Anna-Marie VilamovskaExecutive Director, Founder
Working Ideas

From 2003 to 2005 Anna-Marie, A RAND economics Ph.D., designed national pension system in Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and Central Europe for IBRD and IDA in Washington, D.C. and between 2005 and 2010 led applied innovation, health and education policy and financing projects for large corporate, government, international nonprofit and multilateral clients at the RAND Corporation in Los Angeles and Brussels.
From 2012 to 2017 Anna-Marie was the Senior Advisor for Innovation Policy and Healthcare Policy to Bulgaria’s President Rossen Plevneliev. As such she reengineered and led the President’s “John Atanasoff Outstanding Young Digital Scientists and Entrepreneurs Awards”, Bulgaria’s largest philanthropic initiative “The Bulgarian Christmas”, and chaired the Presidential Council for Science, Education and Economic Development.
In 2015 the Financial Times, Visegrad Fund, Google and ResPublica listed her as one of the NewEurope100 outstanding individuals leading world-class innovation from CEE. In 2016 Anna-Marie received the Polish Republic’s Commodore’s Crest state insignia for her contribution to creating Innovative Europe, becoming one of its youngest holders.
In February 2017 Anna-Marie launched her applied economics company Working Ideas. In the first half of 2017 she led the development of Plovdiv’s 2017 – 2022 Education Strategy for Growth, adopted by Plovdiv’s municipal council in July 2017. During the same period, she structured and led the first phase of the 2017 – 2020 IT Talent Hub Bulgaria – a public private partnership of the Bulgarian IT Industry and the Ministry of Education – under which in Sept. 2017 the new industry-designed “applied software developer” highschool degree program is launching in 23 schools nationally.
Anna-Marie represents Bulgaria at the EC Member States Board on Digital Entrepreneurship and is one of the national leads in the EC eSkills and Digital Entrepreneurship Campaigns.


Universities embracing vocational education schools – learning faster, learning more

How do industries flourish, and what do they do when constarined human talent – the scarcest of all fuels for company growth – becomes a reality for an entire booming sector? Bulgaria’s software industry has grown by 600% over the last 10 years, and in 2016 stood at more than 2% of GDP. Talent is in high demand and very low supply. Simultaneously, vocational education is still struggling to find its best fit in the society-industry-education conversation. This presentation will share the Bulgarian experience of attempting to move from stealing talent to generating talent – the first national IT Talent Hub MOU between the Bulgarian Education Ministry and the IT Associations in Bulgaria under which we opened 23 new vocational classes a less than a year after its signing in 2016, the missteps, issues, standing challenges and tentative success threads in the process, and what these imply for university – vocational education partnerships of the future.