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Association of Croatian American Professionals to Host 2nd Annual Conference in Chicago

Chicago to host 2nd Annual Conference

Conference aims to empower Croatian-Americans to expand network and outreach; Cardinal Blasé Cupich to join as keynote speaker at gala dinner

CHICAGO – The Association of Croatian American Professionals released details about the agenda for their second annual conference in Chicago from May 11-13, 2017. The event will be supported by the Consulate General of Republic of Croatia in Chicago and the Chicago Chapter of the ACAP. Organizers hope the conference will attract a variety of Croatian-American professionals, academics, students and community organizers from around the country.

The 2017 conference will feature panel discussions and themed breakout sessions aimed to inspire engagement and action. Panel experts from the U.S. and Croatia will discuss a variety of themes including education, entrepreneurship, startups/emerging ventures, journalism/media, athletics and special interest “task force” topics. The agenda also includes a hands-on social media workshop aimed at empowering audience engagement opportunities for grass-roots community organizers.

This year’s event will also launch a first-ever Croatian-led startup showcase aimed to bring together creative entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas to the conference attendees. Top entrepreneur Renato Libric will help judge the competition. Libric was recently named “Top 50 Inspirational Entrepreneurs To Watch” by Entrepreneur.

“We’re excited to build on the synergy and relationship-building from last year’s inaugural conference in Washington, D.C.”, said Marko Zoretic, president of the Association of Croatian American Professionals, “Our organization is unique – it offers Croatian-Americans from a wide variety of professions – an opportunity to expand their network and empower their brand.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago will be the keynote speaker for the gala dinner. The event is open to the public. The panel conference and gala dinner will take place in Chicago’s iconic Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. For more information, visit www.acap2017.com.

Chicago, May 12, 2017

Session 1: Education

The panel will discuss the history and current state of Croatian-language schools in the U.S. & Canada. The conversation will explore ways for organizations to improve the experience, enhance engagement and expand support. Presentations will also feature information about opportunities for Croatian study abroad, both for short-term learning like the accredited programs at Croaticum and Matica Iseljenika, in addition to Milivoj Markovic who will discuss options for Rochester Institute of Technology programs.

Session 2: Pitch Showcase

A select group of Croatian-led startups from the U.S. and Croatia will showcase their companies in a “Shark-Tank”-like pitch presentation. Each startup will present a 3-minute pitch followed by 5 minutes of Q & A from the Entrepreneurship panelists. The esteemed panel will vote for the best pitch. The winner will be announced at the ACAP 2017 Gala Dinner where they will receive a monetary award.

Panel Session 3: Entrepreneurship

The panel will feature valuable insight from inspiring Croatian entrepreneurs and their outlook on current and future Croatian startup ventures. Panelists will include serial entrepreneur Renato Libric, CEO & founder of Bouxtie Inc.; Mark Begich, former U.S. Senator (Alaska), former Mayor of Anchorage, and president and CEO of Northern Compass Group; Davorin Štetner, president & CEO of Croatian Business Angels Network and Representative of the Croatian President’s Council for Economic Affairs and Ante Lucic, CEO of A-Link & Kampus.hr and founder of Cronnection.

Panel Session 4: Legal

The panel will focus on key legal issues for startup and emerging ventures. Experts will review best practices and challenges for basic company start-up needs including logistics, such as choice of entity, founder-vesting and issues specific to Croatian businesses entering the U.S. market. Legal experts include Dorothy Vinsky, Mauro Viskovic, Marko R. Zoretic and John Kosir. Additionally, the panel aims to address capital-raising issues and intellectual property matters affecting new companies.

Breakout Session: Medical Tourism

The session will engage in a panel discussion to review options for Croatia as a year-long destination for tourists and retirees. This will include a range of influences including medical programmatic, logistical, marketing and public-private strategies aspects. This program will be co-chaired by Dr. Steven Pavletic, senior clinician at NIH and Dr. Eugen Halar and will include a special presentation on the “Current Status of Health Tourism in Croatia” by Dr. Miljenko Bura, PhD from Zagreb, Croatia.

Panel Session 5: Journalism & Media

This panel will discuss the voice of the Croatian diaspora in traditional and social media channels. Leading journalists and editors from U.S. and Croatian media will be joined by communication strategists Anna Rozenich and Maria Dugandzic-Pasic to discuss best practices and opportunities to enhance story-telling for the Croatian-American brand.

Breakout Session: Social Media Workshop

This hands-on session will be hosted by Mary Lesina Strbich, Client Solutions Manager for Facebook/Instagram.

The workshop hopes to empower community grass-roots organizations to enhance their brand and increase audience engagement opportunities. The session is ideal for members of cultural, educational, athletic and other Croatian community-based organizations seeking insight to improve engagement on their social media sites.

Panel Session 6: Athletics

This panel will discuss the role Croatian athletes have had in building brand identity and awareness about Croatia and the Diaspora in the U.S. Panelists will include David Diehl, NFL SuperBowl champion and FOX/NFL Game Analyst, Korie Hlede, former WNBA player and co-founder of Flow Basketball Academy and professional race car driver Romeo Kapudija. Nada Pritisanac Matulich from Croatia will discuss opportunities to compete in the Croatian World Games. The organization is hosting its 7th competition this summer in Croatia.

Panel Session 7: Task Forces Update

This panel will discuss the current status of ACAP task forces: (1) Double Taxation, (2) Medical Tourism, and (3) Domovina (an explorative conversation for a path to establishing a Croatian “Birthright” program to enable Croatian-Americans to visit and learn more about their ancestral homeland).

The Association of Croatian American Professionals brings together professionals, business leaders, academics, students and community organizers. Their mission is to foster leadership, collaboration and to promote the advancement of issues relevant to the Croatian-American community. ACAP is a non-profit 501c (6). For more information about becoming a member, please visit www.croampro.com.

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