Meet Ivana – Pangea’s Newest Team Member!
Please help us welcome Ivana, our newest member of the Pangea team!
Ivana comes from the World Affairs Council in Houston and will be Pangea’s United States Programs Manager. A passionate traveler, Ivana has seen much of what the world has to offer, and will bring her experience and enthusiasm to help us accomplish our goals in 2017 and thereafter.
What is your new title and focus?
U.S. Program Manager – growing Pangea’s ongoing program, the Young Women’s Leadership Conference (YWLC), in Houston, and expanding the conference to Dallas, and Austin in the summer of 2017
What are your goals for this position?
In 2017, for the first time, Pangea will offer high school girls in Austin and Dallas the opportunity to attend a world-class women empowerment conference. It is my goal to connect the students with global leaders and to help them understand the interconnectedness of our world by making them realize that their local actions have a global impact and that international events can change their own communities. Students who understand the interconnectedness of our world are aware that their thoughts can be turned into actions, and that their actions can make an impact. It is important for high school girls to be empowered with this knowledge – that their thoughts and actions can make local and global changes daily. The YLWC challenges young women to think critically about their ideas and paths to improve themselves and their communities.This change we talk about can only happen once we are open and willing to change ourselves – that is the first step. Pangea gives high school girls the space and tools to transform themselves in a creative and inspiring environment – the Young Women’s Leadership Conference. I look forward to learning and growing with the Pangea team as well as local and global partners who will make the conference a life-changing experience for all students.
What was your previous role to joining Pangea?
For the past 7 years I was working at the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston (WAC), an international educational non-profit organization. As the International Education Director, I developed and planned programs for students and educators to give them the opportunity to become globally competent and culturally sensitive world citizens. The focus of the international education programs was to connect students to global leaders of our time and to offer educators personal and professional development opportunities through workshops and international travel.
What were your major accomplishments in this role?
As the head of the education department at WAC, I was responsible for managing and coordinating, annually, 100+ programs for 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers in the Houston-area, including community colleges and universities.
One of the most rewarding and life-changing projects I was involved in was creating a peacebuilding international travel opportunity for middle and high school teachers to travel to Israel and Palestine. In the summer of 2013, I led a group of 10 teachers from Houston to meet with human rights organizations, United Nations agencies, cultural and religious organizations, and journalists, in order to learn first-hand from Israelis and Palestinians who are building peace through education. The teachers returned to their classrooms across Houston with facts ‘from the ground.’ The teachers had the tools and resources to teach their students about the daily lives and realities of a place that is still today at the heart of many international debates – they were able to truly bring the world back to their classrooms and teach from experiential learning rather than from what are often outdated and narrowly focused textbooks.
Any other industry experience?
I have held positions at the Asia Society in New York, U.S. and ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development) in Paris, France.
Where did you go to school?
I obtained my Master’s Degree in International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris and my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston. I attended the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore where I earned my International Baccalaureate Diploma.
Any other career or personal experiences to share?
As a Croatian who was raised in Singapore, who studied in Paris, and now has lived it the U.S. for 10 years, I am a global nomad, a third culture kid, and I don’t see borders around the globe – I choose to only see what connects us locally and globally every day.
What drives you professionally?
Be the change you want to see in the world!I often read the wise words of the Dalai Lama and one of my favorite quotes is: “The True Meaning of Life: We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal. The true meaning of life.”
Any hobbies or passions outside of work?
TRAVEL! I have been privileged and humbled to have had the opportunity to experience many places on our planet – from trekking in the Himalayas since I was a teenager to spending 7 days in North Korea in 2012 and most recently dancing to the sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Every year I travel to a new destination.