Our core staff time work at the Secretariat to support the network and fulfil our mission. We also work with a broader team of dedicated colleagues who support our project work.
Membership Manager and Co-Coordinator – Manja Vrenko
Manja is a co-founding member of the Sunny Hill community in Slovenia, where she lives and works. She has been involved in different working groups in GEN Europe since 2014, and she serves in a role of the membership officer since May 2021 . She contributed to development of the Community Incubator (CLIPS) program, and she is an experienced facilitator. At Sunny Hill she is in charge for organization of events and workshops promoting sustainable lifestyle and ecovillage culture. She is a permaculture practitioner, and when she is not involved with one of her various projects, she cultivates land, cares for goats, bakes bread and makes cheese.
IT Manager – Angel Matilla
Since 2017, Angel has been living in the community Arterra Bizimodu and working in the GEN Office Team as IT Manager to help strengthen GEN Europe’s IT sovereignty by means of promoting self-hosted free open source software (FOSS) throughout the network to cover our collective IT needs and wishes. He has a telecommunications engineering background and 10 years of experience in developing and integrating software and managing technical teams. In 2011 he started developing an interest in the limits of growth, the fossil fuels’ peak and the non-sustainable practices of the current society. Since then he has been researching other ways of living life, in more sustainable, self-sufficient, resilient and communal ways.
Financial Manager – Armin Olunczek
Armin joined GEN Europe in the beginning of 2020. Ten years before he cofounded an award winning charity for environmental education and is working in its board ever since. With this and the experience of cofounding and managing a many-sided community (with historical water power station, wood and grounds) since 2014 he gained skills that are also useful to manage the finances and administrative paperwork of GEN Europe.
If not buried under numbers and spreadsheets Armin likes to perform classical music at life threatening places as part of the Civil Disobedience Orchestra and Choir “Lebenslaute” or is out in the woods with his two children to pursue the community‘s forest conversion – or simply to build a hut.
Project Manager – Fanny van Hal
Fanny grew up in an intentional community of 18 households located in the fruit basket region of the Netherlands. She moved to the Arterra Bizimodu community in Spain in 2015.
Always having had an interest in ecovillages, Fanny travelled and visited several eco projects around the world, ranging from occupied villages to self-sufficient farms and ecovillages and did her final thesis project with the Council of Sustainable Settlements of Latin America (CASA) and their national network CASA Colombia.. Through these experiences and growing up in one such community she has come to value living in a communal setting for the ways that diverse individuals promote sharing, working together, organisation, planning, and conflict resolution.
Communications Manager – Francesca Whitlock
Francesca’s job as communications manager for GEN Europe combines her experience in nonprofit communications with her belief in the power of community to heal ourselves and the planet. Having spent several years working in campaigns and communications in environmental and climate NGOs, she began seeking a lifestyle in tune with her values and discovered the ecovillage movement. Since 2015 she has lived and worked communally – from an urban co-housing in London, to the deserts of Almería, via an agricultural community in New Zealand. When she’s not working for GEN, she can usually be found on her farm, or somewhere up the nearest mountain.