Summit 2020


Summit Schedule

Full schedule of keynotes, panels & training sessions

Day 1, Tuesday

1 December 2020

Day 2, Wednesday

2 December 2020

Day 3, Thursday

3 December 2020

15:00 – 15:15

Official Opening
Vera Stavroff

Chair of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025


Vera was born in Bitola, Macedonia. Her family emigrated to Ohio’s heartland, where she attended The Ohio State University and received her degree in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry (Abbott Laboratories) for 13 years. Vera joined Limited Brands as a member of the Executive Committee and head of Research & Development, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs for the Bath & Body Works division. Vera is the recipient of two U.S. and international patents. She resides in Columbus Ohio with her husband Frank and they have two children, Jacquilyn and Jeffrey.

Nikica Mojsoska – Blazevski

CEO Macedonia2025


Nikica has an extensive experience of over 18 years in research, consultancy and advisory in economic policies, social systems and policy, labour markets, and education in Macedonia, as well as the Western Balkan region. She has been so far working with major international economic organizations and institutions, such as the World Bank, ILO, RCC, UNDP, UN Women and the European Commission. Nikica has served as an advisor to the government institutions in Macedonia and the Western Balkan region on economic, employment and social policy issues. Nikica is a member of several professional organizations in Macedonia, as well as of well-renowned international scientific organizations.

15:25 – 16:55

The World in Crisis-Mode: Economic Reforms and Global Relations in SEE
Nikica Mojsoska – Blazevski

CEO Macedonia2025


Nikica has an extensive experience of over 18 years in research, consultancy and advisory in economic policies, social systems and policy, labour markets, and education in Macedonia, as well as the Western Balkan region. She has been so far working with major international economic organizations and institutions, such as the World Bank, ILO, RCC, UNDP, UN Women and the European Commission. Nikica has served as an advisor to the government institutions in Macedonia and the Western Balkan region on economic, employment and social policy issues. Nikica is a member of several professional organizations in Macedonia, as well as of well-renowned international scientific organizations.

Zoran Jovanovski

Advisor to the Managing Board of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia


Zoran Jovanovski is a Chief Economic Advisor to the Managing Board of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia thus helping the views of the real sector of the economy to be well-founded and heard by the authorities in the process of designing economic policies. Prior to this, he had a professional career in the banking sector for 25 years. While in the banking sector, he spent 10 years with the central bank, at various high level positions, including Advisor Coordinator to the Governor and Director of the Banking Supervision, Banking Regulations and Financial Stability Division at the time of the global financial crisis in 2008. He has spent 15 years with private banking institutions such as Stopanska Banka AD Skopje, member of National Bank of Greece Group, at various managerial positions, including Corporate Banking Division Manager and with Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje as Chief Economist. Nowadays, Zoran still remains involved in the banking sector as a member of the Supervisory Board of NLB Banka AD Skopje.

Regarding his education, Zoran holds M.A. in Business Economics degree. He graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA in 1997, while being a recipient of a full two-year Ron Brown Fellowship by the US Government. He has also received professional education with institutions like Harvard University, INSEAD, International Monetary Fund, etc.

Upon invitation of Euromoney, Zoran is a member of Euromoney’s global panel of experts on country risk. He is also a co-owner of the business magazine “Economy and Business” (

Zoran Zaev

Prime Minister of North Macedonia


Zoran Zaev is the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, serving since August 2020, a position he previously held from June 2017.

Prime Minister Zaev is a seasoned politician dedicated to building a better future for North Macedonia and the Western Balkans as part of the EU. He is an avid proponent of the concept One Society for All, leading to prosperity through dialogue, compromise, peace and mutual respect.

After his election as Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia in 2017, he worked vigorously on improving the image of the country in the international arena. Consequently, in July 2018, at the NATO Summit in Brussels, PM Zaev received the invitation for the start of the accession negotiations of the Republic of North Macedonia for NATO membership and on 27 March 2020 North Macedonia became part of the NATO family of thirty nations and almost one billion people. In addition, Prime Minister Zaev is a staunch supporter of the country’s aspirations for Euro- Atlantic integration focusing on good-neighbourly politics and restoring the trust of its strategic partners from the EU and the USA.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Zaev has signed the Agreement for Strategic Partnership, Friendship and Good-Neighbourliness with Bulgaria, and in June 2018, the new Government, led by Zoran Zaev, signed the Prespa Agreement with Greece for the resolution of the name issue, thus creating a new positive dynamic for the region. PM Zaev, together with Prime Minister Tsipras of Greece, is a recipient of the Ewald Fon Kleist award, the International Peace of Westphalia for 2020, the Hessian Peace Prize 2020 and the Emerging Europe award for best practice in promoting cooperation, unity, inclusion, diversity and positive thinking. The two leaders were also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. Most recently, Prime Minister Zaev received the 2020 Human Rights Award of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in Berlin.

From 2003 to 2005, he was a member of Macedonia’s Parliament, after which he ran for Mayor of Strumica, a position he held for three consecutive terms, from 2005 to 2016. In 2008 and 2009 the city won the highest national environmental award, while as Mayor, Mr. Zaev won the Best Practice Award from the Council of Europe for the first Public-Private Partnership in the country. He was elected as leader of the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) since 2013, after serving as the party’s Vice President between 2006 and 2008. Prime Minister Zaev has been a member of the SDSM since 1996.

Prime Minister Zaev is an economist with a master’s degree in monetary economics.

Kate Marie Byrnes

US Ambassador to North Macedonia


A 26-year veteran of the U.S. diplomatic corps and a member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ms. Byrnes is the Ambassador to North Macedonia.  She served as Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy Athens September 2017 – May 2019.  Her previous assignment was Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. at the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, Austria, where she had also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission since September 2014.

Previously, Ms. Byrnes held positions at the Department of State Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs; the office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy; and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  She served as Public Affairs Advisor at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, from 2007-2010.  From 2010-2011, she was the Senior Civilian Representative supervising governance and development in eastern Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force.  She has also represented U.S. interests overseas in Spain, Bolivia, Hungary and Turkey.

Ms. Byrnes has received eight Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor Awards and an Expeditionary Service Award from the U.S. Department of State, and two Meritorious Civilian Service Awards from the U.S. Department of the Army.  She represented the Department of State as a Pearson Congressional Fellow from 2002-2003 and as an International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation Fellow for 2012-2013.

A resident of Sarasota, Florida, Ms. Byrnes holds a Bachelor of Science (Foreign Service) in International Relations and a Master’s degree in Policy Management, both from Georgetown University.  She is married to CAPT Larry Scott Gage, USN (Ret).

David Geer

Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of North Macedonia


Since September, 2020, David Geer has been holding the position as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of North Macedonia.

Before this position, in the period of 2016 to 2020, David Geer was the Head of Division, Sanctions Policy Division at the European External Action Service, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of the EU’s sanctions policy. Since 2013 to 2016, he was Deputy EU Representative at West Bank and Gaza, responsible for the representation of the EU and promotion of the EU relations with the Palestinian authority and UNRWA.

For one year, from 2011 to 2012, David Geer was the Deputy Head of Division, EEAS Maghreb Division, responsible for promoting the EU relations with the countries of Maghreb Including crisis management in Lybia.

From 2008 until 2010, David Geer was a team coordinator for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova at the European Commission/EEAS, coordinating the EU relations with the countries concerned. His career started in 2005 as an Executive Director at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights.

David Geer holds a Diploma in Law and Professional Qualification as Barrister at Law from the Council of Legal Education and Polytechnic of Central London and a Masters degree in International Law at the London School of Economics.

17:05 – 17:45

Attracting FDIs: How to Benefit During the Pandemic
David East

Head of FDI and Product Strategy, Bureau van Dijk


Highly accomplished, dynamic and experienced cross-border investment professional, with over 19 years’ experience gained in the industry working with large multinationals, leading consultants, multilateral organizations, government investment promotion agencies and academic institutions globally.

Currently, David is Head of FDI and Product Strategy – Tax/Transfer Pricing, FDI & Economic verticals at Bureau van Dijk, a Moody’s Analytics company. David initiated the concept and developed the only global database tracking both Greenfield FDI projects and cross-border M&A deals – Orbis Crossborder Investment. This unique tool is underpinned by Bureau van Dijk’s world-class company information.

Prior to that, David was Senior Vice President at Conway Data Inc., responsible for all their international businesses.

From 2000 – 2014, David was the Publisher of fDi Magazine (part of the Financial Times group) before becoming Business Development Director in OCO Consulting Ltd and then fDi Intelligence (Financial Times group). His main areas of expertise are on corporate globalization trends and comparisons of location competitiveness and how governments and corporations can use data to inform their FDI activities as well as how they can market their locations to attract FDI.

David is regularly invited to participate at international FDI events as a moderator, panelist and as a trainer. He led a 3-day UNCTAD/WAIPA workshop for African IPAs training them on best practices in investment promotion. Most recently, he has presented at the following events: the AIM Congress (Dubai); the IEDC Annual Conference, WAIPA’s Annual Investment Conference; the Global Expansion Summit, the FDI Expo and SIDO.

Published articles include:

Viktor Mizo

Member of the Board of Directors, Macedonia2025


Viktor Mizo is the Managing Director of Kostal Macedonia, part of the German family owned Kostal Group – global leader in design and manufacturing of advanced electronics and mechatronics products for the automotive industry. He is also President of the Association of foreign companies with technologically advanced manufacturing within the auspices of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia and an outside expert for McKinsey on various economic development, FDI and free zones projects around the World.

Mr. Mizo brings to Kostal a record of exceptional leadership and strategic vision, responsible for numerous greenfield investment projects by multinational companies that have located their production or service operations in Macedonia as a CEO of the Macedonia Free Zone Authority over a period of six year. Prior to that, he spent four years as CEO of Invest Macedonia, where he played a critical role in putting Macedonia on the radar of potential investors looking to expand in Europe and was a key member of the Government’s economic team.

He co-founded and managed a technology company specialized in digital file distribution for mobile phones in Japan, as well as an internet start-up in the media and entertainment space in London and New York. Preceding this, Mr. Mizo was a technology and financial services consultant at McKinsey’s New York office. He began his career as a design engineer at Magna International and a member of the esteemed Technical Leadership Program at General Electric where he worked on locomotive design that culminated in a Black Belt position in the Six Sigma quality initiative.

Mr. Mizo received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating summa cum laude. An alumnus of Harvard University, he holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

15:00 – 15:40

The World in Crisis Mode (Session organized by Kellogg Alumni Club)
Borut Štrukelj

University Professor, Member of Covid-19 Vaccine Development Team


Borut Štrukelj was born in Ljubljana, in 1961. He is a full professor at the Department for Pharmaceutical Biology at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Ljubljana where he leads the group for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. At the Jozef Stefan Institute, he is a member of the biotechnology  group. By using post-doc EMBO award, he worked at the CPRO-DLO, PRI Institute for plant molecular biology in Wageningen, Netherlands. Prof.  Štrukelj published a great number of over 180 scientific and proffesional articles, among them over 140 in the important international scientific journals. He is a member of many Slovene and international pharmaceutical and biomedicinal  associations. In year 1991 he was awarded for his scientific contribution in the field of molecular biology by Kidirič award. In year 2007 he got a national award for his excellent scientific contribution (Zois award) an in year 2015 the most prominenent Zois top award. From year 1996 till 2012 he was appointed  as an expert in European Pharmacopoea in a Group for biological pharmaceuticals as well as  at the  European Agency for Medicines  in London (EMEA). In year 2010 he received the Fulbright  Award for visiting professorship  at the Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA. His research is focused on biological medicines, recombinant probiotics, phage display technology and plant secondary metabolites. In the last four years, he was appointed by the Consortium for Drug addiction Slovenia to run the group dealing with the regulatory issues of medicinal cannabis, presenting the regulatory status of medicinal cannabis at several conferences in Slovenia and Austira.

Gjorgje Vojnovic

Chief Executive Officer, Triglav Osiguruvanje AD, Skopje


Gjorgje Vojnovic is the CEO of TriglavOsiguruvanje AD, Skopje and President of the Association of Financial Organizations at the Economic Chamber. He started his professional career at the age of 15, as a basketball player. Throughout his career he played for several Macedonian and international basketball teams, and was a representative player for the National Basketball Team. While advancing in his sports career, Vojnovic gained a University degree at the Faculty of Physical Education, University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje. He finished his Master’s studies at Sheffield’s University City College in Thessaloniki, with a dissertation in marketing. In 2006 he was appointed as General Manager of the official Ford importer in Macedonia and in 2007 started working in the financial sector as a Member of the Management Board in the leasing company Hypo Alpe Adria Leasing. In 2012 Vojnovic was appointed as CEO in Triglav Osiguruvanje AD, Skopje and ever since is working in the insurance sector. He attended and completed the Advanced Management Program at Northwestern University-Kellogg School of Management in 2018.

In addition to his professional engagements, he is a member of numerous associations and institutions and devoted to humanitarian projects.

15:50 – 17:20

Same Rules - Different Countries: How to Start, Build and Succeed in Business
Andrew Wrobel

Founding Partner at Emerging Europe


Andrew Wrobel is the Founding Partner of Emerging Europe, a London-based intelligence, news and community platform, and the leader of the Tech Emerging Europe Advocates initiative, a member of the Global Tech Advocates network.

Trained as a journalist, he specializes in technology and innovation, foreign direct investment, nation branding and soft power, and cross-cultural communications. Andrew regularly interviews political and business leaders and speaks at or moderates international political, economic and technology events, where he promotes discussion about emerging Europe. He is also a juror at various international business-related competitions, a media coach, a location promotion trainer and a media commentator.

He has authored and contributed to a number of international business, investment and trade-related publications.

Andy Pejkoff Sr.

Founder of Niagara Bottling, US


Born in Buffalo, N.Y in 1938, Mr. Andy Peykoff Sr. is the Founder and CEO of Niagara Bottling and Macedonia2025’ Board Member.

Founded in 1963, Niagara Bottling is the world’s largest private-label bottled water company and the second largest bottled water company worldwide.  Back in 1963, Mr.Andy Peykoff Sr., started his business by selling 5 gallon water door to door, to homes and offices. In 2001, he built the first mega plant with 56,000bph capacity, expanded to 176,000bph and in 2004 he built a second mega plant with the world’s fastest lines.

Until now, Niagara Bottling is building from 1 to 4 plants each year, each with improving technology, 36 total in the USA and the newest plant initial capacity is 428,000bph. Internationally, the company has 2 mega plants in Mexico, 4 bottling plants in Australia and 2 bottling plants in the United Kingdom. Mr. Peykoff says that the company has become successful due to the world leading cutting edge technologies in manufacturing, warehouse design, automation, highest speeds, highest quality and the best service that they offer.

Some of Mr. Andy Peykof Sr.  favorite saying are:

Mistakes are our friends on the road to success!

Surround yourself with smarter people than yourself!

Find a way!

Never give up!

Nino Zambakhidze

Chairwoman, Georgian Farmers Association, Georgia


Nino Zambakhidze is the founder of various NGO and LTD  companies. She is a winner of “Young Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” at the first annual Business-Award “Mercury 2011”, Prize winner for “Women Entrepreneur of 2016” By Grenoble School of Economics and was also the first woman leader becoming an honorary coordinator of the organization “Invest for the Future” from 2012, the organization functioning under the patronage of Hilary Clinton. While actively being an entrepreneur, Nino founded “Georgian Farmers’ Association” in 2012, where she serves as a chairwoman of the organization. She is an active advocate of the farmers’ rights and the key driving force for the success of the organization. Nino is a member of almost all key governmental or non-governmental boards active in agriculture and not only.  Since 2020 she is a Board Member of Ajara Holding, one of the largest hospitality groups in Georgia. Since 2013 she’s also been an advisor in agro-directions at the State Partnership Fund. Nino is an MBA with Distinction in Global Management (GGSB) & International Executive MBA (CSB) at Grenoble Graduate School of Business (France). From 2019 she holds Certification of Completion of Transformational Leadership by University of Oxford Said Business School as well as Certificate of Completion of Public Policy in Private Sector Development Course, Stanford University Leadership Academy for Development. From 2020 holds a Diploma with Merit of Cambridge International College in Business Organization and Management. From 2017 Nino was YGL (Young Global Leader) nominated and selected  by the World Economic Forum.

Angelka Peeva Laurencic

Managing Director, ImagePR


Angelka is one of the frontrunners in the area of public relations and communication management in Macedonia and insists on high level of ethics, professionalism and commitment in her profession and broader field of work.

Business profile – Professional politician in her early career and later an entrepreneur, co-creating, co-founding, developing and coordinating several successful companies within the country and the region – all of them in the segment of communications, covering: communication management, public relations, media monitoring and analyses, advertising, production, research, below the line communication. She is a visionary in creating new business stories with successful portfolio on the markets.

Professional profile – Extensive experience in the area of corporate, institutional and political communications, working for some of the most successful international and domestic companies, institutions and organizations and designing and implementing political campaigns within the country and the region. She was also a member of Parliament from 2002- 2006.

Angelka is a Professor of Public Relations at the University American College Skopje, PhD candidate and founder of the Movement for supporting young creatives „Bravo sine!“, which has supported and implemented more than 50 humanitarian projects. She was elected Rotarian of the Year in 2019 for her contribution in the same field.

The most challenging life project are her kids – Vera and Vedran.

She is often invited to speak on various public events, panels and debates.

Ivan Bogdanović

Stara Sokolova Global


Arben Halili

General Director of Normak Investment Group AD Tetovo


Halili Arben is the General Director of Normak Investment Group AD Tetovo since 2014. In parallel, he is the Organizational director of TV Klan Macedonia since 2017, a part time professor at University of Tetova “Fadil Sulejmani” since this year and an ongoing Member of the Management board of the Economic Chamber of North West Macedonia since 2015. His previous experience counts many leading and managing positions.

His education counts a PhD Degree and a Master’s degree.  The PhD in Economic sciences is on the topic: Fiscal effects on agriculture policies in Republic of Macedonia, which he finished in Economic Institute in Skopje, part of University Cyril and Methodius Skopje, in 2018. The MSc. in finance is on the topic: The influence of fiscal policies on the development of the agriculture sector in Macedonia- comparative aspects, which he holds from the South East European University since 2011.

17:30 – 18:10

Unscripted Discussion: Perfect Life Metric
Hardy Pemhiwa

Group CEO & Managing Director at Econet Global Limited, South Africa


Hardy attended Queen Mary College, University of London and graduated with a B.Eng in Computer Engineering in 1991. He has  also  attended  Edinburgh  Business  School.

For two years after graduating from university, Hardy worked in IT consulting in eastern and southern Africa. In 1993, he started a career in banking and worked for one of Africa’s leading development finance institutions operating in 23 Sub Saharan African countries where he left in 2002 having served in various senior executive positions including as Chief Operating Officer.

In 2004, Hardy and his wife founded an investment management business in East Africa in which they still hold a minority interest.

In 2016, Hardy joined Econet, a privately held Pan African technology group where he is the Group CEO. Econet employs almost 6,000 people directly and has over 60,000 agents and operations in 23 African countries. Econet’s companies operate in fiber broadband, mobile telecoms, data centers, fintech, digital platforms and solar renewable energy.

Hardy has been married to Consolata for 25 years and together they have a daughter, and three sons. They live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Hardy’s passion is mentoring young people and influencing other business leaders to become disciples of Jesus Christ. He enjoys swimming, reading and motivational speaking.

Mike Zafirovski

Co-founder and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025


Mike Zafirovski is Founder, Chairman, and President of The Zaf Group, a family office investing and advisory firm. The Zaf Group acquires and operates well-run family businesses with revenues between $50-300 million, with intention of owning in perpetuity.  The Zaf Group platform companies are unified by a common set of core values of high values/impeccable integrity, high expectations for results, commitment to people and leadership development and meritocracy. Currently, the two platform companies are ACP CreativIT, focused on IT products and services and ABCO Systems, a systems integrator for material handling equipment for warehouses and distribution where Mike serves as chairman.  Mike’s wife Robin serves as co-chair of The Zaf Group and as a board member of ABCO Systems.

In addition, Mike is an executive advisor to The Blackstone Group (since 2011), and he sits on the boards of Stericycle (since 2012), Apria Healthcare (since 2011), and evolve24 (since 2016). He previously served on the board of directors of Boeing from 2004 through April 2020.

During his corporate career, Mike served as President/CEO at Nortel, Motorola, and five GE businesses. In 21 years of P&L responsibility, revenue growth exceeded 8% per year, annual productivity averaged over 6% and EBITDA margin increases averaged 350bps per year.

From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Zafirovski was appointed by the President of the United States to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC), providing recommendations to the president on a wide range of policy issues related to telecommunications, IT, cybersecurity, and other national security concerns.

The Zafirovski Family Foundation (established in 2005) activities focus primarily on education, healthcare, faith-based ministries, and economic development. A native of Macedonia, Mike is co-founder of Macedonia 2025 (, an organization dedicated to enhancing the country’s economic and democracy development. He established the Zafirovski Executive Development Program, where in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management, Macedonia 2025 is seeking to accelerate development of 100 future CEOs and CXOs in the country. Mike is also the Chairman of the board of AUSL (, an organization that is successfully driving education equity at 31of the most challenged public schools in Chicago (each of these formerly failing schools has moved up in performance ranking, with 81% in good standing). In 2009 Mike co-founded the Faith at Work ministry at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, Illinois.  His other involvements include: Council of Chief Executives (Chairman), American Enterprise Institute (member of Midwest Council), The Halftime Institute (completed the Fellows Program in 2017), The Economic Club of Chicago (member, former director), and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (member).

Mike holds a B.A. in mathematics from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania where he captained the soccer and swimming teams. In 2002, Edinboro University awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in public service.  He is a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He and his wife, Robin are on Duke University’s Parents’ Committee (former national chairs).

He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2004; the Distinguished Leadership Award from the NY Hall of Science in 2008; the Medal of Honor from the President of Macedonia in 2013;and the inaugural John L. Bitove Philanthropy Award in 2018. In addition, The Navy Seal Foundation bestowed on Mike and his wife, Robin the “Patriot Award,” in recognition of their extensive philanthropic contributions to society, commitment to the Navy Seal community, and spirit and example of Patriotism in 2018.

Mike and Robin, married for 37 years, have three sons, all of whom are married, and four grandchildren.  Mike’s hobbies include anything with family, mentoring, friends, travel, and sports (he completed the Kona Ironman Triathlon in 2018).

15:00 – 15:40

What it takes to be Super Successful: Interview with Macedonia’s #1 Female Entrepreneur in the World
Susan Niczowski

Founder and President at "The Summer Fresh Salads Inc.", Canada


Armed with a BSC in chemistry and a passion for real food, Susan has repeatedly reshaped the fresh gourmet food landscape.  Summer Fresh is approaching a 30 year milestone as Susan started the company in 1991 in the kitchen in her parents home, Summer Fresh has grown to a CFIA, HACCP, and BRC (AA rating) accredited food manufacturer that Canadians love. Susan has stayed true to the original goal of creating food from ingredients that you find in your own kitchen.

Susan and Summer Fresh have been recognized with numerous awards, including RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur, W100 Top Women Entrepreneurs, and Canada’s 50 Best Managed companies over 22 years running.

John Bitove

Co-founder and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025


John I. Bitove has a distinguished record of accomplishment in corporate, sports and community endeavours. He is the sole shareholder of Obelysk, which has major investments in wireless, satellite radio, real estate, restaurants and other businesses. In 1993 he founded the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club.  As a co-founder of Macedonia2025, John sits on many charity boards and founded the S’Cool Life Fund, to support public elementary schools across Canada. Since the launch in 2005, S’Cool Life Fund has raised and donated over $3 million helping to make school life more enjoyable for thousands of public elementary school kids.

15:50 – 17:20

Valuing Our Most Valuable Asset - People
Aleksandra Miloseska

Strategy and Business Development Consultant


Highly dedicated, innovative, and goal-driven Aleksandra Miloseska is a leading Business Development, Client Relationship Management, and Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience. As the Founder and CEO of Quick Fit Bites and the current Strategy Consultant and Business Development Partner for AI at Codewell Group, a Software Development company that has a flagship AI platform for developing AI powered Digital assistants, she has cultivated a strong foundation on what it takes to successfully foster profitable business growth.

Prior to her current roles, Aleksandra earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics. Upon graduation, she began her career at Becton & Dickinson as a Financial Analyst leading cost manufacturing analysis, financial reporting, and consolidation. She then continued to expand her career at Evonik Industries and was responsible for the financial planning, controlling, and reporting of the Resource Efficiency segment business lines.

Fast forward to today, Aleksandra is a proud partner at Codewell US,while simultaneously running Quick Fit Bites. Overall, she has a true ardency for her career and enjoys leveraging her extensive background involving business development, finance, and strategy planning. Aleksandra demonstrates her work ethic and devotion by delivering qualified, professional, and seamless service, all while ensuring the business community she supports has excellent constructive growth and development experiences along the way.

Aleksandra loves what she does and is always seeking ways to advance herself both personally and professionally. However, when she is not working, you can find her spending time with her three beautiful daughters and proudly serving as a member of a women entrepreneur’s organization which supports her advocacy for helping women succeed in business.

Nikola Ljushev

CEO at Makedonski Telekom


Nikola Ljushev is the Chief Executive Officer of Makedonski Telekom AD as of 1 July 2018. He gained his extensive experience in the telecommunication industry holding some of the highest management positions in Deutsche Telekom Group, in Cosmofon, as well as in the Telekom Austria Group.

Currently, Nikola Ljushev is an Executive member of the Board of Directors of Makedonski Telecom AD, board member of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia and a Board Member of AmCham Macedonia.

Before he became a CEO of Makedonski Telekom AD, Nikola Ljushev had been the Chief Executive Officer of Crnogorski Telekom.  Also, from 2007 to 2015, Ljusev was in the top management of Telekom Austria in Macedonia as Chief Executive Officer of Vip, and after the merger of Vip and One, he was a CEO of one.Vip, from 205 until 2016. Ljusev was also the Chief Technical Officer at Cosmofon from 2003 to 2007.

He started his career in telecommunications in Makedonski Telekom AD in 1997.

He has a degree in Electrical Engineering from University “Sv.Kiril I Metodij” in Skopje, N. Macedonia and additional education in corporate management at many foreign universities, including Harvard Business School, INSEAD and University of Chicago. and others.

Goran Sladic

General Manager at Pivara Skopje AD


Goran is a well-rounded executive who has spent most of professional career in Coca-Cola HBC. He is experienced in commercial and business development in two key categories, NARTD and Spirits. He has also gained a significant cross-cultural experience in different market contexts. More recently, gained in depth exposure in the volatile and complex Nigerian market where he held sales director role. Before taking over the sales job in Nigeria, Sladic was in charge of the Premium Spirits division for Coca-Cola HBC in South East Europe.

Presently, maximally energized with the opportunity to accelerate people development and engagement in a new position in Pivara Skopje. Committed to continuing strong partnerships with customers and community to accelerate the country sustainability agenda and youth empowerment.

He owns a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Faculty of Economics in Split while he also attended the IMD business school in Lausanne.

Excited about the unknown and inspired by potential of passion and determination.

Mihael Solter

General Manager Philip Morris TKP DOO Skopje


Mr. Mihael Solter holds the position of General Manager of Philip Morris Tutunski Kombinat Prilep DOO Skopje, an affiliate of Philip Morris International in Macedonia. Mihael obtained his degree from the University of Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia. He has over twenty years of experience in PMI, a leading global tobacco company, where he moved through a variety of assignments and rich experiences. He possesses extensive knowledge of commercial functions with broad perspective and understanding of overall business functions. With a proven record in leading organizations, cross-functional and multi-cultural teams and working in start-ups, he established strong leadership competencies, strategic mindset and maturity, having particular interest for new market entries and organization development. Mr. Solter is a member of the Board of directors of American Chamber of Commerce, as well as Foreign Investors Council within the Chamber of commerce.

Antonio Argir

CEO, CMO, President of the Management Board at NLB Banka AD Skopje


Antonio Argir is born in Krushevo – Macedonia on 05.11.1975. He is
hard-working, highly organized, dedicated and efficient with more than 21 years of banking experience. His experience predominantly counts in sales – both retail and corporate, IT, organisational areas and has been involved in several bank projects in various fileds.

He is striving to achieve the highest standard possible at any given task and in any situation. He is possessing strong leadership abilities, capabilities to manage, motivate and manage people. Always looking forward for continuous professional improvement.

He obtained his MBA from IEDC Bled School of Management, Bled, Slovenija and the BA from Faculty of Economy, University “Cyril and Methodius”, Skopje, Macedonia.

Currently he is CEO, CMO, President of the Management Board at NLB Banka AD Skopje starting from 2016.

Previously in his career in the Bank he has worked on various positions such as: Member of the Management Board, Division Manager (B-1), Branch Manager, Head of Department, Corporate loan officer, etc.

In his early years as a student he has also worked in the USA for 6 months.

He is active in social and public life and he is also the Vice-president of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia.

Maja Stevkova Shterieva

CFO at Komercijalna Banka AD Macedonian Banking Association, President


Maja Stevkova-Sterieva Ph.D.  is a member of the Board of Directors in Komercijlana Banka AD Skopje and Chief Financial Officer. Her academic record shows that she got her PhD title in 2012 at the University “St Cyril and Methodius“ Skopje on the subejct of ‘Operational Risk and Corporate Governancein Financial Institutions”  and the  Master’s degree in Monetary Economics at the same University in 2000 with topic  “ALM in Banking” .

Her professional career is mostly in Komercijalna Banka working in deferent areas including foreign markets operations, treasury management and securities, planning and risk management. All that contributed to her current position. From 1993 till 2008 she had different positions in Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje and the last one before appointment to current position was Director of Risk Management and Planning Division. From 2008 to present day she is a Chief Financial Officer in charge for Risk Management, Strategic Planning and Capital, Treasury and Finance.

She was President of the Board of the Academy for Banking and IT, and a Member of the Board of Chamber of Commerce of RM. At the moment she is President of the Macedonian Banking Association.

Since 2018 she is a lecturer on Entrepreneurial Finance at the University American College Skopje.

17:30 – 18:45

The President and Macedonia’s Stellar Youth on Innovations and Coding
Nena Manchev

Leadership and Education Program Manager at Macedonia2025


Nena Manchev is the Leadership and Education Program Manager at Macedonia2025. She graduated at the Faculty of Economics at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, at the Department for Comprehensive Economy.

Nena’s prior experience is in the public administration sector, where she worked as Head of Unit for Administrative Support and Coordination at the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development. She also worked as Head of Cabinet of the Minister of Finance at the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of North Macedonia.

Before joining the public administration, Nena accumulated an extensive experience of around 15 years in the civil society sector, working at the Country Office of the German Foundation Friedrich Ebert, Skopje. She has been working mostly in developing and implementing consultancy programs in the field of political science, strengthening of political dialogue and political parties’ capacities, as well as programs in the area of socio-economic policies, social-just reforms projects, active civic participation and improving citizens’ and youth participation in social discussions and decision-making processes. Nena has a significant knowledge and experience in conceptualizing and organizing regional SEE platforms and programs, political and experts programs for high-ranking politicians/officials/experts from Germany and EU member-state countries, as well as for representatives from the SEE region. During her career in FES Skopje, besides the position of Program Coordinator, she also held the positions of Finance and Accounting Manager for 6 years and Head of Office for two years.

Stevo Pendarovski

President of the Republic of N. Macedonia


Stevo Pendarovski has been the President of the Republic of North Macedonia since May 2019.

Before the presidency, his three-decade long careers panned across security, international affairs, academia, public sector and politics.

He served as National Coordinator for preparation of the Republic of North Macedonia for NATO membership (2017-2019), Member of Parliament (2016-2017) and President of the State Election Commission (2004-2005).

President Pendarovski had spent eleven years as a professor at the University American College Skopje teaching political science, international security, international relations, globalization, geopolitics, US foreign policy, EU foreign and security policy, and diplomacy of small countries in world affairs.

He served as adviser to two presidents of North Macedonia, serving as Chief Foreign Policy Advisor 2005-2009 and National Security Advisor 2001-2004.

His career beginnings are in the Ministry of Interior, where he later was Head of the Analytical and Research Department and Ministry’s Spokesperson (1998-2001).

In addition to exercising the key presidential responsibilities in line with the Constitution in defense, domestic and foreign policy, the President is an initiator and supporter of numerous programs and initiatives domestically. These efforts range from political education for youth, support to young managers, volunteering, environment, empowering women and girls, inclusion and diversity, and interethnic cohesion.

Nevenka Dimitrova

Member of the Board of Directors, Macedonia2025


Nevenka Dimitrova holds a Ph.D in computer science. She is a science and technology leader with a track record of innovation for bringing cutting edge technology to solve real problems in clinical and life sciences domains.


With her technology passion and entrepreneurial mind, she is known for contributions in healthcare informatics, genomics,  AI, and signal processing. She has demonstrated leadership of cross-functional global teams to create solutions, worked with multiple stakeholders in a complex matrixed organization to improve clinical outcomes and drive impact of technology across product management, engineering and commercial engagements.


Her bibliography contains over 140 scientific articles and 70 granted patents and she has been given the Gilles Holst award – the highest science and technology peer recognition prize at Philips.  Nevenka is committed to bring digital innovations into the world of practicing clinicians to add precision and clarity – through a new array of cloud and clinical informatics technologies, continuous learning systems and automated reasoning. She held highest science and programme management leadership positions at Philips Research. Most recently she was the CTO of Oncology Informatics at Philips Healthcare spearheading precision medicine products. At the same time, she held adjunct faculty appointments at Columbia University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and New York Medical College.

Kati Iceva

Member of Board of Directors, Macedonia2025


Kati Iceva is computer science engineer and leader with over 18 years of experience building and shipping Microsoft products. As Group Engineering Manager, she currently leads the engineering team of Azure Stream Analytics, Microsoft’s real-time analytics service that is designed for mission-critical workloads and was named streaming analytics market leader by Forrester.  She is responsible for product strategy, technical vision, architecture, development and operations of the product. Her previous contributions span data technologies including multiple versions of the .NET Entity Framework and Power Query.  With her work, she hopes to contribute to advancing the quality of human lives and health.

Seeded in her experience of working on three continents, Kati has a strong passion for enabling and supporting diverse and inclusive teams and working environments. Hoping to see more women thrive in technology industries, she takes advantage of every opportunity to encourage girls to explore computer science.

Kati holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje and Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

She resides in Seattle, Washington with her husband Alek and their two children. Outside of work, you can find her skiing, running, hiking or practicing yoga.

18:45 – 19:00

Closing Ceremony

Partners and Sponsors

A big thank you to all our amazing partners and sponsors.

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