WHO WE ARE > Board
Lejla Šehić Relić
Croatian Volunteer Development Centre (HR)
Lejla Šehić Relić (born 1971) founder and managing director of Volunteer Centre Osijek, committed civil society leader and activist since 2003, expert for the development of volunteerism and community development programs, mentor for the implementation of quality insurance system for non-profit organizations, trainer and consultant for organizational development and development of quality volunteer programs in non-profit organizations. Lejla holds university degree in public administration. For the past 10 years she has been active in the development of public policy in favour to civil society and volunteerism in Croatia. In the period 2012- 2014 Lejla was president of the Croatian National Council for the development of volunteerism. She is the co-author of several publications on volunteering, civil society and conflict management. Lejla was elected as President on 2019 for 4 years.
Catalina Parra Baño
Fundación Hazloposible (ES)
Catalina Parra Industrial Engineer by ICAI (U P Comillas) and MBA by IESE Business School. She is founder and chairwoman of Fundación Hazloposible, a technology-based NGO serving social purposes. She is founder and chairwoman of Chandra3X, an impact-investment vehicle, from which she participates, monitors and mentors social entrepreneurs. She is member of the board of other non profit institutions.
In the previous years, from Philanthropic Intelligence LLC, she has been advising individuals, families and companies about philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and social investments, in Spain, USA and Latin-America. She also founded the first European technology-based social enterprises accelerator: UEIA. Prior to that she was CEO of Fundación Tomillo in Madrid, a leading NGO in the social inclusion and public services sectors.
Before diving into social arena, Catalina was Principal ("partner") at Mercer Management Consulting (today Oliver & Wyman) where she managed strategic projects for Spanish and multinational companies, mainly in Telecommunications/Internet sector.
Together with this professional positions, Catalina has been professor at ICAI (U.P. Comillas), IE Business School (Instituto de Empresa), Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles and Instituto Europeo di Design. She collaborates with some written media and is a frequent speaker in national and international conferences on Social Enterprises. She belongs to the Madrid IESE Alumni Council.
France Bénévolat (FR)
Michel Lefranc is a convinced European who has done his civil service in Munich, has been a university lecturer in Exeter and in Oslo, has taught at the university of Caen before becoming a seconded expert at the European Commission and a Director at the Council of Europe. He has worked several years as project leader in charge of European projects at the French Ministry of education. As for volunteer work, he started with working camps, then teaching French to migrants, belonging to the European Movement and at the same time as Deputee mayor of the city of Caen in charge of international twinnings and international volunteer associations. Lately he has been devoting his time to European projects concerning refugees, migrants, youngsters in need and prisoners as well as to aspects concerning seniors, volunteering and guidance and seniors and isolation. He is also very much engaged in spreading the concept of peer support at all levels of teaching. Michel was elected to the CEV Board in 2017 for a 4 year term.
Volunteer Ireland (IE)
Nina Arwitz is CEO of Volunteer Ireland and joined the Board of CEV in October 2015 for a 4 year mandate and was reelected in November 2019. Originally from Sweden, Nina worked in the non-profit sector in the UK, the Middle East, Africa and Central America before moving to Ireland. Her academic background is in environmental economics, which led to a career working mostly with environmental and animal welfare organisations – with a focus on social inclusion, social capital, community engagement and volunteering. Her particular areas of interest and skills lie in strategic planning, fundraising and organisational development. In Ireland Nina is an active member of the working group leading the Governance Code for Community and Voluntary Organisations. She enjoys volunteering in conservation work and dog walking.
Gian Piero Farru
CSV Sardegna (IT)
Gian Piero Farru (born 1957), from Sardinia, Italy, has been teaching since 1981 in a technological high school in Cagliari. He is a member of the Order of the Journalists from Sardinia. Gian Piero was elected to the CEV Board in 2017 for a 4 year term.
Since 1986 he has participated in research on the volunteering in Sardinia, he was a designer and responsible for courses in training for community workers and volunteers, and participant in numerous social initiatives. Founding member of the La Strada di Cagliari association and of the cooperative Il Samaritano di Arborea, he was an assistant volunteer for 13 years in the juvenile prison of Quartucciu and had positions of responsibility in various national organizations such as CSI (Centro Sportivo Italiano), MoVI (Movimento di Volontariato Italiano), Forum Terzo Settore and Libera, of which he is regional referent. Currently he is president of CSV Sardegna Solidale and is on the board of directors of CSVnet, in which he held various positions including that of vice-president (2003-2005).
Volunteer Scotland (UK)
George is CEO of Volunteer Scotland the national centre for volunteer development: research, policy and practice.
His career has been centred on citizen engagement in all forms of volunteer activity and in all sectors. He enjoys working in the ‘feelgood industry‘!
Plateforme francophone du Volontariat ASBL (BE)
Emmeline Orban is volunteer since the age of 15 in many organisations, Emmeline Orban is the general secretary of the Plateforme francophone du Volontariat (PFV). PFV is the French speaking organisation for volunteering in Belgium. It is pluralistic and represents more than 250 non-profit organisations (federations, very big, big and small associations) from all sectors. In the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, there are more than 400 000 volunteers.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bulgaria Association (BG)
Besides its founder, Lena has been the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bulgaria Association since its establishment in 2006. She is a sociologist by profession and a youth worker by vocation. She is directly involved in the preparation and implementation of all projects of the organization which include more than 100 trainings for volunteers and youth organizations. Prior to her position at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bulgaria Association, she had been working for other NGOs in Bulgaria as a coordinator of volunteer programs and projects, giving her now a total of more than 20 years of experience in the volunteering sector. She has been an expert in the mentoring and passed through a number of trainings related to this topic both in the USA and Europe. Lena is also an international trainer herself, specialized in volunteer management, non-formal education, European funding for volunteering and youth projects. She is a passionate traveler. Lena was elected to the CEV Board in 2019 for a 4-year mandate.
Vlaams Steunpunt Vrijwilligerswerk vzw (BE)
Jan Verdée (born in 1986) is employee of Vlaams Steunpunt Vrijwilligerswerk vzw, the Flemish support centre for volunteering, since 2015. He supports municipalities in their local volunteering policy. Another topic that he focuses on in his job are competences and volunteering. He is an engaged volunteer. He is president of De Zuidpoort, a volunteer organisation that is fighting against poverty, and board member of Youth for Work Innovations vzw, a volunteer organisation that is supporting jobseekers in their jobsearch by bringing them together in workshops. He studied history and economics. In 2019 he is elected to the CEV board for a 4 year mandate.