The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), the leading organization for Macedonians abroad, is excited to release this year’s list of Macedonian Diaspora 40 Under 40 Award Recipients. UMD’s initiative 40 under 40 is a celebration of accomplished young Macedonians globally who impact their respective communities and professions.
The Award spotlights professionals in various fields and business sectors, including technology, business, real estate, medicine, finance, teaching, arts, law, and government. With this year’s list, UMD has recognized 280 individuals around the world to date.
“For over a century, Macedonians have been leaving our homeland for a better life. Our people are hard-working and are leaving a mark on society. It is only appropriate that UMD recognize our own as role models in their respective communities as well as for future generations of Macedonians,” said UMD Chairman Argie Bellio.
“On behalf of the UMD Board, I congratulate all of our 40 recipients this year and look forward to engaging them in the future to benefit the Macedonian community-at-large,” concluded Bellio.
As in previous years, UMD is releasing the Macedonian Diaspora 40 Under 40 List in groups of 10 weekly. For media interviews with any of the recipients, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit your nominations for next year’s list HERE.
Please join the UMD community in congratulating our second ten UMD Macedonian Diaspora 40 Under 40 Award Winners!
THE SECOND TEN OF FORTY HONOREES
Click HERE for last week’s ten recipients in case you missed the announcement.
Biographies of Our Recipients:
Ana is a multidimensional Macedonian creative living in New York City. She is a loving, kind-hearted, and honest person with lots of spunk & style. She currently works as a social media manager in the tech and entertainment industries but uses her talents on a variety of projects from different realms. She is a natural-born writer, poet, and artist, with a particular love for creating music and music curation. Outside of her corporate position, she has a YouTube channel, works as a fashion and beauty influencer, and creates thematic music playlists. While rising in the ranks of her career, she also hopes to be a published author one day. She utilizes empathy in all her work and aspires to achieve her professional growth so that she can share back with her community and family.
Being Macedonian has taught me to be fearless. I rarely come across other Macedonian people in my city, and I find myself constantly having to stick up for myself and defend my ethnicity to uneducated people, or worse, people who are prejudiced towards us. Being Macedonian has taught me to speak up, to be myself, and to be confident in where I’ve come from.
I am proud to be Macedonian because frankly, everything about us is awesome. The land is so beautiful, it is breathtaking, we have such a beautiful country. We are resilient—no matter what we’ve been through, no matter how many times our identity has been denied or our land has been taken, we stand. Our food, our traditional clothes, our dance, and our music, are so wonderful and colorful. Did I say the food? Can I say it again? Because I can never have enough burek. Macedonia is truly a gem.
Being Macedonian comes with its own set of challenges, which can leave us feeling defeated. Fight through it. Don’t give up. But what happens next is up to you. Often, when you feel defeated, that means that change is right around the corner, so you better not give in. Be proud of your identity. And have big goals. We’re in the age of the internet, you can do anything online, you can have any job, any career, even in another country. It can all be done online. And to all the Macedonians that are part of the diaspora, working overseas and creating lives for ourselves, we need to be strategizing on how to give back to our original community and bring growth and aid into the Macedonian economy.
Borce Sugarevski is a proud Macedonian that has been fighting for Macedonian rights since he was born. His father Tomislav is from Logovardi, Bitola, and his mother Katica is from Gostivar both from Macedonia. Being a Macedonian living in Australia has never been easy, as a young child he attended protests in support of Macedonia’s independence, then the name and flag change, and while Australians never fully understood the meaning of a Macedonian, Borce educated them along the way. Telling them that he is Macedonian, and his rightful flag is the Macedonian sun.
Borce started a small business named ‘Sugarev Inc’ where he makes custom products to spread awareness of his identity. One of the many products he has made are custom street signs that have spread virally around the world. He dedicated the business name Sugarev Inc to his Great-Grandfather and Macedonian Ilinden war hero Gjorgi Sugarev. He has made these signs for all types of celebrities in Macedonia, Australia, the USA, Canada, and Europe.
My Macedonian heritage has always been a highlight of my life along with my wife Maja, teaching our son Aleksandar life lessons on what it means to be a Macedonian is our greatest award. I have always spoken loud and proud that no matter where you go in life, always tell people that you are Macedonian and nothing else. That our flag is the Macedonian sun and nothing else and that our ancestors are Macedonian and nothing else. I am proud of being Macedonian as the customs and culture are bringing us all together via dance, sport, language, or religion and they are all so beautiful. Being a Macedonian didn’t stop at that as I try to always give back to the community such as when I was President of his Local Macedonian Dance Group, coached at my local Macedonian Football club and I have been involved in many Macedonian concerts.
My advice for the next generation of young Macedonians is to always be proud of your identity, be proud of being Macedonian. We have a long history, and we need to continue to fight to keep it ours. So, continue being involved in your local Macedonian communities, whether that being your local sports clubs, dance groups, language school, local church, concerts, and many more. Never let the negative get the better of us, we Macedonians are Lions, and let us roar, let the world hear when a Macedonian is coming!
Long live Macedonia!
Dr. Daniel Peluso is a clinical psychologist who focuses on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma-related disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, and pain and illness-related disorders. He has worked in a range of outpatient settings, including mental health hospitals, and rehabilitation/pain programs, and currently, he works primarily with Veterans of Canadian Forces and RCMP. He has also published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in the area of anxiety, trauma, and pain.
Regarding how Macedonian heritage has impacted my life and profession, a strong work ethic and the importance of hard work allowed me to pursue years of academic training. Even more, devotion to family and being able to endure hardship through togetherness is what I’m most proud of regarding my Macedonian heritage. My fondest memories of family and culture all include togetherness, eating food around a table, and sharing beautiful holiday traditions. Preserving culture is a Herculean task, and for the next generation of young Macedonians, keep telling the stories and continue the traditions of your ancestors – this is how we can keep our culture alive.
Eleni Korovesh graduated from the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics in banking and finance. She has seven years of professional experience in asset management and financial services. Eleni is a CFA activist and committee member in women in investment management in Doha, Qatar. She is also an AIESEC member and activist. She is a yoga and art lover in her free time.
I believe that our culture has predominantly determined the core values of my personality that I have carried forward both in my personal and professional life. Values such as care, loyalty, and a sense of responsibility play a crucial role and are a cornerstone in our development. I am always very proud of the strong family ties and the love and respect within Macedonian culture. A highlight of our Macedonian culture is taking proper care of passing on the culture to young generations. To the next generation of Macedonians, I advise you to be a perfect blend of what you already are and accept differences in all forms on the journey to what you aim to become.
Gabriela Dimitrievski Williams was born and raised in Crown Point, Indiana to parents Cane and Lydia, both from Bitola, Macedonia. Gabriela began to pursue her career as a pharmacist at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy, where she graduated with her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree in 2013. Following her graduation, she completed her first-year pharmacy practice residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL, after which she completed a second-year psychiatric pharmacy residency program with Eskenazi Health and Purdue University in Indianapolis, IN.
Her pharmacy training and residency programs prepared Gabriela for a career in which she had always been passionate about, a career focused on the care of individuals suffering from mental illness. Following her training, Gabriela worked as an inpatient psychiatric clinical pharmacist, where she worked closely with interdisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive care to those with serious mental illnesses. During this time, Gabriela was also highly involved and invested in the teaching and development of pharmacy students and residents and served as a preceptor and mentor to these developing pharmacists, aiming to instill compassion and understanding for patients being treated for mental illness. After years of seeing the successes and hardships her patients faced during the treatment of their mental illness, her interest in advancing the field of psychiatric care and psychiatric medication management led her to her career at a personalized medicine company with a focus on psychiatric pharmacogenetics, where she joined the team as a medical science liaison for the Midwest region in 2020. Within her current role, Gabriela plays an integral role in providing pharmacogenetic clinical consultation and supporting the growth of her company’s clinical and technological platforms and services.
Furthermore, she continues to serve as the primary preceptor for students from four colleges of pharmacy completing their pharmacogenetic rotations.
Outside of these major aspects of her career, Gabriela has also published various papers on psychiatric pharmacy practice in peer-reviewed journals and served as an author of a book chapter on substance-related disorders. She has additionally co-authored and presented various scientific posters at national meetings and has given numerous presentations and talks both on local and national levels. Additionally, Gabriela also holds active board certification as a Pharmacotherapy Specialist and Psychiatric Pharmacist.
In her personal life, Gabriela resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, Jason, and son, Hudson.
My Macedonian heritage has impacted my personal and professional life in many ways, but the piece that stands out the most to me is the fighting spirit and sense of perseverance that our heritage has brought me. From a very young age, I watched the people I love and others within our community rise and overcome challenge after challenge to succeed and create a better life for those around them. I have never been surrounded by anything other than a drive and dedication to be better and do better.
However, while I am incredibly proud of the work ethic of the Macedonian people, I am most proud of the love, unity, and respect that our families and culture are built on. I know that no matter what, my family will always be my biggest support system, and additionally, that I will always find a sense of community in our Macedonian people.
My advice for future generations of Macedonians is something I have learned very dearly watching my family grow and succeed after immigrating from Bitola to the United States– take chances, love, and respect others, and stay humble.
Jovan was born in Kavadarci, Macedonia, and immigrated to the US when he was 10 years old. Jovan Kamcev, Ph.D., is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. His research group develops high-performance polymeric materials (e.g., membranes and adsorbents) for various applications including water treatment and energy generation/storage. He has received numerous awards for his scientific research, including a Department of Energy Early Career Research Award and a North American Membrane Society Young Membrane Scientist Award.
My Macedonian heritage and upbringing have certainly had an enormous impact on who I am as a person today. I spent the first 10 years of my life in Macedonia, and I have many fond memories of this time, despite living in relatively poor conditions. During this time, I was taught that my relationships with immediate family, relatives, and friends are the most important thing. Everything else is external and temporary. I really respect how much emphasis Macedonians place on human relationships. This type of mindset is actually quite rare to find in the USA. I am happy to have spent my childhood in Macedonia, and this experience helps to keep me grounded today. My advice for younger Macedonians is to discover what you are passionate about and then dedicate your life to that passion. That is how you will make an impact.
Julia Paliare is the Managing Director at RSL Investments and Sage Collective, a New York-based family office investing in transformational companies solving some of the world’s biggest problems.
Julia is a Board Observer at Esusu, a FinTech company that was built to create equitable financial access for everyone, as well as Gro Intelligence, an AgTech platform that has digitized the world’s agricultural data, with major implications for food security and climate. Julia is a Board Member at Touchcast, LifeLink, and Arifu, and an Advisor to The Equity Alliance, a fund that invests in underrepresented emerging VC managers and entrepreneurs.
Julia is a co-founder of BLDRS, which brings together a diverse group of investors and entrepreneurs to collaborate and share ideas to build and scale better businesses. Prior to RSL, Julia was at Providence Equity Partners, a $50bn asset management firm that invests across media, communications, education, and information sectors, and prior to that at Scotiabank structuring interest rate, currency, and credit derivatives. Since 2002, she has been an advisor for Peacebuilders International, a Canadian organization that focuses on diverting Toronto’s inner-city youth out of the justice system using restorative justice measures. Julia grew up in Toronto, has a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University in Canada, and is a CFA Charterholder.
My Macedonian heritage has had a tremendous impact on my life both personally and professionally. From a very young age, the values of hard work and commitment, as well as the importance of family were ingrained in me. I am incredibly proud to be Macedonian as it has taught me the importance of perseverance through adversity. Of course, a highlight of our culture is the food! Some of my most vivid childhood memories are going to my Baba’s home for the most delicious manja – a recipe that we still make today and will always cherish. No matter where you start off in life, hard work, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to trying again amidst failure will bring you to amazing places – but most importantly, ensure you bring others along with you.
Maja Stefanovska is 36 years old and was born and raised in Veles, Macedonia. Graduated in Early Child Development from the University “Goce Delcev” in Stip. She loves working with kids, and that was her dream job since she was a kid.
I am very proud to be part of a big project in the Macedonian Orthodox Church “St. Paraskeva-Petka” in Chicago at a Macedonian School. As a volunteer teacher trying to keep the religion and Macedonian language and also the tradition as part of our children’s life. The kids love to know more about our culture and I’m happy to be the person that will introduce them to our treasure-Cyrillic. Since we are far from our country, I’m trying to make the new generations learn as much as possible about the roots where their parents and grandparents are from. We tend to look through language, religion, and history of our people and we realize how much power they have!
Toni Kocevski is a first-generation Macedonian-American born in Inverness, Florida. His family roots originate in Kriva Palanka where his dad is from and where he was christened at the famous St. Joakim Osogovski Monastery, and in Vevcani where his mom is from. However, both his parents had moved to Ohrid in their younger years, so at heart, Toni considers Ohrid his hometown. His family moved to New Jersey in the 80s where he grew up and went to school. In 2004, he married Natasa Tancevska, who was born in Bitola, and they have three sons, Anthony, Filip, and Kristofer.
Toni earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication from William Paterson University, in Wayne, New Jersey. He currently is the Senior Project Manager of Pal-Pro Builders LLC, based in Garfield, New Jersey. In his volunteer capacity, he has served a term as Vice President and is currently serving his first term as President of Sts. Kiril and Metodij Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral, in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.
Being Macedonian automatically makes you very tough because our country has dealt with so much adversity forever. The only way we know how to survive is to continue fighting. Fighting for our country forever teaches you to be strong in all aspects of life and that pushes you to keep on fighting to make something beautiful of this life. At the same time, we work hard to keep our traditions and culture alive by keeping them going all throughout the world.
I am most proud to be Macedonian because of our rich history. We date back to the days way before Christ and are even mentioned in the bible several times. Our people are very warm and welcoming with their food, drinks, and even homes. We especially love to give anyone in need a helping hand in any which way that we can.
Whatever it is that you set your mind to, if you put in the hard work needed behind it, you will accomplish it. Just keep on going and you will reach the stars! Da Zivej Makedonija!
Viktor Nikolov was born in Skopje, Macedonia – his father’s side originates from Skopje and his mom’s side of the family has roots in the Prespa Region. As a kid, Viktor spent his summers at his grandma’s village of Ljubojno.
In 2012, Viktor graduated in Skopje from the Faculty of Economics with a Bachelor’s in E-Business and Marketing. However, his journey with the United States started four years prior to that. He worked in the hospitality and services industry, with stints at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Florida, and different restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. He runs Nikolov Design doing graphic design work for different non-profit organizations.
Currently, Viktor works as a leasing manager for one of the top property management companies in the most sought-after neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. He’s been a leader in the sales category nationwide for the past three quarters. In this role and previous roles, he’s worked closely with members of the diplomatic corps, different embassies, and international headquarters and never misses an opportunity to introduce, educate, and share the Macedonian culture with everyone he encounters. During his free time, Viktor is actively involved in the DMV Steering Committee of UMD and helps with planning the annual Macedonian Old New Year’s Masquerade, which draws a great crowd every year in Washington, D.C.
My Macedonian heritage has impacted me as I think that all of us carry the DNA of survival and struggle in making it through tough times. Coming from a very hard-working family that always taught me that honesty and hard work will always pay off, I put all of that into a daily effort, which has made me a valuable asset and an established professional in my respective field. I would say that I am most proud of how welcoming and inviting Macedonians usually are which has helped a lot in navigating my professional and personal relationships. Being the fun uncle to his niece Mila and his nephew Dominic, I have realized that educating the new generations and keeping in touch with your roots and heritage is a very important aspect, especially keeping alive the Macedonian language and culture.