Our Professional Lives After the Professional Fellows Program
The Value of Professional Fellows Program (PFP) - Alumni Cooperation in Tech, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) is a two-way, global exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, as well as build lasting, sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from foreign countries and the United States. This story features four professional fellows from North Macedonia: Dimitar, Ivana, Aleksandar, and Ljupka from the Fall 2019 cohort.
Who We Are & What We Do
Dimitar is an Associate Professor at the oldest, biggest university in the Macedonia where he teaches several subject in the field of e-business. He is a founder of a company which works in the field of digital transformation, where he is working and helping more than 100 companies from all around the world. Dr. Dimitar has been closely working with lot of start-ups in North Macedonia and helping them in their growth. During his fellowship in Chicago, he was part of Inspire 1, company which is working in business consultancy and digital transformation
Ivana is the Chief Marketing Officer of Web Factory LLC, a fast-growing software development company and its two spin-off divisions Pendulibrium [AI & Fintech] and Sindex [Game Studio]. Outside of work, she is a tech community activist who wants to empower the tech ecosystem in North Macedonia. As one of the organizers of Google Developers Group Macedonia and Rails Girls Macedonia, she is dedicating her free time to organize IT workshops, events, conferences, and meetups. During her fellowship in Chicago, she was part of FinTank | Chicago’s Global Fintech Hub.
Aleksandar is entrepreneur, consultant, and mentor. He is a business development professional with extensive experience in working with SMEs and helping them finding the right path for business success. He is internationally Certified Management Consultant with specialization in field of management, marketing and finance.
Ljupka is a professor, entrepreneur, and consultant in the field of marketing communications. She is also an activist for inclusion and social justice and a proud feminist. She is a proud alumnae of the WorldChicago Professional Fellows program of US State Department and JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency).
We met a few times before we got on a plane to the States. From the first minute, we knew that our characters, mind-set, and active professional life will be a great basis for a prosperous and honest friendship and collaboration.
Our Professional Lives After the Fellowship
After completing the Fellowship and returning to North Macedonia, we all have started applying the hard and soft skills we gained in U.S. New perspectives, projects and events were developed and we all witnessed amazing growth in knowledge and skills upon arrival in North Macedonia.
Ljupka continued to work on her research and lecturing at the University and leading her marketing agency, but also held lectures for executives and political leaders in the field of marketing communications. She reviewed international academic papers and launched international projects. She is cooperating with an NGO from Germany in political marketing. Both Dimitar and Ljupka worked for USAID as external consultants for the Office of the President.
Aleksandar continued to develop his young consultancy company that serves clients in Europe and started building professional bridges for his clients with American partners. His advisory services are still part of distinguished organizations such as EBRD, USAID, UNDP, etc. Lately, he has become a mentor for the EBRD Start Up Ventures programme, Seavus Accelerator, CEED Macedonia, and become a Macedonia2025 Ambassadors Club member.
Ivana continued to work on the planning, development, and execution of Web Factory’s marketing strategy, brand management and various marketing initiatives on three continents. She implemented her knowledge that she gained as a WorldChicago Professional Fellow at Fintank and the US tech scene into her work. She is still in close communication with her network in Chicago and there are plenty of promising ideas for potential collaboration in the near future.
Dimitar continued lecturing and research at the University and his company. Together with Ljupka he worked for USAID as an external consultantsfor the Office of the President in the field of digital communication. Dimitar started work as a mentor and consultant in the local CEED office in Macedonia. From his network from the Chicago fellowship, he succeeds in establishing several business relationships with companies, where he is working closely on a daily basis, and exchanging know-how and experience.
The Added Value of Alumni Networking
Ever since we are back from U.S, our friendship and cooperation have developed. Starting from our first Alumni Catalyze gathering [a conference for the Professional Fellows Program alumni] in Kozara, near Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina, where we met and networked with fellows from different cohorts, we continued cooperating on different projects such as:
- We all (Ivana, Ljupka, Dimitar and Aleksandar) jointly applied for 2 Alumni projects opened by U.S Embassy
- Dimitar and Ljupka have co-authored two published academic papers: 1. Parental Awareness and Attitudes of Digital Media Advertising to Children; and 2. Social Responsibility & Ethics in Marketing During Crisis
- Ljupka and Dimitar worked on a UASID project as consultants for digital marketing communications for the Office of the President of the country
- We all have supported each other in daily business operations, recommending potential clients and projects
- Dimitar, Ljupka and Aleksandar lectured at the training centre at Macedonian Chamber of Commerce
- Dimitar and Aleksandar lectured for CEED Macedonia’s training programme in the tourism development.
- Ivana organized many tech meetups after her fellowship. Many of those were inspired by the events she went on during her stay in Chicago and Washington. She was also part of the very first Google Developers Group | Europe Summit in Lisbon.
Indeed, this actual cooperation is a product of the alumni network from this fellowship and we are thrilled to be able to share connections, traveling, projects and research. For sure it adds value to our professional and social lives.