Dee Thomsen, Managing Director

Dee is the Managing Director for Women Leaders Global Forum.

Dee has worked across the globe in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, America & Asia as a solution provider with key strengths in Strategic Vision & Planning, Organisational Leadership, Marketing & Communications. After graduating summa cum laude with marketing and business degree in London Dee founded her marketing agency in 1999 and grew it to international acclaim before selling it to a Middle East based media company in 2015 and merging the two into a 360 communications agency. Dee has extensive expertise and over 20 years proven track record.

You can contact her at in English and Icelandic.

Dominic Nieper, Managing Director

Dominic is the Managing Director for Partnerships at Women Political Leaders.

Dominic has over twenty years of professional experience. With a focus on client and change management his career has seen him work all over the world from bases in the UK, UAE and now from WPL’s Reykjavik office in Iceland.


You can contact him at in English.

Rick Zedník, Managing Director

Rick is the Managing Director for the WPL Summit.

Rick’s management career spans more than two decades in media, most recently as CEO of, 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 in English, French or Slovak.

Anna Maria Colivicchi, Communications Assistant

Anna Maria works as a Communications Assistant at WPL. Born and raised in Rome, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Literature from Sapienza University and a Master’s in Writing from the University of Warwick. Before joining WPL, she was a Deputy Editor at Warwick’s student newspaper, and she has written short stories and articles about culture, food and travel for various online publications. She is particularly interested in international journalism and press relations.

You can contact her at in English and Italian.

Angela Lowe, Programme & Communities Manager

Angela is the Programme & Communities Manager at Women Political Leaders (WPL), responsible for developing and managing project scopes and objectives involving relevant WPL community members and stakeholders. She ensures successful planning and execution of events/projects according to feasibility and resource allocation, all in accordance with the mission and goals of WPL. Born in the Seychelles and living in Europe for the past 10 years, she left a career in Business Management after graduating Cum Laude in Business Studies at the University of Wales, for what she believes is a more fitting career path in the civil society sector. Angela also holds a Masters in Communications Studies from the Vrij Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and a Post-Graduate degree in Economic Diplomacy from the Brussels Diplomatic Academy.

You can contact her at in English and French.

Assita Kanko, Special Senior Advisor

Born in Burkina Faso, Assita Kanko later immigrated to Belgium. After her term as an elected representative in Brussels, Assita founded the non-partisan political incubator POLIN, which encourages women to join politics. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Development Agency and contributes as a columnist to the Belgian Newspaper De Standaard, as well as political commentator to Belgian RTL TV. She is a popular author of several books on women’s rights.

You can contact her at  in French, Dutch and English.

Chiara Gonzi, Programme Coordinator

Chiara is a Programme Coordinator at Women Political Leaders (WPL). She has a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Milan and graduated summa cum laude from her Master’s degree in Language Sciences from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She is particularly interested in gender equality, women’s rights and power structures, and her Master thesis focused on language education as a tool for empowering women.

You can contact her at in English, Italian and Spanish.

Courtney Graff, Programme Assistant

Having joined WPL in January, Courtney works as a Programme Assistant. She is particularly interested in gender equality and politics and she is pursuing her MA in Diplomacy and Global Governance at Vesalius College in Brussels, where she specializes in new forms of diplomacy, networks, national identity, East Asian and Southeast Asian political systems. She holds a BA in International Affairs with an East Asian Regional Emphasis and a Minor in Mandarin. Before joining WPL, she interned for a financial office in China, a political campaign in the United States, and taught English in both France and China.

You can contact her at in English and Mandarin.

Eric Ortiz, Creative Design Manager

Eric works as Graphic and Design Manager at Women Political Leaders (WPL). He has worked in several communication agencies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. After studying Communication, Politics, Gender studies and International Relations, he decided to develop his skills as a creative and graphic designer, video editor and art director through several gender equality NGOs and also in some international TV and cinema productions.

You can contact him at in English, Spanish, Italian and Catalan.

Erik Boman, Accountant

Erik is responsible for WPL’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 in English, Swedish, French and Dutch.

Everica Rivera, Communications Assistant

Everica works as a Communications Assistant at Women Political Leaders. Everica holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas at Austin in International Relations, as well as French. She also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Kent in International Conflict and Security with Political Strategy and Communication. Before joining WPL,  she worked on promoting participatory European policies, with a gender perspective, that contribute to the comprehensive respect of human rights in Latin America with the EU-LAT Network. She has also worked with the United Nations Department of Public Information in New York and Brussels.

You can contact her at in English, Spanish and French.

Fatema Das, Programme Advisor

Fatema is a Programme Advisor at the Women Political Leaders (WPL). She attained her Bachelor of Pharmacy from the University of Mumbai in India. She pursued her Master of Science in Governance and Leadership in European Public Health at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Fatema focuses on health policy and research for streamlining communication to generate effective and evidence-based recommendations for health policies.

You can contact her at in English and Hindi.

Gioconda Carrera Herrera, Programme Director

Gioconda is a Programme Director 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 fulfillment of children’s rights and has produced more than 10 research studies for UNICEF, WHO, Plan International among others.

You can contact her at in English, Spanish or French.

Helia Nazari, Campaign Manager

Helia has joined WPL as Programme Assistant and currently she is the Campaign Manager for #Girl2Leader. She has an extensive knowledge in International Relations and Diplomacy, due to her academic background in political sciences. She has previously worked as a Policy Analyst at consultancy firms and as a journalist for various forums and conferences, where she published numerous articles and policy briefs on women empowerment. Helia is very much familiar with International Institutions, such as the UN and the EU as well as work of civil societies. She was born and raised in Iran, before moving to Austria. She has worked and studied in Austria, the UK and currently is living and working in Brussels.

You can contact her at in English, Persian and German.

Katharina Geldsetzer

Katharina works as a Database and Project Assistant at Women Political Leaders (WPL).

She is pursuing her BA in Political Science and English Studies at the Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster (WWU) in Germany, with special interest in Gender Studies, Feminist Political Theory and Postcolonial Theory. Before joining WPL she worked for the WWU Research Group for Gender in the Field of Physics at the University of Münster.
You can contact her in English and German at

Lucia de Luca, Communication Director

Lucia acts as Director of Communications for WPL and its associated community activities.

Lucia is a public affairs and communications professional with more than 16 years of experience in strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, international cooperation, and media relations. Lucia worked for the European Parliament, for an innovative airlines and a renown consultancy in Brussels as well as for a leading European agency where she specialised in risk communications. Lucia acts as moderator and university lecturer. Lucia holds an MA Degree in Modern Languages and Literatures she obtained in Italy and Germany.

You can contact her at in English, French, Spanish and German.

Mallory Rusch, Programme Advisor

Mallory has over ten years of experience in program management, fundraising, and marketing/communication with NGOs, including three years of nonprofit consulting. She is currently pursuing her personal passion of elevating women’s political leadership around the globe, and especially in her home country of the United States.  She holds a bachelor’s in communications from Bradley University (lllinois) and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public service at the Clinton School of Public Service (Arkansas).

You can contact her at in English.

Maneeha Chowdhury, Project Assistant

Maneeha is a Project Assistant at Women Political Leaders (WPL). She completed her Bachelor’s studies in Economics at the Singapore Management University and is currently pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Masters in Public Policy at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals in Barcelona, Spain. Maneeha has 4 years of project management experience at the Education department of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), an intergovernmental organization based in Singapore. She is deeply interested in governance, public policy and international relations.

You can contact her at in English and Bengali.

Rebecca Zammit, Project Assistant

Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s degree in European Studies from the University of Malta, and is in the process of completing her Masters degree in European Public Affairs at Maastricht University. She is particularly interested in European affairs, NGOs’ work, and gender studies. In fact, she is currently writing her MA thesis on Malta’s Gender-Based Violence policy.

You can contact her at in English and Maltese.

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 in English.


Sigthruður 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 in English or Icelandic.

Suenia Lagares, Operations Director

Suenia is the WPL  Operations Director. 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 in English, French and Portuguese.

Stephanie Michel, Data Protection Officer

Stephanie Michel is Legal Counsel at WPL. She runs the legal department of WPL. She is a Professor at the University of Hannover, Germany, her home country She previously managed the German association of notaries and worked many years as a solicitor.


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 in English, French and Hungarian.