PRESS RELEASE: Elise Kuurstra will be the new Executive Director of FEMS


We are excited to announce that Elise Kuurstra will be joining FEMS as our new Executive Director during January 2023. She is uniquely equipped to lead FEMS at such a key time, as she brings with her extensive experience of senior leadership in non-profit organizations. Elise will lead the FEMS Office in Delft (The Netherlands) and build on our vision, growth, and direction. Her leadership will also steer our organization to develop and execute a new strategic plan for the years ahead. 

Elise Kuurstra will start as our Executive Director during January 2023

Elise is keen to start building connections with all those doing wonderful work in the global microbiology community. Her role will be rooted in the heart of this community and will seek to grow value for the individual microbiologists that we serve.

I am honoured to be selected to lead FEMS at this pivotal moment. FEMS has a solid foundation, consisting of dedicated and diverse member organizations and individuals who are working on the frontlines of science every day. I look forward to contributing to the growth of FEMS, and the creation of new opportunities for its vibrant community to network, exchange best practices and advance the sector.

Elise Kuurstra joins us from her previous role as Deputy Executive Director at the European Association for International Education (EAIE), a professional association serving individuals actively involved in the internationalisation of their higher education institutions.

Elise spends the majority of her time driving innovation, change, and growth, and mobilising staff and volunteers to translate strategy into results.  She will continue in this vein at FEMS, overseeing the execution of our strategy and the delivery of our initiatives for the needs of microbiologists worldwide.

Prior to her Deputy Executive Director role, Elise set up and scaled the marketing & communications team at the EAIE. Before moving to The Netherlands, she worked for the Governor General of Canada in various capacities. Elise holds an Executive Master’s in International Association Management from Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management in Belgium and a certificate in customer-focused innovation from Stanford University in the USA.

On Elise’s acceptance of the Executive Director role, Hilary Lappin-Scott, FEMS President, said:

On behalf of the FEMS Board of Directors I am thrilled that Elise will be leading the FEMS team and that someone with her wealth of experience is taking up the role of Executive Director. The Board and I wish to welcome her to FEMS, and we have no doubt that she will enable us to strengthen FEMS further, shape our Strategic Plans and enable us to enhance our services to the microbiology community. She is very well placed to lead the team at this critical time and to deliver on our future direction.”

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