FORA BOARD 2022-2023
Mihai Lehene - Chair/President
Mihai Lehene serves as the President and Founding member of Romanian United Fund, one of FORA’s founding member organizations based in Chicago, Illinois. He was born and raised in Romania and came to the US in 2002. After having spent two decades in finance, as a trader, senior strategist, and former Partner at Allston Trading, Mihai retired in 2019 to focus on community building and contributing to the success of the Romanian diaspora. Mihai’s passion for contributing to and bringing together the Romanian diaspora started the year following his arrival to the US and led to the founding of Romanian United Fund and the Federation of Romanian-American Organization. Mihai’s ability to bring people together is founded in his strong belief in people and their ability to work together for the common good. “I know Romanians are smart, intelligent, conscientious, creative, and highly dependable individuals. As teachers, doctors, construction workers, businesspeople, or IT professionals, we touch the lives of so many, ab-so-lu-te-ly e-ve-ry day. We are our own ambassadors, as well as the ambassadors of our communities and of our country. We have a uniquely interesting heritage, and we carry the flag of previous generations of illustrious Romanians that left their mark on history. But individualism will only take us so far. In order to achieve greatness, we need to learn to work better together and trust each other more.”
Teodor Stan - Vice-Chair/Vice-President
Teodor Stan is the founding President of the Immigration Research Forum (IRF), one of FORA’s founding member organizations based in Washington, DC. He is an experienced journalist and social scientist, a contributor to the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs on the nexus of migration and democratic governance in Southeast Europe and the wider Black Sea region. Teodor previously guided the Horatio Alger Association as National Programs Coordinator and was a program associate at the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). As a naturalized Romanian-American he is the convener of the first conference of Romanian American professionals in Washington, DC and established nation-wide field-specific diaspora councils in order to initiate the mapping of current expertise and peer support mechanisms that nurture the integration and positive visibility of immigrants’ contributions to their host communities.
Mirela Panaitisor – Secretary
Mirela Panaitisor serves as the Vice-President of Romanul Corp, a Connecticut based organization and one of the founding member organizations of FORA. Mirela is the owner and artistic director of the New Old School of Music, serves as a member of the Commission on the Arts by the West Hardford Town Council and a Principal 2nd for the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Actively engaged in the Romanian community, Mirela loves promoting Romanian music and culture any chance she gets. Her other main passion and interest include researching the benefits of learning music in children with autism.
Simona Vasile – Treasurer
Simona Vasile is a RomAmPro board member and a proud founding member of FORA. Simona has supported the Romanian American community in New York Metro since 2000. She is a KPMG Tax & Legal Partner and the Head of Technology & Innovation for KPMG Law Norway, responsible for the Tax and Legal Digitalization services related to Emerging Technologies and Digital Transformation. With over 20 years of consulting experience cross Industries and in the Global Employer Services space, Simona is a Global citizen who before moving to Norway in 2021, lived and worked in the US, UK, India and Romania. Simona and her family call Connecticut home.
Bogdan Banu – Board Member
Bogdan Banu is the President and Founder of Romanians of DC a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and founding member of FORA. Romanians of DC works to bring together the Romanians and Moldovans living in the greater Washington, DC area and to promote Romanian culture and traditions to a wider American audience. Bogdan’s involvement with building and promoting Romanian and Moldavians values started with ASTROM, where he served for 10 years as President of the Association of Students and Young Professionals from Romania in the DC area, the largest Romanian-American association in the Nation’s Capital. In this capacity, he has overseen the development and implementation of 450 professional activities and cultural programs focused on building and promoting the Romanian community in the Washington, DC area. This activity has also given him the unique opportunity to meet and interact with officials at the highest levels from Romania and the Republic of Moldova.
Dana Bucin – Board Member
Dana Bucin is the Honorary Consul of Romania to CT, running diplomatic programs that assist the reunification of families separated at the border (Roma populations) and coordinating assistance for vulnerable Romanian citizens in Connecticut. In this capacity, Dana assisted the transfer of Ukrainian refugees from Romania to CT. She is an immigration attorney with Murtha Cullina Attorneys at Law where she serves as the chair of the Immigration Practice Group and the Murtha Cullina's Diversity Committee chair. Dana is responsible for the oversight of the firm's diversity and inclusion strategy and initiatives, ensuring that the firm’s core principles of inclusiveness and diversity are reflected across its internal and external policies, work and practices. Dana received her J.D. from Boston University and her B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Iulian Calinov – Board Member
Iulian Calinov serves the Romanian community in Seattle as an Honorary Consul of Romania to Washington State as well as the Secretary of American Romanian Cultural Society a Seattle based organization and one of the founding members of FORA. Iulian was born in Bucharest Romania and moved to the US in 1998. Iulian holds a masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the Politehnica University of Bucharest and a Masters of Business Administration in Corporate Finance jointly from Bucharest School of Economics and Université du Québec à Montréal. Iulian has worked as an Assistant Professor with the Politechnica University of Bucharest for 6 years after graduation. After a brief stint as a Treasurer for Philip Moris in Romania, Iulian moved to the United States to work for Microsoft. Currently, Iulian is a Program Manager with Facebook.
Liliana Onita Lenco – Board Member
Liliana Lenco serves the Romanian American community as the Co-founder and President of the Association of Romanians in New England. In this capacity, Liliana and a team of dedicated volunteers organize cultural, educational and professional activities that promote and preserve Romanian culture, values and language in the New Englad area. Liliana is also on the Advisory Board of the Educational Enrichment for Romanian Children, Inc (EERC) . Liliana completed her MBA at Academia de Studii Econonomice, Bucharest, Romania. She currently works as an Accounting Manager for Harvard University.
Oana Radu – Board Member
Oana Radu is the manager of the Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema film festival in New York, and of ARAD Documentary Film Festival in Arad, Romania. Oana is a cultural manager and cultural policy consultant and the Co-founder of the Romanian Film Initiative and of Film ETC Association (Bucharest, Romania). From 2006 to 2012 she was the Deputy Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, under the leadership of Corina Suteu. She has coordinated other large international cultural projects, including the Romanian Pavilion to the 2015 Venice Art Biennial. Oana has recently participated in the development of the local cultural strategy for the cities of Bucharest and Arad (Romania), as well as other consultancy and training work in the field of cultural policy and cultural management carried out by Film ETC. Association. She holds an MA in cultural management from the Dijon Business School, France.
Oana Zayic – Board Member and Community Outreach Liaison
Oana Zayic is the Executive Director of the Heritage Organization of Romanian-Americans (HORA) in Minnesota, one of the founding member organizations of FORA. Oana’s passion for promoting Romanian culture, values, traditions and history has been taking many forms from volunteering to Romanian festivals to delivering presentations on Western Romanian cuisine, to establishing partnerships and joint projects between HORA and the city of Chaska Human Rights Commission. In addition to serving HORA, Oana is a disability parent advocate and one of the Human Rights Commissioners with the City of Chaska, MN where she spearheads initiatives and projects aimed at elevating immigrant voices and creating and promoting inclusive and welcoming communities. Prior to her roles with HORA and the Human Rights Commission, Oana served in various roles in higher education for over two decades, mainly working with non-traditional, underrepresented students.
Obie Moore – Board Member
Obie Moore is a Board Member at Alianta, one of the FORA founding organizations. Obie manages OLM Advisors which provides transatlantic legal and investment advisory services. Before that, he was a partner at Dentons LLP and was a Global Board member and MP of the Bucharest and SE Europe law practice of Denton’s legacy firm Salans. He also managed the Romania-American Enterprise Fund, and served as President of AmCham.