannes received his Master’s degree in Business and Culture studies from Copenhagen Business School and studied at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Besides serving as a mentor across Gemic’s professional and intellectual community, he is an avid Arctic skier.

Jonne Heikkinen

Advisor

Jonne Heikkinen

Jonne is an Advisor based in Gemic’s Helsinki Office heading Gemic’s offering development at the nexus of artificial intelligence and human sciences. 

He believes that the trailblazers of tomorrow are those who recognize today the transformative power of artificial intelligence in enhancing human creativity and capabilities. He perceives AI as the bridge between a winning strategy and impeccable execution, underscoring the importance of adaptability in the ever-evolving landscape.


Prior to Gemic, Jonne co-founded and served as the Managing Partner at Fourkind, an award-winning strategic AI consultancy. This venture was later acquired by Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy, where he held the helm as Managing Director for the Nordics, with a global emphasis on AI. Jonne holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Eastern Finland.

Julia Vallendar

Finance Manager, EMEA

Julia Vallendar

Julia is a Finance Manager, EMEA based out of Gemic’s Berlin office.

Julia’s approach to problem-solving is rooted in a pragmatic view of finance, ensuring that strategies are both innovative and grounded in solid, actionable insights.

Prior to working at Gemic, Julia held roles in firms dealing with German taxation and compliance. 

Julian Koschwitz

Director of Strategy

Julian Koschwitz

Julian is a Director of Strategy based out of Gemic’s Berlin office.

Jun Lee

Partner

Jun Lee

Jun is a Partner in Gemic’s New York Office, where he brings 20 years of experience in research and product development in communications, digital media use, automotive mobility, and home life. 

His long career has been defined by a desire to understand why people embrace, reject, and in some cases, appropriate technologies in unanticipated ways. At Gemic, this translates into a desire to help companies reimagine the ways technology might change how people work, socialize, and connect to one another. 

Jun has a Master’s degree in Design from the Institute of Design and an BA in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University and has lived abroad in Seoul and Copenhagen before returning to New York.

Justin Harnoss

Partner

Justin Harnoss

Justin is a Partner based in Gemic’s Berlin office. 

As a digital entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience developing successful business models and a former Product Owner and Agile Coach, he is passionate about translating strategy into actual products and coaching agile teams to work at their best.  

Justin holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley and an MSc in International Management from Instituto de Empresa, Madrid. Before Gemic, he worked at McKinsey & Company leading strategy and innovation projects across firms such as Siemens, BMW, Deutsche Bank, and Adidas. Later he served as COO to Digital McKinsey’s Berlin Studio, growing the design and engineering team and building new technology businesses for clients from scratch. An Improvisation Theater enthusiast, Justin sometimes performs in Berlin. 

Karawan Bizri

Business Success Manager, Gulf region

Karawan Bizri

Karawan is Gemic’s Business Success Manager, Gulf region based in Abu Dhabi.

She believes in fostering a supportive company culture and effective operations. With experience in employee engagement, people operations, and workplace management within Abu Dhabi-based startups, She brings a people-driven approach to her role.

She studied Communication Arts in Beirut and worked a variety of jobs in Lebanon. She moved back to Abu Dhabi in 2021 with the goal of expanding her professional network.

Born and raised in Abu Dhabi – UAE, Karawan loves the summer vibes and sunny days. She loves to cook in her spare time and socialize with friends.

Katalin Sevilla (Kleemann)

Director of Strategy

Katalin Sevilla (Kleemann)

Katalin is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s New York office.

She believes that good strategy is all about helping organizations shape clear pathways towards an internally shared vision of a desirable future, based on a thorough and systemic understanding of today’s reality as well as a good dose of logic, creativity, and cultural awareness.

Katalin has 10+ years of industry experience (focused on CPG, food and beverages, consumer health and technology) and holds a Master’s degree in Communications from the University of Arts Berlin. A born and raised German and half Hungarian who has traveled extensively, while living in London and New York for most of her adult life, she has not only developed strong cultural fluency but also a rather odd accent.

Laura Murray

Strategy Lead

Laura Murray

Laura is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s Toronto office.

She is a global researcher and human insights expert. Trained in anthropology,  semiotics, and filmmaking, she specializes in using ethnography and social theory frameworks to illuminate overlooked, unknown, and emergent facets of lived experience. She is committed to building groundbreaking business strategy on the basis of real human emotion, desire, and need.

Laura holds a PhD in Anthropology from New York University, as well as an M.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from the University of Toronto.

Leo Kim

Senior Strategist

Leo Kim

Leo is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s New York office.

He believes that questions around technology, media, and how we make sense of the world are all fundamentally intertwined. By appreciating how we both shape, and are shaped by, the tools and products we use, he hopes to design solutions and strategies rooted in care.

Leo holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Yale, and a Master’s in Film from Oxford. He’s previously worked in advertising and served as a brand manager in the startup world. He also frequently writes essays on technology and media, loves playing folk music, and has been slowly learning how to make pottery.

Lesley Gotlib Conn

Senior Strategist

Lesley Gotlib Conn

Lesley is a Senior Strategist in Gemic’s Toronto office. 

For more than 15 years, Lesley has been using social science approaches to characterize how culture and context influences peoples’ healthcare experiences and health outcomes. ​She came to Gemic from Sunnybrook Research Institute where she led a federally-funded qualitative research program in health services research improving care for traumatically injured and surgical oncology populations. 

Lesley holds a PhD and MA in Anthropology with a specialization in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. Her BA is in anthropology from Western University. She maintains a faculty appointment at the University of Toronto in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and Department of Anthropology. Lesley has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles. 

Lindsay McComas

Senior HR Manager, North America

Lindsay McComas

Lindsay is Senior HR Manager, North America, where she brings 20+ years of Operations and People Management experience.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University, a small school in Pennsylvania, her home state.

Liubava Shatokhina

Research Lead

Liubava Shatokhina

Liubava is with the Enablement Team as Research Lead, based in Gemic’s Helsinki office.

Liubava supports Gemic teams in finding the most elegant ways to frame projects, as well as conduct research and analysis. She finds it exciting to balance best practices of research with pioneering new approaches, mixing established theories with unconventional interventions. In the quest to answer strategic business questions, it is equally important for her what questions we ask and how we ask those questions.

Liubava holds three master’s degrees, in the philosophy of culture, comparative sociology, and cultural anthropology. Before joining Gemic, Liubava worked as a researcher at the Center for Science and Technology Studies at the European University at St. Petersburg, taught social science in and outside academia, and organized art events to foster social change. She is an avid fan of art film: there is a good chance she has been to your local independent movie theatre.


Louis Elton

Strategy Lead

Louis Elton

Louis is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s London office.

He believes that the most thrilling innovation comes from the alchemy of combining disparate ideas and methods from multiple disciplines. Louis brings a wealth of niche expertise, insatiable curiosity, and a passion for generating unique and useless thoughts and speculations.

Louis was trained as a chef at Leiths School of Food and Wine. He then graduated with a BA in Theology, Religious Studies, and the Philosophy of Religion from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in the Social Science of the Internet from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. 

Before Gemic, he spent his early career juggling artificial intelligence policy and working at a beloved fermented foods laboratory under a railway arch in London. Outside of Gemic, he can be found eating, drinking, walking his poodle Moses Mendelsohn — and obsessively doing the washing up at 2 am while listening to audiobooks.

Luke Barber

Quantitative Research Lead

Luke Barber

Luke is a Quantitative Research Lead based out of Gemic’s London office.

Having spent 12 years honing his craft in generating strategic insight from complex datasets, Luke is in charge of all things quant at Gemic. His expertise spans multiple quantitative methodologies, with a personal preference for consumer segmentation and market landscaping for emerging brands

Luke received a BA in Mathematics and French from the University of Birmingham. He’s never done maths in French.

Mara Block

Partner

Mara Block

Mara is a Partner in Gemic’s New York office.

By uncovering what’s meaningful to consumers across different industries, she leads organizations to better business decision-making. Her work at Gemic involves two main functions: 1) immersing herself in the worlds of everyday people to explore changing relationships to things like health, money, time, identity, and technology; and 2) developing commercial strategies out of a deep understanding of the human experience. 

Before joining Gemic, Mara’s advisory work spanned projects ranging from designing an innovative operating model for a new university in an emerging market to developing a human-centric go-to-market strategy for a big data consultancy. A teacher at heart, Mara is a former professor who developed award-winning courses on anthropology and global health & health policy at Harvard University. Mara is also a flying trapeze instructor. She holds a PhD in religion and the history of medicine from Harvard and a BA in physics from the University of Redlands.

Marc Mercer

Chief Operating Officer

Marc Mercer

Marc is Gemic’s Chief Operating Officer, based in our London office.

He believes that trust and reputation are critical, strategic assets for the defence, sustainability and growth of any organisation. Behind these assets lies a myriad of considerations that should be shaped through deep insights, such as organisational culture, governance, brand and strategic communications, for example. Marc brings a wealth of experience in advising leaders and their organisations on culture, leadership and pathways to future growth through the lens of trust and reputation.

Marc holds a Master’s degree in global affairs and civil society from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s in International Studies from the University of Western Ontario.

Marcela Madera

Strategy Lead

Marcela Madera

Marcella is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s New York Office.

She has spent 4+ years working at the intersection of brand and innovation strategy–defining new brands, products, and experiences alongside multidisciplinary teams.
Marcela views success not only by a clearly articulated strategy, but by its ability to be implemented.

With a range of global experiences across industries – tech, consumer goods, energy, financial services, retail – her specialty is taking a people-centric approach to help clients uncover the human truths that underpin their categories and challenges.

Marcela graduated from Syracuse University with a BS in Advertising Outside of Gemic, you’ll run into her at a museum or lost in a podcast.

Mariana Saavedra Espinosa

Senior Strategist

Mariana Saavedra Espinosa

Mariana is a Senior Strategist based out of Gemic’s New York office.

Mariana’s value proposition is rooted in the simple but generative exercise of making the familiar strange. Committed to the idea that the best insights come from participants’ own analyses of their circumstances, she is a firm believer in collaborative ethnographic research that invites theorization and experimentation from everyone involved. In her work as an innovation strategy consultant, she draws on her training as an economic anthropologist and organizational ethnographer as well as on her 10+ years of experience as an educator to facilitate both research and client interactions that result in actionable recommendations and transcendent shifts in perspective. 

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Mariana holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University and was formerly Assistant Professor of Global Commerce at Denison University. Prior to joining Gemic, she spent a year working on her first book with the support of the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. This upcoming monograph draws on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Colombia’s private sector and analyzes the social and cultural dimensions of corporate governance among Colombian family-owned business conglomerates.

Martyn Keus

Director of Strategy

Martyn Keus

Martyn is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

He is a cultural strategist who decodes how shifts in culture to translate into valuable opportunities for innovation, branding and business creation. He has helped scores of companies in technology, luxury, mobility and consumer sectors soar, leading global insight and strategy for clients like BMW, Meta, Microsoft, P&G Ventures, Rolls Royce, Fiskars, Royal Copenhagen, Arla and Unilever.

Martyn holds a Master’s degree in strategic product design from TU Delft, Netherlands, and a post-graduate degree in business administration from WITS, South Africa. 

Mathilde Kara-Youssef

Senior Strategist

Mathilde Kara-Youssef

Mathilde is a Senior Strategist based out of Gemic’s London office.

Her interests and background lie at the intersection of strategy, reputation and political risk in Europe and the MENA region. She believes that the key to successful business strategies lies in a deep understanding of a region’s cultural and political landscapes.

Before Gemic, Mathilde worked at Teneo where she advised clients on governance, organisational design and strategic communications. Passionate about conflict resolution in the Middle East, she also brings experience in political risk and social research from focused on the region.

Mathilde holds a BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from UCL and is currently pursuing a MSc in Middle Eastern Politics at SOAS.

Mei Chen

Senior Strategist

Mei Chen

Mei is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

She values the power of in-depth, contextualized analysis. She believes that in order to understand the future, it is necessary to trace the long process of how we arrived at where we are. Combining journalistic and academic expertise, Mei is passionate about telling the untold stories of humans and societies by weaving together data in various forms.

Mei is currently pursuing a PhD at Freie Universität Berlin, conducting research on China’s health policies. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Hong Kong and an MA in Modern East Asian Studies from Frankfurt University. Previously, she worked for magazines and TVs in Asia as a reporter and editor, covering sociopolitical and cultural issues in the region.

Michele Chang

Director of Strategy

Michele Chang

Michele is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s London office.

Working at the intersection of social science research and industry for over 20 years, Michele continues to be curious about the evolution of technology – how it impacts people’s lives and transforms the companies and institutions they engage with.

Beginning her career at Intel’s People and Practices Research Group, Michele worked with engineers, anthropologists and designers to define the next era of computing. Moving from R&D into strategy consulting, she joined the then fledgling social science consultancy, ReD Associates, where she helped Fortune 100 companies leverage human insight to create top-line growth. In a past life she has been yelled at by Karl Lagerfeld and conducted oral histories with elders in Harlem. She holds a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University’s Tisch School of the Art and a BA in Art History from Reed College.

Michele Likely

Strategy Lead

Michele Likely

Michele is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s Toronto office. 

In work and in life, she has been influenced by the concept of “cathedral thinking:” the bold vision, clear blueprint, and shared commitment to long-term implementation that enabled stonemasons and architects to begin work on a cathedral knowing full well that they would never see it finished. She believes that this mindset can help drive sustainable transformation and innovation in an age of short-term thinking.

With a passion for learning at the intersection of diverse disciplines, Michele holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Development from the University of Guelph, and a Master’s of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining Gemic, she worked at the Royal Bank of Canada managing strategy and partnerships for payments and e-commerce innovation. 

Monica Park

Strategy Lead

Monica Park

Monica is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s London office.

Nadia Al-Sayed

Strategist

Nadia Al-Sayed

Nadia is a Strategist based out of Gemic’s London office.

An anthropologist by discipline and by nature, Nadia believes empathy and deep listening are key to collecting valuable and meaningful insights. She believes in the importance of embedding these narratives within strategy to create a long-lasting and impactful implementation.

Nadia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Bristol. Prior to Gemic, Nadia worked as a cultural consultant on various projects in the GCC on their national visions and strategies as well as on the Women’s Pavilion for Expo2020 x Cartier.

Nhu Le

Strategy Lead

Nhu Le

Nhu is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s New York Office.

While she has worked in many sectors, she has particular expertise in tech— where she has helped clients make sense of online communities, digital behaviors, and the ways they reveal, refract, and even forecast societal changes. As a writer and former journalist, she is also passionate about leveraging storytelling to make the needs of emerging and traditionally underrepresented consumers real and strategically actionable to companies.

Nhu holds a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University and an M.A. in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University, which she attended as a Schwarzman Scholar. Prior to Gemic, she worked with governments and multilaterals to design and evaluate behavioral interventions in Southeast Asia.

Niamh-Erin Cusack

Business Success Manager, EMEA Region

Niamh-Erin Cusack

Niamh-Erin is Gemic’s EMEA Business Success Manager based in Berlin.

With experience in office, events and feel good management, she aims to create a dynamic workplace at Gemic that strives for efficient internal processes, a fully equipped onboarding experience, and of course, a well coordinated Berlin headquarters.

Niamh-Erin has a background in Art & Culture, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, (2015-2019). She has lived in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Germany. Since 2021, has helped run an artistic project space collective called the TURBA Factory in Tempelhof, Berlin.

Oriana Walker

Senior Strategist

Oriana Walker

Oriana Walker is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

Oriana received her PhD in the history of science from Harvard. Prior to Gemic she was a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the history of science where her research explored the relationship between the body, medicine, and culture.

Otto Utti

Managing Partner & Co-Founder

Otto Utti

Otto is Gemic’s Managing Partner. 

Based in New York City, he has spent the past 15 years advising many of the world’s leading companies on innovation and corporate strategy.

Trained as a social scientist, Otto believes the most successful strategies start with a systemic understanding of how the co-evolution of culture, technology, and human behavior gives rise to new sources of consumer value. He uses this approach to empower business leaders to proactively shape the future of their industry, rather than reacting to market conditions created by other players.  

Otto holds a Master’s degree in political economy from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s in political science from the University of York (UK). Having grown up and lived in five countries, he is embarrassed to admit being fluent in only two languages.

Penny Lau

Senior Strategist

Penny Lau

Penny is a Senior Strategist based in Hong Kong. 

She believes that we live in stories we tell ourselves, others and of our surroundings, and by making sense of these unspoken narratives reflected in our physical and non-physical environment, we can foresee the natural next steps and respond with the so-called innovations that are bound to happen. 

Penny graduated from Northwestern University with a BSc in Journalism. She has a not-so-distant past as a financial reporter in Beijing and as a field researcher going into more than 50 countries to analyze inflation data while looking for stories about people in their cultures.

Rebekah Park

Partner

Rebekah Park

  • Partner

Rebekah is a Partner based in Gemic’s New York office, where she co-leads the Tech and Health practices.

In her role as an advisor, Rebekah helps companies set new standards for rigorous social science research within their organizations, and conducts case studies that translate findings into strategies, interventions, products, and peer-reviewed publications. She spent the last two decades working in business, academia, public policy, and NGOs. Previously, she worked at ReD Associates, Marlboro College in Vermont, Poverty and Race Research Action Council, and African American Policy Forum. Her background in anthropology, race studies, and ethics enables her to work across global contexts and different topical areas around what it means to be human and how tech continuously changes how we live today.

Rebekah has a PhD in Anthropology from UCLA, a MA from Universiteit van Amsterdam (the Netherlands), and a BA from Northwestern University. Her book The Reappeared: Former Argentine Political Prisoners was published by Rutgers University Press and was based on two years of fieldwork with the Asociación de Ex Presos Políticos de Córdoba in which she investigated the long-term impact of torture and imprisonment and the transitional justice process in Argentina. She was a Fulbright, Jacob K. Javits, and Congressional Bill Emerson Fellow. She is currently a Wexner Heritage Fellow.

Robin Laumann

Director of Strategy

Robin Laumann

Robin is a Director of Strategy based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

Believing in the power of empathy, he tries to focus on the human side of things first when working with clients and organizations to tackle complex problems.

Before joining Gemic, Robin worked for the City Football Group and the management consultancy McKinsey & Co. He holds an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from SOAS. He enjoys playing, talking and watching sports.

Rowland Hobbs

Senior Advisor

Rowland Hobbs

  • Senior Advisor

Rowland is a Senior Advisor at Gemic, advising clients on brand, growth, organizational design, marketing communication, crisis management and product strategies. 

Rowland is the co-founder of Stake, the first loyalty program to invest in renters. Working at the intersection of customer experience and social purpose, he has also created products and branded experiences for companies in banking, tech, financial services, the arts, interiors, and fashion, and been on boards of social impact funds. 

Previously, he ran design and innovation at Teneo, a CEO advisory firm, and was head of product design for Accenture North America. His work has been nominated for an Emmy and he has been recognized for design at Fast Company and Forbes. Rowland holds a M.A. in philosophy from K.U. Leuven, Belgium and lives in Manhattan, New York.

Sahar Hadidimoud

Director of Strategy

Sahar Hadidimoud

Sahar is a Director of Strategy based out of Gemic’s Berlin office.

She believes that Futurists don’t predict “The Future”, but use foresight to describe what could and, in some cases, should happen in the future. Effectively applying foresight to robust insight, Sahar develops strategies and translates these into tangible roadmaps to help clients act today and shape their tomorrow. She has designed and led strategy and innovation projects for international clients across public, private, and third sectors, advising on everything from the future of work to philanthropic donation, consumer healthcare, payments, snacking, and the future of mobility. A strong believer that good enough isn’t, Sahar interrogates the nuances of behaviours, practices, and processes to find ways to be better, and do better.

Sahar holds a degree in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Oxford, and had lived and worked in the UK, Netherlands, Iran, Vietnam, Finland, and Germany.

Sakari Tamminen

Partner & Co-Founder

Sakari Tamminen

Sakari is Gemic’s Co-Founder. Based in the Helsinki office, he helps technology companies humanize emerging technologies and reimagine the future of customer experience. 

He believes in leveraging insight from the world of biological governance, bioinformatics infrastructures and cultural theories of the non-human and technology to develop the kind of experience strategy, new business models and future scenarios that guide clients towards actionable and prosperous tomorrows. 

Sakari, holds a PhD in Social Psychology and Anthropology from Helsinki University, and a pre-doctoral degree in user-centric design from the Aalto University School of Engineering. He was formerly a Visiting Researcher at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, a Research Fellow at Austria’s Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Science and an Adjunct Professor in Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. As an active member of the academic community, Sakari continues to publish in scholarly work. 

Sam Danello

Strategist

Sam Danello

Sam is a Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office.

With a background in psychology and conflict resolution, he values insights produced by a close observation akin to love. His job is to help clients tell stories that are both essential and surprising, driven by the premise that creativity opposes fear. He believes that nouns fill headlines but verbs move the world. He holds an MSc in Social Science of the Internet from Oxford University and an AB in Social Studies and Psychology from Harvard College. His graduate thesis explored slow technology and the far-out imagination that produces it.

Before Gemic, he ran a Berlin-based practice for clients seeking to forge community through digital tools, from humanitarian NGOs to design studios. A writer at heart, he admires how words coax dreams into reality. He previously worked at the largest peacebuilding NGO, where he partnered with activists across 30 countries on media projects to prevent violence. He loves jigsaw puzzles, morning runs, and blue glass. Outside the office, he enjoys sitting on balconies on warm summer nights and wondering how jellyfish see the world.

Sam Murrell

Business Success Manager, North America

Sam Murrell

Sam is Gemic’s North American Business Success Manager, based out of Gemic’s New York Office.

He is inspired by a person-centered approach to resolving problems and believes in the implementation of a holistic environment that helps employees feel their best at work. Sam has occupied different operational roles in various settings including healthcare management, arts administration and different establishments in the non-profit sector. Past experiences in these settings have instilled him with a myriad of skills that he uses towards managing people and culture, enabling policies and procedures and maintaining accountability of operational systems.

Sam graduated from the State University of New York in Stony Brook with a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration. In his off time, he appreciates dog walks and cycling and might rarely be found singing one of his original compositions in an artist showcase, somewhere in the city.

Sam Mwale

Senior Advisor

Sam Mwale

Sam is a senior policy and strategy advisor at Gemic.

Over the last 36 years, Sam has served in government and business leadership in Kenya. He is renowned for innovative practical policy and strategic solutions to government and business by melding insight from economics, institutions, culture, human capital, political economy, and geopolitics. Sam enjoys reading, writing the occasional op-ed (he was once a columnist) and mentoring up and coming talent. He divides his time between New York and Nairobi. He continues to serve on several boards in Kenya and the US.

Sam has a Bachelor of Science from University of Nairobi, and Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Oxford University.

Sara Bernat

Senior Strategist

Sara Bernat

Sara is a Senior Strategist based out of Gemic’s New York office.

She believes that in this saturated branded world, abundant in easily available goods and services, smart positioning and authentic storytelling are more vital than ever. A former fashion model turned doctoral researcher, she is keen to understand how people wish to represent themselves, and how their aspirations shape their consumer choices. 

Sara has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Humboldt Universitat Berlin, and an MA in Branding from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Before joining Gemic, she worked on heritage and emerging luxury accounts for Mejuri, Borghese, Nanushka, and many more. 

Sarah Jarrar

Strategist

Sarah Jarrar

Sarah is a Strategist working out of Gemic’s Abu Dhabi office.

She believes that at the core of every successful consumer-focused venture is a nuanced understanding of the cultural, social and behavioral fabrics that define the communities of people it serves. To gain this insight, She practices mixed-method approaches to tap into the perspectives of individuals, and pushes assumptions to examine the realities of others to understand where value is derived from. 

Sarah holds a BA in Anthropology and History from the University of New Hampshire, and an MSc in Applied Social Data Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Sisi Simeonova

Senior Strategist

Sisi Simeonova

Sisi is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s New York office.

As a trained Data Scientist, she believes in the power of data to tell meaningful stories that inform vital strategic decisions. She is fascinated with the potential of AI to expand human abilities and uncover innovative solutions to humanity’s pressing challenges.

Prior to Gemic, Sisi led quantitative research at an experience research consultancy. Sisi holds an MS in Computational Analytics from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor in Mathematics and Economics from Bowdoin College.

Sufyan Dabbous

Strategy Lead

Sufyan Dabbous

Sufyan is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s New York office.

He believes that successful innovation hinges on a strong diagnosis of the phenomena that shape people’s lives. Beginning with his academic research into published quantitative analyses of the socio-economic impacts of corruption & globalization, Sufyan has honed an ability to measure and interpret the impact of these phenomena on future opportunities for companies ranging from PepsiCo to Procter & Gamble.

Sufyan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. Prior to Gemic, Sufyan worked on the capital markets side of the New York real estate industry and for an AI-enabled knowledge network in Hong Kong. In addition to a stint in Hong Kong, he has lived in Cairo, Beirut, Philadelphia and London. When not in the office, he can be found running on the streets of the Lower East Side.

T.J. Foley

Senior Strategist

T.J. Foley

T.J. is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s New York office.

He cares about understanding how technology shapes our collective economic, social, and political futures. He has experience leading Trust and Safety and policy efforts for early-stage technology companies. He has also consulted on a variety of technology projects across the media, legal, and software development spaces.  

As a published author in legal history and science and technology studies, he is particularly interested in the intersection of technology, legal history, and competition law. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Energy Research and Social Science, American Journal of Legal History, and the Journal of Online Trust and Safety

T.J. holds a BA in Social Studies from Harvard College where he focused on Science and Technology studies. When not in the office, he is committed to finding the best cup of coffee in the five boroughs. 

Thaer AlSheikh Theeb

Senior Strategist

Thaer AlSheikh Theeb

Thaer is a Senior Strategist based in Gemic’s Berlin office, specializing in the intersection of technology, education, and social change.

Thaer believes that understanding the historical and cultural dynamics of colonization and capitalization is key to addressing contemporary challenges in education and community development. His work integrates rigorous academic research with practical strategy, focusing on how technological and educational innovations can drive societal progress and resilience.

Thaer completed his PhD at Columbia University, where he also earned an MPhil and an MA in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, alongside a BS in Applied Physics. His diverse academic background is complemented by hands-on experience in developing education strategies for international organizations and governments across the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. This includes pioneering distance learning strategies for the Libyan and Pakistani Ministries of Education, crafting digital learning analyses for UNICEF, and advising on education system transformations and strategic narratives for future interfaith cooperation and major international events like COP28.

Todd Carmody

Strategy Lead

Todd Carmody

Todd is a Strategy Lead based in Gemic’s Berlin Office.

He is an innovation and strategy consultant, the author of a book on social policy and the future of work, and an expert in the U.S. and German markets. He draws on his interdisciplinary expertise and global perspective to help clients act on what is not yet common sense.

Todd holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and has been a research fellow at Harvard, Berkeley, and the Freie Universität Berlin. At Gemic, he advises senior leaders in social technology, mobility, and higher education, among other sectors.

Vishnupriya Das

Strategy Lead

Vishnupriya Das

Vishnupriya is a Strategy Lead based out of Gemic’s New York office.

She believes that making impactful decisions requires paying attention to the messy ways in which humans navigate the world, looking at cross-regional shifts, and attending to the ways in which history repeats itself. As an anthropologist trained to study media and technology businesses, she believes that it is vital to empathetically consider the social, infrastructural and institutional pressures clients operate within, to help companies make thoughtful long-term strategic decisions. 

Vishnupriya has a PhD in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Michigan, and experience working as a Monitoring and Evaluation Researcher in the International Development sector. Her academic research is centered around ideas about intimacy, sexuality and emerging digital cultures.

Xara Zinat Zabihi Dutton

Strategist

Xara Zinat Zabihi Dutton

Xara is a Strategist based in Gemic’s London Office.

She seeks opportunities to facilitate graceful movement between scales of analysis, evading echo-chambers while tending to granular detail amid complex social phenomena. Holding a BA in English Literature from UCL and an MPhil in Social Anthropology from Cambridge, she has learned to braid attentive close reading, ethnographic methods, historical, and narrative analysis. Her research has focused on epistemology and Science and Technology Studies.  

Previous experience in a Commercial Unit at the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has propelled her to seek work at intersections of private and public sectors. At weekends, you can find Xara throwing clay on a potter’s wheel or making occasionally questionable moves on dance floors in South London and Copenhagen. 

Zach Hoedl

Visual Designer

Zach Hoedl

Zach is with the Enablement Team as a Visual Designer, based in Gemic’s New York office. 

He applies design thinking and abstraction to help clients unlock more sophisticated and meaningful forms of communication. Zach’s experiences in graphic, motion, and UX/UI design have honed his ability to translate strategies into tangible, visual solutions. 

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Before Gemic, Zach designed for global clients at agency and in-house environments. Outside work, you can find him playing soccer, walking his dog, or exploring creative coding.