ABOUT US

Our team

Gilles Bonkoski

Executive Director

Gilles Bonkoski is Executive Director of the French American Chamber of Commerce-San Diego. He joined the organization in 2013. Under his leadership, the FACC-San Diego has significantly grown its corporate service offering to support French businesses’ expansion in the US, increased network opportunities, business tours and event programming to foster business relationships between French and American professionals, and also expanded its services to assist US-based companies looking to grow their operations in France. Additionally, Mr. Bonkoski is managing director of the Ouistart Business Center, a vibrant work space dedicated to French and American entrepreneurs. 

Previously, Mr. Bonkoski was branch director and led two large agencies at SFR, a leading French telecom company. He successfully grew large accounts with aggregate sales of over 20 million euros and oversaw sales support services. During his tenure, he created new programs to increase sales productivity and was awarded many accolades, including Manager of the Year and Best Agency in New Business for his ability to develop, motivate and lead teams and grow the business. He started his career at Young & Rubicam working on advertising campaigns in the Latin America market.  

Outside work, Mr. Bonkoski is an avid aviation enthusiast and enjoys flying recreationally and traveling in his spare time. 

Nicolas Menier

Operations Manager

Nicolas Menier is Operations Manager at the French American Chamber of Commerce-San Diego. He joined the organization in 2017. Mr. Menier is responsible for providing client management services for French businesses looking to expand in the U.S. and assisting with member programming and services. While at the FACC, he has arranged hundreds of business to business meetings across a wide array of industries, helped French companies develop and grow their businesses, and also led business delegations between the City of San Diego and the South of France. Additionally, Mr. Menier is customer success manager at OuiStart Business Center, a vibrant work space dedicated to French and American entrepreneurs.

Prior to joining the FACC, Mr. Menier was a consultant at Atos, a leading European IT Services provider. There, he delivered project and change management solutions to a major French energy company. After obtaining a master of science in management in France, he worked at Argentina for All, where he helped organize travel, sports, social and charitable events for over 40,000 students.  

When not at work, Mr. Menier can be found on the soccer pitch. He has previously coached college teams in France that have reached the national cup finals and passionately cheers on his hometown team AS Monaco.

Chris Willm

Sr. Business Developer - Innovative Technologies

Christophe Willm is Senior Business Developer-Innovative Technology at the French American Chamber of Commerce-San Diego. He is responsible for helping French companies, particularly those with ground-breaking technologies, develop and grow their business in the U.S.

Formerly, Mr. Willm led the business development activities for Four Wind Tours, a full service educational and group tour operator, where he improved product positioning and pricing, leveraged sales usage of the CRM system, and grew market penetration and share. He also was a part of the business development team at ReservIT, a major software and IT services provider to the restaurant, hotel and leisure industry in France. There he grew strategic accounts, executed on the full sales process from prospection to integration, and worked with partners to offer tailored IT solutions to clients.

Outside work, Mr. Willm is an avid photographer. He has observed and captured through his photos everyday life and celebrations as well as unspoiled nature and landscapes from around the world. 

Michael Chow

Business Development Coordinator

Michael Chow serves as Business Development Coordinator at the French American Chamber of Commerce-San Diego. He is responsible for assisting French companies grow their business in the U.S. through a vast array of customer management services and providing member programming and services.

Prior to joining the FACC, Mr. Chow was a part of the marketing solutions team at KeepItGrowing, where he executed four successful marketing campaigns that led to a significant increase in views across social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in.  He also was Operations Associate at NewBeeDrone, compiling market research and trends in the US micro-drone industry, designing a customer loyalty system, and launching and running effective marketing campaigns.

In his spare time, Mr. Chow can be found in the kitchen combining textures and flavors to create such mouth-watering delicacies as hand-wrapped dumplings, swiss-sauce chicken wings, and bulgogi beef, to name a few.

Our Board Members

Claude Benchimol, Ph.D. is President of the Board of the French American Chamber of Commerce – San Diego and has served as a director since 2012. 

Dr. Benchimol has extensive executive experience in the healthcare sector. He serves as President of Damol Innovation LLC, a consulting practice focused on technology-based innovation in healthcare addressing areas such as product planning, technology differentiation, processes and organization. Prior to Damol, he was Senior Vice President, Biological Information Systems at Life Technologies, a $3.6 billion life sciences company. After joining Invitrogen (now part of Thermo Fisher) as the Senior Vice President of R&D, he held several executive roles, leading the development of biological reagents and spearheading the development of instruments, from desktop devices to complex sequence DNA machines. Under his leadership, the rate of product introductions quadrupled and revenue grew five-fold during his tenure. Earlier in his career, he served in a variety of executive positions at GE Healthcare, including Vice President of Global Technology, which grew into a $2 billion enterprise. 

In addition to the FACC-San Diego, he is very active in the industry and in the community, with current or past service on a number of corporate, advisory, and non-profit boards, including the Dean’s Advisory Council of the UCSD School of Physical Sciences, the U.S.-Israel Science & Technology Foundation, Bente Hansen Company, CureMetrics, CONNECT SpringBoard Program, and Art of Elan. He was also inducted in the French Academy of Technology in 2003. Dr. Benchimol received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications in Paris and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Systems Science from UCLA. In his spare time he enjoys photography, playing the guitar, attending live concerts and spending time with his family.

Mr. Toury brings expertise in entrepreneurship and has worked in the Pharma industry and the CAE industry. With 20 years of experience in science and international business, Mr. Toury is an expert in international development. He currently serves as Deputy General Manager and Chief Business Officer for Neuro Service based out of France. 

Director, Marketing, and Business Development at Solar Turbines. 

CEO and founder of Time Flies

Head of citrix business unit at Microsoft

Doron Malka is the president and founder of Ameba Marketing, Inc., a thriving and full-service marketing communications agency with a strong client base consisting of local, national and international organizations.

In 1996, Doron founded Ameba Marketing, a full-service branding and marketing agency. Today, Ameba Marketing boasts a vast array of successful clientele in various industries ranging from philanthropy, healthcare, life sciences, biotech and technology to toys, consumer products and professional services, with a wealth of award-winning campaigns to its credit.

Doron was born in Jerusalem, Israel where he acquired his first leadership role as a member of Israel’s paratrooper unit. After completing his BA in International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1991, he then received his MBA from San Diego State University, and in 2014 received his Doctorate degree in Business Administration. In 2017, Doron published his first book, BRANDcebo – The Powerful Placebo Effect of Brands and its Impact on Our Behavior and Performance.

Doron is an avid soccer fan and espresso connoisseur. He lives in San Diego with his wife and four children.

Principal at Benito Law Firm

Senior Vice President Consumer Banking at Axos Bank.

Senior Director, Career Development Center at the University of San Diego

CEO at The X Concept

Committed to helping our clients succeed

About us: Who We Are

Based in San Diego, we are a non-profit institution that empowers companies to reach their full potential. Through our expertise in business needs and regional regulation laws, as well as expansive network of U.S and French industry leaders as well as government officials, we help our members gain tremendous momentum to grow their business. Our mission is to enable and empower businesses by providing them with crucial resources, including but not limited to an extensive network, advice on best business practices, 

# 1
Largest Foreign Network in SD
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FRIENDLY AND APROCHABLE

To help companies grow is the core of our mission

Since 1995, our team has succeeded in understanding the challenges of French-American companies and creating reliable services to meet them all.

OUr Clients

We craft tailored services to the need of both American and French based companies. Our clients benefit from our experience in both countries and our vast network. 

our Community

We offer unique connections opportunities and events for our members to foster business relationships in San Diego and California. 

Need help with growing your business in the USA or in Europe?