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Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

In 2019, Croatian Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, Betty Pavelich, and Sonja Palic caught up for a coffee and the idea for the creation of the Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership initiative was born.

The two co-founders set out to unite professional women of Croatian heritage and connection across Australia and New Zealand who had been disengaged from the community and to bring them all together in one organisation.

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Betty Pavelich and Sonja Palic (Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

Although the organisation had been active from 2019, on the 1st July 2021 the network became a formally registered entity consisting of 9 board members representing each State across Australia and NZ. 

The AUS-NZ Croatian Women in Leadership organisation consists of a group of women of Croatian heritage whose common goal is to support, encourage and inspire each other as they move through their working lives.

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

It represents diverse groups of women including: entrepreneurs, professionals, business owners, corporates, university students and graduates. Regular monthly online events are held with guest speakers, workshops to facilitate business networking, idea sharing and personal development with the aim of generating greater business success for our members. 

These events became an important tool for connecting and supporting one another, particularly during the pandemic lockdowns in Australia and New Zealand.  

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

This year the Mentor Program was established with some world class mentors to assist mentee’s through their careers. Some of the mentors include Ambassador Betty Pavelich,  Kristina Zanic (Australian-Croatian based in Dubai) award winning world leader in Interior Design, Susan Cox – former Australian Ambassador to Croatia, Professor Emeritus Frances Separovic – Foreign Secretary at The Australian Academy of Science,  just to name a few.

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

“The Young Women’s Network was established as well to encourage our next generation of leaders of Croatian heritage and have them stay connected with Croatia. We have a representative from each state, NZ , as well as a Croatian representative,” Sonja tells us.

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

The main event for the organisation has become the annual Croatian Women in Leadership Summit.  Women of Croatian heritage converged on Canberra for 3 days in 2019  and 2022 (COVID-19 prevented the 2020 and 2021 summits from proceeding) for the conference and celebrated each others success and the power of this organisation.

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

“Since our first Summit in 2019, we have developed an active and supportive professional network with international reach. The platform has proven to be a source of professional enrichment and encouragement during unprecedented times and has resulted in a number of joint initiatives across several fields,” adds Sonja.

The 2nd AUS-NZ Croatian Women in Leadership Summit, held February 2022, in the Parliament of Australia and at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Canberra, brought together more than one hundred AUS-NZ Women of Croatian heritage, from a broad spectrum of fields. The women were joined by Croatia’s former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and shared their professional experiences and inspirational stories, celebrated their heritage and discussed opportunities for co-operation across Australia, New Zealand and Croatia.

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

For their 3rd Summit, they will be heading to Croatia and expect to draw an impressive and sizeable contingent of women of Croatian heritage from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as international speakers and distinguished guests.  

The Summit will be held at the Ilirija Resort in Biograd na Moru, Croatia from 14-16th July 2023 with more details about special guest speakers to be announced in the new year.

Women of Croatian heritage in Australia and New Zealand unite with a common goal

(Photo: Australia-New Zealand Croatian Women in Leadership)

For more details about the organisation and to connect visit: https://www.ausnz-croatianwomen.org/

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