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Zarko Palankov

Entrepreneur • Advisor Washington D.C. Metro Area, US

I am a multilingual social entrepreneur and community leader with expertise in organizational development and management.

I am a multilingual social entrepreneur and community leader with expertise in organizational development and management.

16 vouches

Primary Skillsets

  • Business Development
  • Fundraising
  • Growth
  • Operations
I have an idea, but I'm open to other ideas

Primary Cofounder Skillsets

  • • Business Development
  • • Fundraising
  • • Growth
  • • Operations

Involved In


Lead In


Learning and Community Building Consultant The World Bank March 2016 - present
Founder Lead In June 2015 - present
President of the Board of Directors DC Net Impact July 2015 - present
President The Global Language Network (GLN) June 2008 - March 2015
Graduate Intern Office for Study Abroad at GWU September 2007 - May 2008
Assistant Director The Global Language Group / The Global Language Network September 2006 - May 2008
Editorial and Research Assistant Freedom House Europe June 2007 - July 2007
Research Assistant Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at GWU October 2006 - May 2007
Resident Assistant Ohio Wesleyan University August 2004 - May 2005


The George Washington University European and Eurasian Studies 2006 - 2008
Ohio Wesleyan University English (Creative Writing concentration), French 2001 - 2005
American College of Sofia 1996 - 2001

Interested In

Cofounder With
  • • Product
  • • UI/Design
Advisor With
  • • Startup incubators
  • • Social Entrepreneurship
  • • Coaching
  • • App development
  • • Business Strategy
  • • Management consulting
  • • Mobile Technologies
  • • Non-profit management
  • • Organizational Development
  • • Thought Leadership
  • • Startup Funding
Markets of Interest
  • • Education
  • • Mobile
  • • Small Businesses
  • • Social Impact
  • • Lifelong Learning (outside of school)
  • • Teacher training
  • • Higher Education

You Should Know About Me

Key Strengths

Fundraising • Management • Organizational Development • Strategy • Volunteer management

Key Accomplishments

I am a multilingual social entrepreneur and community leader with expertise in organizational development and nonprofit management. I co-founded and grew a DC-based 501(c)3 dedicated to connecting and empowering people through language and culture. I am passionate about advising, coaching, consulting and supporting organizations to realize their visions. I also bring skills in people development, teaching, training and facilitation.

I understand how organizations work; I know how to motivate and lead people, create systems, streamline processes and ensure effective operations. I strive to foster a culture that values learning and I value a collaborative team environment where passionate people bring their talents to achieve a common goal.

After seven years leading and growing a not-for-profit organization, I am exploring opportunities to continue supporting the social sector and making a positive impact. I seek opportunities to apply my leadership and management experience and skills in organizational development, people development, training and facilitation to help build high performing organizations that achieve exceptional results.

How I like to work with people As a Cofounder

I have a strong personality and entrepreneurial drive. However, I value highly collaboration and seek a partner who complements my skills set and who has an open, flexible style and constantly seeks improvement.

As an Advisor

I am an active listener and I believe that listening skills are paramount for any type of advisory role. I am a great thought-partner and enjoy brainstorming, and engaging others in conversations that lead to new ideas and solutions to problems.

Vouches Received

Vouches Given

Think Zarko is awesome?
Vouch for them.

Fabiana Perera
We worked together  •  Graduate Teaching Assistant, The George Washington University - Columbian College of Arts & Sciences. Georgetown grad.
Zarko is very intelligent and driven and very persuasive. I have known him for over seven years and have no doubt that he has all the qualit ... ies of a great entrepreneur.
Dana Pao
We worked together  •  MYP English Acquisition/ESOL Teacher, Beijing BISS International School. Penn State grad.
During the two years that I worked and collaborated with Zarko, I was impressed with his ability to see the vision and plan appropriate and ... realistic goals for meeting it. He understood his organization's resource limitations without allowing them to become barriers to achieving the mission. He set and followed goals that were significant to growing the service quality and reputation of the organization. He has strong social and communication skills that helped him build an effective team. He demonstrates strong leadership, recognizing the strengths and contributions of others, seeking advice from experienced professionals, as needed, and keeping everyone on track with the strategy. He is assertive, yet humble, organized, and establishes trust and confidence with others. The results he achieved in the past few years with The Global Language Network are extremely impressive.
Saule Kassengaliyeva
We worked together  •  Compliance Officer, International Republican Institute and Russian Language Instructor, The Global Language Network.
Zarko has an excellent eye for business and partnership opportunities. He also has excellent rosource management and allocation skills.
Agnes Malatinszky
They're my friends  •  Legal Assistant, Grenier Law Group. Previously Law Clerk, Szecskay Attorneys at Law.
Since I met Zarko in undergrad, he took what was a major problem in our city and university (not nearly enough language classes) and built a ... solution from ground up: free language classes in virtually all languages! He has a creative problem solving mind, and he's an all-around great guy. I'm proud to call him my friend and I would recommend him for this position without reservation.
Sally Stephenson
We worked together  •  Americas Liaison, Ashoka. Previously Director, Executive Office/Executive Assistant to Bill Drayton, Ashoka.
Zarko took over the GLN and shaped it into what it is today. He is not only afraid to try new things, but he is creative, a thoughtful netwo ... rk builder, and strong in follow up. He sticks with things where other entrepreneurs might already move on to the next thing.
Janice Frey-Angel
They're my friends  •  Chief Executive Officer, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. Previously President/CEO, JFA & Associates.
I met Zarko through a leadership network and heard often about his creative ideas for problem solving and growing the organization he founde ... d.
Marte Siebenhar
We worked together  •  Miami Fellow - Class VIII, The Miami Foundation and Executive Director, Bakehouse Art Complex.
He is a strategist and thinks long term, develops a compelling vision that drives his work. He is a starter of projects and knows how to mob ... ilize people around his vision. His organization has the largest, most successful active volunteer corps I have ever seen, and I use it as a case study for the strategic planning work I do for nonprofits around the country. Zarko is curious and passionate, and I think he would be an excellent business partner.
Adam Beitman
They're my friends  •  Deputy National Press Secretary, Sierra Club. Previously Associate Press Secretary, Sierra Club. University of Chicago grad. Princeton grad.
Zarko single-handedly built the Global Language Network from a nothing into a major feature of Washington, D.C. . If he did it once, he can ... do it again.
Jason Scott Park, PMP
We worked together  •  Managing Consultant, IBM. Previously Graduate Intern, Booz Allen Hamilton. University of Southern California grad.
Zarko has achieved extraordinary results and drove exceptional value in an extremely ambiguous environment during his tenure leading his non ... -profit organization. He has developed relationships within the community and has established himself as a partner with key community stakeholders. Zarko has proactively engaged his partners to manage expectations and has successfully navigated the complexity of an ambiguous environment to achieve results. Zarko takes 100% accountability for the success of whatever he is working on. He is able to leverage multiple communication tools and mediums to present his ideas. I am confident that he will succeed in any endeavor he pursues.
Martin Skarzynski
We worked together  •  Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health. Georgetown grad.
Zarko is very goal-oriented and has experience leading teams both small and large. He is able to clearly communicate key objectives as well ... as strategies to maximize efficiency. His drive and focus are inspiring and his passion is infectious. He is bright, resourceful and creative. Zarko has my strongest support and I have great faith in the future success of his entrepreneurial activities. If you have any questions or would like more information. Please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely, Martin Skarzynski, PhD National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health
Maja Frigelj
We worked together  •  Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, Slalom Consulting. Previously Business Strategy Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton. George Mason grad.
Zarko is an entrepreneur at heart. He has drive and passion toward expanding business in a meaningful way- one that benefits the organizatio ... n as well as the customers.
Ivan Manolov, CFA
They're my school  •  Portfolio Manager - Private Equity, YMCA Retirement Fund. Previously Investment Associate, YMCA Retirement Fund. Princeton grad.
Zarko has the persistence to keep learning and improving and the tenacity to overcome any difficulties, be they expected or unexpected. He h ... as the courage to set his own high standards and abide by them, rather than to live by the standards of others. Most importantly, he knows how to dream, and dream big.
Anna Petriashvili
We worked together  •  Instructor, CAOCL - Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learing and Freelance Reviewer, National Geographic.
He is a great communicator and can make the best use of the resources. He is diligent and motivated, open minded and intelligent. Above all ... he always moves forward and looks for the opportunities for improvement.
Jaime Farrant
We worked together  •  Attorney at Law, Farrant PLLC and Grants Program Manager, DC Office of Justice Grants Administration.
Zarko is an experienced and thoughtful professional that is interested in making the world a more connected and better place.
Taapsi Ramchandani
They're my school  •  Teaching Assistant, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Zarko is extremely hardworking and cares immensely about the work he does. I have known him for over ten years and have seen him evolve pers ... onally and professionally into a strong, confident, caring, and endearing human being. I vouch for him strongly as someone having great entrepreneurial quality.
Eduardo S. F. Alves
They're my school  •  Associate Director, S&P Capital IQ. Previously Associate, Promontory Financial Group, LLC.
Zarko showed enormous dedication as president of The Global Language Network, where he worked diligently to increase student registration, r ... etention, and quality of services. He guided the company for the past few years, developing a detailed understanding of all facets of what it takes to successfully run a startup.

An Nguyen
We worked together  •  Management Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton. Previously VP of Product, Re-Nuble. University of Virginia grad.
I met An at a Start-up weekend event and he immediately struck me as analytical and resourceful. He is interested in start-ups and just laun ... ched a venture. His drive and experience will help him along the way and I think he would make a great entrepreneur.

An Nguyen
We worked together  •  Management Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton. Previously VP of Product, Re-Nuble. University of Virginia grad.
I met An at a Start-up weekend event and he immediately struck me as analytical and resourceful. He recently launched a venture and is drive ... n to succeed. I believe his experience and his skills will help me become a great entrepreneur.