Welcome to this section of our ‘Who to follow in 2024 list’, where we spotlight the inspiring individuals leading the charge in creating more equitable and inclusive debates and policies within the EU. This carefully curated list presents a diverse array of leaders, each making significant strides in their respective fields, from championing anti-racism initiatives to spearheading gender equity in technology. Following these influential figures is key to staying at the forefront of the most current debates and trends in diversity and inclusion. Join us in celebrating these change-makers who are diligently working towards a more diverse and inclusive European community. Return to the main list here.
Shada Islam – Managing Director at New Horizons Project
A renowned specialist in European Union affairs, serving as a commentator, advisor, analyst, and strategist. Managing Director of New Horizons Project, she brings insightful perspectives on topics like geopolitics, trade, migration, inclusion, diversity, and women’s empowerment. Her expertise extends across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Shada is a vocal advocate for women’s rights, minority representation in EU institutions, and a more inclusive Europe. She is known for her engaging public speaking, lecturing, and writing, contributing to significant discussions on Europe’s global role and contemporary geopolitical challenges.
Loredana Teodorescu – Head of EU and International Affairs, Istituto Luigi Sturzo
Head of EU and International Affairs at Istituto Luigi Sturzo, is an expert in EU migration and asylum policies, European internal security, and foreign affairs, with a focus on the women, peace, and security agenda. She hosts the Martens Centre’s podcast “HerAndEU”, addressing women, leadership, and EU policies, showcasing her dedication to enhancing female leadership in these areas. Loredana’s involvement with various expert networks, like the European Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Asylum Agency, emphasizes her influence in EU governance and policy-making.
President of the Brussels Binder, with a PhD in Physical and Analytical Chemistry, she brings over 20 years of experience in green chemistry and sustainable development. Her role extends beyond the Binder, as a co-founder of Trianon Scientific Communication and a board member for several organizations, where she promotes social sustainability and DEI for climate change mitigation. Dr. Ngomsik is also known for her engaging public speaking and training abilities, effectively communicating complex sustainability challenges to diverse audiences. Board Member of several organizations, she uses her scientifically driven approach to help boards use social sustainability, in particular Diversity Equity & Inclusion for a more efficient mitigation of climate change.
Josipa Friščić – Communication Officer at Inclusion Europe
Advocate for diversity and inclusion within the EU. Her role since April 2020 involves developing and implementing communication strategies for various projects. She possesses a strong background in digital media management, content coordination, and strategic collaborations with EU institutions.Previously, Josipa’s roles at ICF Next and the Erasmus Student Network further honed her skills in digital editing and advocacy, solidifying her as a key influencer in the field of social inclusion communication.
Christine Reinders – Co-Lead DEI at the Brussels Binder
At the Brussels Binder, Christine plays a pivotal role in promoting gender diversity in policy debates. Her work extends to helping companies create inclusive cultures and achieve their ESG goals. As a global citizen, Christine is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of employees worldwide, leveraging her expertise to increase employee engagement and address societal challenges. Following Christine can be particularly beneficial for those looking to gain insights into effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices and their integration into corporate strategies.
Tamara Makoni – Founder & CEO at Kazuri Consulting
An award-winning inclusion specialist with a global perspective shaped by her upbringing across three continents. Her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is fueled by a blend of personal experiences and professional expertise gained through working with teams in over 30 countries. Her experience includes facilitating DEI workshops for senior leaders in NGOs and multinational corporations, delivering keynote speeches at global conferences, and guest lecturing at prestigious institutions like Vlerick Business School and Tilburg University. As a third culture kid, she brings a unique and relatable perspective to the challenges and opportunities of fostering diversity and inclusion in today’s globalized world.
Wietse Van Ransbeeck – CEO & Co-Founder at CitizenLab
Recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe, Wietse leads CitizenLab’s efforts in making governments more inclusive, participatory, and responsive. The platform facilitates efficient citizen participation and helps in driving better policy decisions. With a vision for a more participatory form of governance, Wietse’s work at CitizenLab has garnered recognition from Google, McKinsey, and Rocket Internet as the “Best Social Impact Startup of Europe.” His efforts are not just about incorporating technology into governance but also about ensuring that this digital transformation leads to more democratic and engaged societies.
Kim Smouter – Executive Director at European Network Against Racism
With over 18 years of experience in Brussels, Kim’s expertise spans a variety of social causes including LGBTQIA+ rights, employment, education, and digital rights. His prior roles include significant positions in the European Parliament, the European Network of National Civil Society Associations, and ESOMAR. At ENAR, he leads the organizational, financial, and administrative management, supervising a team of experts to achieve impactful societal change. His work involves defending the European civic space and strengthening DE&I integration in businesses.
Berta Herrero Estalayo – Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Huawei
With a strong background in European Union politics and policies, Berta has extensive experience across institutional, corporate, and media sectors. Her work spans foreign affairs, enlargement, cohesion, new technologies, and innovation. Prior to her current role, she served in the cabinet of a Vice-President of the European Parliament and as a journalist for Spain’s newspaper El Mundo, reporting internationally. She founded and directs the Schools for Female Leadership in the Digital Age, She recently launched The Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation, an initiative empowering women in rural areas to excel in the green and digital transition.