Organization

Secretariat

The secretariat currently consists of 11 professionals, all committed to help connect and continuously improve the skillset, knowledge tools and the program scope of ISSA's fast growing membership base.

ISSA's Secretariat works to enhance the communication and cross-pollination between locally-, regionally- and nationally operating organizations. When it comes to advocacy, we operate from the heart of the European Union and move far beyond. We show and share the progress made by our members and consortia, and we emphasize their strengths and experiences, so they can be picked up and spread elsewhere within our extensive network.

Moreover, we facilitate the creation of new resources as we seek out the latest knowledge and translate that into publications, trainings, practical tool-kits, topics for conferences and discussions, webinars and news stories. Pleased to meet you!

Liana Ghent
Executive Director

Liana Ghent joined as director of ISSA in 2006. During this time, the network has expanded to include 85 member organizations from across Europe and Central Asia. Liana Ghent has over 20 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily with programs in higher education and early childhood development. 
Other experience include the co-presidency of the Civic Education Project, an organization focussed on higher education in Europe and the former Soviet Union. She served on several (director) boards, a.o. the Consultative Group for ECCD and the Leadership Council of the Global Compact for Early Childhood Development. Currently, she is a member of the Interim Executive Group of the Early Childhood Development Action Network and the advisory board for the Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development.

Languages: Romanian, English, Hungarian and Dutch

Dr. Mihaela Ionescu
Program Director

Dr. Mihaela Ionescu joined ISSA in 2010. She is an early childhood education expert and doctor in Educational Sciences. She worked for more than 20 years as a researcher in the education field as an education policy developer, trainer and leader of programs and projects aimed at improving the quality of early childhood education and care services. Prior to joining ISSA she worked throughout the CEE/CIS region as an international consultant for UNICEF and the World Bank. As the Program Director of ISSA Mihaela is central to strategic planning and implementing programs. She creates resources aimed at providing equitable and high-quality early childhood services in countries from ISSA regions by strengthening the capacity of ISSA members to work with professionals, parents, administrators and policy makers.

Languages: Romanian, English and Italian

Zorica Trikic
Senior Program Manager

Zorica Trikic, joined ISSA in Leiden in 2014. Prior to that, Zorica was Program Director for ISSA member Centre for Interactive Pedagogy (CIP) in Serbia and consultant for ISSA and UNICEF in Eastern Europe. As Sr. Program Manager, Zorica leads different ISSA initiatives, including Embracing Diversity, Supporting Families for Nurturing Care and Children on the Move. She holds a Master's degree in Education and Human Resources Development. She has over 30 years of experience in the early years sector, working on programs and policy development with clear focus on the most vulnerable children, families and communities - especially Romani - refugee and migrant children. She is also an experience training developer and creator of programs for trainers, educators and health workers.

Languages: Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and English.

Dr. Konstantina Rentzou
Senior Program Manager

Konstantina Rentzou, joined ISSA in 2019 to assist ISSA with its expanding responsibilities in Early Childhood Development initiatives. Prior to that, she taught for more than 10 years in Greek and Cypriot higher and post-secondary education institutions, and participated in various national and EU-funded research projects. She has also worked as a country expert and rapporteur for various NGOs and the EU.

Konstantina is an experienced training developer and creator of programs for pre- and in- service early childhood educators. She holds a PhD in early childhood education and care and has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and two books.

Languages: Greek and English.

Winnifred Sanders
Finance Manager

Winnifred Sanders joined ISSA in 2018 on the position of Finance Manager. She holds a BS in Business Administration and brings along a 20 years track record in finance consultancy and management in the for-profit sector. She gained experience on a broad range of levels.

Winnifred has a strong connection with the community, offering consultancy to small startups and doing community work at (pre-)schools, such a tutoring young children.

Languages: Dutch, English and French

Eva Izsak
Membership Officer

Eva Izsak joined ISSA in 2002. She holds a BA degree in Social Work and an MA in Social Policy. Throughout her career she has worked with different non-profit organizations, agencies and networks, including the Hungarian Association for Non-profit Human Services, the Regional Environmental Centre, USAID, United Way and Telecottage Partner Service. Her work for ISSA includes the initiatives in the network division, such as the coordination of international events and conferences, publications, website and social media. She was also coordinator of ISSA's Second Language Learning project, funded by the Comenius Programme of the European Commission. Eva was a member of the Coordinating Committee of ISSA’s Education for Social Justice program.

Languages: Hungarian and English

Emily Henry
Communications and Campaigns Officer

Emily began her work for ISSA by consulting on communications work for the ISSA Conference 2016 in Lithuania. She formally joined the team in 2017 to support the growing list of programs and initiatives. Prior to joining ISSA, Emily ran her own communications company, which helped NGOs and small social businesses build an online presence through social media strategy. Previously, she has worked in both communications and fundraising roles for Non-Governmental Organizations.

She holds a BA in International Studies - Peace Studies/Sociology and an MA in International Non-Governmental Organizations. 

Languages: English and Spanish

Federico Lanzo
Communications and Campaigns Officer

Federico joined the team in 2016, to support the promotion of ISSA’s projects and campaigns. He holds a Master’s degree in Journalism and has also worked as a freelance journalist and video maker.

He previously worked at Eurochild, where he was responsible for the organisations’ video production and for their campaigns: the Opening Doors for Europe's Children campaign on ending institutional care and the Child Rights Manifesto, which succeeded in securing over 100 Child Rights Champions in the European Parliament following elections in May 2014. 
Languages: Italian, Dutch and English

Anna Joostensz
Finance Officer & Office Manager

Anna Joostensz joined the team in 2018 to support ISSA in running it's financial and organizational processes. Anna combines her experience in Siemens NL, where she covered different financial functions and her various work experience in non-profit organizations in Russia. Anna is holding a master degree in Business Administration and also leads a freelance online project. 

(Anna is on maternity leave until Sept 2019)

Languages: Russian, English and Dutch

Ning Alfrink
Finance Officer & Office Manager

Ning joined ISSA in Leiden in 2019 to support ISSA in running it's financial and organizational processes. Prior to that, she was working as an Accounts Receivable Specialist in REMOBIS Refund Service in Utrecht from 2012 till 2018. She has Bachelor of Arts specializing in Education, Drama and Performance and English Literature.

Ning is originally from Singapore where she was a primary school teacher for 5 years, and head of the school’s Drama department. She was also a Tweede Graads Engels teacher in several high schools in the Netherlands. Ning lives in the Netherlands since 2009. 

Languages: English, Dutch and Bahasa