Rick Zedník, Chief Executive Officer

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.

Alexandra Rosén, Senior Director

Alexandra is Senior Director at WPL. She previously worked as Public Affairs Consultant and head of office of a European Commission accredited Technology Platform. Alexandra holds a Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. She also studied in Germany and Russia and completed an internship within the UN structure in New York.

You can contact her at in English, German, Russian and Swedish.

Ahinara Bascuñana, Communications Director

Ahinara is the Communications Director at WPL. She previously worked as a reporter, TV anchor, and moderator of conferences and political debates. She also worked at the European Parliament’s communication service and as a communication consultant for non-governmental organisations. She received her education in Journalism in Barcelona and Utrecht.

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

Angela Lowe, Programme Assistant

Angela is Programme Assistant 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 in English and French.

Aretha Francis, Communications and Advocacy Advisor

Aretha Francis is the Communications and Advocacy Manager at WPL. She previously worked as a freelance journalist for several international Media and assisted the Spokesperson of the European Parliament. She received her education as a journalist in Barcelona and Milan.

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

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 in English, Swedish, French and Dutch.

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 in English, French or Arabic.

Jarka Chloupková, Special Senior Advisor

During the previous two decades, she worked at the EU institutions. She also has experience from working for national governments. Jarka holds a PhD degree (University of Copenhagen), MSc degree (University of London), and Ing degree (Mendel University). She has been a Fulbright scholar in the USA. In addition, she writes on policy issues, moderates conferences and lectures students.

You can contact her at in English, Czech, Slovak, German, French and basic Russian.

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 in English and Arabic.

Narod Haroutunian, Policy Manager

Narod is a Policy Manager at WPL. Narod grew up in Lebanon where she obtained her Bachelor in International Affairs from the Lebanese American University. She is currently pursuing a dual degree MSc in Social Sciences & MA in European Studies at Europa-Universität Flensburg. She has also undertaken an internship in New York at an NGO, affiliated with the UN, known as World Youth Alliance.

You can contact her at in English, French, Arabic and Armenian.

Pamela Rodríguez, Regional Manager for Latin America

Pamela Rodríguez  is the Regional Manager for Latin America at WPL. She has experience in international cooperation, project management and international relations. She previously worked at the International Cooperation Agency.  Pamela grew up in Ecuador where she studied Business Administration and Development Project Management.

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

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.


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 in English, Portuguese and French.

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 in English, French and Portuguese.

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 in English, German and French.