PWA Board Members
2023 – 2025
We held the elections for the renewal of the PWA Board during the General Assembly at Bernini Bristol Hotel at 18.30, March 22, 2023. All PWA Members who cannot vote in person received a verified online ballot on March 23rd with the necessary instructions to vote. Online elections took place between March 23rd and 30th 2023. The election committee, was led by Lisa Rosen and Simone Poletto. email@example.com
We are happy to officially present the PWA BOARD 2023-2025.
Gerlie Saura – President
Maria Rita Arena – Secretary
Morgana Mastrocinque – Treasurer
BARBARA PEPPONI – Social Director
Catherine Tondelli – Programming Director
Sarah Dennis – Partnership Director
Costanza Galante – Digital Marketing Director
A motivated leadership team with multidisciplinary skills and competences.
PWA Leadership Team
Gerlie Saura, has been elected as President of PWA Rome for her third term. Her leadership has been transformative, and her vision for the organization is one of growth, empowerment, and social responsibility. Gerlie is the PWA President since 2020 and has been in service to the association since 2012. Gerlie has been instrumental in navigating PWA Rome through challenging times. She is known as someone who led by example, demonstrating resilience, empathy, and adaptability in the face of unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic. Together with the Board and Team, she enabled the association to adapt to the changing landscape and continue to serve PWA members and the community. Thanks to the support of the members, she will continue to serve the PWA community with the same level of dedication, passion, and excellence to train the future leaders of PWA fostering a sense of belonging and community that is vital to PWA success and strong future.
As a Senior Manager with 17+ years of International experience, gained working in the Government, Non-profit organizations, and private businesses across industry sectors mainly education management, business consulting, and internationalization management. She held various positions of responsibility, which drove growth for both people and organizations while staying on top of business challenges and innovative trends. She is 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, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Gerlie is appointed as the Country Manager Italy of G100 Education and Employment think tank in 2021 under the patronage of the Women Economic Forum (WEF).
Under her leadership, PWA Rome has grown in strength, capacity, and impact. Her vision and tireless efforts have helped the PWA achieve its goals and serve the community with greater efficiency and effectiveness. 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. Gerlie’s dedication and commitment to the advancement of women in business and leadership have been exemplary. Gerlie is married with 2 kids and she devotes her free time to organizing activities that create opportunities for women to learn, network, and grow in their professional and personal lives. With Gerlie’s guidance, PWA Rome has become a force to be reckoned with in the community.
MARIA RITA ARENA
Attracted by a more multifaceted career, Maria Rita shifted from the legal office to focus on advocacy and institutional relations, working on the messages that ANIA develops to reach all its stakeholders, focused on protection and prevention . Economics and statistics are the new subjects that she begins to master while executing her role. English has become her second language, French her third.
The need to develop and evolve was her driving force, much more than ambition could have been. Maria Rita’s role is marked by her proactive trait of character, by her curiosity and interest in continuous learning. Her speeches are always supported by undisputable data she puts together to document, for example, the impact of a new law or legislation over the economy and society
Maria Rita attended one of SDA Bocconi Master courses in Insurance Accounting. Adding financial specialistic knowledge to her legal background enriched her professional profile while her self-esteem flourished. Maria Rita is certain that prosperity and women go together and women helping women speeds up prosperity for evebody
On her path many women inspired her, providing guidance when in need. Mother of two, her children represent her biggest success and she is determined to inspire in both her children a real respect shown to everyone, and to her son in particular, the respect for women.
Never stop developing new skills, leave a mark through what you do, master new subjects, respect others and oneself, stay curious. Inspire through the power of personal example. These are some of Maria Rita Arena skills.
Morgana Mastrocinque has over 20 years of management experience in the automotive field. She has held various roles in the Italian location of Ford Motor Company. Before joining Ford she had minor, short, junior roles in other Companies (e-g. IllyCaffè, Intimissimi SpA, etc.).
She is currently Purchasing & Fixed Costs Manager at Ford. Graduated in Public Administration Management, MBA in International Business, she is also a Counselor in Organizational Transactional Analysis (*) and a Practitioner in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). Being passionate about neurosciences and people management, she is presently attending a Master’s in T.A. (*) to furtherly enhance her relational competencies.
She lived in Brussels for a few years and was active in connecting Italian women living in Belgium through dedicated Networking activities (on the model of PWA), in a stimulating international and cross-cultural environment. She joined PWA a couple of years ago as a member, and served as “Treasurer” for last year, bringing her professional financial experience to the service of a very committed and dedicated Group.
In her professional and personal life, she always concentrated on women’s rights and concrete gender equality. Her goal is to address her energies and efforts to promote true women’s empowerment and actively promote a business/life model more balanced. She is married and the mother of 2 girls (aged 14 and 17) and she loves martial arts (she is a Karate player). (*)Transactional Analysis, developed in the US by Eric Berne, Doctor, and Psychiatrist (1970), is a theory of personality. The analytical-transactional counseling, in the organizational / business context, is an effective tool for human resources and managerial training.
Sarah Dennis is a fundraising professional with a background in development and partnerships at national and international organizations in the charitable and commercial sectors. She is a member of Associazione Italiana Fundraiser and the UK’s Chartered Institute of Fundraising.
During her degree at the University of Exeter, Sarah spent a year in Italy, where she fell under its spell. After graduating, she pursued a career as an opera singer, performing with companies including English National Opera.
Upon leaving the operatic world, Sarah worked for the late Duke of Edinburgh, fundraising and managing events for The International Award at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, and Windsor Castle. Following roles in investor relations at Lloyds Banking Group and in marketing at Bain & Company, Sarah returned to fundraising and became Director of Development for The Charleston Trust, a house museum, art gallery, and literary festival.
In 2020 Sarah realized her dream of returning to Italy. She rented out her London apartment, put her possessions into storage, and bought a one-way ticket to Rome, where she set up her own development consultancy.
Having grown up in Asia, Europe, Africa, and New Zealand, she has a deep appreciation for different cultures, customs, and languages. Sarah is a strong believer in the empowerment of women and the PWA’s purpose to be their voice across all industries in the professional community. Her membership in the PWA has enabled her to meet some extraordinary women and the spirit of the organization and its members continues to inspire her.
It would be a privilege for Sarah to contribute her passion and experience to serve on the PWA Board in the position of Partnerships Director and, if elected, she would dedicate her time to the stewardship and development of existing relationships with partners and to securing new supporters for events and campaigns.
Barbara Pepponi is a STEM graduate and qualified Actuary, Barbara has always worked in the Insurance sector. She started her career in a multinational consulting firm, where she had the opportunity to work and live in Uk, Spain, and France. After an experience in a start-up operation for a British insurer, she joined a French insurance company where she is Technical Director, managing a team of about 130 people + 30 robots ( she has a knack for automation and AI applications ) and a member of the Executive Committee.
Barbara joined PWA more than three years ago. She believes that it is fundamental for professional women to be part of a network to share problems, experiences, and models. She also strongly believes that it is fundamental to show to the new generations that women can have also a ‘vertical’ career and have the ability to manage a team or an organization. Too many women now can say that they were the first or the only ones in the job. An equal gender mix at any stage should be normal in any working place. So it is very important for PWA role models promotion.
Having always worked for international companies, Barbara considers it very enriching to be part of an association where professions, nationalities, and backgrounds are so mixed and different. She would like to give her contribute to strengthening networking and maintaining the quality standards set by her predecessors.
“Work hard, play hard” is a motto that applies to her management philosophy. Barbara regularly organizes meetings and events with her team to share goals, and activities and get to know each other better.
She enjoys organizing social activities and would like to facilitate and contribute to creating new opportunities for PWA’s development and networking activities.
Catherine Tondelli has over 35 years of corporate management experience working in the publishing, events, and hospitality industry. She has held senior management roles at Johnson & Johnson, American Express Publishing, Meredith Publishing, Hearst magazines, USA Today, Premier Hotels & Resorts, and Five Star Alliance among others.
She is currently CEO of her own marketing, event, and communications company Louise Communications and Director for HelmsBriscoe the global leader in meetings procurement. She has authored her memoir entitled “Three Coins in the Fountain” about how she won a trip to Rome and met her husband tossing coins in the Trevi fountain.
A graduate of Northeastern University, with a BA in business and communication, she has lived in 3 countries and has held board chair positions with several associations such as Africare, Impact, Network of Women in Hospitality, and many others.
She is strongly committed to designing and creating inspiring, educational, and stimulating programs that take into consideration the relevant topics on empowering women, gender equality, and leadership. She looks forward to incorporating ideas and relationships that fellow PWA members can bring to her role.
She takes pride in helping women succeed and uses her network to do so. She is excited to continue the successful momentum of the previous boards before her and knows PWA can only keep growing.
Being raised by a single mom and 10 siblings she knows first-hand the importance of working together as a team and looks forward to being on the board with such dynamic, supporting women.
DIGITAL MARKETING DIRECTOR
Costanza Galante joined the Professional Women Association of Rome (PWA) in 2022 and she was immediately captured by PWA’s enthusiasm, opportunities, and network. She is a Marketing psychologist with a great passion for neuromarketing and communication in all its forms. She began his adventure with marketing and communication in 2010. In the last 5 years, she held the position of Marketing Director in digital agencies, private companies, and public administrations. She is also extremely committed to her social program of prevention and awareness of digital-related issues. She is specialized in and representative for Cyberbullying and Digital Education at OPB (Association of Psychologists in Basilicata).
In her vision, communication, especially digital communication, is a very powerful tool that must be used consciously and effectively. A good communication plan is a part of listening empathically to users and their needs. From here we start with the creation of the message, the strategy, and the contents that reach straight to the heart of the public. The psychological approach constitutes a great added value in this creation process. Today she plays the role of Marketing Director of Ploomia Digital Agency, with which PWA has an existing partnership.
As Digital Marketing Director, she would like to build more awareness around our association and she would make this reality known among the new generations, involving men and women who share the same ideals and values.