This week we spent a lot of time ‘networking’ and enjoy ourselves very much. This network is The Network. We met many influential, essential and incredibly interesting woman thanks to Caroline Spivak. Ms. Spivak is the founder of the Croatian Woman Network/Mreža hrvatskih žena, and is the heart and soul of the third international conference “Advancing Women. Advancing Economies. Realize the Potential! Taking place on March 8, 2018 –  International Woman Day at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ms. Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, and  others.
Croatian Woman Network

Caroline is my good friend, and I’m so proud her and her work, so I took advantage of our friendship and stole some time in between her Croatian and Canadian hectic week to ask her some questions for you dear readers.  Have a look.

Croatia2go; Is it still hard for women to progress in their careers or have there been some crucial changes in the business dynamics?

Caroline Spivak: As time progresses there are improvements in business dynamics and increased opportunities for women in every social and business enterprise. While we still have a way to go in terms of achieving financial parity, in 2018, in particular, it feels like we are at the precipice of an immense breakthrough and change in the perspective of a women’s place in society. It’s our time to lead

Croatia2go; Is there still room for more significant changes that will make good careers more approachable for women?

Caroline Spivak: In today’s day and age there really should be no career thought to be out of reach for women. Dedication, hard work and a commitment to excellence are the keys to success in any career.

Croatia2go; Do you think that tradition and old values in some societies play a role in many women’s decisions that form their professional lives?

Caroline Spivak: Traditional values will always have an impact on our lives – sometimes positively and sometimes as a stagnating factor. We cannot exist in isolation. It is important to honor our past and prepare for the future, taking what serves us best along our journey and letting the rest go. Sometimes it takes courage to strike out on our own unique path.

Croatia2go; What was the main reason for starting an organization such as Croatian Women’s Network?

Caroline Spivak: Quite simply because there is no other network that is global and that connects women of Croatian descent with Croatia. Nor one that celebrates and champions the success of Croatian women the world over. I wanted to create a vehicle for connection and recognition of women in our communities, within and outside of Croatia.

Croatia2go; Had there been some similar organizations that gather successful Croatian women from around the world?

Caroline Spivak: When I looked at other cultures that do take the time to recognize, celebrate and champion the success of their female leaders, it occurred to me that Croatian women participate and excel in every facet of society yet there was no recognition and celebration of these diamonds in the rough. The overwhelming response from our winners, their families and communities has been an incredible affirmation of our work in raising awareness of and recognizing that Croatian women are in fact women of influence.

Croatia2go; What would you tell many young girls in their formative years as advice for a good future?

Caroline Spivak: Education is their ticket to a solid future. This is something that no one can take from you. Understand that no one will simply hand you everything you desire and dream of and a commitment to excellence will open doors you simply cannot imagine from where you are today. Getting people to champion your success is invaluable to achieving an upward trajectory. Dream big, work hard and support those around you because a rising tide lifts all boats.

Croatia2go; In your opinion, what should Croatia do to create conditions that will nurture Croatian women’s dreams to get better and higher education as well as more confidence in pursuing their professional careers?

Caroline Spivak: Croatia produces many educated people. Graduates and youth would be better served by the stimulation of a stronger entrepreneurial environment where entrepreneurship, sales, and marketing communications skills are taught in the school system. Small-to-medium-sized enterprises have shown to be strong engines of economic growth in many countries. They, in turn, drive a culture of innovation and increased risk-taking which creates jobs and inspires future opportunities. These kinds of initiatives will help to stem the intense exodus and brain drain currently being experienced by Croatia. This crisis of talent loss must be stopped if we are to hope to create a better future.

Croatia2go; Did you have a female role model while you were growing up? If so, what made that woman your role model?

Caroline Spivak: I am blessed and lucky to have had many female role models growing up and in my career. Chief among them was my mother Barbara who was a terrific business mind, ambitious, hard working and overcame many hardships to achieve success for herself and her family. A mother of three, a successful professional, wife, sister and friend,   even in her darkest and most difficult times, she persisted in achieving her goals. She is one of the most courageous people I’ve ever been privileged to know.

Croatia2go; What are, in your opinion, the benefits of gathering successful and influential Croatian women?

Caroline Spivak: Whenever we bring Croatian women together incredible things happen. Communities grow and support each other, community and social groups are created; language schools are established, and inevitably we all learn from each other. We can recognize kindred spirits, like-minded intellectuals and contrarian points of view. Ultimately, it’s the opportunity to celebrate our achievements and to recognize that we have a marked impact on our communities and the world at large.

Croatia2go; What are the plans and events in Croatian Women’s Network?

Caroline Spivak: We have ambitious plans to grow the Network to 1,000 members globally over the next two years. We hope to organize country-specific events in the near future and to use our voice and strength in numbers to positively impact the station of women inside of Croatia and in our diaspora communities. We have a world of best practices to draw from. Our goal is to share those to positively impact the lives of women.

Croatia2go; Dear Mrs. Spivak, dear Caroline, thank you and Happy Women’s Day with the wish; Let’s make every day March 8th.

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