You’ve been raised with stories of the Spanish Civil War; and now, in your lifetime it’s happening again; a country collapsing in civil war. So what do you do? Read the headlines or try to make a difference? Leonor Stjepic, now chief executive of RAFT(Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust), chose to go there. Leonor already had experience working with traumatised people. At 19 she started a campaign with Amnesty specifically for children who had been tortured or imprisoned. In Croatia, Leonor was placed at an old army barracks which was being used for walking-wounded and refugee centre for those displaced by the fighting.
“At the camp we provided activities for kids to give some structure to their lives”
Since then Leonor has worked for the National Playing Fields Association and became the first Executive Director of the Galapagos Conservation Trust. Leonor moved to RAFT in 2007. Under her leadership, it has focused its energy and resources into: an artificial skin scaffold for burn and skin wound healing; a bionic limb; and skin cancer research. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management , a Fellow of the RSA and on the Board of the European Professional Women’s Network. .
?!X: What’s the Future You Choose?
LS: The future I choose is one where young people understand, are engaged and are enthusiastic about how science can help improve lives.
?!X: What’s a ‘think’ to create this future?
LS: Through my role as CEO of RAFT, I meet people whose lives have been turned upside down by an injury e.g. a burns injury, an accident or a disfiguring illness. Our research will provide them with better, faster healing. So I know that science can transform lives.
?!X: What’s an ‘act’ to create the future you choose?
LS: Encourage your local school to link up with a charity or organisation carrying out science. You can find them via the Association of Medical Research Charities.
?!X: What’s a ‘vote’ to create the future you choose?
LS: I believe that RAFT is creating that future. We have a very successful intern/work experience programme (and are recruiting interns now). We go into schools to talk to students and will be producing 2 minute science clips on our website soon.
?!X: Future Soundtrack – What song would you take with you into the future?
LS: I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Ella Fitzgerald
?!X: What are your five all time favourite weblinks?
Follow Leonor on Twitter @RAFT_CEO
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