Leadership Wisconsin Announces 2018 International Seminar Destination


Leadership Wisconsin is pleased to announce Croatia (Hrvatska) as the International Seminar destination for spring of 2018. Throughout the programs’ history, the International Seminar has provided invaluable experience in leadership development, cultural understanding, and personal growth. We are excited to share all that Croatia has to offer with dedicated leaders in Wisconsin.

Meet the Co-Chairs

The International Seminar Co-Chairs, Timothy Baye and Joan Gillman, have made this international leadership experience possible through their cultural knowledge and personal connections. Both have worked extensively in Croatia, creating programs and developing relationships in order to better equip leaders with the skills necessary to succeed.

Tim Baye is a Professor of Business Development and a State Energy Specialist with the UW Extension Department of Community Resource Development. Having been to the country nearly thirty times, Baye’s experience offers a multitude of connections and resources to seminar participants. He taught both financial management and consulting courses for the MBA program at the J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek, Croatia for eleven years. Baye maintains strong relationships with students—many who are now professionals in government, business, and university settings across the country.

Joan Gillman’s experience in Croatia dates back to 1997 when she worked with professors to start an entrepreneurship program at the university. Currently, Gillman is a Faculty Associate in Executive Education and Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Baye credits his involvement with the Croatian Entrepreneurship program to Gillman’s extensive connections and expertise. Baye says, “Joan set me up for this date. [It was a] blind date at first, but I fell in love.”

Why Croatia?

In a word, Baye puts it quite simply: ACCESS.

Few other locations offer as extensive a network as those brought by our Croatian sponsors and the Wisconsin seminar leaders. “Wisconsin and Croatia mirror each other in terms of size (population) and dominant economic sectors—agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. Both places have been significantly influenced by immigration, although Croatia’s human history is much older. Climates are also similar,” said Baye. And then there’s water. “We have the Great Lakes, they have the ocean,” said Gillman. In a place that is so similar to our own state, what is there to learn? Croatia has a rich and colorful history that extends thousands of years. Through this experience, travelers will have the opportunity to explore a country influenced by a long history of trade, geographical influences, war and conflict, and newly democratic elections.

Getting Ready

The seminar co-chairs along with Leadership Wisconsin Executive Director, Sarah Schlosser, will be traveling to Croatia at the end of March for a pre-trip experience. Through these travels, they will begin to build relationships and agenda items for participants traveling the following year.

Although not yet confirmed, participants have the potential to travel to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Vukovar, Osijek, and Rijeka. Travelers will also have the opportunity to network with staff and students at The Center for Entrepreneurship, of which both Baye and Gillman remain affiliated.

What to Expect

Leaders will return with improved skills in self-awareness, communication, networking, community organization, and public policy. They will also get to experience amazing pastries, homemade sausages, Turkish/Slovak salads, Cevapi (pronounced “ch-vapi” a traditional minced meat), and, according to Baye, the best pizza on the plant. “It has recently become a ‘foodie’ destination, but I claim to have discovered the gastric/cuisine attraction first.” Although, he contends that the 2,000 year old vineyards, local breweries and the fact that many of his students made (and shared) their own wines have no influence on his attraction to the place.

Participants can expect to feel at home and very far away all at once. With similar size, landscapes, and economic sectors, the mountains and ocean coastline are just an added bonus. Croatia is truly a crossroads between parts of Asia and Europe and the country reflects it.  Leadership Wisconsin is excited to offer you the opportunity to travel to a country that is so similar and yet so different, while at the same time developing your capacity to lead and create positive change for a Stronger Wisconsin.

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