What country were you born in (if first generation, where is your family from), and how long have you lived in Cleveland?  

I was born in Croatia but lived mainly in Bosnia before coming to the US. I have lived in the US for 27 years and in Cleveland for 11 years. 

The pioneers and supporters of International Women’s Day believe that “from challenges come change.”: What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success?  

Navigating my professional path to a great extent on my own, as the eldest child of a family of transplants, has been one challenge. That experience spurred me to want to support others who may not have all of the built-in resources that success so often requires, through Minds Matter. Despite experiencing that challenge myself, as time has gone on, I’ve understood more how my parents in their own ways instilled in me resilience and the ability to adapt through challenges. My family also moved around a lot after we came to the US, and that experience was challenging but ultimately taught me how to thrive in different environments and how to relate to all kinds of people.  

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?   

Just go ahead and be your fullest, strongest self. I love seeing women owning who they are, owning the space they’re in, and not apologizing for being or for doing exactly what they should be doing to succeed in their own lives and to make an impact in our community and world.  

How can the greater Cleveland community encourage, support, and amplify the success of international women?  

I believe in the innate potential of all people, and that applies to international women. I think we could all stand to view international women through the lens of their innate human uniqueness and potential, doing our best to set aside biases and assumptions inherent in each of our own worldviews.