MEET OUR BOARD

HE Ms Alison Duncan - Honorary Board Member

HE Ms Alison Duncan is the Australian Ambassador to Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania. She is a distinguished career officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ms Duncan's diplomatic journey has taken her to various countries, including Indonesia, New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands, providing her with extensive experience in international relations and diplomacy.

Ms Duncan's expertise has been particularly evident in her role as Assistant Secretary of the Consular Communications and Policy Branch, where she displayed her commitment to diplomacy and public service. She holds academic credentials that include a Bachelor of Laws/Arts from the Australian National University and an Executive Master of Public Administration from the Australia New Zealand School of Government.

Ambassador Duncan's passion for strengthening international ties and her dedication to her role make her a valuable addition to the Bulgarian Australian Business Council (BABC) as an Honorary Board Member. Her insights and contributions are expected to have a significant impact on fostering collaboration and building bridges between our nations.

We are honored to have HE Ms Alison Duncan as a part of our BABC community, and we eagerly anticipate the wealth of knowledge and experience she brings to our organization.


Emilia I. Stefanova-Veleva - Honorary Board Member

 

Ms. Emilia Stefanova joined the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service in 1992. Her diplomatic work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been dedicated mainly to the Americas and Australasia. She served as Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia (2014-2018), non-resident Ambassador to New Zealand (2015-2018), Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Bulgarian Embassy in Havana and Deputy Head of Mission in Caracas and Ottawa.

Ms. Stefanova holds a master’s degree in Spanish Philology and Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) from the Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky. She graduated in International Relations from the Spanish Diplomatic School and attended a Specialization Course for Diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.

Her first professional experience was as a Professor in Spanish at the Iberoromanic Philology Cathedra of the Sofia University and at the Language Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has also served as an Interpreter, News Speaker and Correspondent at the Spanish Section of the Bulgarian National Radio. Founding member of the Hispanics Association in Bulgaria.


Joana Kehlibarova - CEO and Board Member

Mrs. Kehlibarova is a highly accomplished senior executive with a track record of achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives for small and large companies in rapidly changing environments. She combines deep-dive analysis with strategic thinking, operational excellence, and a commitment to customer success to drive results.

With extensive experience in business and manufacturing process systems, Mrs. Kehlibarova has a solid understanding of critical business drivers in key markets and industries. She has a proven track record of building high-performance teams, tackling critical problem areas, and delivering on customer commitments.

Mrs. Kehlibarova has achieved success across a range of industries including ICT, Information Technology, Mining & Metals, and Renewable Energy.

As Chair of the Board, she provides strategic direction and governance oversight, ensuring the continued success and viability of the organization.


Dimitar Stoimenov  - Board Member

Mr. Stoimenov is a legal expert with a distinguished career spanning over two decades. He began his legal journey in Osnabrück, Germany in 2003, working alongside prominent lawyers from across Europe on the elaboration of a common European law of obligations.

Upon returning to Bulgaria in 2009, Mr. Stoimenov joined an international law firm, where he focused on consulting cross-border acquisitions and market entry of multinational companies. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a local manager of the firm and leading one of its practice groups on a regional level from 2013 to 2017. His extensive experience in international trade and investment protection further fueled his passion for the field.

In 2017, Mr. Stoimenov established his own law practice, combining his managerial, legal, and research knowledge to serve a diverse range of international clients in Bulgaria and beyond.

Alongside his law practice, Mr. Stoimenov is also an accomplished academic, teaching law of obligations at the Legal Faculty of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridksy" since 2010. He is also the author of several books and articles in the legal field, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader and expert in the industry.


Geoff Marsh - Board Member

Geoff Marsh's career is highlighted by his leadership in operations management and strategic growth, especially noted for his work at MarchNet in pioneering telecommunications solutions for remote areas. His innovative approach and commitment to leveraging technology for community and business advancement have been pivotal. Geoff's focus on operational excellence, revenue growth, and international collaborations, along with his linguistic skills and cultural understanding, make him a valuable asset to the Bulgarian Australian Business Council as a board member.


Eric Durand - Board Member

Mr. Eric Durand is a seasoned professional with an extensive background in the wool manufacturing industry. Since 2004, he has been an integral part of Lempriere management, a leading Australian wool trading company. In 2013, Mr. Durand spearheaded a major project to relocate the early stage manufacturing of Lempriere from India and China to Bulgaria. His visionary leadership resulted in the successful construction and commissioning of a state-of-the-art factory in Sliven, Bulgaria, which currently employs 190 people. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the company, Mr. Durand established the commercial hub of Lempriere for Europe in Sofia in December 2017.


Ralitsa Popova  - Treasurer

Ralitsa Popova boasts an illustrious and diverse career spanning the realms of economics, accounting, and tax advisory. Graduating with a master's degree in "Economics and Organization of Industry" from SA "D. A. Tsenov," Svishtov in 1994, she embarked on a journey filled with professional achievements.

Her path includes pivotal roles such as Chief Accountant at "Bulgartransgaz" JSC, a partnership at "Rex Consulting" Ltd., and a significant tenure as a Tax Advisor at "Global Tax" AD. Presently serving as the Managing Director of "Legora" Ltd., Sofia, Ralitsa remains a stalwart contributor to the fields of accounting and tax consultancy.

Adding to her illustrious career, Ralitsa Popova has assumed the role of Treasurer for the Bulgarian Australian Business Council (BABC) since January 2024. Her extensive expertise in economics, accounting, and tax advisory positions her as an invaluable asset in this newfound capacity within the organization.


Nikolay Bogdanov - Executive Assistant 

Nikolay Bogdanov is an undergraduate student of sociology and political sciences at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Mr. Bogdanov is focused on the vast field of international relations and comparative political analysis. He did two internships as a credit analyst and as a marketing and communications analyst at two major Bulgarian banks. Nikolay is a young, talented, and energetic individual with strong passion to serve and support BABC.