A formal reception marking ten years of CANSEE Canadian Serbian Business Association was held on Tuesday, May 21 at the residence of the Canadian Ambassador in Belgrade.

CANSEE is one of the leading organizations when it comes to the promotion of leadership and empowerment of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Serbia, in cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of Canada.

For eight years in a row, the CANSEE association in partnership with Ivey Business School of the University of Western Ontario has successfully organized the LEADER Project, a mini-MBA program for entrepreneurs. Each May, Belgrade welcomes five Canadian instructors from the Ivey Business School from Canada, who use their knowledge and experience to inspire ambitious entrepreneurs to imagine, launch and develop new ventures and business ideas. To this day, the LEADER Project Serbia has 320 alumni, and in this context, the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the founding CANSEE association began with a panel entitled “LEADERSHIP PANEL: Empowering leaders in Serbia”.

The panel was attended by the participants of this year’s LEADER Project Serbia as well as the Canadian instructors, and the speakers on the panel were Biljana Rankić, director of the Balkan Gold company, who has over 20 years of work experience in the industry in organizational and managerial positions, Rastko Golubović, Pricing, Revenue & BI Manager from Apatinska pivara, expert in prices and revenues, as well as Ilija Ivetić, director of the Digital Grid High Value engineering center at Schneider Electric, who has spent his entire career developing Smart Grid complex IT solutions. The panel was moderated by Allen Lising, a Canadian alumnus of the Ivey Business School, who moved to Serbia with his family from Canada and runs a successful business.

During the panel, participants had the opportunity to hear from the panelists about the challenges faced during their careers, how they overcame difficulties throughout their careers, and what motivated them to continue. The panelists shared with the audience their career development path, from beginners to leaders in their company, and highlighted key moments, challenges or decisions that influenced their career path.

“Learn, learn and learn” was the message sent by all the panelists and they agreed that dedicated work, constant learning, and a great desire to succeed are the key elements for creating great leaders.

After the panel, Slađana Milojević, owner of the Nonna Handmade brand, whose products are based on the rich cultural heritage of Serbia and are made from exclusively natural materials such as linen, cotton, Serbian linen, and silk, addressed the audience as one of the first participants of the LEADER Project in Serbia and presented her exceptional collection of products.

After the presentation, CANSEE managing director Mirjana Dončić-Beaton, addressed the guests and expressed her gratitude to the Embassy of Canada, members of the CANSEE association, representatives of the Government of Serbia, numerous partners and friends who, on the occasion of CANSEE’s 10 years of dedicated work, graced the celebration with their presence.

Mirjana pointed out that this jubilee event was supported by as many as 19 member companies: Apatinska pivara, Innomotics, Dundee Precious Metals, Schneider Electric, Korkovado, Walk Legal, Reflex Drilling, Cargo-partner, Contango, Rudnik Rudnik, Envico, Teknoxgroup Srbija, Bryan Beaton, Bojović Drašković Popović and partners, Aleksandar Obrenović, as well as Stara Sokolova, Vinarija Aleksić, Sena Sweets, Production Pool, and Grafolik Printing House.

She added that since 2014, the foundations of the association have been its members, who with their commitment and selfless support have caused the growth of the association, and on that occasion, thank you plaques were presented to the founders, members, and partners as a sign of gratitude for the successful ten-year cooperation.

Awards were given to: the Canadian Ambassador H.E. Giles Norman, Honorary Member Đurđa Ćeramilac, Honorary Member Aleksandar Obrenović, Founding Member Bryan Beaton, Founding Member Dundee Precious Metals, Founding Member Apatinska pivara, Proud Member Teknoxgroup Srbija, Proud Member Contango Rudnik, Proud Member Balkan Gold, Proud Member Cargo-partner, Proud Member Schneider Electric, Founding Member Mundoro, Proud Member Stara Sokolova, Proud Member NSTLAW and Proud Member CMS.

On behalf of the CANSEE association, Mirjana emphasized the association’s common commitment to continuous growth and excellence in leadership. Key segments of her speech included the importance of maintaining a balance between giving and receiving, the idea that a problem without a solution is not a problem, and a reminder that the responsibility for change rests with all of us.

The gathering continued with a traditional Canadian salmon dinner accompanied by finest wines from the Aleksić Winery, premium beers from the Apatin Brewery and high-quality brandy from Stara Sokolova.