Get to know the IBA European Regional Forum Officers of 2021

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 Margareta Sovova
Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Group

  1. What would you like to accomplish in the ERF in 2021?
    My main goals for 2021 are to engage and motivate the ERF Diversity and Inclusion working group members and secondly, to strengthen the sense of the importance of diversity and inclusion amongst the ERF community.
  2. Please describe your role as an officer.
    I am holding up the D&I flag within the ERF! Anyplace, anywhere, anytime 😊 This means being constantly in contact with other IBA committees, gathering new ideas, trying to push the ERF D&I working group forward and increasing awareness for D&I relevant issues.
  3. What does being a European mean to you?
    Being proud of what we have already achieved in Europe in terms of gender equality and women's rights compared to the rest of the world.
  4. What is your key takeaway in life from the last twelve months?
    It is not ultimately necessary to work from the office and to work within the usual working hours to be productive. If you take advantage of the New Normal and offer your team more flexibility, your team members will be happier and healthier.
  5. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
    Homeopathy is my hobby and hopefully even my hidden talent. On top of the talent, I have spent several years studying and gathering an expertise in homeopathy.


 Antonia Verna
Vice Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Group

  1. What would you like to accomplish in the ERF in 2021?
    I would like to help this fantastic community to grow and take actions that can make real changes in the legal profession starting from the implementation of effective Diversity and Inclusion policies.
  2. Please describe your role as an officer.
    As an officer, entrusted with the task of Vice Chair of the D&I group, I feel the duty to support and spread IBA D&I policies inside the ERF’s community, act and intervene each time I hear about discrimination, and organise initiatives in cooperation with other IBA committees to increase awareness of D&I issues among IBA and ERF members.
  3. What does being a European mean to you?
    Europe represents a great example of how different cultures can get together to solve common issues and find solutions in the interest of a broader community. I strongly believe that Europe can play a crucial role in the future development of our global society under various perspectives, including with respect to the adoption of effective D&I policies.
  4. What is your key takeaway in life from the last twelve months?
    Know that you are not alone. Share knowledge and opinions with others interested in learning. Don’t waste time: identify priorities and focus on the actions that need to be taken to achieve those priorities.
  5. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
    Walking in untamed nature fills me with positive energy and gives me a lot of inspiration.


 Co-Chair David O'Donnell

  1. What would you like to accomplish in ERF in 2021?
    It would be important to know that when we come to the end of 2021 that the ERF has made real headway in its stated purpose: – To support the objectives of the IBA and its members in Europe

    – To foster closer connections between lawyers in Europe with a specific emphasis on professional development and networking opportunities

    – To be a forum to promote a strong and robust civil society in Europe as a whole in support of the rule of law and the legal profession in Europe, as well as other public policy initiatives

    –in each case (where appropriate) in collaboration with specialist IBA committees and the IBA leadership
  2. Please describe your role as an officer
    If I were to sit down and write a job description of my role of Co-Chair of the ERF, it might go something like this:

    – Planning and conducting our officer meetings effectively

    – Ensuring that all officers have a role to play and are actively engaged

    – Ensuring that we have succession planning in terms of officers

    – Encouraging officers to help implement the ERF plan and thereby help achieve the stated purposes of the ERF

    – Providing leadership and being available to other officers to provide support
  3. What does being a European mean to you?
    A fantastic opportunity to interact with a diverse range of cultures and to try and understand what makes each culture and nationality so special.
  4. What is your key takeaway in life from the last twelve months?
    Take time each day for your mental, physical and spiritual health. Be kind to yourself and others.
  5. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
    I represented Ireland in the Touch Rugby World Cup in Malaysia in 2019 at over 45s.

 

See David's IBA profile here.



 Co-Chair Chris Owen

  1. What would you like to accomplish in ERF in 2021?
    My most important priority as Co-Chair of the ERF is to engage and motivate the ERF officers and council members and build a strong sense of community within the ERF. Everything flows from this. It is where we will find our motivation and our ability as a group to innovate and grow.
  2. Please describe your role as an officer
    As Co-Chair of the ERF, my role is to help plot out some sense of strategic direction for the ERF. How best can we leverage off all of the skills, talents and contacts of ERF members both in their local jurisdictions and internationally?
  3. What does being a European mean to you?
    Being a European is about thriving in diversity and being open to its many contradictions. It is about respecting difference and learning to live successfully with your near neighbors.
  4. What is your key takeaway in life from the last twelve months?
    There have been a lot of takeaways from the last twelve months and it is going to take some time to unpack them all. But one immediate takeaway is the importance of looking after your body. Look after your body and let it help you look after your mental wellbeing.
  5. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
    I can stand on my head whilst saying the longest word in Welsh!

 

See Chris' IBA profile here.

 


 Vice Chair Panagiotis Drakopoulos

  1. What would you like to accomplish in ERF in 2021?
    Strengthen the sense of community amongst council members, and boost commitment and engagement. We are a brilliant team with endless untapped potential.
  2. Please describe your role as an officer
    Contributing to the ERF’s strategic vision and goals, and inspiring council members. Setting a good example in terms of consistency and reliability. 
  3. What does being a European mean to you?
    Being inclusive, leading the rest of the world in terms of embracing diversity and protecting human rights. Having the opportunity and privilege to coexist among jurisdictions with different cultures, traditions and in different stages of economic development.
  4. What is your key takeaway in life from the last twelve months?
    Nothing is for granted. We should not be held back by dwelling on the past or the future, but rather focus on leaving in the present, embrace reality and be the best possible version of ourselves.
  5. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
    My – very well hidden – talent/hobby is playing electric guitar.

 

See Panagiotis' IBA profile here.