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Maya Ziswiler, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation


Maya Ziswiler, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation: Philanthropy, Social Investing and Creating an Impact Economy.


Maya Ziswiler, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation, delves into the transformative role of philanthropy in creating an impact economy. The Foundation, celebrating its 25th anniversary, focuses on education, health, and environmental initiatives.


Under Maya's leadership, the Foundation has seen considerable growth, and we explore its innovative approach in blending traditional grant-making with social investing and blended finance. This approach aims to drive systemic and catalytic impact for marginalized communities, leveraging philanthropic capital to attract commercial and government funding.


A key element of the discussion revolves around the Foundation's thematic and social investment expertise. This expertise allows for the creation of impactful partnerships and the development of a robust pipeline for philanthropic grants and social investments.

The episode also explores the Foundation's collectives, such as the social finance and climate collectives, which foster mutual learning and cross-pollination of ideas among philanthropists, experts, and grantees.


Maya shares examples of innovative collaborations and the Foundation's commitment to impact transparency, including their aim of developing an impact rating tool.

The episode concludes with Maya's personal journey in philanthropy and her vision for redefining its role in achieving sustainable impact.


About Maya Ziswiler


Maya leads the UBS Optimus Foundation. The foundation leverages philanthropic capital to help unlock more private and public funding to build an impact economy. Since joining UBS in 2012, Maya has made significant contributions to the Foundation’s leading reputation in social finance and collective philanthropy, in education, health, child protection and the environment. This includes spearheading the successful launch of the first Development Impact Bond, the first global blended finance fund investing in outcomes contracts as well as launching and growing the foundation’s social investment portfolio – and the first to create a successful Blended Finance team within a financial institution.

Prior to joining the UBS Optimus Foundation, Ms. Ziswiler was responsible for managing private sector partnerships at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria globally and UNICEF in Peru. Before that, she held various marketing and commercial roles at Procter and Gamble's in markets such as Iran and Tunisia, and Peugeot in China.

Maya holds a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University and a Master’s from the University of Geneva. She speaks English, French, German, Spanish and some Mandarin Chinese.




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