What country were you born in, and how long have you lived in Cleveland? 

I was born in Slovenia and lived there till graduated from Law University with mayor International Law.  After graduation and successfully passed exams, I was immediately admitted to the diplomatic service. My first post was far away from home, in Canada (Toronto), but later I served mainly in European countries (Croatia, The Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland) and in between did a professional upgrade at Diplomatic Academy in Spain. As the first woman who served ever as Consul General in Cleveland,  I proudly took over the position on August 1, 2019.   

  • So – even though I was born, raised, and educated in Slovenia and to Slovenian parents, I feel and think, together with my family, like European and global citizens.

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? 

My biggest challenges were two and are closely connected. The first challenge was related to my professional career. In all decades of hard work and diligence, at the time predominantly “male profession,” I had to prove myself over and over again that I, as a woman, deserve to be at the top – in my case – the head of the government representative office. But without continued and strong support from my family, this would not be possible. 

The second challenge was personal that, being a woman, in addition to a demanding job and a considerable absence from home, I needed and wanted to be equally involved and committed to fulfill another responsible task – being a mother and a wife. However, with good coordination, goodwill and understanding everything is possible. 

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?  

My advice to all women, based on my own experience: listen to yourself and dare to follow your dream.  Nothing is impossible. Not even to change the world – if you want to.  And rememberwomen, benefit from the collaboration over competition. So – work together! Go out, create connections, based on shared interests and goals! This way you will be stronger, more visible, and heard, as well as smarter. And do not forget a common benefit. I am strongly convinced, that good is always rewarded with good.  

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

I did a little research….. It seems, that Cleveland was quite in favor of supporting capable women – Ruby Dee, actress, and civil rights advocate, Halle Berry, the first woman of African descent in the US to win an Oscar for best actress, Muriel Siebert, the first woman to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange, Florence Allen, the first woman appointed and confirmed to a federal appeals court judgeship and I can go on and on. 

I am convinced, that all communities and societies in the world should much more encourage and support women in general, not only the successful ones.  Especially those, involved in leadership and decision-making. Sadly, but today, women remain underrepresented in the highest political positions. As of 2020, women only hold around 25% of seats in national parliaments and account for less than 7% of the world’s leaders. 

And what can you do to improve women position in the world: teach girls their worth and that they are strong, capable and deserve the same respect as boys; discuss openly and call out stereotypical notions of gender and discrimination; speak out against sexism and harassment at home as well at work; demand the end of discriminatory practices and a progressive work environment through the equal representation of women in leadership and boardrooms, as well as equal pay for work of equal value and education courses on gender equality and take other simple actions – challenge stereotype beauty standards; respect the choices of others about their body, well-being, family and future and encourage men to share home household and parental responsibilities.