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Inspiring Thursday #119: The WAVE Office!

To celebrate the New Year, we wish to present all the great women that will be working in the WAVE Office in 2020. Some of them have been here for almost five years while some are recent additions to the WAVE Office, but here is a presentation of our beautiful team!

In 2019, we were lucky enough to have many new faces joing our team! Welcome Martina, Maria, Elena and Alicja!

Martina Fontana, Office Administrator and Project Assistant

Warm welcome to Martina from Italy! She holds a BA Degree in International Relations, Development and Cooperation from the University of Turin, Italy. She is currently attending a MA Degree in Culture, Communication and Globalization at Aalborg University, Denmark with a Specialization in Global Gender Studies where she focused mainly on the concept of masculinity and the relation within feminist movements. She has attended two Erasmus + Project in relation to LGBTQ+ and Women’s rights and she had volunteered teaching Italian to migrants in Italy. She believes in the freedom of self-expression supporting the achievement of gender equality.

Maria Knaub, Grant Development and Advisory Board Coordinator

Maria has a Bachelor’s Degree in East Asian Studies and is currently finishing her Master’s in Development Studies at the University of Vienna. She is passionate about feminism, gender equality and social justice. Previously, she has worked in a variety of positions and industries, spanning from algorithm research to editorial offices. As WAVE’s interim Grant Development and Advisory Board Coordinator, she is looking forward to putting her prior experiences into social use for ending gender-based violence.

Elena Floriani, Communications & Research Officer

Elena Floriani holds a bachelor’s degree in Cultural mediation and a Master’s degree in Comparative international relations. After study and work experiences in Italy, France, Germany, Tanzania and Austria, she joined the WAVE office as Communication and Research Officer in May 2019. In the last years, Elena made of her interest in feminism and women’s rights her area of research and work. Following an experience in the field of development cooperation in Tanzania, she decided to focus her Master’s thesis on the legal protection of women’s rights in Africa, conducting a research on the recent developments of the African Union’s human rights system. After her graduation, Elena interned at WAVE for three months, a great opportunity to get familiar with the fight against VAW from a European perspective. Later on, she started working for one of WAVE’s members, the Domestic violence intervention center of Vienna, in the public affairs office. Elena is now collaborating with the WAVE team on data collection, publication of country reports and communication strategies for WAVE’s projects.

Alicja Switon, Executive Manager (Maternity replacement for Stephanie Futter-Orel)

is a lesbian feminist from Poland. She holds master’s degree in history from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, where she has focused on methodology of history and cultural studies, exploring mostly gender theory and identity related topics. She has also completed her postgraduate diploma in Gender Studies on the Institute of Literary Research of Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. Over the years she has lived in Gibraltar and Spain, and finally moved to Vienna in 2015. Alicja has worked in a number of managerial positions related to Knowledge, Content and Project Management, heading several international teams at the same time. She has also attended Senior Female Leadership programme and lead a local LGBTQI+ network. Alicja’s ambition is to live intersectionality by working with and for other women and oppressed groups.

We are also very happy to continue to have Anca, Beverly, Lina, Katarina and Renate in the office, the pillars of WAVE:

Anca Ciupa, Membership & Legal Project Coordinator

Anca Ciupa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Law at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and a Master’s Degree in European and National Business Law also obtained in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Babes-Bolyai University. Additionally, Anca has obtained a postgraduate diploma in International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna in June 2014. Before working at WAVE, Anca was a co-author on a research project, “Analysis of the draft law to permit the Rosia Montana mining proposal”, where she was in charge with reviewing environmental legislation, decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and illustrating opinions in the report. Anca is a strong advocate of human rights and passionate about bringing her own contribution in this environment.

Beverly Mtui, Youth Ambassador Coordinator

Beverly Mtui is pursuing her Master’s in Development Studies as well as her second Bachelor’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. She did an exchange program with the Université de Genève in Switzerland, before volunteering at the Austrian Network for Refugees to teach German and English. In 2018, she interned with one of our Members “Work With Perpetrators European Network – WWP EN” for half a year. One of her main fields of interest is combatting human trafficking.

Since 2018, she is volunteering for FOOTPRINT, a NGO based in Vienna that provides free social and legal advice as well as language courses to survivors of violence and/or human trafficking. She supports them as the head of the FOOTPRINT fundraising team. Besides being passionate about intersectional feminism and gender equality, she also believes in social equality. In March 2019, she co-founded a local radio programme highlighting Austro-African matters with the aim to empower BIPOC communities in Austria.

As the Youth Ambassadors Coordinator, she is working closely with the WAVE Youth Ambassadors in developing as well as implementing actions to highlight the importance of youth inclusion in promoting non-violence and gender equality, to effectively educate youth on gender-based violence and to support young people in becoming multipliers of positive change

Lina Piskernik, Digital & Social Media Coordinator

Lina Piskernik is Digital & Social Media Coordinator, ensuring that WAVE’s many projects and achievements are as visible as possible across several social media networks. She is also Communications Coordinator for the Erasmus project DIS.CO & UN Women project CSSP, and assists the WAVE Step Up! campaign. She has a Bachelor degree in International Affairs & German from Florida State University as well as a Master of Science in International Relations & Environmental Technology from the Diplomatic Academy and Vienna University of Technology. Lina previously has worked at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development and the Austrian Energy Agency.

Katarina Visnar, Step Up! Campaign Coordinator

Katarina Višnar has a PhD in Architecture and is an eco-humanist by heart. Since the mid-nineties, she’s been working in both the public and NGO spheres, and feels best at discovering and finding new ways of merging feminism, ecology, arts and sports. She often quotes Arundhati Roy in her social media posts. In WAVE, Katarina coordinates an international group of Step Up! Campaign coordinators, as well as the WAVE working group on Strength-Based, Needs-Led Approach.

Renate Tomenendal, Accountant

Renate Tomenendal is a trained accountant and payroll clerk. “I love to prepare figures and love to work with operating grants”. She said that WAVE is the ideal size for a company to work in both areas of expertise. “It’s a great mix, of payroll accounting, planning and booking of costs. Another very nice point is the international participation.” Renate also enjoys dancing and is in fact a trained dance teacher who teaches twice a week ! It provided her a balance between work and fun.

Jantar and Siggy, the official dogs against violence and little sunshines of our Office bring joy and love to our team! Unfortunately, Siggy has left with Kelly during her maternity leave but Jantar takes his role very seriously and is always there for a little hug!