We are proud to present our board members

Peter Weiss


Peter comes from Argentina and holds an A.B. from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from Duke University, both in the US. Peter has over 35 years of banking experience, mainly as a career expatriate with ABN AMRO Bank, holding management positions across different functions and geographies. Currently, Peter holds a number of non-executive Board positions with financial institutions, private companies, NGOs and educational institutions. In addition to chairing our Board, Peter also serves on the board of United Way in Romania.

Steven van Groningen


Steven van Groningen is a banker who has over the past 20 years occupied various top management positions in subsidiaries of Western European banks in Romania, Hungary and Russia. He is also very much involved in several organizations and professional associations which aim to improve the climate for investment, stimulate the development of the Romanian economy and the quality of life. Steven teaches an MBA business ethics course at Maastricht School of Management in Bucharest. He is a former canoeing Olympian and Ironman triathlete and has remained very active in sports. He is one of the founders and the first president of United Way Romania and a former chairman of the United Way Worldwide Leadership Council.

Pien van Karnebeek-Thijssen


Pien started her career in various commercial positions at Heineken NV. She subsequently worked at Philips NV before moving to Yess International executive search. Pien has been lady-in-waiting to HM Queen Máxima since 2013. She is also currently a board member of Rijksmuseum Fonds and has been on the boards of various foundations throughout her career. She holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Amsterdam.

Willem van Gogh

General Board Member

A great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, the painter’s brother, Willem has been working for Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum since 1999. After a career as a lawyer, he joined the museum as director of its shops. From 2009 he has been advisor to the board, working as an ambassador for the expansion and strengthening of the museum’s national and international networks.

Hélène van Melle

General Board Member

Hélène van Melle has 25+ years of experience in the corporate and NGO sector. She worked in various consulting, HR and project management roles. Passionate about supporting vulnerable communities to connect to work, she currently holds the position of Deputy Director Europe at the Tent Partnership for Refugees. She has been Board Member of Stichting Grote Kerk Naarden and Stichting ‘De Appelzak’.

Henry Chanoch Weinstein

General Board Member

Henry Chanoch Weinstein, although retired as a clinical neurologist, is still affiliated with OLVG and the Alzheimer Center of Amsterdam UMC and currently working a consultant neurologist for different organizations.

In addition to his work as a general neurologist, he had a special interest in the borderland between neurology and psychiatry and was involved for many years as an educator in the training of medical specialists in the hospital, regionally and nationally.
Through his work in various hospitals in Amsterdam and the surrounding area, and supported by the scientific literature he has long been aware of the importance of social factors in people's well-being and functioning. As a result, he has been involved in various social organizations for many years and likes to channel his passion and expertise into advocating for United Way.
Henry Chanoch lives in Amsterdam, is married, father of three children and grandfather of four wonderful grandchildren.

Michiel Scherpenhuijsen Rom

General Board Member

Michiel started his career at Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland. He subsequently worked with various financial services companies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. He currently runs the Private Markets business for Providence Capital N.V. He is also a board member of the F.G. Waller Foundation and the Stichting De Wiersse and has been on the boards of various other foundations throughout his career. Michiel holds a master’s degree in Law from the University of Utrecht.

Meet our staff and volunteers

Machiel Salomons

Executive Director

Machiel in an experienced Representative with a demonstrated history of working in international affairs. He is a strong professional, skilled in humanitarian assistance, international law, policy analysis, refugee law, diplomacy, and international humanitarian affairs law. He recently retired after a distinguished career with the United Nations, where he held various positions in ten countries, including that of UN Resident Coordinator. In his most recent capacity as Head of the Policy Development and Evaluation Service, in the Cabinet of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Machiel published various reports. He is the founder of United Way the Netherlands

Ivan Milovanov

Web Administrator & Designer

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Ivan has lived in countries around Europe. He has acquired a background in psychology and is skilled in communication, pedagogy, andragogy and educational product design, as well as creative and outreach writing. Ivan has extensive experience in online content management, project coordination, social media management, e-learning and youth training. He worked closely with organizations in the non-profit, developmental and educational sectors, including Olde Vechte Foundation and Anne Frank House (both in the Netherlands) and Meta Terra in Suriname. His own company, Illumniscate, focusses on playful learning.

Terri J. Kester

Editorial Consultant

Terri is a multilingual writer, editor and communication consultant based in Amsterdam and France. While thinking of herself as a generalist, she likes to focus on cultural, humanitarian and travel-related subjects. Working for such clients as KLM, World Press Photo and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has deepened Terri’s international orientation. She developed formulas for a wide range of magazines and newsletters, for publication in print and online.

Myles Bavin

Director of Operations

Myles is a Dutch and British dual citizen. He is currently studying artificial intelligence at the University of Amsterdam. His experience of volunteering with international organizations in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the Netherlands has been focussed on developing sustainable communities.

Julie Barikmo

Programme Manager

Julie is completing her third and final year of her BA in Political Science at University of Amsterdam. Before coming to Amsterdam, she studied Journalism and International Studies in London. Her mains interests includes combatting discrimination and promoting an equal society, and she believes United Way the Netherlands is a great starting point for such a cause. Julie works as a Programme Manager and ensures our projects reaches their goals.

Amy Ingenhoest

Project Officer

In 2022 Amy completed her internship at United Way the Netherlands following her graduation from the University of Maastricht. During her studies, she focused on finding core reasons for and possible solutions to international conflicts. In many violent conflicts, the core issues could be traced back to social fracturing. Therefore, she recognises the importance of United Way’s focus on social issues as a way to act at a root level. Amy currently manages several locations of our mental health project and supports the rest of the team in reaching their goals

Olena Tiutiunnyk

Project Manager UWRA

Olena moved with her family to Amsterdam as soon as the war began. Currently, she is a Project Manager at UWRA organization (Ukrainian Women Refugee Association in the Netherlands). She organizes lessons, meetings, sports opportunities, and psychological-support groups for Ukrainian people in Amsterdam.
Olena worked for 17 years at FISCHER UKRAINE LTD company (ski, hokey sticks) as Director, key account manager, and then one year as an Executive director in a private school in Kyiv.

Irina Borisov

Project Coordinator UWRA

From the first day of the Ukrainian-Russian war Irina was involved in Humanitarian aid for Ukraine. As the number of Ukrainian refugees grew, Irina shifted her focus on helping refugees. Her mission is providing Ukrainian women the tools for better integration in The Netherlands.
Irina has a master of marketing and communication, with 15-year experience in leadership and team management in international agencies. Irina is currently project manager of the Ukrainian project «Home from Home» and responsible for project implementation on a different level.

Polina Borysenko

Project Manager UWRA

Polina lived in Kyiv when the war between Russia and Ukraine started. Since April, she has moved to Amsterdam and become a part of the UWRA community.
Polina has a master's degree in Psychology and Social pedagogy as well as solid working experience in IT and marketing.
The experience linking the IT sphere and psychology provided Polina with adaptability skills. More than ten years of marketing experience taught Polina to be innovative, build effective communications, and set up long-term partnerships.
Solid analytical skills and an understanding of the psychology of human behaviour allow Polina to find creative approaches to problem-solving. She enjoys working in a multicultural team, being a part of a great whole, and contributing to society.
Polina is currently the Ukrainian project «Mental Health» project manager and is responsible for project implementation and scalability.

Floris de Gelder

Project Coordinator

After studying law at Utrecht University, Floris started his career in various management positions in the companies KPN and Ahold. After ten years of experience in the corporate world, he made a career switch and became director of Museum Speelklok in Utrecht. Later, he became alderman for cultural and economic affairs in the city of Utrecht and director of Utrecht Science Park. In 2020, he moved from Utrecht to Friesland, the province were he grew up. In Friesland, he worked for LF2028, the foundation that organised Leeuwarden Cultural Capital of Europe. Today he works as an independent professional for cultural and scientific organisations and as a volunteer. Floris assists United Way the Netherlands on a temporary basis with the expansion of UW-NL´s support of Ukrainian refugees to areas outside Amsterdam.

Prof. Dr. Rutger Engels


Rutger Engels is an award-winning full professor in Developmental Psychopathology, at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is Chief Science Officer at Zylorion, a Candian-based digital mental health start-up, and director of research at Amplio Health. He is a board member of the venture philanthropy ´De Verre Bergen´. Engels has an excellent track record of successfully coordinating research projects and mentoring Ph.D. students. He is passionate about taking science to the frontline where it matters most and developing state-of-the-art prevention and treatment programs that will have a far-reaching international impact on policy and practice. He is currently a consultant for our mental health project for Ukrainian refugees.

Dr. Ionela Petrea


Dr Ionela Petrea, Director of Implementation at Amplio Health, is a senior international mental health expert with over 22 years of experience working with national governments, as well as 9 years at the WHO Europe and 9 years as Head of the International Department of the Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, where she also served as Director of Institute´s WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health. In addition to years of work experience across the world, Dr Petrea holds a PhD in medicine as well as a Post-graduate Diploma in Public Health and Policy from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is currently advising United Way the Netherlands on our mental health project for Ukrainian refugees.

Yulia Panova


Yulia is a seasoned, friendly and reliable psychologist with more than 15 years of experience in performing individual and group counseling, teaching and mentoring of children, adolescents and adults. Throughout the last 15 years she has taken part in different projects for these target groups such as organizing camps and retreats, lecturing and team-building, mentoring and training mentors, etc. She is also a mother of a 6 years-old boy (Dima) so I clearly understand what parents and children go through. She enjoys connecting and working with children and see them overcoming their difficulties even if parents may feel hopeless. Parents see me as a patient, open, transparent, and inspiring counsellor. Her final goal is to team up with parents to help them learn how to motivate and communicate with their children and enjoy their parenthood.
Since March 2022 she lives in the Netherlands, because of the war in Ukraine.

Olexandra Bodarenko


Olexandra Bondarenko, child psychologist for mothers, family psychology, certified art therapist and fairy tale teacher. Experience with families more than 11 years. Media Expert. Coach of international festivals and online conferences. Customers from 20 countries of the world choose me as their guide to family happiness.

Olena Shkvarnytska


Olena was born and has lived all her life in Kyiv. She has a higher education degree in psychology and has graduated as a Gestalt therapist. Furthermore, she has specialisation in Trauma and PTSD and child-parent relations. She works with teenagers and lead groups. Since her arrival in the Netherlands, she has been working as a psychotherapist with Ukrainians who were forced to leave their homes.

Maryna Kuznetsova


Maryna is a psychologist and psychotherapist in the psychoanalytic and trauma-focused fields of psychotherapy. She worked in Ukraine before the war in a charitable foundation and private practice. She is now continuing her work with children and with adults. She works with adaptation issues, psychosomatic problems, apathy, anxiety and panic attacks.

Chidimma Nweke


Chidimma is a Nigerian Lawyer with background in international human rights
and humanitarian law. She worked in Nigeria with several NGOs and in private
practice, raising to become the Head of Chambers of Prestigious law firm in
Abuja, Nigeria.

Adding to her diverse portfolio, she served as the Diversity, Equity, and
Inclusion Coordinator at Radboud University, Nijmegen, underscoring her
commitment to fostering inclusive environments. She has now completed a
master’s degree in international and European Law and now aspires to further
her career in the dynamic fields of international law and migration, ready to
make valuable contributions in these vital areas.