Advisory Board

Standing Committee

Bogdan Atanasiu, Dan International
Andrew Begg
Daniel Daianu, BNR Administration Council
Dana Deac, TVR
Radu Florescu, Centrade
Anca Harasim, AmCham
Catalin Mardare, Romanian Consulate in Spain
Cristian Mungiu, Mobra Films
Irina Pogonaru, PHOTOLIU
Liliana Preoteasa, Ministry of Education
Corina Suteu, Romanian Film Initiative
Dante Stein
Serban Toader, KPMG
Jane Thompson, Early Education Specialist
Alexandra Tinjala, Sister Advertising

Major Investor Representatives

AEF, Anastasia Staicu Dedeman, Denise Pavăl
BBraun, Gheoghe Bulat NN, Elena Neicu
Carrefour, Anca Damour Catena, Anca Vlad
PRO TV, Lucia Antal Raiffeisen, Steven van Groningen


Board of Trustees

Maria Gheorghiu, Co-founder and Executive Director of Asociația OvidiuRo. In 2001, after 15 years of experience in the educational system, Maria co-founded the award-winning Gata, Dispus și Capabil (“Ready, Willing & Able”) programs for impoverished women and children, together with Peace Corp volunteer Leslie Hawke. In 2010, together with Leslie Hawke, Maria designed and developed, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță program, aiming to bring the poorest children to kindergarten. The pilot program proved to be so successful at increasing the attendance and outcomes at high-risk children that in 2015 the Romanian Parliament passed legislation financing a national program based on the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță model. In April 2016, Maria was appointed by the Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș as State Counselor on Social Inclusion, spearheading the PM’s Anti-poverty package, and working directly with the Ministries of Education, Labor, Finance, Health, and EU Funds. Starting January 2017, Maria has restarted her activity at OvidiuRo, continuing a battle she has never put on hold: fighting for making quality early education available to Romania’s most disadvantaged children – so they have a chance to reach their potential in life.

Leslie Hawke, Cofounder of Asociatia OvidiuRo and founder of The Alex Fund, a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Before coming to Romania, Hawke spent 25 years in educational & professional publishing and non-profit management. Formerly the Director of Development in The Princeton Center for Leadership Training and a trustee of The Doe Fund, NY (1998-2004) she founded The Alex Fund in 2001 to raise funds in the U.S. for programs to help Romania’s poorest citizens become self-sufficient. In January, 2005, she was the eighth recipient of USAID’s Outstanding Citizen Citation. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, she has done graduate work in public policy and elementary education.

Sandra Pralong, State Counselor to the Romanian Presidency. Pralong currently directs Synergy Group International in Bucharest. Formerly Regional Communications Advisor with the United Nations Development Programme and a prior director of the Soros Foundation in Romania, Pralong was an advisor to the President of Romania from 1998-2002. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science, Columbia University, a Masters in Law and Diplomacy/International Relations from the Fletcher School, and a Ph.D from Sciences Po Paris.

Adela Vrînceanu Celebidachi, Director of Oblique Media, Look Media Profile & the Sergiu Celibidache Foundation. Adela Vrînceanu Celebidachi has been an OvidiuRo volunteer and fundraiser for over a decade. She got involved since 2010, in a special educational program for poor children at School no. 147 in Ferentari, where – for over three years – she taught ballet. Thus, she helped over 40 preschoolers and pupils yearly discover movement, music, the magic of ballet and, most of all, the benefits of education. Adela graduated from Law School, holds a Master in Communication and specialized in PR & Marketing. Since 2013, the company she is running has expanded towards film production, especially social documentaries. Through The Sergiu Celibidache Foundation, Adela supports young people who have financial difficulties follow their dream of a career in classical music.

Codrin Scutaru, Director of McGuireWoods Consulting. Codrin Scutariu is Acting Managing Director coordinating the Romanian operations of McGuireWoods Consulting. Before joining McGuireWoods, Codrin Scutariu was active in areas like political management and administration, occupying the position of State Secretary for welfare, employment, social security and european affairs within the Ministry of Labour. Codrin Scutaru worked with the IMF, the European Commission and the World Bank, representing the Romanian state in negotiations around social and economical governmental policies. A sociologist and a lawyer, Codrin Scutaru has also previously occupied the following positions: Social policy counselor in the Prime Minister Chancellory, European integration councilor and Minister of Labour councilor, councilor for the Minister of Education and Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education. In the private sector, Codrin Scutaru provided public affairs consultancy to strategic investors for Romania. Codrin has also managed his own consultancy company servicing important Euopean clients – including financial and IT&C corporations. Since 2012, Codrin is a member of The Institute for Life Quality Research and also a lecturer with The Dimitrie Cantemir University. Since 2014, Codrin has been backing OvidiuRo’s efforts to promote the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță pilot program to a national strategic one.