PWA Board Members
Election 2021 – 2023

Online elections will take place between May 14th and 24th of May 2021, the announcement of the election results will be on the 25th of May 2021 during the annual general assembly. 
All PWA Members will receive a verified online ballot on May 14th with the necessary instructions to vote. The election committee, lead by Lisa Rosen and Elena Palloni is available to answer all your questions at

Meet the Candidates

Candidate for President

Gerlie Saura, the candidate for President, joined the Professional Women’s Association of Rome (PWA) in May 2012. She’s the incumbent PWA President since 2020, she led the PWA successfully during a tough pandemic-driven digital transformation. Since then the PWA’s core activities focus on empowering women to thrive through continual transformation. Gerlie passionately believes in this association and its mission, though the outbreak of COVID-19 has been an enormous test of leadership Gerlie is committed to continuing facing the current and future challenges most especially now as we find our way to a new normal. For her and the team of volunteers, as the PWA board is called to lead from empathy, a leadership strategy that will help ensure members, partners and the association as a whole remain engaged, thrive, and transform into one with a more economic gender-equal future.

She’s an experienced International Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry, she represents the Rome Business School to establish and maintain strategic partnerships and international relations in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. As a Senior Manager with 15+ years of International experience, Gerlie is passionate about impactful initiatives that drive growth for both people and organizations while staying on top of business challenges and innovative trends. Having lived abroad she has developed a cultural intelligence, active curiosity for technology, and innovation management.

In her active service to PWA Gerlie held various positions with responsibility in the Board as Director of Sponsorship in 2012–14, Director of Membership in 2018, Director of Public Relations in 2019, Vice President in 2020, and President in 2020 – 2021.  With PWA she will continue her mission to support women in their professional development and supports strategic partnerships that promote women’s economic empowerment, lifelong learning, and equal access to employment opportunities. Now, she is calling on your active support to see gender parity as an integral part of the solution to the many challenges we face in terms of health, climate, economy, and fundamental human rights.

Candidate for Secretary

Anna Ghergo was born in Rome, where she graduated in Law. While attending university, she won an Erasmus scholarship and spent a year at the University of Cadiz (Spain), studying mainly Spanish administrative law and European law. After graduation, she moved to London, where she completed an LLM program at King’s College London.

Since then, she qualified as a lawyer and practiced in major international law firms for almost 5 years; she then chose to work as an in-house counsel and has since occupied the positions of Chief Legal Officer, Group General Counsel, and Head of Litigation Department in national and international companies. At present, she is Head of Field Legal (territorial legal matters) of TIM S.p.A.

Anna is a member of PWA since 2020 and has greatly appreciated the role of the Association in creating and developing personal and professional networks of extraordinary women. She strongly believes that such a role will be of utmost importance in the increasingly challenging times ahead. For these reasons, Anna wishes to contribute to the life and management of PWA and has decided to run for the position of Secretary of the Board.

Candidate for Treasurer & Membership

New challenges and “impossible” situations are what help Mirela Cojocaru thrive. A problem-solver by nature, she has a straightforward attitude, quite unusual for business development and sales professionals.

Always eager to find in the other women her role models, she found in PWA Rome the suitable environment; the moment the opportunity arose, she became an active part of the association, by taking the role of Newsletter Editor in 2019, followed by the Membership Director role in 2020.

During these few years, PWA became her place to go for advice, inspiration and to learn from the successes and mistakes that other women were willing to share. She learned that networking can actually be done naturally and can be fun and that every event she attended represented an enrichment.

Born in Romania, Mirela ended up in Rome after she fell in love with the city back in 2006, during a one-day trip with her best friend. Her adventure here began after winning a scholarship for a corporate Masters in International Business Engineering. Today she has over 16 years of business development and sales experience, matured working with both public and private sectors in the Aerospace, Defence, and Law Enforcement sectors. Her personal and professional choices allowed her to travel extensively, enjoying new cultures and adventuring off the beaten paths of the places she visits.

If elected for the role of Treasurer & Membership Director, she is ready to face the challenge of going back to a normality post-COVID-19, while valuing all the important lessons withdrawn during the last year and focusing on a new balance between the digital and face to face way to reach out to PWA’s members and friends.

Candidate for Partnerships Director

Raffaella di Primio is currently a member of the PWA Board of Directors, as Partnerships Director, having previously served as Secretary of the Board since January 2019. Throughout these years she treasured the valuable experience of working with a great team of women and sensed the real spirit of PWA. This experience motivated her to candidate herself for another term as Partnerships Director, to follow up on the work done in this challenging year, boost and revamp opportunities that are already at stake, and at the same time look for new ones. She wishes to contribute and serve PWA to the best of her professional and personal qualities.

Raffaella was born in Rome, where she graduated with a degree in Law and practiced as a lawyer in major international and Italian law firms for almost 9 years. She, thereafter, accepted the role of Head of Legal and Contract Management for a company in the energy sector, part of the German group EON, to then move to Guccio Gucci, in 2013, as EMEAI commercial contract counsel. More recently she also experienced working in a big international humanitarian organization, as a legal consultant with the United Nations World Food Programme for three years.

Currently, Raffaella is acting as an independent legal consultant but her interests are not limited to legal practice, she, in fact, recently has taken a specialization course in Web and Multimedia Marketing at the IED Institute in Rome.

Candidate for Social Director

Luisa Lopez is a very active member of PWA since she joined the Association. At the moment, she is a member of the PWA Board of Directors, serving as Newsletter Editor & Content Manager, and treasuring every opportunity to meet other fellow professional women. Importantly, she can only start by thanking you for being a part of the PWA community. Since her inception in the PWA Board of Directors, she felt highly motivated to collaborate with the Team of experienced professional women to bring to you the best of PWA, highlighting its international spirit.

This experience motivated her to keep serving PWA at her best. Eager to keep supporting the PWA community to be actively engaged, she is running for the Social Director role willing to keep thriving, despite the COVID-19 situation. Actually, Luisa believes that disruptive times could reserve a bright side creating opportunities for change, and she hopes that people will leap high with courage and conviction to become disruptive leaders and innovators embracing the challenges, as she does.

Born in a multicultural family that traveled a lot made her a dynamic, curious, and empathetic person, who strongly believes that women are a powerful resource of support for other women. She has lived, studied, and worked in five different countries building long-lasting contact networks, being adaptive, and being flexible to engage with people with different backgrounds and interests.

Luisa is a Digital Transformation Manager, with an international profile and 15+ progressive years of working experience supporting public and private organizations that decided to apply Information Technologies to their business areas and key functions. Engineer by background with broad and versatile interpersonal skills, passionate about her work and people’s integral development, she is constantly looking at opportunities to boost women’s empowerment. During her working experiences at EMBERS, UNIFEM, CNR/IEIIT, and UNDP, among others, she has had the opportunity to organize several social and fundraising events, considering different cultures of the participants, working with people from different nationalities, and leading multidisciplinary teams at performing their best.

Luisa is looking forward to deepening her collaboration experience at PWA as Social Director, working together across borders, with a common vision and purpose to bring about positive change for women in our community. Because she believes that when women rise, we all rise.

Candidate for Programming Director

Catherine Costaggiu is a member of PWA since September 2019 and Programming Director since January 2021.  Catherine strongly believes in PWA’s vision, values, and purpose to empower women in the digital era.  As a result, she is strongly committed to continuing to put her personal and professional skills at the service of the organization, and its members.

Professionally, Catherine Costaggiu is an international lawyer with 8+ professional experience in international, human rights, and environmental law.  She is currently the head of the legal department of an Italo-Argentine corporation active in the field of sustainability, climate finance, and business legitimacy.

Catherine is half Italian, half Bulgarian.  She has grown up between Algeria, Bulgaria, and Italy and has subsequently lived in countries of different cultural backgrounds, including the USA, Canada, and Argentina.  She is a native speaker of Italian and Bulgarian, speaks fluently English, Spanish and French, and has a basic knowledge of Russian.  Due to her international background and attitude, she strongly believes in giving back, the power of network, diversity, inclusion, and the need of linking minds, especially women’s minds, across cultures.

Candidate for Digital Marketing Director

Roberta Vivenzio has joined the Professional Women Association of Rome (PWA) in 2020 although she used to attend the association’s networking events as a non-member in pre-pandemic years.

She is a global media professional with solid experience in the energy/renewables, telecoms, new techs, and financial services industries with a strong focus on innovation and sustainability.

She believes that communicating effectively is not a downstream activity but an upstream, powerful asset that can actively contribute to the success of any organization only when embedded within its strategy and vision. She has spent most of her professional career in male-dominated industries, quite often being “the only women in the room”, no matter at what latitude the room was located. Such experience has further shaped her commitment towards women empowerment, genre diversity, and inclusion in work and life environments.

She has had the chance to work in very dynamic industries and she grew passionate about her job to the point that she turned into a champion of climate action and she is now deeply convinced that “doing well is also doing good” so that businesses can be sustainable and profitable at the same time.

As a candidate for Digital Marketing Director, she would like to build more awareness around our association by setting standards of clear, friendly, and informal communications enabling strong, communal bonds within the association and, at the same time, raise its profile externally to attract increasingly inspiring members and fruitful partnerships.

Let’s move altogether towards a truly new, more sustainable, and authentic world.

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