TEDxTbilisi is a nonprofit event organized by passionate, dedicated volunteers.
Licensee: Roy Southworth
Roy is a cofounder of the McLain Association for Children (MAC), a board member at the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) and an economist. Roy was previoiusly the country director for the World Bank in Georgia. He has also been involved with numerous other assignments with the World Bank and other organizations in Africa, Europe and Asia. Currently retired, he is focusing on advocacy, capacity building, and micro-financing.
Co-Director, Budgets and Sponsorships Manager: Lesley Baxter
Lesley hails from Edinburgh in Scotland and has been living in Georgia for around 18 months. She is a businesswoman and entrepreneur, dividing her time between Tbilisi and Batumi. Lesley enjoys travelling, skiing, yoga and tennis, as well as Georgia's cultural delights.
Co-Director, Event Manager: Maria Smolarek
Maria is a coordinator of the European Alumni Association in Tbilisi. She came to Georgia in 2013 as an EVS volunteer with the Ministry of Sport and Education, where she was responsible for non-formal education trainings for youth and the promotion of volunteering. Maria loves to organize all kinds of events, from morning walks to Mtatsminda and movie screenings to Amnesty International Write4Rights actions. She loves Georgian khachapuri, tea, chocolate cake and old buildings.
Co-Director, Curator: Heather Yundt
Heather is a trainer and multimedia producer with IWPR Georgia and a freelance journalist. She first stumbled upon Georgia as a backpacker in 2010 and jumped at the chance to officially call the country home in late 2013. Find her on Twitter: @hyundt.
A graduate of Harvard University and a member of the Georgian Harvard Club Management Board, Mary Gabashvili has worked for more than 10 years in the Georgian governmental sector supporting key reform initiatives in education, public administration and defence. When not engaged in formal duties, Mary spends her time on the other two passions in her life – writing and sports.
Hans Gutbrod has been researching, teaching, consulting, cycling, skiing and otherwise spending time in the mountains of the Caucasus region since 1999. When not busy in these ways, he works at Transparify, campaigning for more transparency in policy research & advocacy. Hans holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and is on Twitter at @HansGutbrod.
Irina Ghughunishvili currently works toward developing social enterprise and improving institutional capacity of non-governmental organizations in Georgia. In her free time, Irina enjoys playing tennis, skiing, dancing and traveling. She's also passionate about anything that has to do with film. Irina holds a bachelors degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master's degree from the Central European University.
William Dunbar is a freelance journalist and researcher who has lived in Georgia since 2006, although originally he hails from London. He has worked for a number of international television stations and written for publications ranging from USA Today to Private Eye. When not taking an unhealthy interest in all things Georgian or singing karaoke, he performs research projects for a number of NGOs, as well as conducting due diligence into all areas of Georgia's economic and political life.
Elene Kvernadze is a program officer at the United Nations Association of Georgia. Her background is in political science and psychology. She lived and studied in the US for ten years. Elene lectures on democracy and citizenship at the University of Georgia. She's also the founder of an awareness raising initiative on domestic violence and gender equality, which includes conducting trainings and seminars and organizing social campaigns.
OUR MULTI-TALENTED TEAM
Maya Kobalia is the executive director of Georgia Alliance for Safe Roads, a local road safety NGO. She has an MA in Baltic Sea Region Studies from the University of Tartu and a BA in International Relations from Ilia State University in Tbilisi, but her studies have also taken her to the University of Lodz, Summer School at the Jagiellonian University, and the Humboldt University of Berlin. She was also a mentee in the first edition of the Vital Voices chapter of Poland's Leadership and Mentoring Program for Eurasian Women Leaders. Her interests include international relations/diplomacy, music, horseback riding, travelling and foreign languages. She speaks 5 languages (native Georgian, English, Polish, Russian and Estonian).
Suzie Patsatsia joined the TEDxTbilisi team in 2013. She is a resident of Georgia and works as a finance manager at the American Councils for International Education. She graduated from Tbilisi Ilia Chavchavadze State University of Languages and Culture, majoring in Translating and Interpreting (English and German). Later, she completed a course on international accounting standards and attended Tbilisi Aviation Universitys Access and Refresher Faculty. Suzie has successfully passed the Starwood, Sheraton Brand Service Culture trainings. Suzies greatest passions are traveling and sightseeing.
Tiko Ambroladze, a native Georgian, grew up in Sweden and is continuing her journey through exciting places like Tunisia and Ukraine. She works as an independent consultant, involved in innovative initiatives like Transparify and other impact-driven projects around social protection in Georgia. Tiko has been part of TEDxTbilisi from 2012 in various capacities and was also involved in TEDxCarthage 2014 in Tunis. Tiko holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Georgian-American University in Tbilisi with a major in finance.
For the 2013 team, check here.