We are glad to introduce the EFCNI staff to you.

However, our daily work would not be possible without the tremendous support and help of many individuals and organisations. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of them.


Silke Mader - Chairwoman of the Executive Board

Chairwoman of the Executive Board

Silke Mader is the Chairwoman of the Executive Board and co-founder of EFCNI. Her professional background lies in elementary educational theory, mainly focusing on the linguistic support of migrant children and remedial educational theory.

In 1997, her twins were born in the 25th week of pregnancy, and were not given the appropriate care. Unfortunately, one of them died a few days after birth, leaving the parents and the sibling behind. During her time in hospital and afterwards, she was faced with the non-existence of support of any kind, the absence of public awareness and the lack of information and education for parents during pregnancy. She felt that no parents should ever undergo such an awful experience again. Therefore, in 1999, she decided to actively participate in the Munich-based local parent group, which she headed from 2001 on. Two years later, she became Chairwoman of the German umbrella organization “The preterm born child e. V.”. Together with experts, Silke developed declarations, guidelines and information material for parents with preterm children.

As the situation throughout Europe is distressingly similar and preterm children urgently need a voice not only within Europe but also worldwide, she decided to give up her job as a teacher and to take on the role of chair on the Executive Board of EFCNI.

In 2012 Silke Mader was awarded the “Prix Courage” by ZDF television programme “ML mona lisa” in cooperation with the cosmetics company Clarins. 2013 she received the Medal for Particular Services to Bavaria in a United Europe. Since 2014 she is Honorary Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In 2015, Silke Mader has been awarded as social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow. Since then, she has become a member of the organization’s global network.

At the ALL Ladies League (ALL) – Women Economic Forum 2016 in New Delhi, India, Silke Mader received the “Iconic Innovative Trailblazer of the Decade” award.

In October 2016, she was awarded with the Bavarian State Medal for Services concerning Health and Long-term Care by Melanie Huml, the Bavarian State Minister for Health and Long-term Care.

Vice Chair of the Executive Board

Nicole Thiele joined EFCNI in early 2010. She holds a diploma as European Secretary/ESA and has a university degree in Economics, Management and Business Administration and speaks German, English, French and Spanish.  She lived in Paris for several years and has gained extensive experience in different positions within multi-national companies.

With her family experiencing the consequences of an extremely preterm birth more than 40 years ago, she is personally committed to drive forward the prevention of prematurity and especially the philosophy of individualized, developmentally supportive care and parental empowerment, crucial contributors to give a baby the best start in life.

Nicole is author, (co-)author and (co-)editor of different information material, brochures, factsheets, articles and reports on topics within maternal and newborn health.

Director, Administration and Operations

Aurelia Abenstein joined EFCNI in April 2016.

Aurelia has a diploma as Foreign Language and Event Assistant and holds a university degree in Geography. She has substantial international experience living, studying and working abroad for several years and speaks English and Spanish. Before joining EFCNI, Aurelia worked as Head of Administration in an international environmental consultancy.

Due to her goal to live her life in a social and ecological sustainable way she wants to support EFCNI in its mission to improve the situation of mothers and newborn infants in Europe.

Corporate Management & Administration Department

Management Assistant

Tanja Augsten joined EFCNI in June 2019.

Tanja has studied languages and holds a Degree in interpretation and translation.

She has a strong background in working as an Executive Assistant for international companies, including many years in the field of sustainability and social innovation.

After having had two preterm births herself it is a matter truly close to her heart to support the cause of EFCNI.


Sylvie Baranger-Strobel joined EFCNI in June 2018.

Sylvie holds a certificate in office management and a university degree in interpretation and translation. She speaks French, German and English.

Sylvie worked many years as a PR-Consultant in Paris and Munich in the field of international strategic communication for IT, life sciences and advanced technology. Her last position was as a Project Assistant for an international company offering support to associations and publishers, predominantly in the healthcare sector.

In 2002, she gave birth to a severely disabled girl. She knows how important it is for a newborn baby and his family to receive appropriate and individual supportive care and is proud to help EFCNI reaching its goals.

Project Assistant

Coralie Lesenechal joined EFCNI in March 2019.

Coralie was born in France and holds a global engineer certificate. She speaks French, German and English.

She worked 20 years for an automobile company in France mainly on purchasing and organizational processes.

In 2008, her twins were born in the 24th week of pregnancy. Unfortunately, one of them died 6 weeks later. Her daughter came home after 5 months ½ in hospital. Later, Coralie became a volunteer for 3 years for the French parent organisation SOS Préma and supported the neonatal service of the local hospital on a monthly basis to meet parents and the medical team. She moved to Munich with her family in 2018.

Due to her personal experience, she is very happy to support EFCNI in their work in order to harmonise the care given to preterm babies and their family.

Scientific Affairs Department

Head of Scientific Affairs

Johanna Pfeil joined EFCNI in May 2017 as Senior Project Manager for Maternal and Newborn Health. Since January 2018 she leads the research department of EFCNI as Head of Scientific Affairs.

Johanna holds a doctoral degree in natural sciences of the University of Regensburg where she also had studied Pharmacy until 2012. During her doctoral thesis she gained experiences in the field of anti-VEGF therapy of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) both clinical and preclinical. She was involved in the initiation and coordination of the clinical study CARE-ROP, as well as the promotion and data analysis of the ROP registry (both in cooperation with the Eye Center at the Medical Center of the University of Freiburg). Furthermore she investigated the influence of anti-VEGF substances on the miRNA profile of retinal cells and on the neurovascular interface.

Next to her doctoral thesis she worked part time as a junior medical advisor for the pharmaceutical company Novartis, where she obtained further experience in the management of phase III and IV clinical studies.

With her experience in the field of treatment of preterm infants she now joined the EFCNI team to help improve healthcare for newborn infants throughout Europe.  

Senior Project Manager for Maternal and Newborn Health

Simone Cramer joined EFCNI in September 2018.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and finished her Master of Public Health at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich in 2012. After graduating, she worked as an Administrative Project Manager at a large EU-funded research project on Early Nutrition and for an eAcademy for Healthcare Professionals at the LMU Medical Centre. She also was Conference Secretary for two international conferences on early childhood programming. In her work she gained experience in the fields of newborn, child and parental health.

As a mother herself and with the experience of an extremely preterm birth in her extended family 20 years ago, she is very happy to support EFCNI in its work.

Senior Project Manager for Maternal and Newborn Health

Valerie Matthäus joined EFCNI in April 2016.

She holds a Bachelor Degree in Health Economics and finished the Master of Public Health Programme in Munich in 2014. During her studies and within her master thesis she gained experience in scientific research as well as in the area of maternal and child health. After her graduation she worked as a research assistant in the public sector. Thereby she was involved in the project coordination and data analysis of a large cohort study among children and adolescents in Germany.

Due to her scientific background and strong interest in child-related health issues she wants to support EFCNI´s mission to improve prevention, treatment and best possible care for infants and their families.

Senior Project Manager for Maternal and Newborn Health

Dr Silvia Kolossa joined EFCNI in April 2019.

She holds a Bachelor and Master Degree, as well as a PhD in nutrition of the TU Munich. During her PhD work, she was responsible for the German sub-cohort in the European “Food4Me” study on personalised nutrition. As a post-doc, Silvia was working for the Program of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI), within which she managed a nutritional intervention study in cooperation with partners in Benin, West Africa. Additionally, Silvia gained experience in customer service working in the health care unit of a public relation agency as well as in the marketing field of a pharmaceutical company focusing on digital multi-channel management in Hepatitis C medication.

She is proud to contribute her knowledge and experience to the mission of EFCNI supporting families of preterm infants and informing them about latest scientific findings.

Design Department

Head of Design, Art Director 

Diana Hofmann-Larina joined EFCNI in March 2016.

She studied architecture in Ukraine and holds a Master degree. After moving to Germany, she accomplished another Master in Advanced Design. She worked for Hubert Burda Media in the design department, where she enhanced her broad range of experience by working with renowned international clients.

Since she always wanted to contribute her skills and her passion in design to an international organisation for a good cause, she´s proud of being a part of EFCNI today, helping to create a better world for preterm born infants and their parents.

Graphic Designer

Laura joined EFCNI in January 2018.

She completed an apprenticeship as a media designer and specialised in Graphic Design in an advertising agency based in Munich, Germany. Throughout her time at this agency, Laura already knew EFCNI and completed several graphic projects for the foundation.

After 13 years of working in advertising, where she most recently held the position as creative director, she followed her heart to work as a freelance Graphic Designer in Cape Verde. Now she has jumped at the opportunity to take her work with EFCNI to the next level by joining the Design Department.

As a young mother, Laura can identify with the foundation’s goals and is glad to support the EFCNI mission.

Corporate Communications

Head of Communications

Judith Eckstein joined EFCNI in April 2015.

She holds a Master degree in Communication Science, Political Science and Spanish and studied in Mainz, Berlin, Valencia and Milan. She gained first practical experiences in political institutions, editorial departments, research institutions and multi-national companies throughout Europe. After her graduation, she worked for a public relations agency where she ran several campaigns for European cultural projects and worked for an international online portal. Later, she worked as a communications manager in a research cluster of the Ludwig-Maximilians University, the Technical University, and the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich, Germany. She dealt with scientific and health-related topics and collaborated with hospitals and cancer research centers.

With her passion for health issues and online communication, she strongly supports EFCNI’s mission to improve newborn health. 

Senior Communications Manager

Sarah Fügenschuh joined EFCNI in May 2017.

She studied International Relations, Law and English Literary Studies in Munich and Copenhagen and holds a Magister Degree in Political Science from the LMU Munich. Having completed a traineeship at a PR agency she continued her studies abroad and gained a Master of Science Degree in Welfare Policies and Management from Lund University. She then acquired practical experience in public relations agencies and worked as a freelance journalist as well as a Social Media and PR Manager.

With her study background and her work experience within both the private and the public sector, she wants to dedicate her work at EFCNI to promoting the needs and interests of newborn infants and their families and enable these parties to participate in the political and public discourse.

Senior Content Editor

Christine Schwaiger joined EFCNI in September 2018.

She is a certified translator for English and Italian and holds an additional degree as a Communications Specialist. Christine works for more than 15 years in the medical and pharmaceutical field, first in a communications agency and later at the medical publisher Elsevier in various positions managing editorial and digital projects for international clients in the pharmaceutical industry.

Christine is very passionate about medicine and about communicating important health issues to patients and healthcare professionals. She is happy to support EFCNI in their mission to improve the care of newborn and preterm babies not only in Europe but also worldwide.

Working student

Manuel Kreitmair joined EFCNI in March 2017.

Manuel is currently studying geography at Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. He spends his time with cross country travelling and has a healthy online affinity, hence is interested in foreign issues.

As a working student he is proud of contributing to a foundation with such international impact and wants to help spreading the message of EFCNI across the world.