Summit 2023

Macedonia2025 Summit 26-27 April 2023 | Skopje Marriott Hotel

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Keynote speakers

Well known industry leaders and emerging talents

Robert Doar is the president of the American Enterprise Institute.

Mr. Doar became AEI’s 12th president in July 2019, leading one of the nation’s oldest and most respected public policy think tanks. Since becoming president of AEI, Mr. Doar has recruited dozens of leading scholars and fellows across multiple issue areas and launched a new research division focused on Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies.

By supporting the extensive work of AEI scholars in areas including foreign and defense policy, education, the reform of key institutions, the US economy, and poverty studies, Mr. Doar has helped to solidify AEI’s position as a leading voice on the major issues facing the United States.

Mr. Doar joined AEI in 2014 to lead the Institute’s poverty studies program after serving for more than 20 years in leadership positions in the social service programs of New York state and New York City.

Biography

Robert

Doar

President of the American Enterprise Institute

CEO of Franck. Ivan Artuković. Born in Zagreb, 4 August 1988. Ivan Artuković is the CEO of the company Franck JSC .Franck is one of the most successful Croatian manufacturers and exporters of food products, with a history of production and innovation spanning more than 130 years, specialized in the production of top-quality coffee, teas, cereal and chicory beverages, and food additives. Today, Franck is the market leader in its product categories, leading market trends with innovative concepts while developing strong brands that are synonymous with quality. The company bases its success on the high competitiveness of its products, which it achieves through continuous care for the optimization and improvement of production processes at all its production locations and is present on the markets of the Adria region, with exports at the EU level, but also globally. The company is strategically focused on further development and sustainable business growth through continuous investment in production excellence and the application of advanced technological solutions, which introduces new trends and contributes to the development of the entire market.

Mr. Ivan Artuković graduated from the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, where he successfully completed his undergraduate studies, along with a semester at the American faculty of the University of Michigan. He also successfully completed the graduate MBA program at ZSEM. In addition, during his career at various European institutions, he received professional training in commodity trading, procurement, organization, and management.

He started his career at Franck at the procurement department. In November 2012, he became a member of the Board for strategic procurement and investments, and later for the supply chain, until August 2017. After various positions in the management with an emphasis on operational business, he became the only member of the Management Board with a special emphasis on operational and financial restructuring, which was successfully completed. Today, in the new mandate period, as the CEO and his team, his goals are to further modernize the company and strengthen the Franck brand.

Mr. Artuković is a volunteer member of the board of directors of the International Coffee Partner association, a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) that brings together eight leading coffee producers and traders in Europe and the Coffee & Climate initiative with the aim of empowering and providing support to small coffee growers in the application of sustainable practices; he is a member of the Advisory Board of the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, made up of successful leaders, managers and entrepreneurs from various sectors, and this year’s winner of the “Manager of the Year” award in the category of the best young manager from the Croatian Managers’ & Entrepreneurs’ Association.

Recreationally, he enjoys basketball, mountain biking, skiing, and hiking.

Biography

Ivan

Artukovic

CEO of Franck

Ted Souder is a respected authority on the transformative power of having a digital
mindset in the business world. As one of Google’s earliest employees, Ted spent over 20
years helping to write one of the greatest business success stories of all time. Today, he
shares the best practices of the Google Playbook with businesses, governments, and
non-profit organizations across the globe.
In addition to his role at Google, Ted is also a board director at 1871, one of the world’s
top technology incubators, and a former board director at the Chicagoland Chamber of
Commerce, one of the oldest and largest chambers in the United States. He is also a
part-owner of the Monthly Barometer, a boutique geopolitical advisory firm based in
Chamonix, France.
Throughout his entire career, Ted has been spreading the good news about how
technology can be a game-changer in the workplace, boardroom, non-profit, and in your
personal life. With his vast knowledge and expertise, he is truly a visionary leader who
inspires and empowers others to embrace the digital age with confidence and
enthusiasm.

Biography

Ted

Souder

Former Google Executive

Nikola brings a career of experience working on culture change at scale with over 200

organizations and systems around the world, blending more rational thinking (LSE,

Economist, McKinsey) with more intuitive work (ICF coach, Facilitator of

Transformation and Spiritual Healer with 30+ tools). He is the founder and Managing

Partner of Transfiguration Advisory.

Born in the Balkans, Nikola is the initiator of Project Light, a movement to process

collective trauma and build values-driven societies in the Balkans. Project Light is

collaborating with leading global organizations such as Thomas Hubl’s Pocket Project,

EcoIntention Help2Heal Europe Foundation and the Inner Development Goals

(IDGs).

Described by those who know him as a “mosaic” for his ability to bring a wide range of

divergent perspectives, a “free radical” as a catalyst, and a “spiritual gladiator” for his

integrity, Nikola has visited over 100 and lived in over 20 countries. His top 3 values

are learning, fun and adventure, and excellence.

Biography

Nikola

Jurisic

Founder and Managing Partner at Transfiguration Advisory

Kam Buckner is the Assistant Majority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives from the 26th district. The district, located entirely in the city of Chicago, includes Bronzeville, Downtown, Gold Coast, Hyde Park, River North, South Shore, and Woodlawn. Buckner is the past Chair of the Illinois House Legislative Black Caucus and Co-Democratic Whip. Buckner was raised on the Southside of Chicago. He graduated from Morgan Park High School and from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign where he played for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team and earned a B.A. in Political Science. Buckner holds a law degree from the DePaul University College of Law.Buckner formerly worked for United States Senator Dick Durbin, Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and in the front office of the Chicago Cubs. He served as Executive Director of World Sport Chicago; a nonprofit that grew from the Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. He has passed monumental legislation on Education, Criminal Justice and the Environment. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University from 2016-2019. He was named to the 2021 class of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40.He is active with the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender, Politico, the Hill and Crain’s Chicago Business and has taught Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Biography

Kam

Buckner

Illinois State Representative

Summit Schedule

Full schedule of keynotes, panels & training sessions

Day 1, Tuesday

25 April 2023

Day 2, Wednesday

26 April 2023

Day 2, Wednesday

27 April 2023

Training sessions

18:30 - 19:00

Macedonia2025 Recognition for Diaspora Contribution awarded by the President of the Republic of N. Macedonia

19:00 - 20:30

Reception

08:30 - 09:30

Registration over coffee

09:30 - 09:50

Official Opening
Nikica M. Blazhevski

CEO at Macedonia2025

...

Professor Nikica Mojsoska-Blazevski is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Macedonia2025. Nikica’s prior experience was in academia, where she served two terms as Dean of the Business School at University American College-Skopje, as well as in the public administration where she worked as a Head of the Macroeconomic Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance of Republic of Macedonia. Nikica has an extensive experience of over 15 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 organisations and institutions, such as the World Bank, ILO, RCC, UNDP, UN Women and the European Commission. Mojsoska-Blazevski is author of many journal articles and several book chapters, mainly in the area of social policy, labour markets, education, gender issues, youth, etc. 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.

09:50 - 10:10

Address by Prime Minister Kovacevski
H.E. Dimitar Kovachevski

Macedonian Prime Minister

...

Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski, born in 1974 in Kumanovo, is Doctor of Economics, Associate Professor at the School of Business Economics and Management at the University American College Skopje. He is lecturer at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies and author of numerous scientific papers in the field of economics and management published in international scientific journals and conferences.

He started his working career in Makedonski Telekom AD Skopje as finance associate and later finance controlling regulation and harmonization coordinator (1998-2005), and then promoted to a number of managerial positions, director of marketing and sales management (2005-2008), director of marketing communications (2008-2010), director of communications (2010-2016) and director of residential sales (2016-2017). He was part of the international brand committee and the international communications committee of Deutsche Telekom (2008-2016). Then he became Executive Director of one.Vip Macedonia (A1 Macedonia) part of Telekom Austria Group (2017-2018). He was part of the establishment of a start-up high-tech company for production and development of elements for production of electricity from renewable sources (2018-2020). During his professional career he worked on a number of corporate projects for business processes reengineering and integration, to increase the efficiency and profitability of companies. He was part of the project management teams for implementation of SAP integrated material and finance management system and CRM integrated customer management system.

He started his high school education at the Goce Delchev High School in Kumanovo, and finished it at Waterville Elysian Morristown High School, Waterville, MN, USA. In 1998 he graduated from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Faculty of Economics, and received his master’s degree in 2003 from the same Faculty. He completed his doctoral studies in economics at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Montenegro in 2008, where he obtained a doctorate in economics.

He completed executive education at Harvard University, Harvard Business School, USA Executive Education Program in 2011, the European Entrepreneurship Colloquium at the Technical University of Munich where he became EFER EEC alumni in 2015, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2016 and EADA Business School, Barcelona, Spain in 2017.

He started his academic career as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the New York University in Skopje (2009-2012), and continued as an Assistant Professor at the School of Business Economics and Management at the University American College Skopje (2012-2018). In 2018 he was elected Associate Professor at the School of Business Economics and Management at the University American College Skopje

He worked on a series of international and domestic projects including the World Bank Local and Regional Competitiveness Project, Sub-Project: Capacity and innovation of tourism services for sustainable local economic growth in North Macedonia, Finance Think, Economic Research and Policy Institute Skopje (2019) , Internationalization at Home through Online Micro Masters and Virtual Mobility, Vytautas Magnus University Lithuania, Istanbul University Turkey, DOBA Business School Slovenia, ICS Skopje, (2019-2022), The project for increasing the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in the Republic of North Macedonia (2019) and the e-PROFMAN Project, Online Professional Development Program for Innovative Management, Leadership and Strategic Communications – DOBA Business School Slovenia, Istanbul University Turkey, ICS Skopje (2016-2017).

In 2020 he was part of the Economic Council of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia to deal with economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

10:10 - 11:00

Keynote Address
Robert Doar

President, American Enterprise Institute

...

Robert Doar is the president of the American Enterprise Institute.

 

Mr. Doar became AEI’s 12th president in July 2019, leading one of the nation’s oldest and most respected public policy think tanks. Since becoming president of AEI, Mr. Doar has recruited dozens of leading scholars and fellows across multiple issue areas and launched a new research division focused on Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies.

 

By supporting the extensive work of AEI scholars in areas including foreign and defense policy, education, the reform of key institutions, the US economy, and poverty studies, Mr. Doar has helped to solidify AEI’s position as a leading voice on the major issues facing the United States.

 

Mr. Doar joined AEI in 2014 to lead the Institute’s poverty studies program after serving for more than 20 years in leadership positions in the social service programs of New York state and New York City.

Mike Zafirovski

Founder, Chairman and President of the Zaf Group and Co-founder & Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

...

Mike Zafirovski is the Founder, Chairman, and President of The Zaf Group, a family office engaged in operating, investment, and advisory activities. The operating activities include acquiring well-run family businesses with the intention of owning in perpetuity. Currently, the two platform companies are ACP CreativIT, an IT solutions provider and ABCO Systems, a material handling systems integrator for warehouses and distribution centers. Mike is the chairman of both companies, and Mike’s wife Robin is the co-chair of The Zaf Group.

Formerly, Mike was an executive advisor to The Blackstone Group (2011-2021) and served on the board of directors of Boeing (2004-2020), Stericycle (2012-2022), Apria Healthcare (2011-2022), Nortel (2006-2009), Motorola (2002-2005), several Blackstone portfolio and other private companies.

During his corporate career, Mike served as President/CEO at Nortel, Motorola, and five GE businesses. In 21 years of direct 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 on education, healthcare, faith-based ministries, and economic development. A native of Macedonia, Mike is co-founder and director of Macedonia 2025 (www.macedonia2025.com), an organization dedicated to enhancing the country’s economic and democratic development. One of the programs (Zafirovski Executive Development), in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management, is accelerating the development of 100 future CEOs and CXOs in the country.

Mike is on Board of Directors of the Special Olympics (www.SpecialOlympics.org). His other philanthropic and civic involvements include: Council of Chief Executives (member, former Chairman), The CEO Forum (member, https://theceoforum.org/Home), American Enterprise Institute (member of National Council), The Halftime Institute (http://halftimeinstitute.org/, completed the Fellows Program in 2017), The Economic Club of Chicago (member, former director), and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (member). Mike is co-founder of the Faith at Work ministry at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, Il. Mike is the former Chairman of AUSL (www.ausl-chicago.org), an organization that drove education equity at some of the most challenged public schools in Chicago.

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 former national chairs of Duke University’s Parents’ Committee.

He has received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2004); the Distinguished Leadership Award from the NY Hall of Science (2008); the Medal of Honor from the President of Macedonia (2013); and the inagural John L. Bitove Philanthropy Award (2017). In 2018, 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 2021, AUSL recognized Mike and Robin for their leadership impact in education.

Mike and Robin, married for 40 years, have three married sons and seven grandchildren. All three sons are involved in The Zaf Group. Mike’s hobbies include anything with family, mentoring, friends, travel, and sports (he completed the Kona Ironman Triathlon in 2018, the NYC marathon in 2021, and is beginning to take golf seriously).

11:00 - 11:40

Networking over coffee

11:40 - 12:40

Strategy Execution: An oxymoron or a Success Formula
Borko Handjiski

Head of Strategic Projects and Policies, Abu Dhabi Department of Finance and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

...

Borko Handjiski is Associate Partner with McKinsey & Company. He joined McKinsey’s Middle East office in June 2015 and has been primarily serving public sector clients in the Gulf region. Before joining McKinsey, Borko Handjiski worked for the World Bank in Washington DC as Senior Economist. Borko began his career at the Macedonian central bank and worked for the European Commission in Macedonia where he advised the government on economic policies related to EU accession. Throughout his 14-year career, Borko has worked with governments in Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and the Middle East in the areas of economic development, public finances, investment, trade, and labor markets. Borko holds an MBA degree in finance from Purdue University and a BA in Economics from the University of Skopje. He resides with his family in Dubai.

Adrian Shehu

CEO at TCN Albania

...

Adrian Shehu is the CEO of TCN (www.tcn.al), which is an advanced technology system integrator and infrastructure company headquartered in Albania and operating internationally in Western Balkans and other countries.

The entrepreneurial and managerial experience extends in about three decades. Adrian was the CEO of Albtelecom, the incumbent telecom operator in Albania and the CEO of AMC, the first GSM mobile operator in Albania. Both companies are now merged together into ONE Telecom.

Actually, he runs the TCN business in the ICT, defense and security, air and maritime traffic management, operating in a multicounty and multicultural environments. In this context he manages also the relationships with various stakeholders, including government agencies, international corporations and other business related parties.

Adrian has established local companies in Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro, pursuing the same business lines.

He participates actively in several international leadership, business and technology forums and events

Adrian was AmCham (https://amcham.com.al/) Board Member for three consecutive terms, and actually is the Head of the Investment and Trade Committee.

Adrian has professional background in IT and Telecommunications engineering. He graduated as Electronic Engineer at the Polytechnic University of Tirana and holds a PHD from the Polytechnic University of Milan. Adrian has a parallel academic career. He is an Associated Professor of PUT.

Ketevan Bochorishvil

Former Vice Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia; Managing Partner “Business Georgia”

...

KETEVAN (KETI) BOCHORISHVILI

Former Vice-Minister of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia

Counting 24 years of management experience including 7 years of her dedication to Georgia’s public sector as a senior executive, Ketevan has successfully served as vice minister of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, under four consecutive leaderships of two democratically elected governments. Her area of work included Economic Policy, FDI Attraction, SME Sector Development, Export Promotion and Development, Tourism Development, R&D, and National and International Promotion Campaigns. Kevin has an impressive record of cooperation with all leading International Financial Institutions and International Organizations through the development and implementation of multimillion-dollar economic development programs. Bochorishvili is recognized as a leading business environment reformer, a fighter against corruption, and an innovator in terms of the provision of government services. Bochorishvili has contributed to several successful reforms and state projects targeting private sector development, simplifying bureaucracy, and economic diversification. Her achievements were awarded the Forbes Woman title in 2017. She has been also chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2019.

Ms. Bochorishvili then became one of the first woman executives to take responsibility for managing a city-scale special economic zone, next to the deep-sea port, encompassing such economic clusters as logistics, light manufacturing, tourism, hospitality, financial and business, and other services. Currently, Ms. Bochorishvili is the Managing Partner of “Business Georgia” and advises large International and local companies in Georgia in diverse sectors, including renewable energy, Tourism & Real Estate Development, Education, Transport & Logistics, Film Production, and Media. She also works for Tony Blaire Institute as an advisor.

.

Ms. Bochorishvili holds an MA degree in International Public Management from SDA Bocconi School of Management (Milan, Italy) and BA/MA degree in International Conflict Resolution from Georgian Technical University. She has accumulated several intercultural experiences and developed entrepreneurial skills through participating in executive programs at Stanford University (USA), Georgetown University (USA), the Iacocca Institute (USA), and Charles University (Czech Republic). She has recently completed Global Leadership and Public Policy Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School (USA) and Leadership Module at Cambridge Judge School (UK).

Zhivko Mukaetov

CEO and President of the Management Board in Alkaloid and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

...

Since year 2006, Mukaetov is heading the biggest Macedonian pharmaceutical industry, “Alkaloid AD Skopje”.

Founded in 1936, “Alkaloid” brand is recognizable and well-established, just like its motto- “Health above all”…slogan of one of the key drivers of the Macedonian economy and one of the leading pharmaceutical industries in Southeastern Europe. Headquartered in Skopje, “Alkaloid” places its products in over 40 countries worldwide through its 20 subsidiaries abroad.

For his extraordinary endeavors in the sphere of culture, sports, business and corporate social responsibility, Mukaetov was awarded various national and international acknowledgments. He was decorated with two orders: “Order of the Danish Flag” on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark for valuable services as Consul General of the Kingdom of Denmark (a function he’s performing since 2007) and the “Order of Merit” by the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Stevo Pendarovski for impeccable professional standards in the modern corporate management in the pharmaceutical industry, investments in new technology, education as well as philanthropic culture and broad social responsibility.

Mukaetov is a member of the management boards of various economically important institutions in his country, such as vice-president of the “Chamber of Commerce”. Since 2013, he is President of the “Macedonian Handball Federation” presently running his third mandate and besides being a patron of the Chess Club “Alkaloid”, in 2021 he founded the Handball Club “Alkaloid” aimed at supporting young Macedonian handball talents.

In 2014, Mukaetov joined the prestigious organization “Forum of Young Global Leaders”. Under their auspices, he attended trainings at the prestigious American “University of Yale” in New Haven, CT the “Harvard Kennedy School” in Cambridge, MA and the United Kingdom’s “Saїd Business School” in Oxford.

Since 2007, Mukaetov is presiding the Foundation “Trajche Mukaetov” aimed at supporting young and talented students and professionals who devoted their careers to medicine and pharmacy. Up to date, this Foundation donated EUR 1.9 million for scholarships and premiums to valedictorians.

Zhivko and his wife Emilija are devoted parents of four children.

12:40 - 13:10

The Importance of Institutions in Young Democracies
Kam Buckner

Illinois State Representative

...

Kam Buckner is the Assistant Majority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives from the 26th district. The district, located entirely in the city of Chicago, includes Bronzeville, Downtown, Gold Coast, Hyde Park, River North, South Shore, and Woodlawn. Buckner is the past Chair of the Illinois House Legislative Black Caucus and Co-Democratic Whip. Buckner was raised on the Southside of Chicago. He graduated from Morgan Park High School and from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign where he played for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team and earned a B.A. in Political Science. Buckner holds a law degree from the DePaul University College of Law.Buckner formerly worked for United States Senator Dick Durbin, Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and in the front office of the Chicago Cubs. He served as Executive Director of World Sport Chicago; a nonprofit that grew from the Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. He has passed monumental legislation on Education, Criminal Justice and the Environment. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University from 2016-2019. He was named to the 2021 class of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40.He is active with the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender, Politico, the Hill and Crain’s Chicago Business and has taught Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Michael Cklamovski

President, Northern California at Northern Trust and Chair of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

...

Michael Cklamovski serves as Managing Director and Market Leader with CIBC Bank USA in San Francisco. Cklamovski works closely with business principals, leading a team built to provide tailored banking solutions to strategic clients. He is attuned to client’s personal and professional interests and helps business owners, entrepreneurs, senior executives, and multigenerational families navigate significant crossroads in their financial lives, providing them with the resources and counsel required to make sound decisions. Prior to joining CIBC, Michael held roles of increasing responsibility at Bank of America in Chicago. Before his career in finance, Cklamovski was a litigation attorney focused on tax and real estate issues appearing in both state and federal court. Michael earned a B.A. with dual majors in Political Science and Communication from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as well as a Juris Doctor with Honors from the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Cklamovski served as Vice-Chair of the Macedonia2025 Board of Directors since 2019.

13:10 - 14:10

Lunch Break

14:10 - 15:10

From Digitalization to Digital Transformation: A Guide to Success
Vladimir Ristevski

Partner and Creative Director at Piksel LTD

...

Vladimir is a Partner and Creative Director at Piksel, a leading digital solution partner known for its innovation and people-first approach. With over 10 years of experience as a Creative Director for international brands such as Phillip Morris, Sparkasse Bank, and Xiaomi, he’s an expert in consulting, marketing, and sales strategy, brand awareness, and business analysis. Vladimir is also a published fiction author and a sought-after speaker and trainer for digital marketing, advertising, and leadership events. He aims to inspire collaboration and promote professionalism, teamwork, and passion in business by creating a network of like-minded individuals who strive for excellence.

Saša Bilić

CEO at APIS IT d.o.o

...

Saša Bilić is the CEO of APIS IT, the leading Croatian public ICT service provider which

delivers tailor-made IT solutions for public administration bodies, supports digital

transformation of the public sector and operates two national TIER3 data centers in Croatia.

With a background in STEM and MBA skills, Saša

Bilić

has held various managing positions

in several multinational companies, focusing on ICT and telecommunications. Over the last 20

years, as a team manager he has led projects that ranged from cloud services development and

commercialization to digitalization of business processes and creating virtual platforms. Before

taking over as CEO of APIS IT in 2017, Saša

Bilić

has worked both with public and private

sector as a corporate sales director at a major telecom company, responsible for development

of sales and marking strategy and creating vertical industrial solutions.

Saša

Bilić

is an active member of Croatian ICT community and Vice-President of European

Association of Public IT Service Providers (EURITAS).

Gerhard Laga

Head of E-Center of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

...

Gerhard Laga is responsible for the E-Center of the Federal Austrian Economic Chamber (WKÖ) and has been involved in information technology for more than 35 years. His main job is to help classic SME from analog branches to use the digital world and create services for their benefit. An example is the www.eday.at or the digitalization initiative KMU.DIGITAL. For the past 17 years, the law graduate has headed the AustriaPro e-billing working group, which developed the Austrian XML standard ebInterface. He represents Austria in relevant EU bodies, is a lecturer at universities of applied sciences and the University of Vienna and the author of numerous specialist books.

Vladimir Đorđević

General Manager South East Europe, Visa

...

Vladmir Đorđević is the General Manager of Visa company for Southeast Europe. Vladimir is in charge of six markets – Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo.

Vladimir joined Visa in 2004 and during this time Đorđević initiated and implemented numerous successful projects: opening new electronic payment channels: government, taxes, utilities; launch of the first Visa Platinum program for Southeast Europe; the introduction of Visa payWave technology and etc. Đorđević was also involved in the launch of the first VCAS service in North Macedonia, i.e. the CEMEA region. Vladimir has more than 20 years of overall experience in financial industry.

15:10 - 16:10

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Investing Strategies: From Purpose to Impact
Elizabeth Naumovski

Vice President Marketing at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

...

Elizabeth Naumovski is Vice President Marketing at Caldwell Securities Ltd. She has worked on Bay Street for over 25 years and is a well-respected Financial Literacy advocate and a champion for women’s issues.

 

She is creator and host of Finance Is Personal, a half-hour YouTube show on Financial Literacy geared towards women. Stay tuned for her new television show empowering women, which will be broadcast weekly and nationally in Canada

 

In 2022, she was a proud recipient of the noteworthy Queen’s Platinum Jubilee award for her contribution to her community.

 

Elizabeth is honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the 2019 Wealth Professional IFSE Institute Award for Financial Literacy Champion. She was also the recipient for the same award in 2021.

Elizabeth is a 2020 Mohawk Alumni of Distinction Award winner for Creative Arts & Design.

Since winning the award, she created the Elizabeth Naumovski Alumni of Distinction Bursary. This yearly bursary is for a single mother (or female) enrolled in any STEM course at Mohawk College.

 

Elizabeth also has her Chartered Marketer (CM) designation from the Canadian Marketing Association. She also donates blood every 84 days and has donated 74 times to date.

Beatriz Orrantia

Board Member, International Strategic Advisor

...

Beatriz Orrantia

ESG/Sustainability expert, certified director

 

Beatriz Orrantia is an ESG/Sustainability expert focusing on decarbonization and Just Transition. She sits on the Boards of Fission Uranium Corporation (TSX, FSE) and Star Royalties Ltd. (TSXV). Previously, she was VP Special Projects at Barrick Gold, one of the largest gold producers in the world. Prior to Barrick, Ms. Orrantia was an M&A, securities and mining lawyer at leading law firms in Canada. She holds a law degree (Civil Law, full scholarship for academic excellence) from Universidad del Rosario in Colombia, and a law degree (Common Law) from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) in Canada. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in Sustainability at Harvard University and holds a certificate in Sustainability and Innovation also from Harvard University. Ms. Orrantia is a corporate director certified by the National Association of Corporate Directors, the leading certification body in the United States.

Viktor Mizo

Vice President – Governmental Affairs at Kostal Group and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

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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.

Eliza Prendzov

Head of Partnerships - 17 Asset Management

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Eliza Prendzov is a distinguished leader and innovator in finance. Eliza serves as Head of Partnerships and Director of Consulting at 17 Asset Management. She has over 15 years Wall Street and government experience. Eliza’s background includes asset management, finance, global financial product management, government, consulting and multilateral relations. She has worked at Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley (formerly Smith Barney), the United Nations, and on the Biden Presidential Campaign. Eliza  has a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Ss Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, has earned her Master in International Affairs (MIA), International Finance and Banking from SIPA, Columbia University, New York, and is a PhD in Economics candidate at American University College Skopje. Eliza’s interests span across geographies and industries, and include collaborative leadership, asset management, sustainable finance, and financial education. Eliza lives in New York City with her family.

Branko Stanchev

Chief Commercial Officer at Makedonski Telekom AD

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Branko Stanchev is a Chief Commercial Officer of Makedonski Telekom, being responsible for marketing, product development, digitalization, sales and servicing, and ICT, both for the B2C and B2B market. Prior taking over this position, he was also in charge for other areas in the company, including corporate functions like legal and regulatory. His experience prior joining Makedonski Telekom includes R&D area for mobile communications, banking industry, ICT industry, as well was working for the regulatory authority responsible for telecommunications. Branko finished university education on the Faculty for Electrical Engineering in Skopje, and holds MSc degree in Telecommunications and MBA degree.

19:00 - 21:00

Networking Event

08:30 - 09:00

Registration over coffee

09:00 - 09:30

Transforming Companies in the Digital Age
Ted Souder

Former Google Executive, Keynote Speaker

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Ted Souder is a respected authority on the transformative power of having a digital
mindset in the business world. As one of Google’s earliest employees, Ted spent over 20
years helping to write one of the greatest business success stories of all time. Today, he
shares the best practices of the Google Playbook with businesses, governments, and
non-profit organizations across the globe.
In addition to his role at Google, Ted is also a board director at 1871, one of the world’s
top technology incubators, and a former board director at the Chicagoland Chamber of
Commerce, one of the oldest and largest chambers in the United States. He is also a
part-owner of the Monthly Barometer, a boutique geopolitical advisory firm based in
Chamonix, France.
Throughout his entire career, Ted has been spreading the good news about how
technology can be a game-changer in the workplace, boardroom, non-profit, and in your
personal life. With his vast knowledge and expertise, he is truly a visionary leader who
inspires and empowers others to embrace the digital age with confidence and
enthusiasm.

Vasko Kronevski

CEO of Nextsense and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

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Vasko Kronevski, B.Sc. Degree in Information Technology is an established entrepreneur and digital transformation strategist focused on the economic growth of organizations utilizing digital transformation solutions. He has been developing his expertise in digital transformation and ICT business since 1996, being General Manager at software development companies. Vasko is CEO and co-founder of Nextsense, ICT company specialized in digital transformation solutions founded in 2001 and digital transformation leader in the CEE region. Vasko is responsible for shaping the vision, strategy, and directly involved in the digital transformation products strategy. Vasko’s carrier development encounters more than 25 years of professional experience in driving digital transformation processes for prominent enterprises in the telecom and finance industry, as well as governmental institutions across Europe and wider. During his professional journey, he established a valuable partnership with business, government, and academia to generate opportunities and build capacities for sustainable economic growth, helping them build a stronger organization and improve their business opportunities. He is skilled at identifying key economic challenges of organizations and guiding them in implementing digital solutions. His strong vision and expertise in ICT and sustainable economic development placed him among the most engaged experts and digital strategists on international projects and speakers on a wide array of high level (reputable) conferences. As a strategist, strong analyst and mediator, Vasko has been a member (past and present) in many distinguished professional bodies: World Information Technology and Service Alliance (WITSA) Member of Board; MASIT – Macedonian ICT Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Assembly, President of the Board; Vice President; Steering Committee Coordinator; South East Europe ICT Forum Private sector board member; Member of EBA-European Business Association; e-Democracy Conference Chairman.

09:30 - 10:30

Leading by Design: Performance Management through Employee Training and Redevelopment in 2023
Daniel Cunningham

Learning Designer, Founder of eLearning Solutions

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Daniel Cunningham is the Founder of eLearning Solutions, a boutique instructional design outfit providing Customer Education experiences and employee training to SMEs in Canada and Macedonia. Daniel specializes in content writing and curricular design in the fields of finance, business, and education administration. Before transitioning to instructional design during the pandemic, Daniel gained a decade of experience in  K12 education as a school principal and international educator. As a certified instructional designer and an education leader, Daniel knows how to make effective learning that engages as well as educates.

Val Jusufi

CEO at LEORON Institute

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Val co-founded LEORON in 2010 and has been spearheading its meteoric rise to one of
the leading training institutes in the MENA region. She has been one of the most
prominent leaders in the corporate training and development industry during the last
decade and is at the forefront of its transformation. As CEO of LEORON Institute with
more than 20 years of international business experience, much of which within the
corporate training sector, Val has played a significant role in advancing the L&D sector
in the MENA region, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where
the governments’ Vision 2030 and Vision 2031 respectively aim to transform their
countries into leading global hubs for innovation and investment. Under Val’s
leadership, LEORON has been at the forefront of developing cutting-edge training
programs and consulting services that cater to the unique needs of these fast-growing
economies. Her expertise has been critical in helping organizations to adapt to the
new post-Covid normal and prepare their workforce for future challenges. With Val at
the helm, LEORON is well-positioned to make even greater contributions to the L&D
sector in the EMENA region and support the realization of all major development
initiatives.

Tome Eftimov

Head of AI at TeamLift and Senior Researcher at Jožef Stefan Institute

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Tome Eftimov is the Head of AI at TeamLift, which is a USA startup. He is a senior researcher at the Computer Systems Department at the Jožef Stefan Institute, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Ljubljana, and a visiting assistant professor at the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje. He was a postdoctoral research fellow in AI at Stanford University, USA. In addition, he was a research associate at the University of California, San Francisco. He obtained his Ph.D. in Information and Communication Technologies (2018). In 2019, he was selected as the best young scientist in North Macedonia. His research interests include statistical data analysis, metaheuristics, natural language processing, representation learning, and machine learning. He is an organizer of several workshops related to AI at high-ranked international conferences. He was/is a coordinator of several national and international projects, and actively participates in European-funded projects.

Borijan Borozanov

Manufacturing Director Central/East Europe at Johnson Matthey

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Borijan Borozanov has more than 20 years of experience in international management and corporate leadership roles. Currently, he is serving as Manufacturing Director for Central and Eastern Europe for Johnson Matthey, a FTSE 100 company, and a leading global provider of clean air technologies. His earlier work history includes building up the new Delphi Electronic Systems factory and serving as plant manager for Aptiv Services. Borijan had a variety of positions in the European automotive sector before moving back to North Macedonia, including Strategic Manufacturing Footprint Planner as part of his Rotational Leadership Development Program. Additionally, he oversaw Invest Macedonia’s Investor Servicing Division and contributed to the execution of over 12 investment projects in North Macedonia’s automotive supply chain.

Vlaho Kostov

Executive Engineer, Head of CEE, Mediterranean and Baltic Region at Panasonic Member of the Advisory Board at Macedonia2025

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Dr. Vlaho Kostov is an R&D Executive, Head of CEE and Mediterranean region and represents Panasonic in several management boards of industry consortiums and associations. He has more than 20 years of expertise in Consumer Electronics, Telecom, and Automotive industries within the private sector, the public organizations, and academics. Dr. Kostov is deeply involved in R&D, technology management and new business strategy.Previously he was based in the UK, managing the new business development for Panasonic in Europe and was responsible for industry alliances & collaboration. He spent ten years in Japan, leading the Technology Germination and R&D development including venturing & start-ups in the Silicon Valley (US).  The early career was in the telecom industry, United Nations and T-Mobile.Dr. Kostov obtained his Ph.D. at the Tokyo Metropolitan Inst. Of Technology, where he also worked as Associate Professor teaching Project Management and Communications (in English and Japanese). He has more than 25 peer-reviewed technical publications and led the design innovation and industry projects while studying at Stanford University. Among his most memorable volunteer activities are serving as President of IAESTE Macedonia (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) and Board Member of the European School Frankfurt (leading international school with >1400 students), responsible for overlooking the after-school activities and Social Fund Committee. He is currently a member of the Education Councils for both Primary and Secondary.He is a Senior Member of IEEE and received a Gold award of the Lincoln Foundation Graduate Design Competition (Stanford Univ./TMIT for Toyota Corp.)He has been working, living and communicating in native language in Tokyo, the Silicon Valley, London, Zurich, Milan, Frankfurt, and South East Europe.

10:30 - 11:00

Navigating the Changing Business Landscape in North Macedonia: Building Resilient Businesses
Nikola Jurisic

Founder and Managing Partner at Transfiguration Advisory

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Nikola brings a career of experience working on culture change at scale with over 200

organizations and systems around the world, blending more rational thinking (LSE,

Economist, McKinsey) with more intuitive work (ICF coach, Facilitator of

Transformation and Spiritual Healer with 30+ tools). He is the founder and Managing

Partner of Transfiguration Advisory.

Born in the Balkans, Nikola is the initiator of Project Light, a movement to process

collective trauma and build values-driven societies in the Balkans. Project Light is

collaborating with leading global organizations such as Thomas Hubl’s Pocket Project,

EcoIntention Help2Heal Europe Foundation and the Inner Development Goals

(IDGs).

Described by those who know him as a “mosaic” for his ability to bring a wide range of

divergent perspectives, a “free radical” as a catalyst, and a “spiritual gladiator” for his

integrity, Nikola has visited over 100 and lived in over 20 countries. His top 3 values

are learning, fun and adventure, and excellence.

Venera Krliu Handjiski

Deputy CEO, COO and Vice President of the Board of Directors at University American College Skopje and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

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Venera Krliu Handjiski is the Deputy CEO, Chief Operations Officer, and Vice President of the Board of Directors at the University American College Skopje (UACS). Besides these management positions, she is also an Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior at the School of Business Economics and Management and Vice-Rector for Education. In 2012, Assoc. Prof. Krliu Handjiski, PhD, was awarded the “Business Leader of the Year” award by the European Business Association in Macedonia. She has completed executive education courses, European Entrepreneurship Colloquiums by Harvard Business School in 2009 and 2015, as well as the Young Managers Programme, organized by the IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia. Assoc. Prof. Krliu Handjiski’s long-term charity work and support was recognized in 2017 by the highest state award “Mother Teresa” for humanity and human solidarity, and for encouraging, promoting mutual understanding and developing cooperation, both between peoples and between members of different communities, cultures and religions in Macedonia.

11:00 - 11:30

Networking over coffee

11:30 - 12:00

Building a Global, Family Owned Business
Ivan Artuković

CEO of Franck

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Ivan Artuković

Born in Zagreb, 4 August 1988.

Ivan Artuković is the CEO of the company Franck JSC

Franck is one of the most successful Croatian manufacturers and exporters of food products, with a history of production and innovation spanning more than 130 years, specialized in the production of top-quality coffee, teas, cereal and chicory beverages, and food additives. Today, Franck is the market leader in its product categories, leading market trends with innovative concepts while developing strong brands that are synonymous with quality. The company bases its success on the high competitiveness of its products, which it achieves through continuous care for the optimization and improvement of production processes at all its production locations and is present on the markets of the Adria region, with exports at the EU level, but also globally. The company is strategically focused on further development and sustainable business growth through continuous investment in production excellence and the application of advanced technological solutions, which introduces new trends and contributes to the development of the entire market.

Mr. Ivan Artuković graduated from the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, where he successfully completed his undergraduate studies, along with a semester at the American faculty of the University of Michigan. He also successfully completed the graduate MBA program at ZSEM. In addition, during his career at various European institutions, he received professional training in commodity trading, procurement, organization, and management.

He started his career at Franck at the procurement department. In November 2012, he became a member of the Board for strategic procurement and investments, and later for the supply chain, until August 2017. After various positions in the management with an emphasis on operational business, he became the only member of the Management Board with a special emphasis on operational and financial restructuring, which was successfully completed. Today, in the new mandate period, as the CEO and his team, his goals are to further modernize the company and strengthen the Franck brand.

Mr. Artuković is a volunteer member of the board of directors of the International Coffee Partner association, a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) that brings together eight leading coffee producers and traders in Europe and the Coffee & Climate initiative with the aim of empowering and providing support to small coffee growers in the application of sustainable practices; he is a member of the Advisory Board of the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, made up of successful leaders, managers and entrepreneurs from various sectors, and this year’s winner of the “Manager of the Year” award in the category of the best young manager from the Croatian Managers’ & Entrepreneurs’ Association.

Recreationally, he enjoys basketball, mountain biking, skiing, and hiking.

Metodija Papazoski

Co-founder & Managing Partner at EMBS Group and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

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Metodija Papazoski is a Cofounder and Vice President of EMBS Group, a global market intelligence and advisory company. He has more than 15 years of experience consulting to Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries including healthcare, industrial goods, consumer goods, and financial services. Metodija is also a frequent speaker at industry events, such as SCIP’s and CIMICON’s International Conferences. Areas of expertise: market entry and business development, strategic advisory, market sizing, competitive intelligence (CI). Metodija holds an MA degree in International Business Management from Bradford University and a BA in Economics from the University of Skopje. He resides in Krakow, Poland with his wife Zuzana and their three children. Metodija enjoys playing basketball, reading, travelling and CrossFit.

12:00 - 13:00

In focus: Doing WELL to Boost Longevity and Productivity (wellness industry
Olga Rajcic

Co-founder of Challenger Representative of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia

Dr. Jasmina Boban

Radiologist at Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Vojvodina Institute of Oncology

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I was born in Novi Sad, on 27th Feb, 1983. After graduation from the Faculty of Medicine Novi Sad in 2008, cum laude (9.78/10), I started the internship in Radiology. I was awarded board certification in 2017 and European Diploma in Neuroradiology in 2021.

The PhD thesis in the field of neuroradiology and infectious diseases, named „MR spectroscopy of the brain in HIV patients“ I defended on 16th Nov, 2016. From 2017-2023 I have been teaching assistent at the Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, Novi Sad, and since 2023 I started working as assistant professor at the same department.

I am author and coauthor in 33 papers on SCI list, 14 of them in the top 30% of high-ranked journals. I have authored and coauthored more than hundred abstracts on national and international meetings, amny of them being introductory lectures. I have authored 6 chapters in international monographies (one of the is reference book for European subspecialization in Neuroradiology) and 1 chapter in national monography.

I have mentored one defended PhD thesis in the field of breast radiology and currenly am mentoring five ongoing PhD theses. I have entored four student papers, one of them was awarded at the Intenrational congress of students in Biomedical sciences in 2021.

I am principal investigator on a long-term project funded by Science Fund of Republic Serbia in the program „Ideas“, enitled „Chemobrain: Imaging biomarkers of neuronal injury and plasticity“. I am investigator on two H2020 projects, in the field of AI in management of breast cancer and voice-recognition software solutions. I am investigator on a project funded by company Merck MSD, in the field of metabolic syndrome in HIV infection. I am principal investigator in one and investigator in another long-term poroject funded by Provincial Secretartiat for Higher Education and Scientific work.

I am the president of Subcommittee for Scientific Work in Neuroradiology in the European Society of Radiology; a member of CORE committee for preparing and examining for European Diploma in Radiology, section Neuroradiology. I am a standard lecturer on the European Course for Diploma in Neuroradiology.

I fluently speak English, Spanish, German and Sloakian.

I am married and a mother of four children.

Nikola Boglev

Fitness and Spa management, Palestra Fitness Center

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Nikola Boglev is currently the General Manager of Palestra Fitness Centre, General Secretary for International Sports at the Federation of School Sports in North Macedonia, and Social Media Administrator. He graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education, Sport, and Health at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, as a Professor of physical education. Nikola’s prior experience as Manager in several fitness centers, at Hotel Park Fitness & Spa, Hotel Marriot Fitness & Spa, Synergy Fitness Centre, and Aleksandar Palace Fitness Centre, responsible for overall management and operations. Nikola has extensive working experience of over 20 years in management, operations, and consultancy in North Macedonia, as well as international engagement in various international projects such as Erasmus, Grass Root programs, Fun School Sports, and other sports-related projects. His significant knowledge and experience enable him to work on developing and implementing programs and projects mostly in improving youth participation and other programs for overall well-being and improvement of sports culture.

Dr. Aleksandar Mitov

Public Health Specialist

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Dr. Aleksandar Mitov holds a master’s degree in public health and environmental impacts on human health. He graduated in medicine from the Faculty of Medicine in Skopje as valedoctorian, with an average of 9.9. He received his master’s degree in public health at the Cyprus Institute in association with Harvard School of Public Health as valedictorian also, with the highest average of the generation (3.9/4).He then completed a master’s degree in environmental studies in Cambridge, UK, as a member of the prestigious St. John’s College and Pexim Foundation Scholar.

From 2012 to 2017, he was Special Advisor on healthcare to the President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, and was also the main expert consultant for the healthy food campaign of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. Through numerous appearances in the media and social networks, as well as through his own show “Dr. Mitov advises”, he contributes to the improvement of public health in Macedonia.

In recent years, he has been working intensively with patients in order to help them change their habits and gain better health through a healthier lifestyle. Following evidence-based medicine, but also natural interventions for which there are strong convincing scientific studies, Dr. Mitov has a comprehensive approach to the treatment of chronic diseases.

Sourav Sinha

Partner & Head of Strategy, Longevity Vision Fund

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Sourav Sinha

Sourav is Partner & Head of Strategy at the Longevity Vision Fund, a leading longevity-focused venture fund partnering with late-stage biotechnology companies developing therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, and innovations aimed to extend the healthy human lifespan. Sourav was the first investor with Longevity Vision Fund and grew the portfolio to 18 industry-leading companies, including several acquired and exited companies.

Sourav leads investments into Series B/Crossover stage companies and continues to advise the executive teams through development. Sourav invested LVF Fund 1 of $100M and launched LVF Fund 2 just 2.5 years afterwards. Fast Company recognized LVF with its World Changing Ideas Award in Impact Investing in 2020, 2021 & 2022.

Sourav previously was a founding executive and Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Special Projects of Celularity (NASDAQ: CELU)—the first spinout of Celgene Corporation. Celularity creates allogeneic cellular immunotherapies engineered from placental stem cells. Sourav worked dynamically and cross-functionally between scientific, clinical, finance, and business development teams to bring these therapies through late-stage clinical trials.

David Evangelista

President and Managing Director, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia

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David Evangelista is President & Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia and Senior Advisor for International Development for Special Olympics, Inc. He is responsible for the growth and development of the Special Olympics movement across 58 nations across Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. As Senior Advisor for International Development, David is responsible for the creation and expansion of global partnerships with United Nation agencies, foreign aid agencies, international non-governmental organizations and global philanthropy. David has extensive global experience in the areas of government relations, industry engagement, international development, thought leadership and global partnership building in support of marginalized populations. David serves on the Advisory Board of the

Division of Multilateral Diplomacy for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), a current member of the Centre for Sports and Human Rights (CSHR) and is a member of the international Board of Directors for The Access Challenge (TAC). He also serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the London School of Economics’ The Inclusion Initiative Diversity and Productivity Committee. David was a former member of the High-Level Group on Sports Diplomacy for the European Commission and a former member of the Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities for UNICEF.

A Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow of the Lions Clubs International Foundation, David is Founding President of the Washington, DC Special Olympics Lions Club and currently serves as a member of the Centennial 100 Champion Lions Club based in London. An experienced guest speaker, David has delivered keynote speeches at leading universities, including Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Georgetown University as well as at various business institutes in Europe. He has also served as a guest speaker and presenter for the United Nations, European Union, and a range of civil society organizations on issues related to international development, global affairs, disability, and government relations. David has also provided numerous interviews to a range of media outlets, including the BBC, NPR, ESPN, and national media affiliates across Europe, the Caribbean and North America.

David has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the School of International Service of American University in Washington, DC and an Executive Master’s in Business Administration/ International Business from IESIDE in Vigo, Spain. A native of Rhode Island, USA, David, resides in Vigo, Spain with his wife and their two sons.

13:00 - 14:00

Lunch Break

14:00 - 14:30

Chat GPT Unplugged: A look into the Future of AI
Nevenka Dimitrova

Biomedical Data Science & Technology Executive and Member of the Board of Directors at Macedonia2025

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Nevenka Dimitrova is a Biomedical Data Science & Technology Executive with a strong innovation and strategy track record. She is a passionate scientist and a technologist with a drive to bring cutting edge data science, diagnostic and biopharmaceutical technology to solve problems in human health, clinical and life sciences through digital transformation. She is a PhD in Computer Science, with extensive leadership of cross-functional global teams to initiate solutions, with multiple stakeholders in a complex matrixed organization. Nevenka has over 140 publications, 80 issued patents spanning healthcare, life sciences, and technology.In her role as a VP of Biomedical Data at GlaxoSmithKline she brought transformational change stepping into first of a kind next gen cloud for pharma R&D. Many first of a kind digital technology implementations for R&D at large in the areas of computational data governance and data staging, new dataflows on Google Cloud, full stack machine learning applications to speed up the biopharma process for R&D.Previously, as CTO of Oncology Informatics and Genomics in Philips, she took products from conception to market success and open new business opportunities. She has been committed to improve patients’ outcomes, by bringing digital innovations into the world of researchers and practicing clinicians to add precision and clarity – with cloud informatics and machine learning. She was awarded with the Gilles Holst award, the highest peer recognition at Philips. Her expertise is in improving clinical outcomes in oncology, epidemiology, and immunology.Nevenka feels strongly about giving back to the community and has been involved in many initiatives. Nevenka serves on the Macedonia 2025 to help build initiatives in leadership education as well as high-tech education. She is very passionate about implementation of programs for enhancing digital skills, as well as coding and robotics, among young underserved Macedonian students. She has founded and serves on the board of Seed of Life, an innovative nutrition company in North Macedonia.She serves on the board of Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Serbia supporting with expertise and networking for the Institute to become a global Center of Excellence in scientific research and technology transfer in Artificial Intelligence for Serbia and the region. Nevenka serves on the Advisory Council of the global Ekagrid Artificial Intelligence in India where she brings expertise in research, education, innovation, road mapping for the institute and its Centers for Excellence in Health and Cyber Security.

Guruduth Banavar

Science & Tech Innovator, Entrepreneur, Investor, Humanist

14:30 - 15:30

Startups vs. Industry Leaders: A Conversation on Innovation and Growth
Dan Ram

Event MC| 5x TEDx Speaker | Public Speaking Coach

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DanRam is an IGNITER! A 5x TEDx speaker, 3x entrepreneur, prolific event MC / moderator, and public speaking coach, his clients range from individual founders to national governments. His eclectic background growing up in 11 countries on 4 continents, his multi-continent education including Yale University and Trinity College (and currently pursuing a PhD in Entrepreneurship at RWTH), as well as his work in diverse industries from the UN to Consulting to Private Equity to Startups ensures that his clients are at the cutting edge of innovation.

On the ground, he is the founder of several startups in multiple countries and has coached scores of founders and startups. At the national level, Daniel was part of the 7 person panel commissioned by Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to put together a National Entrepreneurship Policy. He was recognized as Top 40 under 40 European Leader 2020 as well as Top 100 Yale Alumni in Technology 2021.

DanRam travels the globe as an Event MC & Speaker at over 100 events a year. Hosting changemakers like President Barack Obama, billionaire founders Sir Richard Branson and Reid Hoffman, F1 champion Nico Rosberg, Grammy-winning artists and celebrities, he works on 4 continents from college campuses to parliaments to in-house corporate innovation days for Fortune 500 companies to the biggest tech conferences in the world. His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.

Nikola Velkovski

Co-Founder & CEO at Howitzer

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Nikola Velkovski is the co-founder and CEO of Howitzer, the first Macedonian startup to receive the largest pre-seed investment of $500,000.

Howitzer is a B2B SaaS company that creates marketing tools for startups and agencies. This year they launched HeyReach.io – a marketing tool for LinkedIn, which completely changes the concept of automating the entire outreach process through LinkedIn. Nikola is a software engineer by profession, but his main interests are in the field of growth hacking (alternative ways of marketing), raising investments and launching startup products.

Visar Ramajli

Co-Owner and Managing Partner of KIVO L.L.C.

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Visar is an entrepreneur, IT engineer, and manufacturer, who is committed to corporate social responsibility. He has expertise in various areas of IT and holds certification in Engineering Management from the Vienna Technical University.

As a cofounder of several renowned tech, marketing, and manufacturing companies in Kosova, Visar has extensive business experience. He confounded a large-scale plastic packaging manufacturing plant in Kosova and cofounded a plastics recycling company, which operates one of the largest state-of-the-art plants in the Western Balkans. He recognized the importance of the circular economy and decided to establish the company to address environmental challenges.

Visar’s significant contributions to the economic development and promotion of foreign investments in Kosova were recognized with the European of the Year award by the European Union Office in Kosova. He is an advocate for the private sector and has founded and served in several local and foreign commercial associations in Kosova. He is also known for his corporate citizenship, supporting individuals and community organizations, which led to his recognition with a CSR Award.

Visar is passionate about constantly sharing his wealth of experience in business, IT, and sustainability. His exceptional business acumen and deep understanding of environmental responsibility make him a compelling example of how companies can operate in a sustainable and ethical manner.

Jovana Tufegdžić

Corporate Communications Manager at Visa SEE

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Jovana Tufegdžić is Corporate Communications Manager in Visa Southeast Europe.

She started her career more than 15 years ago in a multinational company in the FMCG industry. To the greatest extent, she dealt with the creation of corporate reputation, the realization of socially responsible projects, but also crisis management.

Jovana recently realized the project She’s next, empowered by Visa with the aim of recognizing and empowering women in Serbia who want to start their own business and become economically independent. So far, almost 5,000 ladies have joined this community, and more than 900 of them attended big educational event organized in Belgrade.

Đorđe Dimitrijević

Founder of SignAvatar, ChainImpact, Red!Tech

15:30 - 15:45

Closing Ceremony
H.E. Stevo Pendarovski

President of the Republic of North Macedonia

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President Stevo Pendarovski was born on 3 April 1963 in Skopje. He graduated in 1987 at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus”, University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, Skopje and obtained M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute for Political, Legal and Sociological Research at the University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” – Skopje.

 

In the past 11 years he was a Professor at the University American College Skopje, lecturing the following subjects: International Security, International Relations, Introduction to Politics, Globalization, Geopolitics, US Foreign policy, EU Foreign and Security policy, Small States in World Affairs. In the period 1998 – 2001 he was the Head of Analytical and Research Department in the Ministry of Interior and Ministry’s spokesperson.

From 2001 to 2004 he was National Security Advisor of the President of the Republic of Macedonia. From 2004 to 2005 he was President of the State Election Commission. In the period 2005 to 2009 he was Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of the Republic of Macedonia. From 2016 to 2017 he was Member of Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia. From December 2017 till May 2019 he was National Coordinator for preparation of the Republic of North Macedonia for NATO membership.

On 12 May 2019, by giving a solemn statement in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski officially took over the Office of Head of State.

President Pendarovski is married to Elizabeta Gjorgievska and they have a son, Ognen.

20:00 - 23:00

Networking Event

25 April 11:30 - 13:00

Smart Girls, Smart Money: Financial Literacy Training

Elizabeth Naumovski Session (American Corner, Struga)

26 April 12:30 - 13:30

Dan Ram (University American College Skopje)

14:30 - 15:30

Dan Ram (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, UKIM)

15:00 - 16:00

Tech Leadership: Insights from a Former Google Executive

Ted Souder Session (Marriott Room A/B)

27 April 11:00 - 11:45

ABF scholars meeting with Mitre and Sophie Kutanovski

12:00 - 13:00

Social Innovation: Working with Culture & Systems Change

Nikola Jurisic Session (Marriott Room A/B) with PCPE (School of Politics)

Day 1, Tuesday

25 April 2023

Day 2, Wednesday

26 April 2023

Day 2, Wednesday

27 April 2023

Training sessions

Partners and Sponsors

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

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