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 The seventh generation of the AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM program got their ambassador. The title of the AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2017 in the opinion of the participants of the event, the committee, and other competitors went to Deana Jezeršek, LanguageSitter.

Deana Jezeršek, Co-founder and Head of Studies and Development at LanguageSitter follows her mission to change the educational system. She persuaded the audience and the committee with her relaxed performance in which she told Svetlana Makarovič (performed by Tilen Artač) that she was optimistic “because you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with,” and she certainly chose to be in the company of five incredibly optimistic people. She added that for the past two years, her television had been switched off in which time she realized how nice it was to live in Slovenia. In a sweet anecdote she explained that in her youth she got a big box of books and at the very top, there was a book titled Butalci, the protagonists of which are now her favorite fairy tale heroes. Since at that time she had just learned how to read, this was her favorite reading material which she enjoyed very much. She remembers the story of Butalci sowing salt most vividly. She answered Mrs. Vanja Hrovat’s (Generali) question on what her greatest inspiration in life was by saying that two years ago this had been foreign languages but now, her daughters took the first place.

When presented with the title and the sculpture in the form of an angel, made by the sculptor and painter Mik Simčič, the winner thanked all that voted for her and had entrusted her with such an important role as the ambassador of a magical generation. If she could, she said, she would break the prize into several pieces. She would give one piece to her seventh generation which is, in her opinion, full of extraordinary people. She also promised to represent them to the best of her abilities. Another part of the statue would go to the LanguageSitter team, led by Mr. Mart D. Buh, with whom she founded the company. “In retrospect, entrepreneurship is great. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would do it just the same. It certainly is hard work and that is why I show my respect for the entire team,” she added. The last part of the statue would go to her family since it represents her safe haven from where she gets the most of her energy. “Regardless of the situation at work, I have a home where I can always go, where my family awaits,” said the winner of this generation. She also thanked the AmCham team and particularly Mrs. Tonja Avsenik, Young Programs Manager, for bringing optimism and calmness into this year’s generation, and for leading the competitors until the end with the utmost care. Mrs. Jezeršek finished her speech in the light of the event – with a fairytale. “We are all stars. Let us act like the Sleepy Twinkle Star (Zvezdica zaspanka) did, which fell on the Earth as punishment. Let us not hide our golden hair but rather show it to the world and take advantage of our potential. Let us find someone with a stone instead of a heart, warm it up and help them regain their true heart,” concluded the AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2017.

Five grand finalists wish to make changes in the world

The final event of the seventh AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM and the selection of the AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2017 took place on the Stage Under the Stars in the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. This year’s event featured fairytales and business talents have shown and proven to be able to adapt to any situation. Mr. Tilen Artač as the main storyteller tested the five young leaders and entertained the audience by portraying Mrs. Svetlana Makarovič, Mrs. Ifigenije, psychologist, Mr. Marcel Štefančič jr., and Mr. Slavko Bobovnik.

All five finalists were amazing on stage and they were all deemed to have the energy and ambition to change the world. These were Mrs. Deana Jezeršek, LanguageSitter, Mr. Tadej Jančar, Steklarna Hrastnik, Mrs. Sandra Kecman, Bisnode, Mrs. Maša Madon, Center for Business Excellence at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Economics, and Mr. Gašper Hren, Danfoss Trata. Their main motto and the message they wish to convey to the world is that they have no role models but they do have values with which they wish to move mountains.

We are all stars. Let us act like the Sleepy Twinkle Star (Zvezdica zaspanka) did, which fell on the Earth as punishment. Let us not hide our golden hair but rather show it to the world and take advantage of our potential. Let us find someone with a stone instead of a heart, warm it up and help them regain their true heart.

Deana Jezeršek
AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2017



Recognition goes also to other five finalists of the AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM, Mr. Tomaž Brcar, Trimo, Mrs. Mirela Čanić, Petrol, Mr. Domen Ivanšek, Knauf Insulation, Mr. Peter Kep, Zavod AIPA, and Mr. Bogdan Mali, Iskratel.

The title of the Generation Facilitator was awarded for the first time this year to Mr. Domen Ivanšek, Knauf Insulation. The Generation Facilitator was chosen by all participants of the 7th generation of the AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM program. Mr. Ivanšek got the majority of votes by persuading his colleagues with his personality, emotional intelligence, ability to connect, and his empathy.

Optimism for Slovenia’s Bright Future

The honorary sponsor of the program, the US ambassador to Slovenia, His
Excellency Brent R. Hartley said “After having an opportunity to get to know all the excellent finalists, I can say without a doubt that each one of them is writing their own fairytale. They are using their incredible talent, focus and intellect to achieve success in their companies as well as to improve the Slovenian business environment. These young leaders fill me with incredible optimism for Slovenia’s bright future.”

 Ajša Vodnik, MSc, Executive Director of AmCham Slovenia and the co-author of the AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM program said at the 7th magical anniversary of the program: “The entire generation gives me inspiration – each one of them with their unique story is connected into one whole, because they feel Slovenia and wish to co-create a better living and business environment, which is also the guiding principle of AmCham Slovenia. Seven years ago, as we launched the program, we, the authors, never imagined that the program would enrich the Slovenian environment to such an extent and that it would give us the energy to be the inspiration for positive change. My sincere congratulations go to the winner who will, as the ambassador of the generation, certainly ensure our business community will become even more passionate and responsible.”  

“As I asked the seventh generation what the AmCham Young Professionals represented to them, one of the answers was a subculture. And truly, this is a subculture. Such a subculture that is changing the mentality in the Slovenian business environment. A subculture that is transforming brain drain into brain circulation. A subculture in which all members together fight for the right cause, connect and cooperate. By promoting joint values, young business leaders pave the way for the new “anything is possible” mentality. We have 7 generations and thus 740 young potentials that are changing the world around them with their ideas and passion. And that is exactly what we need in Slovenia,” Mrs. Tonja Avsenik, AmCham Young Programs Manager, summarized about this year’s generation.

Nina Langerholc Čebokli, AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2016, told that she had fully embraced and experienced her title. “The title fully achieved its purpose because it brought me numerous and diverse opportunities for networking and building. It gave me new energy and courage to continue to passionately encourage positive change in Slovenia with my own actions. I now advocate revolution with love even more.  With the help of this recognition, I realized in the last year that we truly do know how to work together if we only dare to believe that we are all, individually and together, responsible for the future. Anything is possible,” said Mrs. Langerholc Čebokli. She wished that her successor retain some childhood naivety and think and act in such a way that they would be giving back to society and thus creating a better future. “I wish for my successor to fulfill their full potential and to recognize and use the opportunities while remaining faithful to themselves,” she added.

AmCham Young Professionals – Inspiration and Responsibility for Positive Change

AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2017 was the final event of the 7th generation AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM program. AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM is a platform for the personal and career development of young potentials. It is a network of young individuals that with their energy bring new opportunities and optimism to the environment and are a source of inspiration and a commitment to change for the better. These young professionals wish to be active, wish to cooperate and to trust each other.

A total of 130 individuals participated in what is this year the seventh generation. They participated in interactive workshops, lectures, and meetings held with business leaders that provided them with the knowledge required for personal and career growth. The extensive business network and strong relationships established as a result are important for our young potentials’ future work and career development. 

At the closing event, five grand finalists of the program competed for the title AmCham Top Potential of the Year 2017. The title Top Potential of the Year is awarded to the grand finalist that is given the highest score at the closing event. This score is comprised of the score given by the grand finalists to each other, the committee score and the score of the event participants.

The members of the committee judging the five grand finalists were: Matej Potokar, Committee Chairman, Nevenka Črešnar Pergar, NP Consulting, Vanja Hrovat, Generali, Andrej Ivanc, Riko, Nevenka Kržan, KPMG, Jasna Mihelj Coustaury, Aviat, Jernej Osterman, Austra Trend Hotel, Enzo Smrekar, Droga Kolinska, and Matej Zavrl, Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires.

AmCham Heroes support the development of young talents

Special thanks go to the AmCham Heroes companies that supported this year's AmCham Young ProfessionalsTM program, which are: Aviat, Bisnode, Droga Kolinska, FMG, Generali, Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires, KPMG, Microsoft, MSD, Pfizer, and Riko.