Elena Goerrtler-Reck studied Interdisciplinary Russian Studies at the University of Potsdam and Sociology at the Institute for East European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. She gathered educational and work experience in Eastern Europe during several stays in Russia and Poland. An internship at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation gave her first insights into the work of foundations. At the Institute for East European Studies, she worked as a student assistant in the DFG research project 'GOVRUS', focusing on governance in Russia and wrote her master's thesis on corporate social responsibility in Russia. After completing an internship in 2019, she has been working as a trainee in communications at ZOiS since February 2021.