Executive Director – CEO
Business Development Director
Michaela Ballek joined GABA as the Business Development Director in March 2019 (part-time). Michaela moved between Germany and the Bay Area several times and has 15+ years of experience in consulting and program management, primarily in technology, innovation, and sustainability. When she is not interacting with GABA members, she works as an independent consultant in the Bay Area.
Previously, Michaela worked as a Practice Manager at McKinsey & Company as well as for small consulting firms. She holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, as well as a Masters in Statistics from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. She lives with her husband and teenage children in Berkeley.
Yvonne Dietrich joins GABA as the new Event Director in September 2015. Yvonne has worked as in the past with various Non-Profit Organizations as well as a Contracts Coordinator in the video gaming industry. She grew up in Germany and has been living with her husband and family around the Bay Area and Michigan since 1999. At GABA she will focus on organizing various GABA events.
Social Media Manager
Cotta Nestler-Ginader joined the GABA team as their newly created Social Media Manager in October 2016.
Shortly after receiving her second law degree from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany, Cotta encouraged her husband to follow his professional dreams and followed him first to London, UK and in 2009 to California. Ever since arriving in the Bay Area, she has been volunteering with GABA.
In her new role as Social Media Manager she focuses on growing and strengthening GABA’s Social Media presence and online PR.
Sandra Schmid joined GABA as Event Director in Juli 2012. Her professional background centers around project and account management and she has worked in import/export as well as fulfillment for the high tech industry. Sandra holds a BS in International Business from Menlo College. She grew up in Germany but has lived in the Bay area since 1990. At GABA she focuses on preparation and organization of the GABA events as well as member relations.
Claudia Tedesco joined GABA as Marketing Manager in March 2018.
She holds an MBA from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany with a major in Marketing and a minor in Economics and Finance. Claudia’s professional background includes working for Redken, a L’Oréal subsidiary as Global Marketing Manager, launching new product initiatives and supporting Redken worldwide affiliates in adapting the Global Marketing concept to their specific market needs. She also worked for the Wella Corporation as Assistant Brand Manager, assisting in planning and executing strategic hair color launches.
Claudia was born and raised in Germany and moved to New York City 22 years ago. She relocated to the Bay Area 17 years ago. She has US/German dual citizenship.
In her position at GABA, Claudia will focus on Marketing and Communication strategy, increasing GABA’s outreach and awareness as well as manage the membership database and assist in preparation, marketing and follow up of events.
Martina Walther is GABA’s webmaster since April 2005. She works as a freelancer and designs and programs websites. In the past, Martina also taught computer and German classes. She volunteered on the board and as webmaster at the American Women’s Club of Düsseldorf for several years.
Martina holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Technology in Munich, Germany. She grew up in Munich, lived in the Bay Area for 7 years and relocated to Düsseldorf, Germany, in January 2008.