Publix will be a new home for all those who work in journalism, shape the public sphere and strengthen democracy. This requires a strong team!

Maria Exner

Founding Director

Maria, a journalist and the founding director of Publix. She guides our mission, in addition to building the team and designing the Publix program. Previously, Maria served as editor-in-chief of ZEITmagazin and deputy editor-in-chief of ZEIT ONLINE, where she developed innovative, civil society-oriented projects, including Germany Talks and the Z2X Festival of Ideas. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration and the Grimme Online Award, in addition to being recognized as Magazine Editor-in-Chief of the Year.

headshot photo of Mia Pascale Bergert

Mia Pascale Bergert

Residents & Collaboration Lead

Mia Pascale is responsible for the Publix Community and is the first point of contact for all those who want to work in the space in the future. Mia Pascale studied political science, administration and international relations in Friedrichshafen and Buenos Aires, and she previously worked as a consultant to the board and Publix project coordinator at the Schöpflin Foundation in Lörrach and Berlin. She has been part of Publix since the very beginning. Following the planning work of the past several years, she is now extremely excited to see the project coming to life.

Katharina Klün

Program & Experience Lead

Katharina Klün adds years of experience in the conception and implementation of large-scale events to the Publix team. She was, for instance, responsible for international culture marketing projects of Red Bull as well as the Opening events of the fashion fair Bread & Butter in Berlin and Barcelona. As the director of “Q Berlin”, she modernized the flagship conference of the city of Berlin. Most recently, Katharina managed the architecture and design department of a Berlin agency.

Justina Kilinski

Head of Operations & Finance

Justina brings distinctive commercial and start-up experience to the Publix team and has built co-working spaces in Germany and abroad. Most recently, she worked as an investment manager at a Berlin-based venture capital firm, and before that, she was involved in building the photography center Chaussee 36. At Publix, Justina is responsible for finances, process set-up and operations. She is looking forward to turning an idea into a new institution.

Miriam Walther

Project Manager Program / Membership / Fundraising

Miriam has many years of experience in fundraising, building organizations, developing and operationalizing membership models and program development, as well as in-depth knowledge of the media and culture industry. Before joining our team, she was the managing director of the Swiss media company Republik. At Publix, she supports the director in the development of the areas membership, program and fundraising and their implementation. Afterwards she will be the co-director of the cultural institution Gessnerallee in Zurich.

Lea Bayer

Project Manager Program & Fundraising

Lea has extensive expertise in program planning and event organization. She previously led a team for editorial live formats at ZEIT ONLINE, was a consultant to the editor-in-chief and worked for several years as a freelancer on film sets, at festivals and as an event organizer. 
At Publix, she supports the director in program planning, fundraising and networking with foundations, editorial offices and ministries.

Deniz Tomm

Finance Manager

Deniz is the first point of contact at Publix for all commercial matters, takes care of optimizing workflows, looks at budgets and creates forecasts. Deniz grew up in Switzerland and has Turkish roots. She has worked for the last five years in a digital marketing agency as an authorised representative and assistant to the management in the area of Finance & Legal. Now she brings her financial expertise to Publix.

Johanna Giebel

Assistant to the director

Johanna is Maria’s right-hand woman. She coordinates the calendar, prepares for appointments and takes care of organisation so that Maria can focus on other things. She also helps out with communication on the website and with social media activities. Prior to joining Publix, Johanna was digital content manager for the Pierre Boulez Saal of the Barenboim-Said Akademie. 

Julian Büchler

Assistant Operations & Diversity

Julian supports us with office organisation and project-related tasks. In addition to his work for Publix, he is completing his master’s degree in social and cultural anthropology with a focus on intersectionality and qualitative data research. Julian has already gained significant experience in administration and project coordination through his work as a graduate assistant at Berlin’s Free University and for an NGO that focuses on anti-racism educational work.

Lilja Kloth

Operations Manager

As Operations Manager at Publix, Lilja maintains an overview of the technical and organisational processes within the company. After completing her studies in modern history, Lilja collected a wide range of experience in various positions in the film industry. Most recently, she spent eight years with the localisation company VSI Berlin in the area of office and project management. As Office Manager, Lilja initially ensured everything is perfectly organised ahead of the opening of Publix. As Operations Manager, she now keeps everything run smoothly in day-to-day operations.

Levent Tezcan

Technical custodian

As technical custodian, Levent has his eye on all of the building’s technical facilities – whether in the basement, in the attic, inside or outside. He is our liaison for fire protection – and he jumps in to fix loose cabinet doors in the kitchenette if need be. In short, Levent makes sure that operations at Publix run smoothly and safely for everyone in the building

Carolin Kohl

Project Manager Program and Event

Carolin brings many years of experience in organising cultural events and projects. Whether panel discussion, reading or conference – Carolin will ensure that the events in the house run smoothly and that the visitors can look forward to an exciting program. Most recently, Carolin was responsible for the Berlin Art Week as one of the largest art events in Berlin.

Juliane Schallau

Project Manager Fellowship Programs

Juliane is responsible for the fellowship programs at Publix. She brings her many years of professional experience in supervising scholarship programs and collaborating with fellows, which she gained at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, at the American Academy and most recently at the Deutsche Übersetzerfonds. Juliane studied German Studies, English/American Studies and Education and received her doctorate in the Department of American Literature and Culture at the University of Potsdam.

Frederic Gaillard


Frederic ist verantwortlich für den Aufbau und Betrieb unseres Studiobereichs. Mit breitem Know-how im Bereich digitaler Medien und ausgeprägtem technischen Verständnis wird er unser Videostudio, die beiden Tonstudios sowie die Postproduktionsplätze betreuen und euch als Ansprechpartner in allen Studiobelangen - von Planung bis Produktion - zur Verfügung stehen.

headshot photo of Sabine Peitzmeier

Sabine Peitzmeier

Architect/Client Representation

Sabine is an architect and represents the interests of the Schöpflin Foundation as the client. She is the point person for all building-related issues surrounding the completion of the Publix space. After leading construction projects as a planning architect in Berlin, Sabine spent more than 10 years managing construction projects in Germany and abroad for the German Society for International Cooperation. Her passion is now aimed at ensuring that the AFF architects’ design for the Publix building is realized as a space for manifesting the ideas of the team and the community.

headshot photo of Ralph Ziegler

Ralph Ziegler

Facility Management

Ralph will be in charge of the technical infrastructure for the 6,000-square-meter Publix space. Ventilation and lighting will be his responsibility, along with supporting all users with day-to-day needs concerning the physical space. Ralph is a master electrotechnician and an expert in facility management with more than 20 years of experience in building control technology. He has been involved in the successful development of numerous facility management organizations. Currently, he is actively involved in construction of Publix and is keenly looking forward to interacting with all the people in the space and in the neighborhood.

Village One

Design and digital Infrastructure

Village One is a democratically organized studio for opinionated design and technology with a strong focus on meaningful projects. In partnership with Publix, Village One is developing the visual presentation and digital infrastructure of the space.

The following organizations work permanently in our building and help us breathe life into Publix.

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