Board of Directors & Team

MFC Board of Directors currently consists of seven Directors,  selected through a nomination process involving MFC member organizations. Read more about how the Board is composed and managed in our Association Principles.

Lucija Popovska – MFC Chairwoman of the Board of Directors

Chief Operations Officer, Software Group, Bulgaria

Lucija is a seasoned international development management professional with over 15 years of experience in managing operations across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She has been focused on housing and housing micro-finance, capital mobilization, new product development and market entries, as well as complex integrated solutions targeting the bottom of the pyramid. Lucija has extensive experience in development management and multi-stakeholder relations, from different type of organizations among which not-for-profits, governments, corporates and financial institutions. In 2018 she was elected for Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Microfinance Centre.

Cristian Jurma – Board Director

General Manager, SC Vitas IFN SA, Romania

Cristian Jurma is the General Manager of Vitas Romania – a nonbank financial institution headquartered in western Romania and a Global Communities entreprise. He has a strong practical experience in microfinance and has been working in the field since 1998, fulfilling over time different top management positions with different microfinance institutions.



Mr. Jurma has more than 10 years of direct management experience in SME, housing and community infrastructure lending in Romania and Bosnia & Herzegovina and over 3 years of management experience in MIS and IT for microfinance. In this capacity, he developed and implemented a web based Loan Portfolio Management System for a network of development financial institutions in Eastern Europe and Middle East, in charge with collecting business requirements and analysis, planning and budgeting as well as training and support of users. He has been also working as a consultant for microfinance projects in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Pakistan and currently he is a Member of the Board of MKF Lider, a Bosnian micro-credit organization.

I Norek 9x13Izabela Norek – Board Director

Manager, CoopEst, Belgium

Izabela Norek is the Manager at CoopEst, an investment company which provides financing to sustainable, socially rooted microfinance organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. She has long-term work experience in business development and microfinance, covering such areas as general management, project management, strategy, quality standards, fundraising, impact assessment, operation of networks.



For 12 years, including the start-up phase, she was Executive Director of a microfinance organisation in Poland, for which she raised over 3 million Euros of grants. During that period she participated in peer reviews and study tours of various MFIs in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Additionally, for two years she served as Board member of the Polish Association of Loan Funds. She holds a Masters’ degree in English philology and a post-graduate Diploma in Business from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She also attended trainings at Oregon State University and University of Colorado, USA. Native Polish, she is fluent in English and conversational in Russian.

Alisher Akbaraliev – Board Director

Executive Director, Association of Microfinance Institution, Kyrgyz Republic

Alisher Akbaraliev is a microfinance expert with 16 years of experience providing technical support to financial institutions throughout Central Asia. He is establishing relationships with relevant stakeholders in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, including government organizations, NGOs, and partner organizations. Well-versed in financial management and loan oversight, and has developed products to fit the needs to potential clients, including new deposit technologies and Sharia lending and involved in researches on country level, like the financial ombudsmen model for the Kyrgyz finance market and financial literacy issues in Kyrgyzstan (2014-2016).



As Country Manager for Oikocredit Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society, Mr. Akbaraliev managed microfinance lending across Central Asia, and provided technical guidance in finance and investment. Throughout his tenure, he has managed multiple MFI branches, where he oversaw day to day operations, managed budgets and staff, and monitored all lending operations. He has expertise in market analysis, business analysis, collateral assessment, and client monitoring. Mr. Akbaraliev holds a diploma in economics and a diploma in jurisprudence. Fluent in Russian and Uzbek and is proficient in English and Kyrgyz.

Paul Kalinauckas – Board Director

Founder Chief Executive,  BCRS Business Loans, UK

Paul Kalinauckas is a skilled Board Member and Chair of the Board of Responsible Finance, the UK Association for MFIs. He is also the Access to Finance Champion on the Board of his Local Enterprise Partnership as well as an Executive Director on the Board of BCRS Business Loans in his role as Chief Executive. He was the Chair of the Fair Finance Consortium in the West Midlands, UK and has undertaken training in running meetings, facilitating, coaching and chairing discussions.

Sanavbar ShSanavbar Sharipova – Board Director

Board Member, IMON International, Tajikistan

Sanavbar has an over 25 years of professional experience of which the first nine years have been spent in community organizing and social development works focused on youth, poverty reduction and empowerment of women. The last fifteen years spent on progressive management experience with decision making and supervisory responsibilities in the areas of business development, marketing, human resources management and development, accounting and financial management.



Her professional qualifications has been put on a solid footing with the enormous experience. She has gained over the last ten years in the development, design, implementation and management of a successful Micro-Lending program and Micro-Finance Organization, which she presently leads.

Our Team

Grzegorz Galusek

Executive Director
Contact: grzegorz[at]

Grzegorz is a microfinance specialist with significant field experience gained at Fundusz Mikro, a microfinance institution based in Poland.  As director of the MFC he has designed regional and country specific access to finance programs which address the needs for financial and non-financial services among low-income people and micro-entrepreneurs in Europe and Asia.



Grzegorz has initiated a regional, financial inclusion policy program with a broad goal of fostering creation of a favorable legal and regulatory framework for access to financial services for low-income people and micro-entrepreneurs.  From 2005 – 2008 Grzegorz served on the UN Adviors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors, while until 2015 he was a member of the Steering Committee of the SMART Campaign – a global microfinance industry initiative concerned with the protection of microfinance clients.

Katarzyna Pawlak

Deputy Director
Contact: kasia[at]

Katarzyna oversees the Centre’s programs  in the area of financial inclusion and responsible finance. In the years 2005-2014, she served on the Steering Committee and then the Supervisory Board of Social Performance Task Force and took an active role in developing sector standards on responsible finance (Universal Standards for Social Performance).



Since 2009 she has been leading a global fund financed by the Ford Foundation supporting more than 50 microfinance associations and over 500 their member microfinance institutions to mainstream the responsible finance standards locally. She was chosen “Woman of the Year 2008″ by the international organization Women Advancing Microfinance. She graduated from Warsaw School of Economics and holds Canadian Executive MBA degree from  Warsaw School of Economics and the University of Quebec at Montreal.

Ewa Bańkowska

Responsible Finance Expert
Contact: ewa[at]

Ewa has been with MFC since October 2005. She has been managing MFC projects and developing content in various topics of responsible finance: social performance management, client protection, financial health. She has been supporting MFIs in marketing research, institutional assessments, product development. She leads MFC initiatives for capacity building in digitalization of MFIs.



With a background in market research, her previous professional experience covered marketing research in the banking sector and market analysis for the B2B service global alliance. Ewa holds an MSc in Quantitative Methods and Information Systems from Warsaw School of Economics and a postgraduate diploma from Warsaw University in psychology of consumer’s behaviour.

kinga_dabrowska_web_9x13Kinga Dąbrowska

Responsible Finance, Program Manager
Contact: kinga[at]

Kinga has been working in MFC since September 2011. Prior to that, she worked in Technical Secretariat for Cross-Border Cooperation Program Poland – Belarus – Ukraine and Pontis Foundation, Slovakia where she was responsible for managing projects related to development assistance, democracy promotion and development education mostly in the Western Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe.



She has been also providing trainings and workshops to partner organizations covering topics such as fundraising, strategic and project planning, introduction to corporate social responsibility, cross – sector cooperation between NGOs and business, advocacy campaigning. Over the years she conducted several organizational audits and trainings on board staff relations. In MFC Kinga works in Social Performance Management program. Kinga holds a Master’s degree in sociology from Warsaw University.

Justyna Pytkowska

Research, Program Manager
Contact: justyna[at]

Justyna manages research projects and is the author of the annual publication on the state of microfinance industry in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She also conducts market research studies in the demand for microfinance products (credit, savings, microinsurance), access to finance and the use of financial services, indebtedness, using a variety of research techniques (focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, questionnaire-based surveys).



She has 20 years experience working in development in Eastern European countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States and 12 years experience in conducting microfinance research. This includes hands-on experience in conducting qualitative research and quantitative data analysis using statistical software, writing and publishing articles on the state of microfinance in the region.

Aleksandra Sinikka Karabon

Communications Coordinator 
Contact: aleksandra[at]

Aleksandra has joined Microfinance Centre in August 2019. She is responsible for all of the communications-related activities, both external and internal; she also prepares and implements the overall communications strategy for MFC. Translating complex ideas into simple words – that is her idea of a powerful communication.  She studied Finnish Philology and International Relations – Intercultural Communications at the University of Warsaw, Sciences Po Lyon and University of Helsinki. In her free time she likes to play the piano. Feel free to contact Aleksandra on MFC communications-related issues!

Bartosz Piechowicz

Projects Coordinator
Contact: bartosz[at]

Since May 2020 Bartosz is coordinating capacity building projects in MFC. He has a strong professional background in NGO sector in fields of development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Since 2013 Bartosz has been engaged in programs supporting human rights, democratic values, equal treatment, and  development of local communities in Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Middle East, and Southeast Africa. He also holds PSM title in Agile Project Management methodology and has experience in implementing IT projects in the area of financial management, identity management, and CRM.

Russian version of the bio

Russian version of the bio

С началом мая к команде МФЦ присоединился Бартош Пехович (Bartosz Piechowicz), который занимается координацией наших проектов по наращиванию потенциала. Он имеет большой профессиональный опыт в третьем секторе, в области сотрудничества в целях развития и гуманитарной помощи. С 2013 года Бартош принимал участье в программах поддержки прав человека, демократических ценностей, равного обращения и развития местных сообществ в Восточной Европе, на Кавказе, на Ближнем Востоке и в Восточной Африке. Дополнительно он имеет звание PSM1 по методологии Agile Project Management и опыт реализации IT-проектов в области финансового управления, управления идентификацией и CRM. Бартош будет заниматься укреплением и интенсификацией контактов с нашими русскоязычными членскими организациями. Мы приглашаем, свяжитесь с нами по адресу: bartosz[at]

 Marcin Sawicki

Finance and Administration Coordinator

Marcin is taking care of Microfinance Centre’s finance and administration since August 2020. He is responsible for general budgeting in the organization and HR-related services for the MFC Team. Audits, grant financial reporting and invoicing are also his areas of operations.

Prior to joining MFC, Marcin worked as a lead financial planner – using SAP and other modelling tools he was planning and forecasting budgetary operations. He’s a graduate in Finance and Banking of Warsaw School of Economics, he also studied in Vienna. One of his biggest hobbies is traveling.