For athletes by athletes 

Team 

Our team is made up of nine peop­le who just click. We all have dif­fe­rent per­so­na­li­ties and dif­fe­rent back­grounds, inclu­ding in ski­ing (alpi­ne and cross-coun­try), ice hockey, foot­ball, human resour­ces and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons. Niels and Rahel are still acti­ve in their sporting disci­pli­nes along­side their second care­ers, while Julia, Beni, Pas­cal and Sevi are reti­red ath­le­tes who have for­ged suc­cess­ful care­ers in busi­ness. Dave, Fabio and Sarah com­bi­ne their pas­si­on for sport with their pro­fes­si­ons, and bring exper­ti­se in human resour­ces, com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons and sports management.

Beni Huggel 

During his impres­si­ve foot­ball care­er, Beni won the Swiss Cham­pions­hip and the Swiss Cup. He also play­ed in the UEFA Cham­pions League, the UEFA Euro­pa League, the Euro­pean Cham­pions­hips and the World Cup, and was named Swiss Foot­bal­ler of the Year in 2010. He reti­red from pro­fes­sio­nal foot­ball in 2012, and is now in high demand as a spea­ker, as a coach, and as a foot­ball expert for SRF. Despi­te struggling ear­ly on fol­lo­wing his reti­re­ment, his opti­mism and fight­ing spi­rit hel­ped him over­co­me any obsta­cles in his way. A firm belie­ver in the say­ing ‘not­hing ven­tu­red, not­hing gai­ned’, the Basel man knows only too well that to achie­ve your goals, you have to take your future into your own hands.

Dave Heiniger 

Dave’s hand­ball care­er was short and sweet. In fact, his only appearan­ce in Switzerland’s NLA league lasted just three minu­tes. A chan­ge of care­er took him into the world of HR, whe­re his excep­tio­nal peop­le skills, cou­ra­ge and ten­aci­ty made him a sure-fire rising star. As the Glo­bal Head of HR at an inter­na­tio­nal insuran­ce com­pa­ny, he sup­por­ted talen­ted young peop­le as they took their first steps on the care­er lad­der, over­see­ing pro­ces­ses of chan­ge and deve­lo­p­ment. Ulti­mate­ly, he deci­ded to join the Ath­le­tes Net­work so he could com­bi­ne his skills with his pas­si­on for sport.

Fabio Meister 

Power­ful, pun­chy wri­ting and com­pel­ling sto­ry­tel­ling are what Fabio does best. He dis­co­ve­r­ed his pas­si­on for cor­po­ra­te com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons while stu­dy­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of App­lied Sci­en­ces and Arts Nor­thwe­stern Switz­er­land. Now he’s working towards his Master’s in Busi­ness Admi­ni­stra­ti­on at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bern. Fabio may not have a sporting care­er of his own behind him, but he has learnt a lot from his bro­ther, a for­mer hockey play­er in Switzerland’s natio­nal ice hockey league who has had to make the dif­fi­cult tran­si­ti­on to a new care­er out­side the world of sport.

Julia Philipona 

A for­mer cross-coun­try ski­er and a mem­ber of Switzerland’s juni­or natio­nal team, Julia reti­red from her sporting care­er at a rela­tively ear­ly age. It was then that she tur­ned her atten­ti­on towards stu­dy­ing manage­ment and orga­ni­sa­tio­nal cul­tu­re. Her back­ground as an ath­le­te has hel­ped her find her way in many situa­tions throughout her care­er. The Davos-born for­mer ath­le­te stron­gly belie­ves that it’s beco­m­ing more and more important to adopt an athlete’s men­ta­li­ty in the work­place, par­ti­cu­lar­ly given all vola­ti­li­ty, uncer­tain­ty, com­ple­xi­ty and ambi­gui­ty in today’s world. She aims to help com­pa­nies appre­cia­te the bene­fits of this mind­set through the Ath­le­tes Network.

Niels Hintermann 

Dri­ven by his pas­si­on for high adre­na­li­ne and fast cor­ners, Niels is right in the midst of his alpi­ne ski­ing care­er. He is among the top 15 down­hill ski­ers in the world, and is also enjoy­ing con­si­derable suc­cess in super‑G and alpi­ne com­bi­ned. As the youn­gest mem­ber of the team behind the Athlete’s Aca­de­my, Niels repres­ents ath­le­tes who are still com­pe­ting, brin­ging his crea­ti­vi­ty, visi­on and prag­ma­tic approach to bear. The Zurich-based ski­er belie­ves that the­re is a right path for ever­yo­ne, but it’s down to each of us as indi­vi­du­als to find it.

Pascal Thrier 

Having stu­di­ed for a voca­tio­nal diplo­ma along­side his pro­fes­sio­nal foot­ball care­er, Pas­cal had no dif­fi­cul­ty tran­si­tio­ning to a degree cour­se in Busi­ness Infor­ma­ti­on Tech­no­lo­gy at Zurich Uni­ver­si­ty of App­lied Sci­en­ces. But it’s not always that easy for pro­fes­sio­nal ath­le­tes to chan­ge care­ers. That’s why Pas­cal sup­ports the Ath­le­tes Net­work with data and custo­mer rela­ti­ons­hip manage­ment. His work allo­ws us to sup­port every ath­le­te indi­vi­du­al­ly and get them the help they need as effi­ci­ent­ly as pos­si­ble. For this calm, collec­ted mem­ber of the team, it’s the per­fect way of indul­ging his pas­si­on for sport wit­hin the busi­ness world.

Rahel Kiwic 

After six years in the women’s Bun­des­li­ga, this expe­ri­en­ced inter­na­tio­nal foot­bal­ler is back with her home-town club, FC Zurich, and working with the Ath­le­tes Net­work to build up her pro­fes­sio­nal expe­ri­ence while con­ti­nuing her foot­ball care­er. On and off the pitch, Rahel stands out thanks to her team spi­rit, deter­mi­na­ti­on and ambi­ti­on. At the Athlete’s Net­work, we’re wal­king the walk, and sho­wing ath­le­tes they can enter the world of busi­ness even if they have no tra­di­tio­nal work expe­ri­ence behind them.

Sarah Elsinger 

Our Ath­le­tes Net­work internship is giving this Sports Manage­ment stu­dent the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­bi­ne her pas­si­on for sport with her day job. Having pre­vious­ly worked in pro­per­ty, Sarah is now taking on a new chal­len­ge sup­porting the event manage­ment team. Her inte­rest in sport was spar­ked at a young age in the gym­na­stics hall, and she still shows off her skills on the appa­ra­tus for her local club in Egg.

Severin Blindenbacher 

Severin’s glit­te­ring ice hockey care­er got off to a gre­at start – with a run­ners-up medal from the World U18 Cham­pions­hips. He went on to win four Swiss Cham­pions­hip tit­les, the Euro­pean Cham­pions Hockey League and the Swiss Cup. He was also part of the Swiss seni­or side that won sil­ver at the World Cham­pions­hips in 2018. When he embar­ked upon a care­er out­side the sporting world, Seve­rin found that even big­ger chal­len­ges awai­ted him off the ice. That’s why he’s so pas­sio­na­te about sharing his expe­ri­en­ces with other ath­le­tes as an Aca­de­my Coach, and hel­ping them to them navi­ga­te what can be a very tricky transition.