A crucial part of BOOST is the interaction of participants with senior practitioners, from a variety of countries, backgrounds, and disciplines. BOOST Executive Mentors provide an all-important "reality check" on the individual and group impact strategies developed by BOOST participants.
BOOST is constantly reaching out to senior professionals from the broader CEU community to join our team of mentors. The list provided below will thereby be regularly updated.
DANIEL ANTALis Head of Sales at Gepida Bicycles – a leading bicycle and e-bike manufacturer in the CEE region. In the past seven years he has been involved in bicycle industry – a segment undergoing tremendous change currently, due to the rapid rise of e-mobility. Daniel has also worked as a project manager in the developing of new products, such as high-quality foldable wheel-chairs and other mobility products. He is experienced in foreign trade, brand management, product design and current trends in marketing. He studied American Studies and English as a double major at ELTE, Urban Studies and Architecture History at Trinity College (Hartford, CT), and he is currently an EMBA participant at CEU.
Daniel Antal sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Determination, perseverance, honesty.”
MIKLOS BANKUTIis currently working on power system planning at the World Bank where he advises client countries on generation planning. He mainly focuses on quantitative modeling and developing various modeling tools and platforms for system analysis. Previously, he worked as a gas sector specialist on sector reform in Bangladesh. Prior to joining the World Bank, Miklos was a researcher at Princeton University, where he published extensively on Hungary’s legal reforms enacted since 2010. He also worked in the past at the International Energy Agency as a statistician and refinery analyst and the Clinton Foundation as a finance associate. He graduated with a masters in public affairs from Princeton University and bachelors in economics and finance from the American University of Paris.
When asked by BOOST about his professional motto, Miklos Bankuti remarked: “I don’t really have a professional motto but I do like to learn and would recommend others to keep doing so.”
TAMAS BODAYhas a technical background in electrical engineering specialized in telecommunications, and later transitioned to business management by earning a BA in Management and Finance from Corvinus University and recently an EMBA (with honors) from CEU. He has a diverse employment history both geographically (Hungary, Finland, Ukraine, Indonesia, Singapore) and employment level. Among those he had the most fun when he could work on building international teams. Recently resigning from his multinational career he is currently working on his startup related to applied Machine Learning. He is passionate about technology in general. His current topics of interest are IoT (Internet of Things), Data Science, Machine learning algorithms on large datasets and Ethics of application of artificial intelligence. He is dedicated to knowledge transfer let it be mentoring, teaching or consultancy. In his free time he rides and repairs motorcycles, and rises quails with his daughters. Also loves to design and build hobby electronic circuits. He has translated several Sci-Fi and fantasy books to Hungarian.
Tamas Boday sent BOOST the following professional motto: “My aim is to bridge the gap between technology and business.”
ADAM BODNARis Poland’s seventh Ombudsman (Commissioner for Human Rights), elected for a five-year term in 2015. He holds a PhD and a master’s degree in law from University of Warsaw and holds an LL.M. in comparative constitutional law from CEU. He started his professional track as an associate with Weil, Gotshal & Mangers. A few years after, he left the corporate career, joining the Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights, first as a co-founder and coordinator of Precedent Cases Programme and then as a head of legal department and vice-president of the Management Board. He is also an expert in the Agency of Fundamental Rights of European Union. In 2013-2014, he was a member of the board of directors of the United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture. In 2011, he was awarded with the Tolerance Prize by the Polish LGBT organizations.
Adam Bodnar sent BOOST the following professional motto: “When I help someone, I don’t ask about his/her views or opinions.”
GABOR DALNOKIis an innovative manager with strong technological background, who enjoys focusing on the human aspects of change. He used to be a corporate banker for more than a decade and gained a comprehensive overview of all sectors in the economy. After banking, he managed the transformation of an operating company turning it to an innovative, central player of the Hungarian financial market. He has facilitated the reshaping of the organizational structure and revitalized internal communication. He studied again for the last 3 years, taking part in the CEU EMBA, as he expects new technologies to change the economy. Enterprises and employees have to adapt to be successful. He believes that challenging outdated business models and decisions focusing on the strategic goals are the basics of a successful digital transformation process.
Gabor Dalnoki sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Give first, take second and enjoy what you do!”
VANDA DOMBAIis currently a Business Improvement Coordinator at ExxonMobil working on strategic initiatives. After a year at the Technical University of Budapest she realized she was more keen on working with people than drawing alone in a room, she continued her studies at the Budapest Business School on the faculty of catering and hotel management. Vanda did an internship in Milan at a hotel as receptionist and shortly after moved to Eastbourne, UK for her first real working experience. A year and a half later she moved back to Hungary and started working at ExxonMobil leveraging on her recently acquired language skills. Quickly made her way up to management level and was looking after a team of 40 including a few people in Rome. In her current position. Vanda is developing her technical, project management skills and leadership without formal authority. Vanda is currently pursuing an EMBA at CEU.
Vanda Dombai sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Hard work puts you where good luck can find you.”
MARK DOWNEY, strategic business development consultant with training in engineering and experience in manufacturing, construction and start-ups. Passionate about building high performing teams and seeing the underdog succeed. Give first, take second and always take the opportunity to network. Mark is pursuing the EMBA at CEU.
Mark Downey sent BOOST the following professional motto: "I attribute my success to being considerate, curious and creative and inspiring people around me"
LIDIA FÜLEis Treasury Accounting Module Supervisor at ExxonMobil. After her college degree in SAP and experience in London, she I completed her undergraduate education as economist with major at finance and insurance. Two weeks later she got the job offer from ExxonMobil. She has contributed to the flawless execution of the Controller Financial Accounting & Reporting Department for 10 years with different assignments including active project coordination or in project lead assignment. Her current role covers the US headquarters and the European region-related pension plans with supplemental assistant role for 100 defined benefit and 50 defined contribution plans in over 40 countries. Since 2010, she has also volunteered for the ExxonMobil’s “Foundation for Africa.” She sees her people management and coaching skill add value for this NGO. Lidia is an EMBA participant at CEU.
Lidia Füle sent BOOST the following professional motto: “The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” (by Winston Churchill)
YEVGEN GROZAhas been involved in developing the environmental finance markets in Ukraine and Eastern Europe since 2005. In 2006, he played a key role in developing the world’s #1 project under UNFCCC Joint Implementation mechanism at Podilsky Cement. He has played a key role in developing the grid emission factor for Ukraine used later in a vast number of other projects aimed at reducing emissions. Overall, during 2005-2014, Yevgen led developing over 20 emissions reduction projects targeting conventional and renewable energy generation, iron and steel, cement, district heating, and other sectors. Since 2016, he has been responsible for managing two components of the World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness project in Ukraine aimed at implementing in Ukraine the EU rules for monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. Yevgen holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from CEU and is currently part of the CEU EMBA program.
Yevgen Groza sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Learn from everyone you meet, be open for new challenges”
OANA JÂJÂEis a business professional with 10 years of experience in marketing, business strategy, project management and customer service. Her expertise in the design, delivery, management and evaluation of large scale marketing projects, including coordinating campaigns and digital initiatives to generate demand for products and services. She also has experience in managing and leading cross-functional teams. Currently Oana is working as a B2B marketing manager for Microsoft Romania, where she is actively involved in projects that drive digital transformation, business model innovation and technology adoption for both large and small companies. Oana holds a Master’s degree in Marketing from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest and an MBA from CEU. She is passionate about technology, science and learning about international cultures.
Oana Jâjâe sent BOOST the following professional motto: “It’s character that creates impact!”
EMILIA JAMROZIAKis Professor of Medieval Religious History and Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds. She has extensive experience in the HE leadership, development of postgraduate (graduate) programmes and curriculum development, and setting up international co-operations. She is very experienced PhD supervisor and postdoc mentor. Her research focuses on medieval religious culture and has published three academic monographs, two collected volumes and secured a number of grants from funding bodies in the UK and Germany. She received degrees from the University Leeds (PhD), Central European University (MA), and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (BA) and held prestigious Humboldt Fellowship at the TU Dresden. Prior to her appointment at the University of Leeds she also worked at the University of Edinburgh, School of Advanced Study in the University of London and University of Southampton.
Emilia Jamroziak sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Keep looking for the open doors and remember that changing directions is not a failure.”
LIISA JOUTSENJÄRVIhas a diverse international experience in managing projects and building partnerships both in the private and public sectors. Currently a project manager at Nestholma Renewal Accelerator in Helsinki, Finland, Liisa is involved in running accelerator programs that engage large corporations and startups in collaboration. Previously, Liisa has contributed to the sustainability and environmental field, EU affairs, diplomacy as well as defense industry. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences (International Relations) from the University of Tampere, Finland, with studies in the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; and holds an EMBA from CEU. She is a collaborator and connector that loves new beginnings and discovering the common factors in diversity. She has a passion for boxing, organic farming and baking vegan cakes.
Liisa Joutsenjärvi sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Key to success? Say yes instead of no. Always be ready to help and bring value to other people.”
DJORDJE KRSTICis a proactive, accomplished and successful sales executive who possesses a proven background in the healthcare sector and extensive experience in new market penetration. Throughout his career he has become adept at maximizing staff & business potential, responding swiftly to challenging market conditions and providing expert guidance to inform effective product positioning and award-winning revenue generation. He is currently Regional Business Manager SEE with BIOTRONIK, with responsibility for implementing business strategy and maximizing sales throughout the region. In his current and previous positions he has an absolute record of hitting sales targets, majority of which have been for double digit growth.
Djordje Krstic sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Failure is not an option.”
TAMAS LORINCZE is a Partner at Electool. Although never receiving formal IT education, Tamas has been working with IT systems since he was a child. At the age of twelve, he launched various (in)famous computer bulletin boards systems. While in college, he spent two years in an enterprise environment, just to realize that the whole word would be much better off, not to mention Tamas himself, if he could pursue his career in a less formal setting. With an awful sense of timing, ha had become an IT manager in an enterprise founded start up right before the dotcom bust. During his tenure, he worked on b2b products and helped turning the company CF positive. Later, Tamas and friends created an innovative e-procurement platform that by now has clients in 28 countries. His role centred around sales, technology and product management. Recently, with a move that is generally said to be avoided, he started mixing hobby and business by venturing into yacht sales as a part time occupation. He is contrarian and really fun to work with.
Tamas Lorincze sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Twice the preparation, half the work.”
ZSOLT MEZEIis Technical Manager at Itron Inc. having 10+ years of experience in various fields of IT. He has been involved with complex systems integration, software application development and lead IT projects across the globe. Over the years he has mastered data management skills meanwhile became a Solution Expert in the field of Business Intelligence. In the meantime he spent 6 years as IT instructor. During recent years he has been building up IT development teams for multinational organizations. His focus expands to the startup world as well and currently establishing a startup organization in Budapest. Zsolt has a masters degree in Computer Science and Business Information Technology, currently pursuing an EMBA at CEU.
Zsolt Mezei sent BOOST the following professional motto: “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” (by H. Jackson Brown)
ESZTER NEUBERGERis a full-time journalist, writing for a Hungarian online publication, Abcúg.hu, focusing on societal issues and various social policies - such as education, health-care, housing and the situation of minorities and disabled people. She is a graduate of Central European University, Budapest, where she has studied on the Nationalism Studies MA program, specializing in Jewish Studies. One academic year of providing research assistance to one of her professors - a historian of the Jewry of the Habsburg Monarchy – she has also demonstrated great interest in research-based academic work. As a great escape from the challenges of professional life, she provides private guided tours in Budapest – among others, about the Hungarian capital’s Jewish history.
Eszter Neuberger sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Until you have the slightest belief that your work can actually change something for the better, you are in a good place.”
FADELA NOVAK-IRONShas 10 years’ experience as a humanitarian worker and manager in UNHCR. Prior to that, she was a civil servant in the New Zealand government, where she managed the first instance asylum authority, and later the NZ Settlement Strategy Development and Coordination. As a Project Analyst, she designed, developed and implemented a new service delivery model to support the integration of 40-50,000 new migrants per year. Fadela’s areas of expertise centre around asylum and gender, Gender Based Violence, including female genital mutilation, LGBTI, human trafficking, and credibility issues, as well as durable solutions. From her years as a teacher, Fadela retains a passion for education and girls’ education in particular, as well as staff development and training. Fadela also established the Czech NGO Organizace pro Pomoc Uprchlikum, one of the first NGOs in the early 1990s and UNHCR’s partner since.
Fadela Novak-Irons sent BOOST the following professional motto: “The ultimate measure of a (wo)man is not where (s)he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where (s)he stands at times of challenge and controversy” (by Martin Luther King)
SHADIA NUGUDis a rebel at heart, an out of the box thinker and a creative problem solver. An architect turned media executive, turned media consultant with a passion for brands, design and content in every possible form. Creative Director and Media executive with extensive experience in the global media industry working with international entertainment brands. A hands-on, dynamic and creative leader guiding content and creative, cross-platform strategies. Good at inspiring and directing cross-functional, globally scattered teams to deliver coordinated, globally relevant brand, content and creative strategies. Shadia is an EMBA participant at CEU.
Shadia Nugud sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Don't bunt. Aim out of the ballpark” (by David Ogilvy)
DOINA OLIMPIA STEFANESCU
DOINA OLIMPIA STEFANESCUis passionate about breaking glass ceilings, team networks and making things work. She studied intellectual property rights at the Faculty of Philosophy of University of Bucharest for her BA (2009) and moved on to start a career in the iGaming industry, where she became CEO of a casino software business unit before turning 30 years old. She has nearly a decade of experience in software operations, product development, account management, strategic management, and online marketing, gradually moving through the ranks. She has managed P&Ls, software roadmaps and project deliveries cross-culturally, and is most proud of her Chinese-Ukrainian-Romanian teams that achieved synergy in working as one and, not least, friendship. She holds another MA in International Development from the University of Bucharest (2012) and an EMBA from CEU (2016).
Doina Olimpia Stefanescu sent BOOST the following professional motto: “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others” (by Ayn Rand)
GABOR SZABOis an executive director at Morgan Stanley. He graduated as an Electrical Engineer at Budapest University of Technology, specialized in Telecommunication. At the beginning of his career he worked for small telco service providers in Hungary, later he spent 9 years in the Netherlands, working for an international organization. Currently he is working for a global financial firm - he is leading a team in Budapest which develops and supports various parts of the firm’s global data and voice network infrastructure. Gabor is currently attending the EMBA program at CEU to extend his knowledge beyond technology.
Gabor Szabo sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” (by George Bernard Shaw)
IMOLA SZEMESis Senior Project Manager at OTP Bank Group (a group with Hungarian origins, providing financial services in the CEE region), leading both local and group-wide projects. After graduating from the “Politehnica” University of Timisoara in 2006, she joined the Information Management Leadership Program (IMLP) at GE Capital. During the program, she had the opportunity to experience the life of a truly global organization through projects and trainings held in Hungary, Romania, China and the US. After graduating in 2008, I became a Project Manager in GE Capital’s Hungarian branch, where she successfully delivered several projects in a matrix organization by working with a wide range of professionals within the industry. In 2013, she moved on to become the Head of IT Application & Process Development at EXIM (Hungarian Export – Import Bank & Hungarian Export Credit Insurance), where I had the chance to build up and lead a newly formed department.Imola, who started her CEU EMBA in 2016, believes that IT is a key to offering innovative services to both internal and external customers, while constantly improving operational and cost efficiency.
Imola Szemes sent BOOST the following professional motto: “There is always more to learn and to experience!”
DANIEL SZESZLERis Group Legal Director of Magyar Telekom. His first role after graduating from law school was with White & Case Budapest, where he focused primarily on disputes and regulatory matters. His tenure with the firm was interrupted to carry out an LLM at University College London. In 2010, he joined Magyar Telekom in a senior expert role where he was soon exposed to “very stimulating matters, including an out-of-court settlement with U.S. government agencies over FCPA investigations relating to Telekom and a lawsuit against the Hungarian telecoms regulator over the market entry of a new, state-owned mobile operator.” In January 2013 he took on the role of Head of General Legal Department and was appointed the Group Legal Director effective July 2014. In this role he oversees a team of 30 lawyers, and is responsible for all legal services provided to/within Magyar Telekom Group, as well as the legal representation of the Group in front of courts and authorities. Daniel currently pursues an EMBA at CEU.
Daniel Szeszler sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Successful people consider others’ priorities to accomplish their own goals.”
MIROSLAV TOMICworks as Fiscal Policy Implementation Specialist within the USAID financed Fiscal Sector Reform Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), implemented by FINIT Consulting. Prior to this, he worked as Advisor to Minister of Finance, where among other duties, he headed Bosnian expert team for double taxation avoidance treaty negotiations. Before, he served as Advisor to Executive Director of International Monetary Fund, Senior Economic Advisor in the Office of the High Representative, and Public Finance Advisor in the OSCE mission to BiH. Besides economic policy, reforms and research, his experience includes human rights and business accounting. He obtained MA degree from CEU Economics Department (2003) and holds BA in Business Finance and Accounting from Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade (1998). He is aware that without continuous learning through seminars, executive education trainings and online courses, what was achieved in formal education could become obsolete.
Miroslav Tomic sent BOOST the following professional motto: Persistence is the only talent that matters
KASHIF YOUNISis ICT Project Manager with Ericsson Hungary. In last 10 years he experienced the up and downs of IT and telecommunication industry, from 2nd generation of network to cloud, data analytics, and IoT. He worked in technical consulting and customer success management roles with various Central and Western European customers. Delighted customer and product innovation is the new imperative of customer success the IT and telecommunication industry focusing on. Kashif is also pursuing an EMBA at CEU.
Kashif Younis sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Perseverance and constant learning.”
LORANT ZAMBORIis Director of Business Solutions at F&F GmbH (Munich, Germany), leading a team of tech-minded enthusiasts in delivering software solutions empowering the digital transformation of BMW AG, Beckman Coulter Biomedical, GLP Systems and others. After spending more than a decade in tech delivery and management roles for multimillion euro projects, he started establishing self-organizing agile teams in Timisoara, Budapest and Munich where the function of the manager is to enable those doing the work to contribute their full talents and capabilities to generate value for customers. His current assignment is shifting the goal of the entire organization from maximizing financial indicators to delighting the customer and transforming a top-down hierarchy into an Agile-friendly environment. Lorant studied Computer Science and followed a Master in Economic Intelligence at the West University of Timisoara and is currently pursuing an EMBA at CEU.
Lorant Zambori sent BOOST the following professional motto: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible” (by Richard Feynman)
CRAIG ZELIZERis the Founder and CEO of PCDN, the go-to hub for global social change (pcdnetwork.org). Since its founding in 2007, Craig has grown PCDN to over 37,000 members representing more than 180 countries. From 2005 to 2016 he served as professor the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University before stepping down in June 2016 to work on PCDN full time. Craig has dedicated his life to being an entrepreneur and to creating a more peaceful world. Before creating PCDN, Craig also helped to co-found two NG0s – the Alliance for Conflict Transformation and the TEAM foundation in Hungary. Craig serves on a number of boards and advisory boards including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Inzone Project, Tech Change, Move this World, Amani Institute, and several others. He spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia. He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including with USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from CEU. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education.
Craig Zelizer sent BOOST the following professional motto: “It is possible to change the world while making a living."
ANNA ZUBYTSKAis Sales Director of Danone Dairy in Ukraine. She has 17 years of leadership and business management experience gained in General Management, Sales and HR Management roles in multinational FMCG environment in Europe. She started her career in Philip Morris International (PMI), where she was progressing through positions of increasing responsibility and international assignments in Italy and Russia. In PMI, She assumed such roles as Sales Director Ukraine and General Manager Caucasus & Moldova. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning & business development, brand portfolio & trade channels’ strategy, development and enhancement of distribution models, customer & business partner management (distributor, wholesaler, retail Key Account, marketing agency), market and consumer intelligence, management of large organizations. Anna is a graduate of CEU (EMBA) and Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University.
Anna Zubytska sent BOOST the following professional motto: “The world of opportunities waiting. Reach out for yours.”