Carmen Lica is the Director of Step by Step Center for Education and Professional Development (CEDP) Romania, an association founded in 1998 when she took over the Step by Step program from The Soros Foundation Romania. Since then, Carmen and her team have continued to expand the Step by Step network of public preschools and schools that still promote the initial Step by Step values making a difference in over 500 000 children's lives in these 25 years.
For the last 25 years, Carmen has developed and led Centrul Step by Step as a strong social enterprise in its mission to support educational reform and introduce the most innovative educational practices at the early childhood and school levels in Romania.
Carmen is recognized as an expert in introducing education programs for children zero to three in Romania and teacher training. She is also known for changing the assessment system for primary education from grades to continuous assessment based on child progress in academic and socio-emotional skills. Carmen introduced the FasTracKids Program, the first ICT program to support children's learning and the development of competencies and life skills.
In 2000 Carmen started the Centrul Step by Step preschool, and in 2012 started the Centrul Step by Step school to demonstrate quality education and offer inclusive, high-quality education. Both educational institutions are recognized as Centers of Excellence in teaching-learning and assessment practices and demonstrate the entrepreneurial approach of the Step by Step Center for Education and Professional Development.
In 2016, Carmen and several businesspeople founded ReadyNation Romania as part of ReadyNation International, a business network advocating for increased public and private investments in ECD in Romania. She also represented Centrul Step by Step in the American Chamber of Commerce, among Romanian Business Leaders, and in the ECD Working Group at the President's Office.
In November 2019, Carmen was decorated as a "Knight" by the President of Romania as a sign of high appreciation for the important contributions she made to education reform in the country, for working to increase quality and equity in education, and for improving educational policies and practices.
In 2022 Carmen joined AFIN, the first Romanian non-bank financial institution with Romanian capital, dedicated to the social economy sector.