Our mission

We invite you on a journey towards your unique place in the world. It’s a quest that takes more than one night, but we believe that the first step is to learn how to interact in a different way. It’s the key to unlocking the deep connection we all desire: to ourselves, to others, and to the world.

Makuma is about learning to accept ourselves, and the people we interact with.

Just as we feel freer to discover new aspects of ourselves when we travel, we believe that interacting with others who share our quest for acceptance can lead us to honestly explore aspects of ourselves we’ve never paid attention to before.

Interacting with others in a way where we both feel seen, heard, and accepted – even when we don’t agree – allows us to have the conversations we need to really get to know each other, and also to discover ourselves and the world around us. These strong relationships to ourselves and each other can act as a guiding compass through an otherwise lonely world. 

Through our courses, counseling services, and written content based on science, kindness, and empathy, Makuma offers access to a new level of being with yourself and with the other. Through these interactions, we might discover that our route to happiness isn’t the ‘normal’ path we have been offered.

Our life purpose can become clearer to us when we meet others who act with purpose and passion. And maybe it’s easier than we thought for our dreams to come true when we are surrounded by people who accept us, care about us, and deserve our trust. Perhaps our path is neither expensive nor complicated; we just needed to meet the right people to help us discover it.

Our story

Makuma was born in 2015 when Jonathan became tired of small talk and noisy nightclubs and decided to organize social events where everyone could feel safe to speak more openly about how they think and feel.

The concept was a hit, with participants telling us they found it easier to feel accepted and appreciated and to build trusting relationships with the people they met. Out of these events, a community grew, including a volunteer team who helped run the events for over a thousand people over the course of three years.

Encouraged by this success, we were keen to share the experience with more people than we could fit into a single venue. We wanted to create a space for the ‘big conversations’ we so frequently shy away from, such as the growing effects of climate change and how we transition our whole society to sustainability. Thinking at this larger scale, it became clear that we needed to create technology that helps us have deeper conversations, wherever we are.

We formed a startup and built a strong team with knowledge spanning psychology, education, technology, and business. Through many conversations and careful research, we built an understanding of what our customers truly need and started experimenting with new solutions based on solid science, the latest technology, and plenty of warmth and compassion.

Our founding team

Mara Moldoveanu

Mara has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in clinical psychology from Babes-Bolyai University, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. She also has an MSc. in Psychology and Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, where she worked for two years as a research assistant. Mara has also helped her clients to improve their relationships with themselves and others through her counseling work, both individually and with groups.

Mara leads on the training programme for our relationship advisors and ensures that everything we do is based on the latest and greatest in Psychological science.

Rada Maria Muica

Rada holds a master’s degree in Counselling and Interventions for Human Development and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is also a certified trainer and attended national and international training courses on subjects varying from storytelling and expressive arts as tools for uncovering personal authenticity to eco-centric development and positive psychology. Her passion for non-formal education, experiential learning, and facilitation make her the natural choice to lead our education programmes.

Jonathan Melhuish

Jonathan has a BSc in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science from the University of Birmingham, England. He’s worked for the European Union’s climate change innovation programme as a “Pioneer Coach”, delivering Systems Thinking training to senior businesspeople. Apart from that, he has spent the last decade focussing mostly on customer research and service design, for NGOs, the UK Government, and startups. He takes responsibility for ensuring technology and human processes join up seamlessly so that all of our customers have the best possible experience.

Bianca Luca 

Bianca takes care of the visual side of everything we do, ensuring that it looks and feels just right. Her visual eye and talent for illustration help our customers to feel comfortable interacting with the content and experiences we create.

Paul Mudreac

Paul is our technical wizard, crafting the code for all of our websites and making sure everything works smoothly behind the scenes. Having his technical expertise in-house means we can create innovative digital experiences that meet our customers’ needs exactly.

We also work closely with our wonderful team of relationship advisers, all of whom hold Masters degrees in Psychology, receive our specialized training, and are supported and supervised by the founding team.