Nicolas Schmit took up office as European Commissioner responsible for Jobs and Social Rights in December 2019. Prior to this, and following a long career of public service in his native Luxembourg, he took up duty as Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the EU in 1998 for a six-year term. In 2004, he was appointed Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Immigration.

From 2009 to 2018, he held the position of Minister for Labour and Employment in the Luxembourgish government. He served as a Member of the European Parliament for the social-democratic Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei following his election in May 2019. Nicolas Schmit holds a Doctorate in International Economic Relations and a Masters in French Literature from the University of Aix-Marseille.


Mark currently leads Accenture’s European Public Service industry. In his role Mark is responsible for driving Public Sector transformation across Accenture’s clients and growing Accenture’s internal capability. He has spent over 30 years with Accenture. In his previous role he led the UK and Ireland’s Health and Public Service practice for 8 years and was also responsible for the development and execution of the European Public Service Strategy. As well as working in the UK he has worked with clients in Norway, Germany and South Africa.

Mark has represented Accenture on many external organizations’ Public Sector Boards, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and TechUK.

Throughout his career Mark has also worked on many client facing, large scale, transformations across a number of industries including Social Security, Revenue, Education and Borders. Much of the work that Mark does is at the convergence of business and technology, looking at how new and emerging technologies can be used by Public Sector organizations to improve outcomes for the Public Sector and their citizens.

Mark lives in Manchester in the UK. He is married with 3 children.


Ms Samantha Pace Gasan was appointed as the second Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability last January. In her role as Commissioner she emphasises the importance of unity in the sector in order to strengthen the voice of people with disability, as well as the role played by the different sectors in ensuring that people with disability are included in Maltese society.

She has a degree in Social Policy and Creativity and Innovation. In the latter, Samantha focused her studies on social innovation in small and medium enterprises in Malta.

She experienced the disability sector from different perspectives through her sister who was born with Down Syndrome, and when she also developed an invisible disability.

Despite the challenges of the transition, Ms Pace Gasan looks at life in a positive way, accepts disability as part of her identity and chooses to explore ways that allow her to continue living a good quality of life.


Nathalie Renaudin is the Public Affairs Director of Edenred which operates in 45 countries worldwide and has 20 years of experience in developing and managing public affairs strategies across the world. She has a wealth of experience in building and promoting strategic public and private partnerships and alliances, as well as designing innovative public affairs tools and solutions. Alongside her role at Edenred, Nathalie is also President of the Social Vouchers International Association (SVIA), the representative body for federations and companies that are involved in the development of vouchers in the world. Nathalie Renaudin graduated in European legal and social studies (Master of European law and Master of Occidental Societies).


Inmaculada Placencia Porrero is a Senior Expert in Disability and Inclusion at Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission. Her unit is responsible for the coordination of European policies for persons with disabilities. She works on European disability policies including the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, and the EU implementation of the UNCRPD. Inmaculada holds a degree in Physics and Computer Science and worked in research and development before joining The European Commission in 1991. She has worked on research programmes addressing accessibility as well as assistive technologies and was Deputy Head of Unit for various disability-related units in the Commission. Her work in the “e-Inclusion” unit of the Directorate-General for Information Society and Media addressed accessibility policy. While at the Directorate-General for Justice she contributed to disability-related antidiscrimination legislation. She was responsible for the Task Force for the preparation of the European Accessibility Act and remains responsible since its adoption in 2015. Currently under the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, she is also working on the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030.


Dr Sue Wald is Corporate Director of Adult Services, Housing and Health at Swindon Borough Council and Co-Chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), England, UK. Sue qualified as a social worker in 1989 and worked for the following four years In Warwickshire, developing an interest in children looked after, those leaving care and youth homelessness. Following a short term contract at Centrepoint as National Development Manager, she managed the Young Homeless project in Leamington Spa from 1992 – 1997. Since 1997, Sue has been working in Swindon; becoming Director Strategy & Commissioning in October 2006 with a lead for strategic planning for children and families, joint commissioning and the implementation of integrated health and social care services. In April 2012 Sue’s remit widened into adult services becoming Director of Adult Social services in July 2016 and Corporate Director for Adult Services and health in July 2018 and adding Housing to the portfolio in February 2020.


Edina Sewell is a Solution Expert in the Industry Business Unit Public Sector at SAP SE in Walldorf, Germany. She started her carrier at SAP in the Industry Business Unit Automotive working on different topics ranging from development support, operations and business development for automotive customers from various regions of the world. After 12 years she transferred to the Public Sector and is supporting and guiding cities, municipalities and the partner ecosystem of cities on their journey towards becoming trusted, sustainable, livable smart communities and how they can take advantage of innovative software solutions. For the past year she’s concentrated her efforts on orchestrating and aligning the pandemic response activities for the public sector with special focus on vaccination supply chain and logistics management. She is an energetic, open minded person and enjoys the multicultural collaboration at SAP with a broad network.


In 2020, Mr. Cveto UrÅ¡ič became a Secretary of State at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, leaving a position of the Secretary-General at the Slovenian Caritas (2018–2020). Before Caritas, he worked at the same Ministry for 13 years, both as the Director-General of the Directorate for the Disabled persons (2005–2010 and in 2013) and as a Secretary of the same directorate. For 17 years, he was leading one of the flagship programmes of the University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (SOÄŒA). He is active in professional associations as well as disability and humanitarian organisations both in Slovenia and abroad. He holds a university degree in law and a master’s degree in sociology.

Mr. Uršič was an elected member of the first twelve-member UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He was a member of a variety of committees of the Council of Europe and the European Union. Furthermore, he was head and a member of various working groups that drew up key regulations in the field of disability protection. In his specialty and research work over the past 30 years, he has been primarily active in the fields of enforcement of human rights for persons with disabilities and organisation of the social security system. His research bibliography encompasses more than 250 entries. His articles were published in renowned national and foreign professional journals and he is (co-)author and editor of more than 45 independent publications.


Fredrik Jurdell is the social director in the Social Services Department in the City of Stockholm since 2020. Over the past 20 years Fredrik has functioned in several positions in the City of Stockholm, most recently as local director in one of Stockholm’s more vulnerable districts and before that as the deputy city director.

The social service´s in Stockholm is accessible in 13 local city districts. It provides services for people in need and include financial assistance, substance abuse interventions, support for children and young people, reception of refugees, prevention of domestic violence, interventions for homeless people and for people with disabilities.

Social Services Department is the central administration for social services and is responsible for city-wide policies and guidelines as well as research and development in the field of social affairs. Additional operating areas include licensing and inspection of alcohol and tobacco sales.


Graduated in Social Work and Social and Cultural Anthropology, Patricia Bezunartea Barrio is currently the General Director of Family Diversity and Social Services of the Secretary of State for Social Rights of the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030.

Professionally, she has held different positions related to Social Services and Social Action, both in the private and public sectors. Her last job was as Director of Social Welfare of the Móstoles City Council (Madrid). Previously, she has worked in different NGO both nationally and internationally and has been a specialized consultant in strategic planning, quality and organizational development in the field of social policies.