Croatian-Canadians Celebrate 20 Years of Community Excellence at BEA 2024

Some 600 people attended the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce’s 20th Annual Business Excellence Awards Gala hosted outside of Toronto to recognize and celebrate leadership, innovation and excellence within their business community as well as acknowledge contributions made by certain members to their community and made by the community to Canada.

A number of business awards were presented at the event including to: Ashley Oaks Homes Inc. as “Large Business of the Year”, Sever Homes Inc. as “Small Business of the Year”, Bruno Mandić (Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer of District Council 46 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades) as “Executive of the Year”, Petar Vukasinović (Founder and CEO at Agilno Technologies Inc.) for “Entrepreneur of the Year”, and Dr. Anica Bulić (Pediatric Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, The Hospital For Sick Children and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Medicine at The University of Toronto) as “Professional of the Year”.

Ivan Lukšiċ was the recipient of the “Community Achievement Award”, in recognition of his contributions to the Croatian community in Canada.

Finally, Nancy Romic (Executive Director of Shifra Homes Inc.) was honoured with the “Social Impact Award”, recognizing her significant contribution to improving the well-being of a community, individuals and families, embodying the values of compassion, empathy, and dedication to creating positive change. She was recognized for her work at Shifra Homes, a maternity residence and homeless shelter in Burlington that supports young, homeless, pregnant women between the ages of 16-27.

Each award recipient was presented with a signed print entitled “Trakošćan” created by featured artist, Tatjana Hutinec.

With one of the highest priorities of the Chamber being the youth in our community, scholarship presentations in the amount of $2,000 were made to five outstanding university students including: Angelina Barić (McMaster University), Isabella Kojundzić (University of Ottawa), Katarina Osojnićki (University of Guelph), Nancy Paris Rosen (McMaster University), and Dominik Vrdoljak (University of Waterloo).

The Croatian-Canadian Scholarship Fund was also pleased to announce the recipients of the In2ition Scholarship Award – Jasmine Fric, enrolled at University of Windsor was the recipient of a $40,000 scholarship. Scholarships were also awarded to three additional deserving students including: $10,000 to Kiara Blaić (McMaster University), $5,000 to Karmela Anić-Matić (York University) and $4,000 to Anteja Čubelić (University of Waterloo).

Belief in education’s power to change lives is truly inspiring, and the Chamber sincerely thanks all those who generously contribute to our cause and help shape the future of our youth.

The Chamber was honoured to host a Croatian-Canadian Art Exhibit organized by artist Tatjana Hutinec. A portion of the sales from the exhibit as well as proceeds from the silent auction and raffle were donated to the Croatian-Canadian Scholarship Fund.

The special guest of the evening was Pete Radovich, Jr., 41-time Emmy Award winner and VP Production and Senior Creative Director, CBS Sports, UEFA Champions League and Super Bowl. Business leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals, students, and other members of the community that were in attendance welcomed the opportunity to meet and hear from Mr. Radovich, with many noting that he ranked as one of their all-time favourite guests.

One of the focal points of the evening was an engaging question and answer session following an inspiring speech delivered by Mr. Radovich. Those in attendance learned first-hand about Mr. Radovich’s early years, his mentors, his inspirations and how he faced and overcame the challenges he faced as a young person finding his way through a gruelling and unforgiving industry. Mr. Radovich recognized the importance of work ethic, drive, and perseverance in order to attain success and served as an inspiration to all generations and (and in particular the younger ones) across all levels of business.

Mr. Radovich credits his Croatian upbringing and roots to how he got where he is today. “I don’t know how to be American. If someone asks me what it’s like to be Croatian, I can go on for hours. Being multicultural and Croatian helps me tell better stories.”

Mr. Radovich’s name was added to an impressive list of previous special guests of the annual event, which include: successful members of our community as well as prominent political and diplomatic representatives from Canada, the United States and Croatia, ranging from the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Stephen Harper; the Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne; the President and CEO of CIBC, Victor Dodig; businessman and TV personality, Robert Herjavec; NHL Hall of Famer and Senator, Frank Mahovlich; the President of Jimmy Choo Americas, Tanya Golešić; and technological innovators Mate Rimac (Founder and CEO, Rimac Automobili/Rimac Group and CEO of Bugatti Rimac) in the automotive industry and A.J. Piplica (Founder and CEO Hermeus) in the aerospace industry; and Violet Grgich (President of Grgich Hills Estate), among others.

In addition to enjoying Kutjevo Empress Graševina and Testament Babić over dinner, guests had an opportunity to sample other Croatian wines imported into Canada by Croatia Unpacked.

Dinner also featured a curated Mediterranean menu designed by Chef Damir Tas from GUŠT Restaurant. Gušt (pronounced Gusht) meaning simple pleasure is a contemporary restaurant nestled in the heart of downtown Allison. Their restaurant serves elegant dishes focussing on Mediterranean fusion cuisine with a passion for exceptional ingredients and provides a creative outlet for amazing food meant to be shared with family and friends.

Guests were also treated to exceptional musical performances by Mia Miličević (anthems), Ponosni Hrvati (tamburitza) and Thomas Šulug (piano) during the course of the evening.

Those in attendance received a commemorative Croatian red and white checkered lapel pin to mark the occasion.

The Chamber sincerely thanks all of its sponsors, guests and volunteers for their continued support and generosity in making the event an incredible success!

A special thank you to the Burlington Convention Centre and Courtyard by Marriott Burlington for their ongoing hospitality and support as well as Studio Mikan for the commemorative pins and Magarac Productions for the pin cards and outstanding audio visuals.

The Chamber is sincerely thankful for the following 2024 SPONSORS:

Platinum Sponsor CIBC
Diamond Sponsors NBM Engineering Inc., Baka Gallery Cafe, Bell, MNP LLP, Stikeman Elliot LLP
Gold Sponsor Frendel Kitchens Limited
Award Sponsors Jones DesLauriers / Navacord, King East Dental, Krcmar Surveyors Ltd
Printing Sponsor Merrill Corporation Canada
Tourism Sponsor Air Transat
Pin Sponsor Studio Mikan
Pin Card Sponsor Magarac Productions
Decor Sponsor Meetex

Student Table Sponsors G.S. Die & Design Inc., HP Canada Co., International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Masters Insurance, The Odan/Detech Group Inc.

Table Sponsors
Alpeza General Contracting Inc. | Altech Security Systems | Akadami Holdings Ltd. | Ashley Oaks Homes Inc. | Basecorp | Burlington Convention Centre | Canadian Croatian Choral Society | Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Burlington | Croatian National Home | Croatia Norval S.C | DALI Local 675 Interior Systems | EV Consulting Canada (Petrunic Group) | Grguric Architects Incorporated | Hamilton Croatia | I.T. Mission Global Services | International Union of Painters and Allied Trades | In2ition | JITSU Mfg. Inc. | Kanlor Mfg. Inc. | Kubra | KW Croatia Club | M & D General Contracting Ltd. | Medsport Ottawa | MiR Construction Inc. | Mr. Rooter Plumbing | Net Electric | Nexus Group | Scotiabank | Sever Homes Inc. | Vrancor Group | Winzen

The Chamber gratefully acknowledges the support and contributions of The Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Ottawa, Canada, The Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Mississauga and Eurotrade Import Export Inc. to this year’s BEA.

BEA 2024 Recipients

BEA 2024 Program Book

BEA 2024 Photo Album