How did your upbringing from immigrant parents from Macedonia influence your financial and business awareness and how important is the process of integrating into Canadian society, and therefore getting business opportunities?
Well, you’ll have to come to the Macedonia 2025 Summit to hear my speech. I actually discuss all of this and more. Two key points that my parents taught me was 1) Save every penny and 2) Cash is king, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Regarding integrating into Canadian society, I was born in Canada, but my parents taught me pride and the fact that my heritage is Macedonian. Entering the working world, I had confidence in myself, even if I didn’t know everything. My mother also taught me that I could achieve anything I could put my mind to.
You are the host of the educational show ‘Finance is Personal’. How did you come up with the idea to spread financial literacy through social media?
I was on Canadian television, but I needed to get sponsorship. Without sponsorship, there was no television airtime. Everyone is on social media these days, but it is not an easy process as I have been growing my audience organically. The best part about social media is that people worldwide have access to my message. Social media is the modern entrepreneurial space, with hard work, a good message, discipline and some luck, you can reach an incredibly wide audience, and let’s face it, the whole world needs financial literacy.
Your emphasis is on women in business and you interview them on various topics. Where do you see the role of women in economic growth, how do you think we can improve gender equality and achieve equal pay for equal work, and what can be accomplished with women`s leadership?
That’s a million dollar question. If I knew that answer, we wouldn’t have that problem. Just scratching the surface, two points, we need the example of very successful women and the experience of those successful women. Women need a voice and this is why I created the show. The other reason is because many women end up retiring in poverty and I wanted to educate women so that they could be self sufficient and successful in their own right. As women, we need to mentor each other and support each other. We also need corporations to get on board with equal pay for equal work and get away from old school thinking.
Small & Medium sized enterprises’ main obstacles are getting financing for their business and staying afloat during harsh times and predicaments in the economy. What is your advice for entrepreneurs in the long-run?
Focus on what you are good at. Again, as my father said “Cash is king, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.” Most companies expand well beyond their means and they lose sight of counting every penny. Always have money for a rainy day, because it will rain and it will be torrential. Meaning, have emergency funds.
You will participate at the upcoming Macedonia 2025 Summit this November. What are you going to share with the audience and what do you expect from the Macedonian business community?
I am going to cover the basics and hope that financial literacy resonates with the audience, whether you are a regular person or a business owner. I hope that my examples will educate and inspire at least one person in the audience. That is always my goal with each show that I tape. Because if one person is inspired, that person will tell ten people.
One of your passions is regularly donating blood and giving back to the community. In what way can we inspire more businessmen and corporations to participate in similar campaigns and show their support in such a selfless way?
I started to donate blood when my mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2006. Her surgeon told me that my mother might need a blood transfusion and said, “You are young and healthy, why don’t you donate your blood?” To this date I have donated over 60 times. I believe it is important to give back to the community. The key with donating blood is that it does not cost you anything except for an hour of your time. The best thing is that you can save up to 3 lives with each donation and you can help save a stranger’s life. It is extremely fulfilling to know that you have made a difference between life and death literally.
People need to remember that when they get to the position that they have achieved in their career, they didn’t get there alone. Yes, it takes hard work and a lot of time, but there is always someone that opened the door for you.
Whether you’re donating your money, time, skill, or mentoring, surround yourself with people and resources that can help make your philanthropy more thoughtful and effective. Anyone can be a philanthropist, regardless of your financial status. Donating your time, experience, skills or talent can also help create a better world.
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