Monica Zurfluh has been appointed by the LCTA Executive Committee as the next Secretary General, succeeding Marco Passalia, who left for professional reasons. The nomination was officially announced during the 2023 General Meeting, and Monica Zurfluh gave us a brief interview in her new role.
Monica Zurfluh, how did you get to your current position within LCTA?
First of all, I would like to thank the Lugano Commodity Trading Association (LCTA) and the Ticino Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Cc-Ti) for the opportunity I have been given. Since December 2021 I am Head of the International Trade Service of the Cc-Ti and the appointment as Secretary General of LCTA is an integral part of my activities.
I began my career in August 1994 as a commercial assistant at a fiduciary service provider. In March 1998, I applied for the position of assistant to the Head of the Lugano office of the Swiss export promotion organization. I planned to stay for only a few years but ended up leaving more than twenty years later. The steps were: export specialist, internationalization consultant, and, lastly, Head of the Lugano office. The turning point occurred in the middle of 2021: Cc-Ti wanted to re-launch and revive its Export Service, and I needed some motivation. Since December of the same year, I have overseen the International Trade division.
In the past, I collaborated with my predecessor, Marco Passalia, and the LCTA on various international trips. Since joining Cc-Ti, my activity has been influenced by the multiple sanctions imposed as a result of the situation in Ukraine, as well as new regulations on industrial products and environmental sustainability. This has brought me in touch with several commodity traders. When Marco Passalia spoke of his need to step down, I decided to accept this new part-time challenge. There are several linkages with my primary occupation: for more than two decades, I have informed and advised SMEs in Southern Switzerland on international operations, with an emphasis on administrative and customs procedures. I also establish contacts and collaborate on a cantonal, federal and worldwide scale, as well as organize events. From this perspective, LCTA activities align perfectly with my core business.
In a nutshell, what are your priorities?
The LCTA was established in 2010 to foster dialogue among commodity trading firms and between them and players supporting their activities, such as banks, insurance firms as well as shipping and forwarding companies; to provide training programs enabling their staff to further enhance their skills and acquire know-how in the specific areas of trading; and to make the authorities and the public aware of the real importance of the branch. My aim is to further advance these goals, taking into account a changing geopolitical context, a more sophisticated regulatory framework and increasingly important environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. My priorities are to get to know our members and their needs, to update and consolidate our training offer, recreate a sense of community by reintroducing meetings and events, first and foremost the LCTA’s flagship event, Global Commodity Conference; last but not least, to strengthen our collaboration with the umbrella association SUISSENÉGOCE and our sister Zug Commodity Association (ZCA), and to renew synergies with the City of Lugano and the various authorities.