Board Members

Pedro das Neves
Innovation Philanthropist

Holding a Sociology degree and an MA from the College of Europe in Bruges, he is undertaking a Ph.D. research on Public Policy at the Sociology and Public Policies School of ISCTE – IUL Lisbon University Institute. Pedro is a board member of the BSAFE LAB Law enforcement, Justice, and Public Safety Research and Technology Transfer. He is also a guest lecturer at ISEC and has been a member of the scientific coordination team of DEIA – Specialization Degree in Organisational Learning and Innovation at INA – the Portuguese National Institute of Public Administration. He has been working on public administration reform for 20 years in several European countries. He has been a policy advisor and coordinated major project implementations in Portugal, Romania, Argentina, and Guatemala, also supporting specific projects in other countries. Pedro has been involved in the design and implementation of pilot projects that have received awards and were recognized as best practices. He holds extensive experience as a policy advisor (EU policy, including prison systems modernization, prison work, re-settlement and ICT, international cooperation). On behalf of IPS, he has been invited as a guest observer at the European Commission and Council of Europe meetings and as a speaker in several international events organized by the Council of Europe, ICPA, EIPA, European Commission, and governments from the different Member States. Pedro is an ICPA member. He is involved in the public policy and governance sector.

Tiago Leitão
Social Innovation Pioneer

Holding a degree in Social Work (Portuguese Catholic University), and an MBA from The Lisbon MBA, Tiago has been involved in project management since 1998. He has a 15-year of experience in management, consultancy, social innovation and reintegration, and knowledge transference. He also owns expertise in policy and strategy, namely in the social economy, training, and volunteering. He has been working in the development and implementation of penitentiary-related projects since 2003, having “Rumos de Futuro” been his kick-off experience in this field. This strategic project aimed to innovate on multi-agency work towards inmates’ reintegration in Portugal. In Romania he has been involved in the “Credem in Schimbare” and Itinerariul Dialog (both projects that have received awards and have been considered good practices). Tiago has been leading the concept development and management of innovative projects in the field of social economy and entrepreneurship (IDEIA – women entrepreneurship), social business plans, strategic organisational plans, education, training, and mentoring (MOMIE – Models on Mentoring for Inclusion and Employment and MEGAN – Mentoring for Excluded Groups and Networks). Presently, Tiago is the head project manager of several projects that EaSI is involved in, as a partner. Since 2003 is engaged in intense international work, mostly in Europe, in different areas of knowledge, collaborating in different networks and in the organisation of events, research, and publications: “Employers Engagement in inmates reintegration”(Rumos de Futuro, 2007); “Seven Steps towards Inmates Reintegration” (Rumos de Futuro, 2007); “Design and Delivery of Volunteering in the Criminal Justice Sector” (JIVE, 2014), etc. Besides his position at EaSI, Tiago is the chairman of the non-governmental organisation APROXIMAR and a board member of IPS. He is involved in social dialogue and social movement actions and responsible for social inclusion, technology, and social digital innovation programs implemented within the association.

Rodica Pană
Innovation Passionate

Rodica is the CPIP director, expert in finances and accounting, and the manager of several co-financed projects since 1998. She is specialized as a trainer for interethnic communities and is a master trainer in the dialogical method. In 2005, she founded the Association Center for Promoting Lifelong Learning, and until today, together with her team, she is running around 85 European projects on different topics and for different target groups. Her major specialization is economy, but she has always been attracted by the NGO sector, developing programs and projects, teaching, and training. In her free time, she likes reading, writing, and interacting with people. She is involved in actions from the social entrepreneurship and education sectors.  “I think we continue to learn daily, and life itself is about lifelong learning!”.

Team Members

Elena Bianca Balan
Social Innovation Explorer

Elena holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a master’s degree in the Management of Health and Social Services, from the University of Bucharest, Romania. As a volunteer, she has interacted with several NGOs and public body institutions and collaborated with them on the implementation of different European projects. Since 2012, Elena started to participate in youth exchanges around Europe, gathering information about the importance of diversity, multiculturalism, and the development of the communities. She joined the EaSI team in December 2017, and since then has been involved in project management, as well as in research on social innovation domains such as the social economy field, employment of people with disabilities, informal caring of people with dementia. Elena is actively engaged in the implementation of several projects.

Florin Ene
Master of Coin

Florin has earned a BA in history and an MA in development cooperation and humanitarian aid. He has a special interest in development economics and its integration into project-based interventions. Besides involvement in different projects established in Romania, he has accumulated experience in the private sector, namely in consultancy related to development cooperation, and in international diplomacy. He has now joined the EaSI as a financial secretary.

Ioana Bîrdu
Multidisciplinary Storyteller

Ioana is the Communications officer of the European Association for Social Innovation team. With a background in Communications and Public Relationships, Ioana is a multidisciplinary storyteller and a life-long learner, passionately curious about people and what it means to be human. Her work experience expands in both the non-governmental and private sectors.

Daria-Alexandra Bădescu
Visionary Social Innovator

Daria joined the EaSI team as Project Assistant. She has an expertise in International Relations & European Studies gained through academic training from the University of Bucharest, University of Turin and University of Gothenburg. By means of her different exchanges, Daria broadened her knowledge about the dynamics within the European arena, especially concerning issues of migration, EU institutions and cultural diversity. Moreover, Daria holds a solid background in the sphere of volunteering and student leadership, cultivating her management abilities by working with a variety of private and public actors. Driven by the desire to make a societal change for the better, Daria shares EaSI’s central mission to stimulate the advancement of the social innovation sector in Europe.

Ana-Maria Despoiu
Innovation enthusiast

Ana joined the EaSI team as a Social Researcher. Ana holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Bucharest, Romania. Being experienced in social and commercial research, she is passionate about understanding the big and small intricacies of different human experiences. Ana is interested in applying a human centered approach to innovation, while also keeping an eye on emergent trends.

Sorina Maria Cocei
Innovation Sparkler

Sorina graduated in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Bucharest and the China University of Political Science and Law. As a former long-term ESC volunteer, she is involved in youth empowerment in Europe, being active in youth work, with a particular interest in non-formal education. Sorina joined the EaSI team in October 2022 as Project Assistant. Sharing the EaSI’s mission, she is always ready to contribute to unlocking innovation in the era of digitalisation.