MFC Council currently consists of five Directors, selected through a nomination process involving MFC member organizations. Read more about how the Board is composed and managed in our Association Principles.
Brunilda Isaj, MBA, CRB – MFC Council Chair
Secretary General at the Albanian Microfinance Association
Brunilda Isaj brings to microfinance more than 22 years of experience and successful track record in the Albanian banking and financial system, covering various senior commercial and c-suite management positions. Her experience extends to retail and commercial banking, financial products and services development, financial markets and instruments, as well as micro-enterprises and SME business development management. Ms. Isaj is contributing with her experience in advocating and promoting microfinance sector, actively participating in policy making and regulatory area. She is the organizer and leader of a number of roundtable discussions and events on addressing microfinance challenges and reaching our solutions to them, in close cooperation with the government, regulators, investors and stakeholders, with the aim of supporting the sector and the vulnerable society layers with little or no access to mainstream banking. As of August 2019, she holds the position of Secretary General at the Albanian Microfinance Association.
Alisher Akbaraliev – MFC Council Member
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.
Archil Bakuradze – MFC Council Member
Chair of Supervisory Board at JSC MFO Crystal
Archil served as Chairman of the Georgian Microfinance Association and is currently a member of its board. He is a Chairman of the Board of Crystal Fund and serves on the Boards of several non-profit organisations. Through the Chevening Scholarship, from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Archil received an MBA from Lancaster University’s Management School (2004). He is a fellow of the John Smith Trust (2000) and recipient of the international van Heuven Goedhart award from the Dutch Refugee Foundation, Stichting Vluchteling (2003).
Gabriele Giuglietti – MFC Council Memeber
Director in Charge of International Development Activities of Banca Etica, President of Cresud
Gabriele began his banking career at “Credito Italiano” in 1990 and joined Banca Popolare Etica in 1998 where he held a number of positions including: deputy Managing Director from October 1998 to 2011 , Director of Sales and Institutional Affairs from 2011 to May 2013, Director of Credit, Institutional and International Affairs since 2013, now is in charge of the international development activities of Banca Etica. Appointed Officer of the Italian Republic in 2000 as among the founders of Banca Etica by the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi , he is currently President of Cresud (the Banca Etica’s Group financial tool dedicated to microfinance and fairtrade ). He served as a member of the Board of Etica SGR (Banca Etica Group Investment Company) from 2002 to 2014 and as a member of Libera Terra Mediterraneo (cooperatives working on the grounds confiscated to mafia) until 2020. Board member of Coopest and Coopmed. Married, three sons, his wife Elisabetta Viscardi is a pediatric oncologist at Padova General Hospital and still shares with Gabriele a long term social experience in the Italian Catholic Scout Movement (Agesci).
Elma Zukić – MFC Council Member
President of the Association of Microfinance Institutions in B&H – AMFI
Elma Zukić has more than 22 years of experience in financial sector, and last 2 years and half in microfinance sector.
Most of her working experience is with international banks. She was also Executive Director – Board Member of one domestic Bank. She was part of the team responsible for crisis management for restructuring of the Bank,running several departments : Retail, Corporate, IT, Treasury, HR, Legal, Operations, Marketing. Furthermore, he is a recognized expert in crisis management.
Since February 2019, she is the president of the Association of Microfinance Institutions in B&H. She have accepted this responsible position with all enthusiasm and energy and readiness to represent the common interests of MCOs in front of international institutions, regulatory and executive bodies. She is in the process of making PhD thesis with a focus on management and organization. She continuously working on professional development and additional education. In free time she doing charity work in the horse club ‘Spirit’.
Sami Lahoud – MFC Council Member
Sami Lahoud, is the co-founder and CEO of EMpact, a newly created incubator and accelerator of startups in frontier markets, including in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
He is a seasoned professional with a multi-disciplinary, global career in multiple industries, with concentration in payments over the past 15 years. He just concluded a 10-year career with Mastercard in various senior leadership roles including the position of Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships and Infrastructure. In the last few years, Sami has been focused on modernizing the microfinance industry through digital transformation. Within this capacity, he has been assisting MFC and its Members in the process of connecting to the Mastercard payments network and other digital solutions. More information about Sami can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/in/samilahoud.
Martina Grigorova – MFC Council Member
Martina Grigorova, who is a seasoned microfinance professional and the leader of the biggest private MFI in Bulgaria – SIS Credit.
She has been actively involved in the works of the EU level networks both MFC and EMN supporting various strategic topics for microfinance development like social performance management standards mainstreaming, refugee financial inclusion and advocacy towards the EU institutions. Currently, she serves on the MFC Advisors’ Board to the EU Program. More information about Martina can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/martina-grigorova-3b6b626b/.
Katarzyna Pawlak, Microfinance Centre’s CEO has been serving on the Management Board of the MFC. She is an expert at GECES – Expert Group on Social Economy at the European Commission. Since 2014, she oversees the Centre’s strategic partnership with the DG EMPL at the European Commission. In the years 2005-2014, she served on the Board of Social Performance Task Force, USA and took an active role in developing global microfinance sector standards (Universal Standards for Social Performance Management). She also served on the Management Committee of European Financial Inclusion Network based in Brussels (2016-2018) and the Board of Partner Microcredit Foundation from Bosnia and Herzegovina (2006-2012). In 2009-2017, she was leading the SP Fund – a global USD 1,2 million fund financed by the Ford Foundation supporting over 50 microfinance associations and 500 microfinance institutions across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America to mainstream the responsible finance standards locally. She was chosen “Woman of the Year 2008″ by the international organization Women Advancing Microfinance. She graduated with honors from Warsaw School of Economics and holds Canadian Executive MBA degree from the University of Quebec at Montreal/Warsaw School of Economics. In her free time, she is actively supporting local cooperatives and collectives based in Warsaw engaged in inclusive arts and culture activities as well as fair alternative food distribution.
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.
Research, Program Manager
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.
Network and Partnership Manager
Pavol has over 20 years of experience in development finance/banking; relationship management; assessment of SMEs and finance institutions and their ESG impact; project coordination, capacity building and consultancy. Major part of his career he spent with socially responsible investor Oikocredit International. He was responsible for the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (portfolio of approx. EUR 100 mil.), developing new markets and business relationships with financial intermediaries and SMEs. Pavol will support existing and encourage new partnerships; coordinate initiatives, projects and capacity building services in line with MFC strategy.
Beata has professional experience both in social economy sector and in business entities. She worked in TISE within social economy division both in granting loans to social economy entities and in Social Venture Capital. Before that she worked in Caritas Somalia in Africa, at Finance Commission of Caritas Internationalis in Rome, PAH. In the past, she worked in business entities like PKN Orlen (capital investments), PKP (capital group controlling), Pfeifer&Langen – previously BSO Polska (controlling and business development), Ernst&Young (due diligence, corporate finance, audit). She graduated from Warsaw School of Economics in the line of Finance and Banking as well as Management and Marketing. She also completed postgraduate studies of Geopolitics and Geostrategy, Global Development, MBA. She is a CFA charterholder. Currently she is pursuing postgraduate studies of Geoeconomy.
Senior Financial Inclusion Lead
Katarzyna has more than fifteen years of work experience in financial markets, economic inclusion, poverty alleviation and education. Her work has always involved partnership development, high level networking, harmonising financial resources and public policies, multi-level governance coordination, facilitating negotiations and capacity building. She was the European Commission expert advising on the reviews of the European acquis from the social perspective. Currently she sits on the Board of Financial Inclusion Europe, a network committed to solving the problems of financial exclusion and serving most underrepresented groups. She holds degrees in law and in economics from Poland and the United States, as well as a diploma in political psychology from Hungary. She has earned managerial credential from Kenya and is currently pursuing an MBA in education leadership in Finland. In MFC Katarzyna leads on the work related to refugees’ financial inclusion, livelihood and entrepreneurship through policy advice and strategic engagement with partners.
Joanna has joined Microfinance Centre in the end of May 2022. She is the digital and business development expert, the creator and promoter of modern education. Previously she has worked in non-governmental organizations focusing on education projects and empowering women projects. She was the pioneer and leader, and created the biggest entity on the Polish digital press distribution market. Joanna has 20 years of experience working in creating and development start-ups. She graduated from Warsaw School of Economics, Foreign Trade Faculty. She holds the postgraduate diplomas from Warsaw University in European Integration and from University of Humanities and Economics in education management and in pedagogics.
Event & Capacity Building Officer
Karol has several years of experience in managing events both on-site and virtual. Over the last 5 years, he has carried out about 80 events of various nature. His portfolio includes international and local events and projects. He has been associated with the NGO sector since 2012. He started as a volunteer and then continued working in the fields of digital development of institutions, fundraising, project management, evaluation, as well as capacity building. In MFC Karol is responsible for events management and capacity building.
Extensive experience in business community development and operations (administration, GR, HR, event management) is supported by 8 years of CEO position of Ukrainian real estate club and 5 years of ownership and management of Property Media Publishing. Main areas of expertise: PR campaigns and GR advocacy, project management and marketing, events organizations. Since start of the war in Ukraine Olha participates as a real estate consultant of the National Council of Ukrainian Recovery Plan and invited expert of “Reconstruction of Cities” Group by IMF Recovery Plan for Ukraine. In April, 2022 Mrs. Yeroshenko founded the Charity Organization “Housing for IDP”. More information about Olga can be found at http://www.facebook.com/olga.solovei.
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.
In recognition for 22 years service in MFC Management Board
It is a great honor for the MFC to give an appreciation for Grzegorz for his contribution to MFC for over 22 years of its development as a leading microfinance network. Grzegorz started to work for MFC in 1999 and has been an outstanding CEO all these years. Step by step he has managed to grow MFC from first obtaining the status of a CGAP/World Bank Training hub for microfinance, later together with the team he successfully implemented the policy agenda for microfinance in a cooperation with the Soros Foundation, GIZ and CGAP. One of his great successes is the introduction of the customer protection standards, promoting customer protection certification globally. Over those years Grzegorz has initiated the MFC annual conference as the flagship service of the MFC, which has continued over the years and is recognized as one of the best global networking events. He has helped to establish the strategic partnership with members of MFC, international donors and global financial institutions. He has always been committed to the social impact of the sector and its focus on the final beneficiary in microfinance. His strong leadership has led MFC to adopt social finance principles and focus on the benefits of the final client as the DNA of the organization. He has brought significant value into each and every achievement of the MFC.