The Supervisory Board

George Handy

President of the AFI Supervisory Board, Managing Director of Activity for Innovation and Economic Growth

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During the past 25 years, Mr. Handy has directed projects and activities on four continents through leadership of American nonprofit organizations and as a consultant to governments and businesses.Currently, he is the Managing Director of the Activity for Innovation and Economic Growth, a nonprofit organization that he founded in 2007 to undertake practical projects supporting economic and security improvements in Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Handy’s work has included 120 projects in and with Poland. In 2014, Mr. Handy was awarded the Order of Merit (Officer Class) of the Republic of Poland. He has supported the start-up of AFI and has become a member and president of AFI’s Supervisory Board. Mr. Handy’s career began as an infantry officer in the United States Army. Following his military service, Mr. Handy served as a Director in United Technologies Corporation, and later as an advisor to a firm engaged in investments of American pension fund assets in global opportunities. Mr. Handy is Chairman of the Board of the Washington Consortium of Theological Universities and a member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.

The Honorable Daniel A. Mica

Former Member of the US Congress (House of Representatives – Florida)

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Daniel A. Mica is a former U.S. Congressman and is the founder and president of The DMA Group. A five-term member of Congress, Mica represented his home state in Florida from 1979 to 1989 in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that time he made his mark in public service as a bipartisan consensus-builder. He served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Select Committee on Aging, and Veteran’s Affairs Committee. He also served in the House leadership as deputy whip; and he was a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Commission on Terrorism (the “Inman Commission”).His accomplishments while in Congress include authoring anti-terrorism legislation that was enacted into law and reorganizing the federal court system by adding a new court district that helped relieve the system’s backlog of cases.

Mica was also appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be congressional representative to the United Nations.

In 1991, President Bush appointed him to serve on the Board for International Broadcasting (now the BBG).

In 1993, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Chairman of the Board of BIB/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. After leaving Congress in 1989 Mica joined the American Council of Life Insurance in Washington, D.C., as executive vice president overseeing ACLI’s federal affairs division. He was with ACLI, the life insurance industry’s leading trade group, until taking the helm at CUNA in 1996.

In 2013 Mica was personally named by The Hill newspaper as one of the top advocates in the nation’s capital. He is often quoted by major national publications and broadcasts for his views on financial services and political issues.  He has been a frequent guest on MSNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business News.

At the end of 2010, Dan completed a fourteen year tenure as President and CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the leading trade association representing the nation’s 9,000 credit unions and credit union leagues in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Mica assumed his duties at CUNA in July 1996, a time of major internal and external challenge for the association.

Over the years Mica has served on numerous boards and committees and was recently elected Chairman of the Board of the Congressional Management Foundation, a bipartisan organization that advises members of Congress on matters relating to office efficiency, organization and administration on a confidential basis. He is now the President of The DMA Group, a firm providing government affairs, advocacy, strategic planning and management consulting services to a variety of industries.

Mica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Florida Atlantic University. He also holds an honorary law degree from Barry University, Florida.

The Honorable Scott McCallum

Former Governor of Wisconsin

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Mr. Scott McCallum was the Wisconsin Governor 2001-03 after serving at Lt. Governor for 14 years, and in the State Senate for 10 years prior to that.

He has his B.A. from Macalester College, M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and is completing his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

From 2005-2015 McCallum was President & CEO of the Aidmatrix Foundation.  Under his leadership they grew from a regional nonprofit organization to one of the world’s largest technology providers to the humanitarian sector, working with over 32,000 clients on 5 continents.

McCallum has been on faculty at the University of Wisconsin – Madison since 2009, teaching in the BioTechnology M.S. program in the School of Medicine and Public Health.  At the same time, he is presently leading a project to identify potential employees for innovation, with an emphasis on the healthcare sector. He is published and has presented throughout the world on this topic.  He also represents Health Care and Technology companies in establishing collaborative projects.  His academic research continues to provide insights of the technology revolution impact upon the global economy.

McCallum has received many awards for his use of technology to advance humanitarian issues, including the 21st Century Achievement Award for “visionary use of information technology to promote positive social economic and educational change” and a “true hero of the information age.” (Computerworld).  Government Technology Magazine named McCallum to the “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers” in US Technology, March 2013.

Dr Paweł Pietrasienski

Lecturer at The Warsaw School of Economics, Former Head of the Trade and Investment Section, Embassy of Poland in the US

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He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the Polish American Chamber of Commerce of Nevada and Applied Innovation Foundation in Silicon Valley as well as American Affairs Advisor at the Employers of Poland.

He is a former Minister Counselor, Head of the Trade and Investment Section at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington D.C. He was the inventor and supervisor of the first Poland’s bridge organization – POLSKA Silicon Valley Acceleration Center based in San Francisco as well as co-author of the first Polish governmental multi-phase acceleration program “Polish Silicon Bridge”.

Previously, he served also as: Deputy Consul General and Consul of the Republic of Poland to Chicago; Counselor in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland; Member of the Board of Governors in the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht; Polish Representative to the OECD Public Governance Committee in Paris.

He is a recipient of the Medal for export achievements, awarded by the Association of Polish Exporters (2014). He was the Outstanding International Business Leadership Honoree, awarded by the Chicago International Sister Cities Committee (2015) and received the Medal of Honor for Merits in Poland’s Economy Development, awarded by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland (2015).

Author of the books “International Marketing Strategies (Międzynarodowe Strategie Marketingowe)” and “Stimulating the Internationalization of Enterprises (Aktywizowanie internacjonalizacji przedsiębiorstw)” /PWE, Warsaw 2005 & 2014/ as well as more than 40 scientific publications in the field of international business, global marketing, entrepreneurship and public governance.

Małgorzata Gałązka-Sobotka

Director of the Institute of Healthcare Management and Director of the Centre for Postgraduate Education at the Łazarski University

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PhD in Economic Sciences, specialising in economics, company organisation and management. Director of Lazarski University Centre for Postgraduate Studies and Director of the Institute of Healthcare Management – an academic think-tank dealing with research and analysis in the healthcare sector.

Vice Chairman of the National Health Fund Council, Vice President of the Polish Co-ordinated Care Society Zdrowie, Advisor to the President of Employers of the Republic of Poland in the area of health protection.

Since 2010 she has been managing the “MBA in Health Care” program and many Lazarski-based training programs dedicated to physicians, management in health care and employees of public institutions from the health care sector.

Initiator and leader of the Sector Council for Competence in Health Care. Author of numerous articles and expert publications as well as research reports devoted to the economic and social aspects of health protection, public health and leadership. Propagator of the Value Based Healthcare concept.

David X. Cifu, MD

Member of AFI Supervisory Board, Associate Dean for Innovation and System Integration, VCU School of Medicine, Senior Traumatic Brain Injury Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs

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Dr. David X. Cifu has been at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine and Health System since 1991, where he currently serves as Associate Dean for Innovation and System Integration, is the Herman J. Flax, M.D. Professor, and Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). In addition to his academic duties, Dr. Cifu provides leadership in facilitating and building relationships and programming between the VCU-SOM and the McGuire VA Medical Center, including the establishment of McGuire’s new Cancer and Women’s Health Centers. He is also providing administrative and academic leadership for the state-of-the-art Sheltering Arms Institute an 114-bed specialty rehabilitation hospital opening Summer 2020.

Dr. Cifu assumed the role of Senior TBI Specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in September 2015. Prior to this role, he served as National Director of PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) for Veterans Health Administration from 2009- 2015, overseeing all polytrauma, amputation and traumatic brain injury services during the Gulf Wars.

He has been funded on 46 research grants for over $240 million, including currently serving as Principal Investigator of the VA/DoD $112.2 million Long-Term Impact of Military-relevant Brain Injury Consortium/Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (LIMBIC-CENC), the nation’s largest epidemiologic and longitudinal study of combat and blast-related concussions in U.S. current and former servicemembers, since 2013. In his more than 25 years as an academic physiatrist, he has delivered more than 560 regional, national and international lectures, published more than 225 scientific articles and 65 abstracts, and co-authored or edited 35 books and book chapters. He is the Past President of the American Academy of PM&R (2007-8), Editor-in-Chief of the 5th Edition of Braddom’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation textbook (2015), co-Editor of Braddom’s Handbook of Rehabilitation Medicine (2017), and Editor-in-Chief of the upcoming 6th Edition of Braddom’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation textbook (2020) Dr. Cifu received his medical degree at the Boston University School of Medicine in 1986 and completed his residency in PM&R at Baylor College of Medicine in 1990.

The Management Board

Marcin Hańczaruk

Co-Chairman of AFI Poland

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MD graduated from the Bialystok Medical University Poland in 1997. He has nearly 20 years’ experience in business adaptation to changing environment leading to transformation for profitable growth, organization’s development, building corporate brands and high performance teams. His experience has included strategy acceleration programs, organization efficiency, change management, leadership development in global and international company transformation initiatives and projects. He has led diversified cross functional teams and the whole affiliates in leading international companies: Bristol-Myers Squibb (USA); Schering Plough (USA); Ferring (Switzerland), Amgen (USA).

In most recent years he has also served as the President of the Supervisory Board of the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber and Board Member of local EFPIA.

Also since many years using international perspective and network, international project management experience he focuses on initiating, supporting and implementation of cross country projects bridging experts, centers committed to quality improvements in patients care and to healthcare innovation.

That led to very well established professional relationship and network with different stakeholders including KOLs, medical societies, PAGs, distributors and governmental bodies.

He also over the recent years educates actively on the value of innovation, biotechnology, healthcare system improvements, change management and business development. He serves as Board Member of Healthcare Think Tank, Expert on Innovation -National Centre for Research & Development and Executive partner at Acceptance Ltd.

Michael Czekajlo

Co-Chairman of AFI USA

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Dr. Michael Czekajlo is a Critical Care Physician at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center and VCU Health System. He has a long established history in Poland assisting with the development of Poland’s national First Responder Program in 1997 and then the first American Heart Association training center to standardize emergency cardiac care in 2000. The AHA initiative lead to collaboration with Poland’s largest foundation the Great Orchestra for Christmas Charity for a CPR for Schools Program in 2006 that has since been implemented in over 5000 public schools and lead to the training of over 1 million school children in CPR.Dr. Czekajlo was the first Fulbright Scholar from the MCV campus of Virginia Commonwealth University and the first to earn an extension. In 2010 he established the first multidisciplinary medical simulation center in Poznan, Poland as his Fulbright project. This center became a model for Poland and on July 4, 2011 lead to the first meeting at the Ministry of Health for the development of a plan to have Poland become the first European country to have a national plan for modelling and simulation in healthcare. The project lead to Poland receiving $65 million Euro from the EU to develop the first national healthcare simulation network in Europe. The Fulbright project had also resulted in the creation of SimChallenge a simulation competition for medical students. The 4th International SimChallenge was held in Paris in June 2017 and the 5th will be held in Barcelona in June 2018.In 2016 Dr. Czekajlo consulted for the President of Poland on healthcare simulation focusing on areas that would improve healthcare outcomes and identify commercial opportunities for Polish companies in healthcare simulation.

Since 2014 he has been involved with PLUS-IP (Polish-US Innovation Project) signed between the US State Department and Polish Government. The program has recently been rebranded as Innovation UP (US-Poland) but the goal is the same to increase collaboration and commercialization between the 2 countries.

In 2017. Dr. Czekajlo co-founded Alliance for Innovation Foundation to continue work on increasing academic and business collaboration between Poland and Virginia.

Dr. Czekajlo completed his undergraduate training at Kean University and Masters at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He then attended Poznan University of Medical Sciences where he completed and MD, PhD program and served on the faculty until 2000 when he began his internal medicine residency at Capital Health System in New Jersey and Critical Care Fellowship at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Beata Biel

Executive Director

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Beata has been involved with AFI as a project manager from its inception helping to execute its, mission to develop Polish-American cooperation based on three pillars: science, culture and business. In 2019, she became AFI’s first Executive Director and continues in that capacity. Beata is responsible for steering the organization and managing its international operations, including donor development, fiscal management, grants and program operations, board relations, human capital management, community relations. She is an analytical and agile professional with several years of experience in strategic and operational management of national and international projects.

She currently also holds a position as Head of the Monitoring and Coordination Department for the implementation of the Polish National Cancer Strategy (NCS) at the Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology. In this role she cooperates with public and commercial entities and supervises a team in addition to oversight of all public and private entities directly involved in the project.

Prior to her current position she had a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry with increasing seniority to hold a variety of marketing and project management positions. Beata holds a masters degree in International Management, Marketing and International Relations from the Cracow University of Economics (CUE).

Advisory Council Virginia

Scott Schoenborn

AFI Advisory Council Virginia Member

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On the professional level, Scott Schoenborn currently serves as Associate Director of Marketing with Indivior.  He delivers value as a transformative leader with over 3 decades of expertise in sales, marketing, branding, commercialization, and policy with life sciences organizations (Pfizer, Mallinckrodt, Interleukin Genetics). He is recognized for strategic vision, creating trust, and implementing viable solutions with a proven track record of delivering results.

On the operational front, Scott partners with community enterprises to improve education, economic development, and health status. He develops solutions by building trusted relationships and aligning stakeholders around common objectives to fulfill organizational mission, vision, and goals.

Scott’s philanthropic activities include Board membership and Advisory roles with the following organizations – Virginia Health Information, Lead Virginia, Virginia Center for Health Innovation, Virginia Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteers with Saint Mary’s Catholic School (PTO), Knights of Columbus, and the Boys Scouts of America. In 2017, Scott assists the Alliance for Innovation Foundation to develop academic, business, and cultural collaborations between Poland and the United States.

Scott earned a B.A. in Biology from Gettysburg College, MBA (International Marketing) from the University of Richmond.   He and with his wife Agata strive to instill an international education and cultural enlightenment with their 5 children.

Agnieszka Chojecka

AFI Advisory Council Member

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Agnieszka Chojecka, MSHA is a Practice Administrator at VCU Health System in Richmond, VA.  She provides operational support to several of multi-specialty surgery clinics in Ambulatory Care at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond, VA. The initiatives she works on include improving patients’ access to care, creating efficiencies in clinics in order to increase throughput as well as increasing the quality of patient and provider satisfaction.  Before joining VCU Medical Center, Agnieszka has worked in the International Emergency Assistance department at Allianz Global Assistance where her work regularly required her command of foreign languages (Polish and French).

Since having moved to the U.S. in 1996, Agnieszka completed her undergraduate studies at Randolph Macon College (2002) and her graduate degree in Health Administration at VCU in 2016.  In addition to the academic background in business and health administration, Agnieszka also holds a Virginia teacher license in French for grades K-12.

Her efforts related to popularizing Polish culture in the U.S. include organizing a concert featuring a live performance of Chopin’s music in November 2018, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence.  In October 2018, Agnieszka was in charge of organizing an event celebrating the first anniversary of the declaration of the Kosciuszko Day in Virginia on October 15th, attended by about 100 people of Polish descent.  Agnieszka has also led a few hands-on classes in Polish cuisine, free and open to the local community in Richmond, where her pierogi-making skills were in the spotlight.

In her spare time Agnieszka spends time with her two daughters, Veronika and Viktoria, and her husband, Piotr.  She regularly cooks the most challenging dishes of Polish cuisine for her family and friends, she grows vegetables in her organic garden, and depending on the season – she enjoys water sports or downhill skiing.

Advisory Council Poland

Marzena Domańska – Sadynica

AFI Advisory Council Member, President of the Experts for Health Foundation

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Marzena Domańska- Sadynica  graduated  doctoral studies at the Warsaw School of Economics in  Collegium of Management and Finance in the field of economic sciences,  postgraduate studies  in public relations  and strategic communication,  and  post-graduate studies of  Projects co-financed from European Funds  at the Warsaw School of Economics.  

Currently, she is preparing to defend his thesis at the MBA studies in health care at the Lazarski University and the opening of a doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Medical University of Gdańsk.

President of the Experts for the Health Foundation dedicated to activities  to improve the quality  of the healthcare system in Poland.   She was an expert in defining the National Mental Health Program, the National Oncology Program.   Author of numerous reports, including analysis and recommendations  in oncology  system changes,  changes in the management of  pain management,   introduction of comprehensive care in urology and    gastroenterology.  Focusing also on supporting a development of  health care modeling and medical simulations.

Adam Ustynowicz

AFI Advisory Council Member, Film producer & director

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Born in 1953 in Warsaw. MSc. of Aviation Faculty of Warsaw Institute ofTechnology and PhD candidate in Thermodynamics. Graduated as film directorfrom Lodz Film School in 1986, traveled to China to become assistant ofBernardo Bertolucci during production of THE LAST EMPEROR on location inThe Forbidden City in Beijing.

In 1989 set up one of the first independent film production companies inPoland. In 1990/91 produced and directed a 50 min. documentary for popularBBC2 series Bookmark about Polish Science Fiction writer Stanislaw Lem. Thefilm was awarded the first prize on the International Festival of the Films onArt, Montreal 1994. Series of educational programs about Space „Ad Astra”was presented to the Pope John Paul II during the seminar on philosophical andreligious aspects of contemporary science in Castel Gandolfo, August 97.

From 1994 to date a film director and independent producer, author of morethan 200 films and programs, mostly about exploration of Space, history ofaviation and philosophical and ethical aspects of modern science. Author ofthe pioneer in the World Series of programs converting Internet and televisionbroadcasted by Polish Television in 1995. Producer of live coverage of landingof space robots on Mars and Titan.

In February 2010 produced a Chopin concert in Space on board of STS-130Endeavour during the mission to the International Space Station. Producer anddirector of documentary film ”Chopin. The Space Concert” on theoccasion of 200th. anniversary of Chopin birth. In December 2012, the filmwon Grand Prix of the International Film Festival in Monaco.

Author and producer of popular educational awareness campaigns promotingprotection of natural environment, responsibility and ethics in science andpopularization of sport and Olympic values among young generation.

Passionate about aviation and Space exploration. In the years 2003-2005 vicepresident of CASI – International Air Sport Commission of FAI, member ofPolish Aviation Council.

Robert Ługowski

AFI Advisory Council Member, Managing Partner at CobinAngels, Vice President of European Business Angels Network (EBAN)

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Robert Ługowski graduated from the Carlson School of Management MBA program and the Warsaw School of Economics as well as individual intercollegiate studies at Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin University of Technology and Maria Curie-Sklodowska University.

Co-founder and Managing Partner at CobinAngels, leading Polish business angel network, entrepreneur, early stage investor. Expert in diffusion of innovation, business models and organization and development of new ventures. Mentor and member of evaluation teams in start-up contests, investor and coach in a number of innovative technology start-ups. Member of the supervisory boards and control bodies of a number of companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, including Work Service S.A. as well as start-ups eg. Photon Entertainment, Salesbook.

He has extensive experience gained while working on managerial positions in global technology companies such as Xerox, Hewlett-Packard, recently Atos. He supervised and was responsible for the implementation of a number of innovative projects in Poland like STORK EU, projects in collaboration with Atos Research & Innovation and ASE Scientific Community. He created and supervised the implementation of strategies in the area of introducing new products and technologies as well as marketing and sales on the Polish and regional markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Israel, Egypt and Turkey.

He also held a number of functions in industry and social organizations including President of Business Students Club, Member of the Board of Polish Chamber of Information and Telecommunications, Warsaw Executive MBA Alumni Association and French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland. Initiator of the Business Angels Poland Confederation, member of Business Angels Europe. Recently elected as Vice President of European Business Angels Network.

Katarzyna Michalak-Magda

AFI Advisory Council Member

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Experienced manager of innovative projects and commercialization of innovations. Law and international relations master by education. She has completed post-graduate studies and a number of courses in the field of project and finance management. She has gained managerial experience by working in the energy and real estate industry.

Katarzyna has acquired financing for a number of projects financed from various EU operational programs and funds for supporting the development of innovations. Until December 2017, she was the CEO in a cell therapy company. Under her leadership, the company has obtained funding under various granting programs (i.e. Horizon 2020) as well as seed and VC investment funds.

In April 2018, she was hired as the Head of the Biotechnology Development Program in the Polish Development Fund. After that, she has become responsible for the Innovation and Strategy Department at the Medical Research Agency, where she helped develop the Agency’s strategy and establish international cooperation with various health organizations and institutions mainly in the USA.

Katarzyna is an Alumn of an MIT Enterprise Forum acceleration program, during which she has taken part in a bootcamps and a series of lectures on innovations and commercialization at the MIT.

Przemysław Michalak

AFI Advisory Council Member

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10 years of experience in business-academia relations – innovations commercialization and business development, starting at the university, through innovations department of an energy utility ending with startups and own consulting company.

Through his career, Przemyslaw was mostly responsible for developing strategies for R&D projects and their commercialization ending with accelerating start-ups (acquiring funding – public/private). He was a business coach at the largest European energy accelerator where he was responsible for coaching and mentoring the entrepreneurs (innovators), to help them on the way to launch their products/services to the market.

His practical experience in startups comprises of helping to incorporate two startups (university spin-offs) – one dedicated to the commercialization of novel biometric solutions for the identification and authorization of clients in the banking sector (Przemyslaw is the CEO of this company currently) and the other was dedicated to marketing authorization of an innovative cell-therapy medicinal product. He is also an author of a strategy for building astartup ecosystem in the med-tech sector for one of Polish cities.

Przemyslaw is an Alumn of an MIT Enterprise Forum acceleration program, during which he has taken part in a bootcamps and a series of lectures on innovations and commercialization at the MIT.

Justyna Ciegotura

AFI Advisory Council Member

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Dynamic Executive with a total of 20 years of experience helping organizations reach their full potential. Since 2001 she has held managerial positions in the area of technology transfer, innovation and intellectual property management. A half of the professional career developed in the United States, where she gained experience and knowledge in the technology transfer area. Between 2001 and 2009 Business and Intellectual Property Analyst at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Since 2011 she has been with the Poznan Science and Technology Park supporting business clients and academic institutions with practical knowledge and international aspects of business incubation and development. Between 2017 and 2021 a Member of the Board and Deputy Director of PPNT responsible for intellectual property management, commercialization and business incubation and international relations. Highly motivated and skilled in the area of innovation. Adept in making key decisions and working with other professionals to achieve goals and solve problems. Experienced in managing employee and business development programs, and dedicated to successfully directing business operations.Graduate from the University of Economics, Poznan (MA), and Master of Business Administration program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (MBA). The European Commission expert for IP affairs, the European Business Network expert, and the evaluating expert for the National Center of Research and Development in Poland.  

David B. Kaiser

AFI Advisory Council Member

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brings comprehensive “know how” in the development and operations of new medical initiatives. Mr. Kaiser has developed and operated integrated health care delivery systems including for Health Maintenance Organisations (HMO), Consolidated Medical Group Practices, Hospitals, and Medical Marketing in the USA, Central and Eastern Europe.

Medical delivery, physician governance and reimbursement mechanisms continue to evolve into comprehensive and complicated systems. Mr. Kaiser has been influential in implementing many comprehensive delivery initiatives into the infrastructure where health delivery is a major concern.