Meet our founders
Impact & Innovation, Co-founder & Managing Partner
Bistra Kumbaroska, North Macedonia
A community innovator, entrepreneur and a poet, Bistra spends her time witnessing and supporting courageous steps made by humans, combining innovative tools for business and impact. In 2008, she became one of the core drivers of a movement in Macedonia that resulted with today's most popular youth portal in CEE Region, Mladi Info. Her passion for entrepreneurship took her on a journey through Europe, Sub-Sahara Africa, and South-East Asia, supporting the creation of meaningful jobs. At the moment she lives in Vienna, Austria. She has been involved in the creation and scaling of more than 5 networks and entities across different industries in CEE and has organized, facilitated and shared her experience at more than 117 international events and conferences so far. Currently, Bistra is based in Vienna and Ljubljana.
& Content, Co-founder
Christina Forster, Austria
Christina believes that every business, brand or product has a story to tell. And a good one, too. Her own story started in the field of journalism but already in 2005 she moved from print to online. However, it was only during her 8 years in London when she discovered how Content Marketing, Storytelling and Responsible Communication can enable sustainable success for a business - something that became her biggest passion. Since then Christina is helping clients - ranging from big corporations to small social enterprises - to tell their impact by creating human-centred communication strategies for internal and external use. Throughout her career Christina has worked in the fashion, sports, music but also media and IT industry with companies such as Red Bull, Nivea, Labello, Boden or Cisco Austria. She acts as a cofounder to Heartbeats Innovation & Communication and is also an expert for Digital Marketing in the Impact Hub Vienna. Christina is currently based in Vienna and Ljubljana.
Meet our team and experts
Research & goodbizbox
Anja Forštner, Slovenia
Anja is based in our Ljubljana office and a master's student of International Business at the School of Economics and Business at the University of Ljubljana. She is passionate about business development, social media and responsible business - ideally in an international context. During her undergraduate program she had attended various extracurricular programs in Canada, China, France, Belgium etc. and participated in business development competitions. At Heartbeats, Anja is responsible for research and creates content for our new product goodbizbox as well as Social Media.
Expert in Business Modelling & Communication
Nicci Stewart, South Africa
Nicci started her career in the communications field in 1999. During this time, she gained experience in various sectors such as advertising, public relations, and stakeholder communications. In 2015, she shifted her focus to the entrepreneurial space. Her primary objective is to grow the entrepreneurial eco-system to support the development and growth of businesses - specially businesses that have a social and impact focus. Nicci is also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10 000 Women programme for female entrepreneurs, a regular speaker at local and international events and foundress of The Why Effect. At Heartbeats, Nicci is currently based in Johannesburg and supports us as a partner for goodbizbox, business modelling and communication.
Jasminka Mitkovska, Slovenia
Jasminka is a Slovenia-based educator, interpreter and project coordinator, working with diverse communities and networks in Slovenia and Western Balkans. At Heartbeats, she is supporting the delivery of unique online events, including online trainings, e-acceleration programs and meetings. Currently, she is coordinating a series of events on Human Rights and also supported us in the delivery of a social business program dedicated to Roma entrepreneurs in Serbia, Romania and North Macedonia. In her free time, Jasminka supports young people in career counselling and language acquisition. She is passionate about human rights, workers’ rights and feminism.
Expert in Research & Innovation
Vesna Kuzmanovic, North Macedonia
Vesna is based in Skopje Macedonia and an experienced consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the market research, marketing and advertising industry. She is skilled in Innovation Management, in both explicit and implicit market research tools and techniques (Quantitative and Qualitative explicit and EyeTracking and Facial Coding) Marketing Management, Negotiation, Business Planning, and Sales Management. Vesna also owns an MBA title from Sheffield University and PhD from UN University and is a passionate ambassador for making innovation accessible for everyone.
Expert in innovation & capacity building
Jose Antonio Morales, Peru/Slovenia
Jose is originally from Peru but has been living in Slovenia for over 15 years. His professional career kicked off in IT but already for the past 20+ years Jose has been working with corporate teams, SMEs and young entrepreneurs, bringing new perspectives, challenging the status quo and sparking innovation. Back in the day, Jose co-founded one of the first international Web communities in Latin America, Exchange Latino, in partnership with Microsoft Peru. While in Slovenia Jose was recognised by Microsoft Corp as one of the 18 Global Partner Area Leads. Today, he is founder of initiatives such as Fear & Fail Global, Aurora Co-working, Lincoln Island Initiatives, Vision of Present and The Glue.
Expert in partnership building and facilitation.
Hayley Lapalme, Canada
Hayley is a dynamic facilitator and systems thinker based in Toronto. Coming from a broad interdisciplinary background, Hayley is a reflexive leader who sees connections and builds strong partnerships. Her talents in writing, community development, and intercultural communication have lead her to produce the “100 Mile Dinner Party” radio documentary for the CBC and support the development of an urban farming business in Toronto. In 2010, Hayley joined the team at My Sustainable Canada and developed a methodology to assess and expand institutional procurement of local food in Ontario. Hayley is a dedicated mentor with the Challenge: Future community of global youth social entrepreneurs and an avid canoeist.
Ana Stojanovska, North Macedonia
Ana is a high school student at Algorithm High in Skopje. She is very interested in social media and video editing and is passionate about sustainable fashion and the responsible lifestyle required for fighting the climate crisis. In her free time she enjoys watching TV shows and movies, cooking, but most of all, she loves training cross fit. She is a dog lover and enjoys spending time with her dog Barney, too. After she graduates, Ana plans to study abroad, in the field of new media.