UMD Welcomes Three New Board Members

UMD Welcomes Three New Board Members

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) – the leading global organization amplifying the voices of Macedonians – is pleased to announce the appointment of Sophie Evanoff, Dr. Jovan Laskovski, and Aleksandar Popovski to the global UMD Board of Directors.

Since 2004, UMD has been on the frontline of international Macedonian advocacy, cultural preservation, and education efforts, building pride for our rich heritage, supporting Macedonians in their professional lives, and ensuring a vibrant community based on our shared backgrounds regardless of borders.

We are excited to welcome these trailblazing, field-leading individuals to our Board of Directors.

Argie N. Bellio, UMD Chairman, said:

“Sophie, Jovan, and Alex, all past recipients of the UMD Macedonian Diaspora 40 Under 40 Awards and long-time UMD members, bring a new diverse, and energetic perspective to UMD – I look forward to working with them to take the organization to the next level and ensure Macedonians remain proud of our roots, but also take action and get more involved in Macedonian causes.

Sophie Evanoff said:

“This is very exciting! I’m honored to be joining the board and look forward to many shared accomplishments together for UMD! I have an enormous passion for my Macedonian culture and am committed to helping strengthen and grow our diaspora carrying out UMD’s mission.”

Dr Jovan Laskovski said:

“Honored and humbled to join the board. My Macedonian Heritage has been the crux of my strength throughout my career. Growing up as the son of Macedonian immigrants, I was able to witness firsthand how hard work and tenacity could pay off.”

Aleksandar Popovski said:

“Being Macedonian, one is used to being in a state of constant struggle. Nothing comes to you on a silver platter, and nothing is achieved without a lot of pain and hard work. Luckily, we Macedonians have learned well how to persevere through hardship and to be persistent despite obstacles. I’m honored to serve on the UMD board and dedicated to advancing its mission.”

UMD thanks Dr. Natasha Garrett and Deana Janceski, who stepped down from the Board earlier in the year, for their long-time service on the UMD Board and as Chairs for Pittsburgh and Michigan.


Sophie Evanoff

Sophie Evanoff is a first-generation Macedonian born in Troy, Michigan, an accomplished pastry chef, and the business owner of Vanille Patisserie, a luxury French bakery in Chicago, Illinois. Evanoff has dedicated herself to culinary quality since 2011 and has won a myriad of awards for her excellence, including multiple business awards. Recently, Evanoff was awarded the rank of Knight in the French Government’s Agricultural Merit Order. She currently serves on the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Committee in Chicago as the Vice Chair of Business Attraction and Retention, as well as several other non-profits.

Dr. Jovan Laskovski

Dr. Jovan Laskovski is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon based in Akron, Ohio. Laskovski specializes in the fields of hip and shoulder arthroscopy as well as regenerative medicine. A nationally and internationally recognized surgeon, he has researched and published numerous articles on orthopedic surgery. Laskovski is a member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America, an Ordinary Member of the International Hip Arthroscopy Society, as well as several other societies. He has won numerous awards and honors, including Master Instructor of Arthroscopic Surgery from the Arthroscopy Association of North America and Fellow of the Arthroscopy Association Of North America. At the age of 30, he became the youngest Associate Master Instructor in AANA history. He served as Head Team Physician for the University of Akron and he has been prolific in caring for the wellness of high-level athletes, including Olympians, NCAA Division 1 athletes, and professional soccer, basketball, football, and hockey players, as well as gymnasts and ballet dancers. Dr. Laskovski also has invented over 10 new surgical instruments and 4 new surgical techniques.

Aleksandar Popovski

Aleksandar Popovski hails from Struga, where he fell in love with Macedonian poetry and literature on the banks of the river Drim. He finished high school in Skopje and moved to the U.S. at seventeen. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh.

He has worked in international education for the past thirteen years. He has held leadership roles at several public and private universities, most recently as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School at Binghamton University (SUNY).

Popovski owns Ucredo, a nationally recognized credential evaluation and translation company based in Florida. Ucredo equates education from abroad to the U.S. standard and thereby helps foreign-trained individuals to qualify for employment, pursue further education and attain licensure in the United States. Popovski has been a proud member of UMD since its inception and regularly contributes to UMD initiatives.