Forward in »out of the box” mode with the new generation of future business leaders

AmCham Young Professionals ProgramTM: Program for future business leaders’ development, for raising their potential and obtaining soft skills, based on the intuitive “coaching”.

Audience and AmCham Commission for Leadership and Talent Development chose the winner of the AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2014 at the final event of the program AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM, on June 3, 2014 in SiTi Teater, BTC. The winner is GAJ STAVBER, PhD., LEK d.d., who convinced the audience with his great ingenuity and a broad prism of a young scientist. He was able to respond to Denis Avdić – his challenger of the evening – in a humorous yet professional and clear way.

In front of more than 200 people, his superiors and Chairman of the Board of LEK d.d. – Vojmir Urlep, Gaj Stavber made an exceptional move in his sincerely courageous thank-you speech: “Please be aware that the winner today is not Gaj Stavber, the winners today are all the young potential leaders of our IV. Generation of the Program of Young ProfessionalsTM!”

Therefore Gaj Stavber – in one shot – captured and brought together in his witty and passionate thank-you speech all the values we encourage and emphasize in the AmCham Young Professionals program. But most of all we were surprised by the collective spirit and untypical encouragement of colleagues to become successful and make a change together.

Matej Potokar, president of AmCham Slovenia, pointed out that in the relationship mentor-mentee, he is the one who learns a lot, especially at the looks of young generation, which is for him the generation, who is bringing a positive change in the mindset of Slovenia.

Mag. Ajša Vodnik, Executive Director of AmCham Slovenia emphasized that when they started the program five years ago, she never thought that the idea, supported by enthusiasm and intuition, would have evolved into such an excellent business community of young people.


The five finalists, representing without a doubt an exceptional potential among the young business leaders were: Edisa Avdić, Droga Kolinska; Gregor Vovko,

Competo; Saša Hojker, Zavarovalnica Triglav; Timotej šooš, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Five super-finalists were challenged by Denis Avdič, who put them into unusual situations so that he they played roles with different leadership aspects and had to respond to various delicate, or on times even trivial situations…



Of course Gaj as a scientist was given a role to explain to others, who don’t understand the scientific approaches, how for examples a pill knows that it is the left shoulder that hurts Denis…Or how viagra knows where to function…



Edisa Avdić, Droga Kolinska d.d. was given ungrateful role of HR director, from whom the boss requires to employ his relative. Edisa responded excellently and did not let to be persuaded by her determined and demanding boss. Thus we cannot accuse all the Slovenes of nepotism.



Gregor Vovko, Competo d.o.o. was of course a psychologist who was giving a therapy to Denis in roles of the mayor Zoran Janković and Janez Janša. Gregor showed a high degree of professionalism in the crucial moments.



Timotej šooš, Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, passed the demanding challenges from Denis with ease, without apparent confusion and as expected – very professionally. He showed that maybe one day, he will be a great Slovene ambassador, who knows how to present his country to foreigners in a bold, innovative, interesting and passionate way, so that they will visit Slovenia and feel accepted among us.



Denis put Saša Hojker, Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d. into awkward and even banal situations, where she had to act as a risk manager in an insurance company and at the same time take care of interest of her own company and of course be helpful towards a demanding customer – Denis Avdić.



More about the program and the selection:



AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM Program is designed for the future young leaders – active population between 25 and 33 years of age. We are glad that the program, which was created by a concept of mag. Ajša Vodnik, Executive Director of AmCham Slovenia and has successfully been developing together with the team and external collaborators of Slovene AmCham, became interesting also for other AmChams around the world. AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM program has, after several years of development, reached an appropriate degree of individuality, creativity and visibility, to reasonably be protected as an intellectual property of AmCham Slovenia and the team who designed it, and the same is true for the brand AmCham Young Professionals.

Program, rich with interactive workshops, trainings, lectures and many other benefits that help with the personal and professional development, and with creating a professional social network, which is useful both in work and life. The program encourages skills like: communication, strategy, leadership, team work, creativity, thinking out of the box, social responsibility.



At the selection of AmCham Top Potential of the Year we look for – in already successful leaders – as well as in candidates potential for leadership, ethical principles, desire for successful work, persistence, passion for work, empathy, desire for personal development, competence improvement, being a role model among the colleagues in certain generation – all these are the qualities we were looking for and found in our participants.



The members of the committee were:



Robert Trnovec, Microsoft



Agata Jakončič, Merck Sharp & Dohme



Aleša Kandus, Medex



Janez škrubej, DUTB



Janko Medja, NLB



Jasna Mihelj Coustaury, Aviat



Nevenka Črešnar Pergar, NP Consulting



Nevenka Kržan, KPMG



In the final selection of the final event we considered the following criteria: 1/3 represented the mutual evaluation of the finalists themselves, 1/3 was the score from the audience, 1/3 was given by the committee.



Among more than 106 participants of AmCham Young Professionals, participating in the program every year, there were 51 participants who persuaded with their values and got a mentor. They met with them at the final event and will be meeting throughout the following year within the AmCham Mentor Mentee Program, which provides even better knowledge and idea transfer from the experienced colleagues to the young potentials. Top business leaders – mentors show a great sense for social responsibility with their voluntary work and in such a way give back to community.



This year the following people responded to our invitation:



Maja Vauda, Abbvie



Miro Smrekar, Adecco H.R.



Iztok Cimperman, Allianz zavarovalnica, subsidiary Ljubljana



Ajša Vodnik, AmCham Slovenia



Jernej Osterman, Austria Trend hotel



Jasna Mihelj Coustaury, Aviat



Maria Anselmi, Bisnode



Lothar Shupet, BMW VERTRIEBS GMBH, podružnica Ljubljana



Julijan Naskov, Celgene International



Anton Petrič, CISCO SYSTEMS, podružnica Ljubljana



Aleš Lunder, CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz



Matic Vošnjak, Competo



Aleksander Zalaznik, Danfoss Trata



Yuri Sidorovich, Deloitte



Brane Krajnik, Domus



Enzo Smrekar, Droga Kolinska



Janez škrubej, DUTB



Sonja Klopčič, Ekonomska fakulteta v Ljubljani



Tatjana Potokar, Emma



Marko Kolbl, Europlakat



Uroš Likar, Fluidmaster



Ruxandra Nastasa, GlaxoSmithKline



Iztok Klančnik, Hewlett – Packard



Gregor Jamnik, Hotel Slon



Julij Božič, IBM Slovenija

Tomaž Lanišek, Knauf Insulation



Nevenka Kržan, KPMG



Marko Majer, Mayer McCann



Vera Aljančič Falež, Mercator



Pierre Baert, Merck Sharp & Dohme



Agata Jakončič, Merck Sharp & Dohme



Matej Potokar, Microsoft



Robert Trnovec, Microsoft



Janko Medja, NLB



Andrej Pucer, NLB Leasing



Alexsander Bock, Novartis



Janez Pergar, NP Consulting



Nevenka Črešnar Pergar, NP Consulting



Rajko Novak, Oracle



Rok Vodnik, Petrol



Boris Manchev, PHILIP MORRIS Ljubljana



Stanislav Vrtunski, Pozavarovalnica Triglavre



Jaka Repanšek, Republis



Teja Breznik Alfirev, S&T Slovenija



Sašo Berger, S&T Slovenija



Simon Kaluža, SAP



Rok Ponikvar, Slorest



Andrej Božič, Steklarna Hrastnik



Duško Kos, Studio Moderna



Matjaž Klipšteter, Taktik



Marko Boštjančič, Telekom Slovenije



Tomaž Pernovšek, Tsmedia



Francesco Vercesi, UniCredit Banka Slovenija



Establishing an inter-generational network surealy brings numerous opportunities and mutually encourages creativity and valuable new ideas.

In June, we will begin with already the V. generation of the program, to which the companies applied 125 exceptional young people this year.



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VIDEO- AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2014