Team

Rick Zedník, Chief Executive Officer

Rick’s management career spans more than two decades in media, most recently as CEO of EurActiv.com, the independent EU policy news network. Previously, Rick directed marketing for The Wall Street Journal Europe. A dual citizen of the USA and Slovakia, he was co-founding editor of The Slovak Spectator newspaper in Bratislava. Rick holds an MBA from Harvard, a master’s from Columbia Journalism School, and a bachelor’s in political science from Trinity College (Connecticut). He has written for more than 20 publications, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

You can contact him at rick@wpleaders.org in English, French or Slovak.

Alice Stollmeyer, Communications Director

Alice is the Communications Director at WPL. With a solid background in social science, science studies and communications, Alice has been working in communications since 2009. In 2012 she founded her own consultancy @StollmeyerEU, which specialises in EU public affairs, political communications and digital advocacy. In 2016 @StollmeyerEU broadened its client portfolio to EU politics, democracy, human rights, gender equality and digital developments. Alice holds a master in Psychology, a Master in Philosophy, and did PhD research in Social Studies of Science and Technology. Alice has lived and worked in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels, the heart of the European Union.

You can contact her at alice@wpleaders.org in English, French, Dutch and German.

Angela Lowe, Programme Manager

Angela is Programme Manager at the Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL). She grew up in the Seychelles and left to persue a career in Business Management after graduating Cum Laude from her Bachelor in Business Studies at the University of Wales. She has a Bachelor in Communications Studies from the Belgian University of VUB (Vrij Universiteit Brussel) and is currently completing a post-graduate degree in Economic Diplomacy at the Brusssels Diplomatic Academy.

You can contact her at angela@wpleaders.org in English and French.

Bettina Appel, Programme Director

Bettina’s career extents more than two decades in communication, media and events. She is part of the external speakers team of the European Commission. Bettina holds a master’s in political science and communication from LMU Munich.

You can contact her at bettina@wpleaders.org in English, French or German.

 

Erik Boman, Accountant

Erik is responsible for WIP’s finances.  He has plenty of experience in providing accounting services to Brussels-based organizations with a European or international focus.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge, and is half Swedish and half American.

You can reach him at erik@abatis.eu in English, Swedish, French and Dutch.

Gioconda Carrera Herrera, Programme Manager

Gioconda is a Programme Manager at WPL. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. with a double major in Economics and Peace Studies. She pursued her Master of Arts in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at Universiteit Utrecht in the Netherlands.  She has worked for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in two field offices and one coordination hub. She is the co-author of three studies concerning the fulfilment of children’s rights and has produced more than 10 research studies for UNICEF, WHO, Plan International, among others.

You can contact her at gioconda@wpleaders.org in English, Spanish or French.

Ross Melzer, Partnerships Director

Before joining WPL, Ross worked in Brussels at EU affairs media EurActiv and policy media Science|Business. Previously, he worked at The Wall Street Journal Europe for 7 years. He’s also had senior management roles at the Financial Times in London and Paris and Time Magazine in Germany. He has more than 25 years experience in the world of international media. Ross holds a BA Hons degree in European Languages and Politics from Coventry University and an MBA from CASS Business School in the UK.

You can contact him at ross@wpleaders.org in English.

 

Sigthrudur Armann, WPL Iceland Summit Ambassador/Coordinator

Sigthrudur is from Iceland. She has a broad educational background, with qualifications in both Law and Business Management from University of Iceland, Reykjavik University, China Europe International Business School in Shanghai and IESE Business School in Barcelona.

In 2006 Sigthrudur founded EXEDRA, which is a discussion forum for a group of leading women from various career fields in Iceland including all political parties, business, the media, areas of education, health, the arts, and other professional. Sigthrudur is the CEO of EXEDRA.

You can contact Sigthrudur at sa@wpleaders.org in English or Icelandic.

Suenia Lagares, Executive Assistant and Database Manager

Suenia is the WPL Database Manager. Prior to joining WPL, she worked as an administrative manager and executive assistant in Brazil. She holds a bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Wales and post-graduation courses in International Relations from the University of Brasília, Brazil. 

You can contact her at suenia@wpleaders.org in English, French and Portuguese.

Thainá Leite, Programme Manager

Thainá is a Programme Manager at WPL. She grew up in Rio de Janeiro where she obtained her Bachelor in International Relations from IBMEC Business School. Recently she pursued a dual degree MSc & MA in European Studies at the University of Southern Denmark and at the Europa-Universität Flensburg. She has also undertaken internships at two well recognized Brazilian think-tanks; at the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), where she had the opportunity to work with Brazilian ambassadors; and secondly, at the Igarapé Institute, where she assisted in a project focused on UN Peacekeeping Operations.

You can contact her at thaina@wpleaders.org in English, Portuguese and French.

Assita Kanko, Special Senior Advisor

Born in Burkina Faso, Assita Kanko later immigrated to Belgium. Assita is elected town councillor in Ixelles, one of the largest districts of Brussels, serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Development Agency and contributes as a columnist for the Belgian Newspaper De Standaard. In her work, she argues forcefully for women’s empowerment. She is a popular author and media commentator. Her first book “Parce que tu es une fille, histoire d’une vie excisée” (Because you are a girl, story of a circumcised life) is a story of a personal and intellectual journey to freedom as a woman. In 2015, she published “La deuxième moitié, plaidoyer pour un nouveau féminisme” (The second half, advocacy for a new feminism) about the position of women worldwide.

You can contact her at assita@wpleaders.org  in French, Dutch and English.

Hala Hanna, Senior Policy and Strategy Advisor

Hala is a public policy expert, with experience in strategy, management, programme development and public-private partnerships through her work at the World Economic Forum (WFL). Her experience also includes advising governments in Africa and the Middle East on governance, public sector reform and donor engagement as part of her work with the World Bank, the UN, and Harvard University. Hala holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Masters in International Development from American University, DC. She was a Global Leadership Fellow of the WFL.

You can contact her at hala@wpleaders.org in English, French or Arabic.

Kholoud Wattar Kassem, Special Senior Advisor

Kholoud is WIP Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In addition, Kholoud is President and Founder of “Mothers from Lebanon”, social organization socio-political researcher; candidate of the Lebanese parliament 2013-2014; council member at the WAAUB. She holds a bachelor degree in Sociology/Anthropology, diplomas in child psychology, international negotiation and diplomatic consultancy, in addition to a masters in political sociology.

You can contact her at kholoud@wpleaders.org in English and Arabic.

Thomas Fillis, Policy Advisor

Thomas is a Communications Strategist in the European Commission who provides advice to WPL. Having previously worked as Regional Manager for Europe and Asia at WPL, Thomas has worked for a German Member of the European Parliament, and in private sector consulting. Prior to this, Thomas ran an international office in Berlin. A native of Liverpool, and has studied at Universities in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

You can contact him at thomas@wpleaders.org in English, German and French.

Zita Gurmai, Founding Member

Zita is fighting for gender equality for more than two decades, most recently Special Adviser on Gender, European Commissioner for International Cooperation & Development. Previously Zita was a Member of the European Parliament (2004-2014), where she was vice-chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committee and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. Previously she was a member of the Hungarian Parliament. She is the President of PES Women, the Women Section of the Hungarian Socialist Party, and board member of the Central & Eastern European Gender Network.

You can contact her at gurmaizita@gmail.com in English, French and Hungarian.