Meet our Speakers
Proud to bring inspirational speakers from across the globe
Why Join Our Association?
Our Member Goal
One Motto: Global Croatia
One Goal: To Connect
Thank you to the generous sponsors of the 2017 Annual ACAP Conference in Chicago. We appreciate their show of support for the Croatian American Professional community.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, visit our sponsorship page for more information.
Our mission is to bring together professionals of Croatian descent on issues that mutually affect their professional and business interests as well as work with other organizations on matters of common concern.
Enhance your network
For most people, creating professional relationships is important, and joining a group like ACAP allows you to have a sense of security and trust. From this, our organization and members are able to support and help one another in reaching professional goals.
Take charge of your career
Another important reason to consider membership to the ACAP organization is to take advantage of career and mentorship resources. This is a great way to find members focused on your area of interest.
Broaden your knowledge
Our association provides an access to resource information such as: relevant news from Croatia, Croatian-American experts in your field, advocacy programs, awards, sources for scholarship information, working task forces and a focus on important mutual issues of concern.
Why Join Our Association?
Association of Croatian American Professionals
Second Annual Conference
11-13, May 2017
Cardinal Blase Cupichis an American cardinal who serves as the ninth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is also a member of the Roman Curia's Congregation for Bishops, which plays a role in advising on bishop appointments and episcopal matters.
Cupich was the choice of Pope Francis to succeed Francis Cardinal George as Archbishop of Chicago on September 20, 2014. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he was ordained a priest there in 1975. He is a member of the College of Cardinals.
David DiehlDavid Diehl has become one of the top young and rising sports analysts and personalities after an unbelievable football career with the World Champion Football New York Giants. On the football field, Diehl was one of the most versatile and best value draft picks in Giants history. As a 5th round pick, he went on to win 2 Super Bowls, selected to both the Pro Bowl and All Pro, and finished his career with 164 games started which is the 12th most in the history of the New York Giants.
Sanja Lakovic, Consul GeneralConsul General Mrs. Sanja Lakovic was appointed to Chicago in September 2015. She began her diplomatic career in public service in the Ministry of European Integration of the Republic of Croatia. From 2002 she was the Head of the Department for General Affairs. In 2005, she was named the Head of Service for Material, Accounting and General Affairs, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integrations of Croatia.
Joseph Gene PetricJoseph Gene Petrić is the Assistant Minister in the
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Office
Josko ParoJosko Paro, the Ambassador in Washington DC comes from the position of the President's foreign policy advisor, where he has served since February 2010. He joined the Croatian Foreign Service in January 1992 where he worked on bilateral relations with Western European countries. From 1993 to 1996 he served as deputy chief of mission at the Croatian Embassy in Madrid. In 1996 he was head of the Political Analysis Department and the foreign minister’s speech writer.
Zdravka Bušić M.Sc.Zdravka Bušić M.Sc. is the State Secretary for the Republic of Croatia within the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Her experience includes: Vice-president of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation; Member of the Croatian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and the Sub-Committee for Cooperation with the European Parliament;
Tomislav CarTomislav is a tech entrepeneur and the CEO at Infinum, a software design and development agency. He's been at the intersection of business, programming and design for over 12 years. Alongside his partners, Tomislav grew Infinum from a college hobby to a respectable business with over a 110 employees and clients from all over the world. He runs the company's San Francisco office, and is responsible for overall strategy and growing the company at a sustainable rate.
Infinum is well known.
Marijana BalicMarijana Balic began her mandate as a Croatian Parliament member in 2016. Before her appointment, she served as an accredited parliamentary assistant for the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium and as project manager for the Development Agency of Vukovar-Srijem County HRAST Ltd in Vinkovci, Croatia.
Balic holds a Master’s degree from Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb.
Mislav GluscevicMislav Gluscevic
VP of Global Sales & Marketing, Avalon Hosting, LLC. Everybody's heard of internet superstars like Facebook, Google or Uber. Everybody admires their global success, and thousands of small businesses try to navigate the complexities of the internet on their own. An overload of information, lack of funds, complex techno jargon, and an abundance of technology are just some of the obstacles standing in their way.
Mark Peter BegichMark Begich is the President and CEO of Northern Compass Group, LLC, a full service-consulting firm with experience in business, government and politics. Mark Begich has built an impressive record of accomplishments on some of the most complicated but important issues such as fisheries, resource development, arctic policy, education, veterans, commerce, housing and more.
Mark Begich served as the United States Senator of Alaska from 2009-2015. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Ante LučićAnte Lučić (b. 1988) is a consultant and entrepreneur from Zagreb, Croatia. He is the Founder & CEO of A-Link, a consultancy specialized in careers, education, and marketing. Together with his team, he has helped many individuals identify and enroll in study programs abroad, and he has also advised foreign educational insitutions in marketing, academic competitivenes, and running career centers. Ante is also a director of a recently-launched portal Kampus.hr which covers various topics.
Davorin StetnerDavorin Stetner is an investor, entrepreneur and an adventurer. He is CEO at his KREATOR GROUP which consists of several companies, brands and projects. Currently he is President of the Croatian Business Angels Network and serves as advisor of The Croatian President Mrs. Kolinda Grabar – Kitarović in her Economic Council.
Serhat CicekogluSerhat Cicekoglu a graduate of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and Istanbul Technical University. He is an expert on Innovation Management with over 25 years of industry experience serving corporations in Consumer Electronics, Semiconductor, Consumer Goods, and Industrial Products sectors, including AMD, Accenture, KPMG, and SAP. His areas of expertise include Corporate Strategy Planning, Corporate Venturing, M&A, and New Product Development.
Nikola MetesNikola is a Digital Marketing Professional based in California. He is also serving as Secretary of the Association of Croatian American Professionals.
Ela Mirkovic KellyEla Kelly is an experienced public relations and social media expert with international and domestic experience in both strategic management and implementation levels. As a result of her experience with clients, she has recognized a high need for creation of affordable communication services for small businesses and non-profits.
Mike MiseticA seasoned public relations professional with more than 20 years of experience, Michael Misetic currently serves as the Managing Partner of Franchise Elevator PR. A respected communicator with a deep understanding of entrepreneurship and emerging franchise brands, Mr. Misetic is a trusted industry resource, and his deep-rooted relationships are the foundation of many long-term clients and an A-list media network. His clients’ stories have been featured in leading media outlets.
Sandy PudarSandy Pudar was born in Chicago. Her parents were born in Velic about 40 minutes east of Split, Croatia. She and her family are lifelong parishioners of St. Jerome Croatian Church in Chicago.
Pudar is currently the assistant news director of WGN-TV in Chicago. Since 2014, she has helped lead the expansion of WGN to 12.5 hours of local programming a day – the most in the city. A 17-year veteran of WGN News, Pudar has worked in a variety of capacities at the station.
Tony MarusicTony Marusic is currently the Director of Communications for United Healthcare, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, the number six company on the Fortune 500 list. He has had this position since 2014 and is responsible for all external communications in the Central Region supporting the organization’s commercial, Medicaid and Medicare lines of business. He provides communications counsel to senior executives, leads announcements for services and product launches, handles media relations.
Ante LoncarAnte Loncar was born in Chicago. His parents emigrated from Hercegovina. He and his family have been lifelong members of the Croatian community and active parishioners at Sacred Heart Croatian Church in South Chicago.
Loncar has been General Manager of the RWB Adria soccer team since 1986. Adria is the most successful amateur adult men's team in Illinois soccer history. Most recently, they were twice crowned champions of the prestigious USA Amateur Cup. He also serves as the Vice President
Iva LugaricIva Lugaric was born in Zagreb, Croatia. She studied law in Zagreb and Rijeka before moving to Chicago in 2011. She immersed herself in the local Croatian community, volunteering as a Croatian language teacher for elementary students since 2012. She is also a writer/contributor to Moja Hrvatska, a digital portal hosted by Vecernji List. Her articles include topics about everyday life and cultural happenings for Croatian-Americans in the Chicagoland area.
Maria Dugandzic- PasicMaria Dugandzic-Pasic is vice president of corporate communications for PNC Bank in the Midwest. She was a former producer with CNN and won several awards for her work covering major global news events.
In 2010, she authored “Croatians of Chicagoland,” the first english-language book to document the historic timeline of Croatian immigration and expansion in Chicago: www.croatiansofchicagoland.com.
She is executive producer and director of “They Never Walked Alone, a Croatian documentary.
Anna RozenichAnna R. Rozenich is Senior Vice President – Corporate Communications for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a publicly-traded, international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm with operations in 33 countries. In her role, Anna is responsible for media relations, internal communications and employee engagement, and corporate marketing communications campaigns.
Milivoj Marković, PhD, MBAMilivoj Markovic received a doctorate in Business Economics from the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb. Prior to that he completed his undergraduate studies and MBA with the same institution. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship for the academic year 2009/2010 with placement at Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. He has more than 10 years of academic research and teaching experience, currently as a faculty member with RIT.
Alejandra PavisichAlejandra Pavisich is a Croatian Bolivian who created and manages the #1 Facebook page and blog about Croatia for Latin America called DOBAR DAN SANTA CRUZ. With over 8,200 likes the Facebook page and blog has likes and readers from all over the world, and it's focused on topics of interest to the Croatian diaspora in Latin America. Alejandra has been a Croatian scholarship recipient of the partial scholarship awarded by the State Office of Croats Abroad for its Croaticum program.
Valentino GrbavacValentino Grbavac was born in Split in 1992. He graduated with a BA in Political Science and History from Macalester College. He is currently a second-year Master student studying Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and International Business Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is a PPIA Fellow, a Wallenberg Fellow, a CERES Fellow and a UWC alumnus. His first book, Unequal Democracy: The Political Position of Croats in BIH.
Don MarkusicDon Markušić is an Australian lawyer of Croatian heritage also admitted to practice in England and Wales. He is the first common law qualified lawyer to be admitted to practice in Croatia and advises on all areas of foreign investment, property and commercial law. With his combined foreign and local legal qualifications and language skills and having worked on large transactions with multinational consulting firms alongside auditors and tax advisors, he provides unique solutions.
Ivana PerkušićIvana Perkušić is an Advisor with Special Status for Croatian Diaspora Affairs at the Central State Office for Croats abroad. She is a lawyer with a passed the state bar exam and a permanent court interpreter for English. She gained experience in diplomacy during her years spent in Australia, after which she continued her career at the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure.
Igor BorasIgor Boras is a Senior Construction Manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington.
Igor studied engineering at the University of Sarajevo. He also represented Bosnia Herzegovina at the Bobsled World Championship in 1993, and captained their Bobsled team in the 1994 Winter Olympics. He was invited to the United States in 1994 to receive an award “Keepers of The Flame” from the American University for exemplary conduct and partnering in overcoming political adversities.
Croatiana OreskovicCroatiana Orešković is the head of the Department of Legal Affairs, Culture and Education of Diaspora at the Central State Office for Croats abroad. She lived in the United States until the end of 1991. She graduated from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, and is currently attending postgraduate specialist studies in Leadership at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb. Prior to her work at the Central State Office, she gained relevant experience in legal matters at the Ministry of Labor and Pension.
Steven Pavletic, MDSteven Zivko Pavletic, MD is a Senior Clinician, Clinical Investigator and Head of the Graft-versus-Host and Autoimmunity Section in the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.
Jeana E. Havidich MDJeana E. Havidich MD, MS, FAAP, is an associate professor and pediatric anesthesiologist at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.
She has served on several national and state committees including the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation Scientific and Education Committee, the Society of Pediatric Sedation, South Carolina Office Based Surgery Task Force, and South Carolina State Executive Committee. Dr. Havidich was a founder of the Society of Pediatric Sedation, Chair of the SPS committee.
Eugen HalarEugen Halar, M.D., is currently Professor Emeritus at the Department of Rehabilitation
Medicine, UW Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle. Before retirement
he researched and published in the areas of musculoskeletal and neurological
recovery and rehabilitation, such as Effects of Physical Inactivity on Body Functions,
Cardiac Rehabilitation, Stroke Rehabilitation and electrodiagnostic testing.
Alan Koncarevic, PhDAlan Koncarevic, PhD, serves as head of Strategic Alliances for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at The University of Chicago. He is responsible for research collaboration relationships with industry partners.
Koncarevic’s background includes innovation management and technology development, with more than 10 years of interdisciplinary experience in basic and translational research, commercial development, partnering, and licensing in corporate, venture creation, academic.
Lilli ZakarijaLilli Zakarija is Co-Founder and President of EdgeOne Medical Inc and has over 20 years of experience in the medical device industry. Her expertise includes development and global launch of various single-use, disposable medical devices and combination products, strategic/technical development of device platforms and IP management. Throughout her career she has held management roles in engineering and project management.
Davorka KirincicA native of Croatia, Davorka Kirincic is an active member of the Croatian community in the Midwest. Davorka has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of architecture and urban planning. Currently, she works for the City of Des Plaines as the City Planner and Community Development Block Grant Coordinator. Davorka holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture with a concentration in Urban Planning from the University of Sarajevo, and a Certificate for Principles and Practice of New Urbanism.
Fr. Jozo Grbes, OFMFr. Jozo Grbes was born in Croatia. He joined the Franciscan Order in 1986. He studied philosophy and theology in Sarajevo, Canterbury and London (England) where he graduated at the University of London in 1992.
He arrived in the United States in 1992 and was ordained a priest in New York City. He continued his pastoral duties in Manhattan after his ordination while taking post-graduate studies at St. John's University where he received a Master's Degree in theology/philosophy.
Ivanka ParagaIvanka Paraga is a Croatian American; a life-long active participant and leader of her Chicago community. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago and Honors Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Marquette University. Ivanka has been associated with the “Kardinal Alojzije Stepinac” Croatian School of Chicago since its inception in 1973, serving as a language and history teacher for the last 17 years, administratively as principal for the last two.
Stijepko Tokic J.D. LL.M.Professor Stijepko Tokic serves as Chairperson for the Department of Accounting, Business Law, and Finance at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois. He also teaches a variety of Business Law courses. Professor Tokic focuses much of his research on the intersection between patent and antitrust laws, and he has published numerous articles in various journals, such as the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal, the Federal Circuit Bar Journal.
Mark YelichMark Yelich focuses his practice on employment-based immigration. Mark represents clients in nonimmigrant and immigrant visa matters before the Department of Labor, Department of State, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Mark has particular subject matter expertise with outstanding researcher and extraordinary ability permanent residency matters, particularly, within the health care industry. Mark works with companies of all sizes and in all industries.
Maria SenticMaria is a Certified Public Accountant and the CEO and Founder of AccountingLeap LLC, providing outsourced accounting, business process automation, and strategic consulting to businesses. Maria started AccountingLeap LLC after selling her first company, Cloudsourced Accounting LLC, an online accounting and cloud integration firm.
Maria holds a B.A. degree in Economics and International Studies from Northwestern University, as well as an A.A.S. degree in Management.
Mauro ViskovicMauro Viskovic is a corporate attorney at the law firm of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP, where he is committed to providing high quality and cost-effective legal services to its domestic and international clients. Mauro is also the President of the Croatian American Bar Association and heads the Legal Section of the Association of Croatian American Professionals.
Dorothy VinskyDorothy is based in our Santa Monica office. Her practice focuses on start-up, emerging growth and middle-market companies and includes both company and investor-side representation in private equity financings, public offerings, securities compliance, general corporate governance matters, commercial contracts, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions. She works with clients in technology, healthtech, finance and internet related industries.
Marko ZoreticMarko R. Zoretic is a partner in Knobbe Martens’ Orange County office. His practice focuses on patent litigation matters related to a variety of technologies including consumer electronic devices, computer hardware and software systems, medical devices and industrial devices. In a survey of his peers published in Super Lawyers magazine, Mr. Zoretic was named as one of Southern California’s “Rising Stars” in intellectual property law (2014). Marko is serving as President of the ACAP.
John KosirJohn Kosir is a corporate associate in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he concentrates his practice on complex business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, divestitures, recapitalizations and restructurings, private financings, executive compensation and incentive equity arrangements, and other general corporate matters. John has handled such matters on behalf of, among others, Arsenal Capital, Bain Capital, Dunes Point Capital.
Ivan John JurkovicIvan John Jurkovic is a former American football player and current show host on ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago. He grew up in Calumet City, Illinois. Jurkovic played professionally as a defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Cleveland Browns.
He attended Thornton Fractional North High School and Eastern Illinois University.
Jurkovic is now a morning host of the show “Carmen and Jurko” on ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago along with Carmen DeFalco.
Matija AbicicAfter graduating from UCLA with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics in 2009, Matija joined Sysrepublic Inc. where he still serves as Head of Product Strategy. Sysrepublic is a London-based software company specializing in Retail Data Analytics and a world leader in Loss Prevention solutions. He also sits on advisory boards of a couple of software startups and is an active participant in growing tech movement in Orange County, CA.
Sanja Jurkovic BudimirSanjay Jurkovic Budimir is a Players Agent licensed by US Soccer Federation and Co-Founder of Golden Goal Sports & Marketing based in Chicago, IL.
Zoran PlaninicZoran Planinic was born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He began his basketball career at HKK Brotnjo in Citluk in 1994. He was named the Croatian League MVP in 2001 while playing for Cibona Zagreb. In 2003, he was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the first round, 22nd overall. He spent three seasons there, and after his NBA career he moved to TAU Ceramica in Spain. Zoran also played for CSKA Moscow and BC Khimki in Russia and Anadolu Efes in Turkey.
Korie HledeKorie brings 11 years of experience playing professional basketball in the WNBA, Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, and Russia and 6 years of coaching experience at all levels to Flow Basketball Academy. In addition to being an Assistant Coach for the Detroit Shock when they won their WNBA Championship, Korie was an Assistant Coach at the University of Rhode Island and has spent time developing players from grades 4 to 11.
Peggy. ParfenoffPeggy Parfenoff is the President of WorldChicago, a non-profit that hosts US Department of State and other federally sponsored emerging leaders in Chicago. WorldChicago is a member of the Global Ties national network, and Peggy serves on the board member for Global Ties. Before joining WorldChicago in 2001, Peggy worked at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as Director of Development.
Miljenko BuraAssistant Professor Miljenko Bura works as a head and neck surgeon at University Hospital Center Zagreb. Dr. Bura was the Deputy Minister of health in 2014-2016 and has spent the last ten years promoting health tourism in Croatia.In addition, Dr. Bura started the Health Card Project (www.health-card.com) for discounts on medical treatments and tourism services. The first Adriatic Health and Tourism Investment Forum will take place October 12-13 in Zagreb.
Marina DrmacHead of Career Services, Alumni Relations and Study Abroad at RIT Croatia. Marina Drmač received her MS degree from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Zagreb and her BS degree from RIT. She has more than ten years of experience in both the profit and nonprofit sector.
Marko HercegDr. Herceg is the Commissioner of Mental Health for Westchester County, NY. In 2016, as Chair of the County Concussion Task Force, he was the lead author of the Task Force’s “10 Best Practices for Concussion Management." He has 25 years of experience in brain injury rehabilitation. Dr. Herceg sits on the Executive Board of the Sports Neuropsychology Society and 2018 President-Elect of the Neuropsychology Division of the New York State Psychological Association.
Tatjana MustacTatjana will be discussing her current research and future plans. She is looking to reach out to other scientists and doctors in the Croatian community.
Tatjana Mustac is an undergraduate student at Queens College, CUNY, pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry while on the PreMed track.