Meet our speakers
Senior HR Profesionall & Co-Founder Evertoys
Alina an HR professional working with senior executive teams and talented leaders in developing their unique and authentic leadership style and improve results.
As a coach Alina believes in the power that lies in each of us to grow and overcome our personal limits. She accompanies teams and individuals in becoming the best version of themselves.
Also Alina is one of the co- founders of Evertoys, an disruptive star-up based on the sharing economy model that enables children development through access to a high variety of toys using a monthly toy subscription.
Executive Director at FILIA Centre
Andreea Bragă is the Executive Director of FILIA Centre, a feminist NGO which supports, through research, advocacy and activism, women’s rights, women’s empowerment, the political representation of women’s interests as well as their participation in the political life. Andreea is a graduate of the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (PhD) and she is involved in projects for combating all forms of violence against women and girls and for promoting gender equality and non-discrimination.
President at Federation Coalition for Education
Daniela Vișoianu serves as Vice-President of C4C Communication for Community (www.c4c.ro), an NGO concerned with the healthy and durable development of children, youth and adults belonging to vulnerable groups. She is C4C representative in the Monitoring Committee of Operational Programme Administrative Capacity and in the Board of Economic and Social Council. An associate professor with the Faculty of Sociology of the University of Bucharest, since 2015, Daniela is the President of the Romanian Coalition for Education (www.coalitiaedu.ro), a federation of NGOs working to improve the education system in Romania.
Vice President Human Resources at United Romanian Breweries
Desiree Diaconescu has 18 years of experience in Human Resources Management. She has been working in Tuborg Romania for 20 years, in 2009 taking the position of Human Resources Vice-president. Desiree graduated Law School, and continued her studies in Human Resources field, with a Master of Arts in Human Resources Management at the University of Westminster in London. The distinctions obtained by Tuborg Romania in the field of Human Resources are: The Excellence Prize (HR Club Romania – 2008), Finalist in “The best HR projects” – Investment in management development (HR Club Romania -2010), 10 Years for Human Resources
Development (Profiles International -2013), winner of the category “The best HR projects Performance Management (HR Club Romania-2014) and also in 2017, nominated in Successful HR Women Gala, by Ziarul Financiar. Desiree Diaconescu manages with much optimism and patience Tuborg’s Human Resources strategy, a company with over 750 employees.
Chair & Co-founder at Funky Citizens
Elena Calistru is the chair and founder of Funky Citizens, a Romanian-based NGO. Funky Citizens builds research-based, data-driven advocacy tools. Funky Citizens’ tools aim to be educational and actionable, encouraging citizens to engage in accountability and government responsibility initiatives in which they can see an impact. Elena has over 10 years of experience in civil society projects, both at national and international level. Her expertise is mainly in the area of good governance, transparency, public finance and advocacy. She strongly believes that data and online tools can empower citizens to influence public sector reform.
Managing Partner at Starfish Events
Elena describes herself, from a professional perspective, as a growth agent powered by love and play. She does that by wearing different professional hats:
- the entrepreneur (in the company Starfish Events – a creative events company that aims to transform your business through play, whose tagline is Evolution likes to play),
- the trainer, coach and consultant on subjects such as communication, leadership or motivation (in collaboration with Human Invest / Blanchard Romania),
- the Empretec facilitator (Empretec is a flagship capacity-building programme of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the promotion of entrepreneurship and micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) to facilitate sustainable development and inclusive growth)
The common element remains the same – let’s learn to achieve amazing results while taking ourselves less seriously. A convinced hedonistic, Elena seeks tirelessly to reconcile the pragmatism of business with the belief that magic exists.
ESHRE Senior Embryologist, Genetics M.D. at COLUMNA Medical Center
Dr. Flavia Zant has specialized in counseling couples with infertility problems, having a long experience in vitro fertilisation procedures. As senior embriolog ESHRE Dr. Flavia Zant followed an over-specialization at the University College of London in Preimplant Genetic Diagnosis in 2015. Co-author of a scientific papers presented at the 19th National Conference of the British Association Neurosciences in 2007, dr. Zant led a work presented at the International Congress Medicalis, Cluj-Napoca, in 2005. Dr. Zant has a specialization in biochemistry and molecular biology.
You can find out more about her and her work HERE.
Ambassador of the United States in RomaniaOn September 21, 2015, Hans Klemm assumed the duties of U.S. Ambassador to Romania. Previously, Ambassador Klemm served as Acting Director General of the Foreign Service and Personnel of the Department of State. Ambassador Klemm was the Senior Official to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, led all U.S. civilian and military rule of law programs in Afghanistan, and served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Overseas, in addition to multiple tours in Japan, Ambassador Klemm worked at U.S. Embassies in Bonn, Seoul and Port of Spain. A graduate of Indiana University (B.A) and Stanford University (A.M.), Ambassador Klemm has professional fluency in Japanese and German. He is married to Mari Kano.
Reporter at Digi24
Iulia Ionescu is a journalist at Digi24, social media consultant and blogger. She has almost 10 years of experience in television and in this moment she is a special reporter for Digimatinal and the presenter and producer of a social media television project called “Social Media Trends”. She likes to think about herself like a human based on the internet because she spends a lot of time online for her research. She also writes on her blog about social media and all the other good things in life. She has graduated the Faculty of Journalism in Bucharest. She like to read, travel and discover new things and opportunities every day. She is also an ambassador for Save The Children Romania
Member of the Executive Board, responsible for Downstream Gas at OMV Petrom
She graduated from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest in 1997 with a degree in Finance and from the MBA program of Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (University of Economics Vienna) in 2008. She started her career in Petrom in 1998 in the Strategy, Planning and Development Division. Subsequently, she held various managerial positions within Petrom, from Corporate Development Director having responsibilities in Mergers and Acquisitions, Investor Relations and Strategy, to Director of Business Unit Power since its establishment in 2007. During 2012-2013, she was Vice-President Investor Relations for OMV Group. Subsequently, she was in charge with Exploration & Production Business Support of OMV E&P GmbH in Vienna until April 2015. She was appointed member of the OMV Petrom Executive Board starting April 17, 2015.
Prime-time News Anchor at Digi24
Liana Alexandru is the prime-time news anchor at Digi24, the first HD news television in Romania, broadcasting since 2012. Liana is a journalist with 18 years experience in media, first as a radio editor and presenter and then as a TV presenter and talk-show moderator at Realitatea TV and Digi24. She broadcasted live and covered all major events of the late years, from terrorist attacks to general elections. She has a Master’s degree in Linguistics and graduated Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest. She likes reading, writing and going to theater and opera with Selona, her 5 years old daughter.
State Adviser at Presidential Administration in Romania
Ligia Deca is the State Adviser for Education and Research at the Romanian Presidential Administration and is currently the coordinator of the “Educated Romania” Project. She holds a doctorate in Political Science at the University of Luxembourg and is the author of several papers and studies in the field of educational policies. Ligia Deca has previously taught a course on teaching and training systems and educational inclusion at the West University of Timisoara (2014-2015). She was part of several projects coordinated by the Executive Agency for Financing Higher Education and Research (UEFISCDI), as an expert in public policies in the field of education (2012-2015). She was the Head of the Bologna Process Secretariat (2010-2012), the international body responsible with the implementation of the Bologna Process within the EHEA member states and the preparation of the Ministerial Conference (that was organized in Bucharest, in April 2012). She has also coordinated the International Conference „Future of Higher Education – Bologna Process Researchers Conference” in 2011 and 2014.
In the period of 2008-2010 Ligia Deca was the Chairperson of the European Students’ Union, thus representing for two consecutive mandates the interests of 11 million students from 37 states. Previously, she coordinated the Coalition for Clean Universities (a project targeting to promote good governance within the Romanian HEIs) and was involved in the fight for students’ rights as the leader of both national and local level student organizations.
Manuela Ciugudean Toma
PINGUINII is the result of Manuela’s own need and struggle to find a unique, trustful resource for pregnancy, maternity and baby products in Romania and South East Europe. A “one pit stop” place that combines care for the environment, quality fabrics, safe and innovative design, plus cool style – all on pinguinii.com and the PINGUINII concept store and event hall downtown Bucharest.
Manuela has over 15 years of experience leading innovative marketing strategy and execution in South East European markets. In her last role as employee, she was the South East Europe Marketing, Communication and Business Development Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She lead a multi-national, cross border team responsible with brand management in 18 countries. Prior to that, she was in charge of the marketing and communications activities of Intel Corporation in South East Europe, as Marketing and Public Relations Manager. Before, she held communication-related positions within the World Bank, the Romanian Government and Grayling Public Relations and Public Affairs Agency. In her early professional years, she was a journalist.
Founder & Managing Director, OMA Vision
An expert in strategic communication for the political, diplomatic and high-level institutional environment, Oana Marinescu creates and implements communication, PR & public affairs strategies with vision and credibility. She lives by the belief that good communication is based on values – on sharing and standing by your own, while understanding and respecting those of others.
Due to a heightened sense of situational and contextual awareness, Oana has set off in the last decade a refreshing long-awaited change to the Romanian landscape of public debate, policy making, public perception and cross-cultural understanding. For her the question is never who’s going to let me, but who’s going to stop me now.
Founder & Brand Manager at TECHIR Cosmetics&Spa
Oana Stan is a young entrepreneur who started her business adventure back in 2012 while she was preparing to graduate from the Business Administration University. In 2014, Oana launched the brand Techir on the competitive cosmetic market and since then, step by step, she put the basis of a fresh and unique ‘Home SPA’ concept. The competitive advantage of Techir’s products is represented by the saline water and the sapropelic mud extracted form Lake Techirghiol. These natural resources are used in Techir’s factory as main ingredients for the final products, such as therapeutic creams, natural soaps, cosmetic creams, bath bombs. The complexity of her business is challenging her daily and she is continuously learning, especially because she had no work experience when she started the business at 22 years old. The only experience she had was gained from her volunteering activities in multiple NGO’s in the Marketing&PR department, and from the active participation at business&personal development conferences, workshops, seminars and networking events.
Executive Director at Policy Center for Roma and Minorities
Raluca Negulescu-Balaci is the Executive Director of the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities where she’s running since 2009 comprehensive empowerment programs in poor communities in Romania, linking education to arts, sport and community organizing. In 2013, Raluca was Legislative Fellow in the US Department of State professional program “Building grassroots democracy in minority communities” and she received the Annual Human Rights Award of the Embassy of France in Romania for her local women empowerment initiative – Mothers’ Club. She is also a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum and an alumna of the Aspen Institute Romania 2015 Leadership Program. One of the top social innovators in Romania according to Ashoka 2017 ranking, Raluca is currently the chair of the board of the international Fare network, working to advance social inclusion of marginalised and disenfranchised groups and to engage policy makers, key players and governing bodies in the anti-discrimination movement via football.
Founder at NALU
Sonia Micu is Founder at NALU Underwear, a Bucharest-based brand that started only a year ago. The company has also won the big prize at Startarium PitchDay.
Beyond lingerie, she built a solid community that shares the same values: minimalism, simplicity and comfort.
After 10 years of marketing in multinational companies, on the top management positions, Sonia Micu changed her lifestyle. She launched NALU underwear, she started as a one woman show, for which she learned design in London and web development, by tutorials. She spends hours thinking about projects, people, and content that would best contribute to this consistency, without the feeling of being work. As they get bigger organically she hopes she will have a solid base of experience to go beyond lingerie in time.
Managing Partner, Acgenio, Presedinte Asociatia Administratorilor Independenti
Sorana Baciu is a senior executive and consultant who supports organisations grow sustainable. She has extensive expertise in strategy development and implementation, change management and corporate governance, with over 20 years of experience in the private and public field in senior positions. Mrs. Baciu has had an international career in investment and commercial banking (ING Bank and Porsche Finance Group Romania), as well as in oil& gas (OMV Petrom S.A and Romgaz S.A.). In the recent years (2015-2017) she was
also a non-executive director for listed SOEs in Romania–Romgaz SA, a gas producer, and IAR SA, a Romanian helicopter producer.
During 2015 – 2017, Mrs. Baciu was State Secretary with the Ministry of Economy (Dec. 2015 – Sept. 2016) and the Chancellery of the Prime Minister (Sept. 2016- Jan. 2017), and was responsible for the Industrial Policy, Competitiveness and Corporate Governance for SOEs. Sorana Baciu also headed the Interministerial Committee for the accession of Romania to OECD. Sorana Baciu graduated the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania with an M.A. in International Economic Relations, and McGill University in Montreal, Canada with a M.A in Economic Policy Management. Mrs. Baciu is a committed civic activist and has held different positions with non-profit organisations.
President of Professional Women's Network
Virginia Oțel is a senior executive with more then 20 years experience in the financial sector in Romania, gaining expertise in general management, business development, marketing, corporate communication, human resource management in various financial institutions, such as venture capital fund, securities trading & investment banking, banking, and leasing. She has served in management boards and board of directors of financial institutions she worked for. Virginia Otel participated in many local and international conferences and seminars as speaker and panelist. Ms. Otel has been working since the end of 2006 within Garanti Group Romania, currently holding
the positions of Deputy General Manager of Garanti Leasing and Communication Leader of Garanti Group Romania. Her professional course included Unicredit Bank Romania, Demir Securities, and Romanian-American Enterprise Fund. In 1994, she was visiting faculty member at Hamline University din St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Virginia graduated from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest with a Bachelor degree in Economic Cybernetics. She completed her post–graduate studies in Management and Public Administration with the National School of Political and Administrative Studies of Bucharest in 1992. The following year, she earned a Master’s degree in Management and Public Administration from Liverpool University, UK, as a Chevening Scholar. She became an Alumna of the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies in 1994 and attended the International Relations Summer School organized by the International University Institute of Luxembourg in the same year. Ms. Otel graduated the Executive MBA with the Romanian-American Postgraduate School of
Business in cooperation with the University of Washington, USA, in 1999. In 2013, she attended the Aspen Seminar for Leaders and became a Fellow of Aspen Institute Romania. Virginia has dedicated her energy, efforts, and time to community development by becoming a founding member of the Foundation for Community Development of Romania in 1994. She has been also serving as a Board member of the Foundation for the Development of Civil Society (FDSC) since 2002. Since November 2011, Virginia joined the Professional Women’s Network (PWN) Romani, being involved in the “Mentorship” and “Women on Boards” pillars developed by the association. She became Vice President “Women on Boards” of PWN Romania in April 2014 and was elected President of PWN Romania in April 2016. Since February 2013, she has become a member of the Romanian Business Leaders Foundation, currently being the Co-Leader of the “Mentoria” project, dedicated to business mentoring of young entrepreneurs.
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