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Article written by Melinda Tolliver,
WWPR Member,
Manager, Digital Media, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Dr. Raphaela Kitson-Pantano—Parisian-born to a British mother and an Italian father—is a true European transplant to Washington, D.C. and one of our newest members of WWPR. Her passion lies at the intersection of health, science and politics to support the development of a more efficient healthcare system worldwide.

I had the pleasure of connecting with Raphaela about her career at the intersection of health, science and politics as well as her experience living in the area so far:

Her Background

Amazingly, Raphaela started her career as CEO of a global nonprofit whose mission was the promote European science to society at-large. Following that, she worked for two international corporate foundations dedicated to research funding.

In 2015, Raphaela made a career move into the health sector, taking over as head of international relations for the biggest health insurance company outside the U.S., AXA. In her role, she built up AXA’s reputation as a major player in the health sector by promoting achievements through position papers and communications documents, building external partnerships, and providing strategic advice and guidance.

After three years in her role, she was tapped to become AXA France’s advisor to the CEO for her depth of consultancy knowledge in regards to Brexit. There, she monitored, documented and analyzed the evolution of the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom to provide recommendations to the CEO. She successfully mapped the risk of Brexit for the company and developed risk management contingency plans, as well as made public appearances.

Raphaela holds a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and a Master’s Degree in European Politics from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

Her Current Position

Since moving to D.C., Raphaela has further developed her consultancy activities in the U.S.—including work with a New York-based healthcare company focused on global health—with her own consultancy firm, Yes You Can Consulting. Raphaela particularly loves consultancy work because of the diversity of projects, and the autonomy and flexibility allowed.

However, she does miss the enrichment of working on a team so she is actively looking for a full-time position in public relations in the health sector.

Her Interest in WWPR

As with many of us, Raphaela discovered WWPR through networking. She met Zorie Valchev at an event, who enthusiastically encouraged her to join WWPR after learning she was interested in joining a network of like-minded professional women. She signed up on the spot!

Raphaela hopes to get involved with the strategic planning and WWPR Woman of the Year committees and meeting more women in the network.

Her Out-of-Office Hours

Raphaela is still getting to know the DMV-area, but she is slowly but surely discovering all it has to offer. She particularly loves going for walks along the rapids at Great Falls Park and exploring some of the nearby towns such as Annapolis, Harper’s Ferry, and Mount Vernon, to name a few. She also joined the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society of Washington, D.C., which meets every Monday evening!

Since relocating to the U.S., she has been volunteering for the Association of Science and Technology Centers and wrote a paper on British expatriate voting rights with a co-author from Yale University. In Europe, she was the VP of the European Association for the Promotion of Science and Technology and a member of several international steering committees of science organizations. She still remains a board member of the EuropaNova think-tank based in Paris.