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The Team


Antonella Cardone


Antonella Cardone joined CPE as CEO at the end of 2022. She is also the Patient Advocacy Expert and Advisor to the Board of Pancreatic Cancer Europe (PCE), the European Multi-Stakeholder Platform of leading and most influential groups of physicians and patients, politicians, journalists, academia, and industry on Pancreatic Cancer. She is the former Director of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC). She has 25 years of experience working for non-profits in the health, social, and employment sectors. Before ECPC, Antonella was the Executive Director of the Fit for Work Global Alliance, a multi-stakeholder coalition championing health and work policy change. She has previously served as the Director of the Global Smoke-free Partnership of the American Cancer Society, leading a movement of over 100 members to coordinate the development of smoke-free laws in 40 countries. She holds a Master’s in Science and one in Business Administration. She represented ECPC on the Board of All. Can and on the Board of Pancreatic Cancer Europe, in which she was vice-chair.


Maria Luisa Pagano

Secretariat coordinator

Luisa has over 30 years of working experience in the non-formal education field as a trainer and youth worker, supporting the personal and professional development of young people and youth workers at national, European and international levels, working both for the European Commission and the Council of Europe. She focused her interest on supporting the development of key competencies in youth workers and young people in the frame of a lifelong learning approach and supporting adult education. Furthermore, she has over 20 years of experience in project management in the frame of the major European Commission funding programmes.


Lucia Colonna


After graduation in Economics and Banking and a first work experience in business development services, since 2000 Lucia has been approaching the nonprofit sector, focusing on associations’ development and management, planning of social initiatives, and intercultural and social inclusion projects.


Chiara Mangani


After her studies, Chiara worked for translation, business intelligence and copywriting companies. After earning a master’s degree in media and content design (2002), she has been involved in on and offline communications with nonprofits for nearly two decades.

Anna Ripa di Meana

Anna Ripa di Meana

Operations Officer

Anna has accumulated more than six years of professional experience in international cooperation and social development projects. Her journey has taken her from serving as a Fundraiser, Program Associate and Officer, contributing to project proposals and grant applications. In her international missions, she successfully managed field missions, facilitated project evaluations, and provided valuable support for local development initiatives. Her dedication extends to administrative tasks, logistics management, and external coordination, strengthened by her experience working on projects funded by prominent organizations like the UNDP and the European Union. With a solid foundation in project management and a passion for international development, Anna is committed to driving positive change in her field.

Juan-Jose Ventura

Juan-Jose Ventura

Research and Patient Engagement Director

Juan-Jose studied Pharmacy and obtained his PhD at the University Complutense of Madrid. He has conducted basic research in international institutions such as EMBL, HHMI, CNIO, University of Cambridge and KU Leuven. He has aimed to find target cells and molecular biomarkers that could be used for diagnosis and therapy of several cancers (Liver, Colon, Lung). After switching his career path, he moved to work as patient advocate. He has participated in more than 20 EU research projects and helped to bring the voice of patients to the latest research trends.


Rachel Dencik

Administration Officer

After graduating Rachel spent a number of years working in the Western Balkans and Russia in administration and finance for both governmental and non-profit organisations. Since 2005 she has worked in project management, marketing and editing in different private sector organisations in Brussels.


Joana Kokalari

Communications Officer

Joana joined CPE in late 2023. Her academic training in applied life sciences and communications allowed her to develop a great interest in health communications and a deep understanding of the use of communication techniques in translating and disseminating scientific information. With prior experience in healthcare and consulting from her previous positions, Joana has developed her skill set in both the public and private sectors. Her contribution to the CPE team will mainly focus on supporting the organization and its members’ outreach initiatives and efforts.


Tristan Hanssen

Communications Officer

Tristan joined CPE in late 2023, integrating the communications team. With a diverse international background, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Queensland University of Technology (Australia), as well as a master’s degree in communication from the University of Southern Denmark. Upon completing the latter, he dedicated himself to pursuing a communications career in the public sector and working with NGOs, to contribute to the overall societal well-being. Tristan additionally brings with him prior experience in EU institutions and multi-faceted communication strategies.