The Women’s Entrepreneurs Check-in is organized under the Lifestyle Check-in brand, which organizes a series of B2B & B2C events focused on international fashion, beauty, and lifestyle companies, held in mesmerizing venues such as galleries, yachts, and hotels. Thursday’s event was thus held at Kavana Central, part of the chic Heritage Hotel Santa Lucia, located at Narodni trg 1 in Split.
The Women Entrepreneurs Check In aims to raise awareness about women entrepreneurs and affirm women’s role in the Croatian and Dalmatian economies. Speakers and journalists from Croatia, Austria, and Romania joined the event through a panel discussion about women’s entrepreneurship to celebrate great business minds and up-and-coming entrepreneurs while highlighting the influential role women play in the business community.
In addition to bubbles and brunch, the event featured 3 different panels with questions directed to the audience once the speakers finished. The breaks between each panel included artistic moments, with acoustic music by Michelle Rowsell, live portrait paintings by Sunčica Kuzmanić Perišin Tomljanović, and artwork by Esther Canata.
The audience was also encouraged to use the breaks to network, test the Makeover Polyclinic Beauty Corner products, and enjoy the stunning reclaimed wood sculptures by Earth Wind Desire and Pierre Lang jewelry from Austria.
The Women Entrepreneurs Check In was introduced by Total Croatia News COO and event moderator Daniela Rogulj, who thanked everyone for joining and highlighted the importance of celebrating women, networking, and dressing up on a January Thursday in Split.
The opening words were shared by Joze Tomaš, Director of the Split County Chamber of Commerce (HGK), and Nevena Čikeš, manager of Heritage Hotel Santa Lucia. Tomaš reiterated his support for women business owners through HGK and various projects and promised to continue fighting for equal rights for women in Croatia. Čikeš stressed the importance of unity and pledged her support to Lifestyle Check In for future events.
The first panel discussed businesswomen in Europe and Croatia, the importance of connection, and social entrepreneurship, with speakers Tash Peričić and Barbara Marković.
Originally from New Zealand and living in Croatia for almost 8 years, Tash Peričić has worked in hospitality and tourism for 17 years, including managing Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant – ‘Maze’ in London. Tash has worked in the field of Leadership based on Emotional Intelligence, as a writer for TCN, and more recently started giving guest lectures at Aspira University, delivering training for luxury yachts, and teaching the stewardess course for Atlantis Yachting Academy thanks to her experience working on yachts in Croatia for almost 10 seasons. Tash has also created an online community to support women which now includes nearly 600 members in Dalmatia.
Tash spoke about her ethos being connection, collaboration, and community, how women’s communities differ in the various parts of the world she’s lived, and how it is imperative to dismiss competitive mindsets and instead support each other, which she has discovered through the community she has built in Dalmatia.
Barbara Marković has worked in different areas of tourism for over 20 years. She also spent 10 years in the United States, working for Marriott and the cruising industry, mainly in hotel operations. She has worked on projects with private accommodation owners for the last ten years. Barbara is the president of the Croatian Family Accommodation Association on a national level and has presented the project in the media and locally to assist and help private accommodation owners as much as possible. She also owns the Dalmagic travel agency, mainly specializing in Split county cruises, tours, and accommodation services. She also works part-time for the tourist boards of Croatia and Split-Dalmatia County as an educator for accommodation business owners.
Barbara discussed the importance of being a good host, how he has adapted as a businesswoman to Split’s rapidly changing tourism environment, and how we need to honor quality over quantity.
The second panel touched on business trends and how we can design our feminine future through projects led by Hildegard Brandl and Cornelia Rieger.
Originally from Romania, Hildegard Helene Brandl studied architecture in Bucharest, graduated in Dortmund, and set up her first architecture office in Venezuela. In 2009, she returned to Europe and opened UNITH2B Architects in Romania with her partner Anca Sandu in Romania. Hilde is strongly involved in volunteering projects – she is a member of the Romanian Business Leaders Association, a member of the AHK Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the leader of the ANTREPRENORESTI project – Adopt a village. She is currently the President of the Bucharest Entrepreneurs Organization and Coordinator of the National Business Environment Commission of the PNL. As a founding member & board member of the Association of Romanian Architectural Societies, she promotes public policies and leaner legislation within the construction domain. She is one of the founding members of ROBELO – Romanian Best Locations – a platform for exceptional tourist locations in Romania and passionately promotes the unique, wild landscapes and experiences that Romania offers. Hilde spoke about her unique experience as a woman in the male-dominated political world and the most significant lessons she’s learned.
“I constantly ask myself – would it kill me? No. So I do it. Anything that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Saying yes to opportunities, even in areas like politics which was unfamiliar to me, is one of the biggest reasons I’ve grown and been successful in the business world,” said Hilde.
Cornelia Rieger has been a businesswoman in Austria since 2003. She has worked as a consultant in the Back Office Work for Entrepreneurs and a Mentor and Trainer for Women in Leadership. She has also been part of the Real Life Academy since 2018, Partner Agency “We bring together, what belongs together ” since 2020, and the Summer Rose Community – Inner Circle for successful People and Entrepreneurs.
Cornelia stressed the importance of following your dreams and building many empires.
A big take from the second panel touched on why women don’t support each other.
“Men naturally support each other. They get together, go for a drink, and talk about everything from life to business and politics. Through that connection, they naturally gain networks. Women aren’t doing these things enough – women need to get together once a week to talk, have a drink, and genuinely connect and share with each other.”
The final panel featured Larisa Čišić, Janine Widmann, and Rino Medić.
Larisa Čišić, a licensed architect, and Daniel Poelzl, a wood artist, make up the artist/architect duo behind Earth Wind Desire, helping people reconnect to nature and their inner selves. Born in Croatia, Larisa studied architecture in Zagreb and Milan, worked in Japan, and traveled the world to master the skill of designing soulful architecture. Earth Wind Desire uses natural reclaimed materials to create exceptional artwork, architecture, and interior design. Based in Croatia, they endeavor to elevate your surroundings from dull & artificial to calming & natural or create wholly new and unique luxury experiences.
Larisa spoke about how living in Japan and working in the rather militant Japanese business culture differed from Croatia and the lessons she now implements in her business having the experience working abroad.
Janine Widmann is a former Sales Director within the hospitality industry that started her own business during her maternity leave in 2017. She now works with 120 business partners in 6 countries. Her partner in crime is the US Company Jeunesse, founded in 2009 and is now a billion-dollar company that continues to grow worldwide and is expanding further in Europe. Janine focuses her entire business on starting a new start-up every day, together with a prospect. She helps implement essential processes to support the latest startup to be successful.
Janine stressed the importance of celebrating your achievements, not being humble about your success, how it is more important now than ever not to be entirely dependent on one income – and that it’s okay to make more money than your husband!
The final panelist and only male speaker was Rino Medić. Originally from Mostar, Rino received his MBA in marketing from the Zagreb School of Economics and Management in 2009. Rino earned his Ph.D. from the Faculty of Economics in Osijek last year with the thesis “The Role of Volunteering in Remote Communities” under the mentorship of professor Dan Ebener from St. Ambrose University.
Rino has worked for 13 years in publishing and education as a key account manager, event manager, project manager, and head of publishing and has led several exciting projects. He was a member of the program and organization committee of the WinDays Business Conferences, International Conference on Women in the Film Industry, and the Conference on Croatian Film Heritage. He is currently a member of the program and organization committee at the Mediterranean Islands Conference on Vis and the Creative Future Insights Conference in Zagreb. Rino has attended many educational programs and is the author of a few scientific articles and book chapters. In addition, he is an editor of Conference Proceedings from two international scientific conferences, and even a former athlete with many honors and awards.
Rino shared a personal story about collectivism versus individualism for sustainable growth.
Music and Artists:
Originally from the small island of Jersey, Michelle’s love of traveling upon the open waters ultimately brought her to Split. Michelle’s background and training are in theatre, contributing to her diverse musical taste, spanning from old classics by Sam Cooke and The Shirelles to contemporary pop-rock songs performed in a stripped-back, acoustic style.
Sunčica Kuzmanić Perišin Tomljanović
Croatian-born, Suncica Kuzmanic Perišin Tomljanović is an international artist with a worldly soul. Sunci studied in London, graduated in fine arts at St. Martins College of art & design, lived in Rome, and has exhibited in Italy, London, New York, Mexico, Paris, and Istanbul. Her collectors are from all walks of life and all parts of the world.
While Sunci works with many themes and painting mediums, performance portraits are at the center of her work, usually working with watercolors or oil on canvas. Suncica was born drawing and painting, but only after seeing Andy Warhol’s portrait of Mick Jagger at 16 that she fell in love with portraits. Sunci has experimented with portraits and collected people and stories ever since. Sunci’s portraits and works share the same element of interaction – in person or remotely; this ‘live element’ is essential to her work. However, Sunci’s true magic lies in her ability to connect with her client, dive into their world and create from this space, bringing an energetic element to each painting.
Esther Canata is a former stage and screen actress, singer-songwriter, poet, and self-taught visual artist. Esther was born and raised in New Jersey to an Italian family with Irish and South American roots. She studied the arts through high school and continued her creative growth to NYC where she worked as an artist model and studio apprentice at the School of Visual Arts for two years. Esther partook in various performative and visual works, aligning with street artists, gallerists, musicians, filmmakers, and other creatives in downtown Manhattan’s underground music and arts scene. A multicultural, tough-love childhood combined with leaving home at a very young age armed Esther with a natural street edge – an artful arsenal – baring many layers of life fully lived, helping cultivate her signature style. Esther’s approach is authentic, a stream of conscious abstract expressionism. Esther plays in mixed-mediums, and her style is influenced by street art and great masters such as Basquiat, Picasso, Chagall, Miro, and Klimt. Her work is emotionally charged, moody, complex, and empowering – embodying femininity, sensuality, diversity, and soulful depth of character.
Esther has exhibited through New York, Miami, LA, and Europe. As an emerging international artist, some career highlights include her solo exhibit entitled “ELEMENTAL” at the Museum of Trogir in Croatia and ART BASEL Miami as a featured artist in the ARTBOX. In addition, private collectors have exhibited her work in their homes, hotels, restaurants, and workspaces.
The event was sponsored by the Central Dalmatia County Tourist Board and Amarea Travel, which offered a guided city tour after the event. Journalists attended an elegant dinner at Zrno Soli in Split on Thursday evening, sponsored by the Central Dalmatia County Tourist Board.
More information about upcoming events can be found here: https://lifestylecheckin.com/
All photos by Maksim Bašić
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