Validated Lead Expert
B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development:
My professional background was built over the years on developing and implementing projects that lead to participative local governance as well as grow diverse local economy. Since 2015. I have been developing and managing an over 1 mil EUR project on Supporting students with disabilities with teaching assistants in all primary schools for Dubrovnik, Croatia. This project has been providing specialized education and a steady job to unemployed qualified professionals while ensuring the conditions for an integration in a regular educational system to students with disabilities. Presently, I am a project manager of URBACT network TechTown for Dubrovnik where we are exploring how small and medium sized cities can maximize the job creation potential of the digital economy. Since 2015. I am an active member of Local Partnership for Employment in Dubrovnik-Neretva County and have actively participated in creation of Human Resource Development Strategy Dubrovnik-Neretva County 2016-2020. I have also been involved in UN’s city initiative Global Compact through which I have been familiarized with best practices in world’s cities, in particularly related to good and ethical governance. When it comes to formal education, I have graduated from RIT Croatia, providing a great range of knowledge and skills in business and economics. I am a trainer for Council of Europe’s Programme ‘Leadership Academy’ with a thematic focus on good governance, leadership, transparency and participation
1: The applicant has recent relevant professional experience in the field of integrated and sustainable urban development.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level:
Being appointed as project manager at number of projects over the last five years provided opportunities to work with transnational teams in dynamic international environment. In those projects, in particularly URBACT TechTown and EVOLAQ that consisted of vast number of partners, I have been playing a role of the coordinator in organizing and facilitating local meetings and conferences, but also the ones being held in other cities. Through implementation of these two European projects, as well as two other Cross-border projects (T.H.I.N.K. and Olympic Hopes) I have organized, moderated and/or facilitated one vast seminar (60 participants, 9 countries), 5 transnational meeting (<10 countries), two cross-border trainings and one cross-border camp. In addition, I have been acting as a group facilitator at URBACT Summer University in Rotterdam in 2016 that gathered participants from all over Europe and within this experience I have again worked in a transnational group adapting the learning processes to a dynamic group. Finally, I have participated in creation of Urban Impact Assessment-New Skills Agenda for Europe contributing as a city expert and working alongside with 8 other participants from different countries.
1: The applicant has ample experience in exchange and learning activities at a transnational level.
B.3. Proficiency in English:
I am a proficient user of oral and written English language. Although living in Croatia, starting from my high school period, all my official education was on English. I graduated from RIT Croatia, and American college where all classes were held in English as well, and besides Croatian, I am also in possession of American university diploma. I use English language in everyday business practices due to the fact that I work with European funded projects. I have ability to present, report, moderate and facilitate meetings and workshops, all of which require excellent communication skills in English – both oral and written. I have participated in various international conferences where I have presented and been part of panel discussions, all spoken on English.
1: The applicant provides proof of her proficiency in English.
Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers:
In projects I was involved not many participants were native English speakers but we all used English as an official language. In numerous occasions, I had to present complex concepts to wider public which was international one. I am also used to work with international stakeholders from all over Europe and wider. To communicate effectively, I use different formats of presentation, from PPT to Prezi but also videos, charts and other forms of visuals, depending on type of event. For workshops under the Leadership Academy I used Prezi presentation format but also a lot of graphical schemes to make the content more appealing and understandable on examples. During ULG group meetings, I used videos and visuals from other cities showing examples of initiatives of other cities in digital agenda.
1: The applicant describes some presentation methods that can be used to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers.
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants:
As a project manager, I have been engaged in preparing several final narrative project reports that captured project’s conclusions with outputs and recommendations. I also participated in development of project- related papers jointly with all other partners. For example, in EVOLAQ project I am taking an active part in preparing “Guidelines for volunteering in Europe”. During project activities I have always taken notes and withdrawn key information that I have used in final reports. In several transnational meetings (in particularly during TechTown project) I have noted key practices and knowledge from other participating cities that I have applied when generating ideas for other projects, forming the yearly work program of DURA’s activities etc. While participating in creation of Urban Impact Assessment of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, together with other 8 city experts, I have analyzed various reports, performed desk research of national and local strategies and compiled conclusions of the research and sent it to DG Regio that was in charge for coordination of the document.
0: The applicant does not provide clear examples of outputs that concern the exchange of experiences and knowledge at a transnational level
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away:
In case of cross border projects (T.H.I.N.K. and Olympic Hopes), final report for each of the two projects was produced after the activities. Final narrative reports are summarizing all the activities of the project and had to be drafted in to justify the donor’s grant. They explain in detail the methods used to reach the goals of the project. Both the final project reports I compiled justified the investment. In previous section I mentioned other two concrete reports I took part in designing. Also, during ULG group work, I had to capture the essence of each meeting to prepare most concrete conclusion for the next gathering and finally to have a baseline for action plan drafting. Leadership Academy also produced memorandum of understanding for further activities that is to be signed to all participating countries and those activities arose from the academy itself. Facilitation, training and discussion exchange in all the mentioned activities took place at all times, as well in order to reach desired outcomes.
1: The applicant provides examples of documents to capture the knowledge and learning for participants to take away.
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages:
Being a project manager to number of project has greatly sharpened my reporting skills since reporting is an essential part of every European- funded project. I have prepared monthly, quarterly, mid-term and final reports. All the reports prepared had to capture the essential activities of the period. Most of the project I worked on were so called soft projects were the core activities were knowledge sharing and good practice example transfer. This is especially the case in cross border and transnational projects I have managed. In EVOLAQ project during the course of the project meetings, I have drafted and presented practices of volunteering in Dubrovnik area. In TechTown, I have been focused on presenting Smart City Dubrovnik good practice, in particularly during the site visit of partnership in Dubrovnik. In cross border project, both of the projects were focused on pilot projects that were to improve local practices with youth and were all about incorporating good practice example and upgraded policies either from one area to another or piloting new activities shared from partners. For all above mentioned activities I had to write precise reports in order to get City of Dubrovnik’s support for implementation.
1: The applicant seems capable of reporting the outcomes of projects in such a way that they incorporate good practices and policy messages.
Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
Over the years of working with European- funded projects, I have backed my professional experience by practicing transnational exchange and learning in various environments, from local to international. Graduating from international high school and later from American university I have been focused on managing projects with world-wide dimension while making change locally. My experience extends to socially responsible and sustainable initiatives mostly in area of good governance, education and economy growth. Over the last five years I have backed my professional record working as a trainer, facilitator, moderator, proposal writer and evaluator in transitional setting as well as being a trainer for Council of Europe’s Programme Leadership Academy for Local Government. I have organized a great number of transnational seminars, meetings and trainings with over 60 participants from over 9 countries per event. Additionally, I am knowledgeable in mediation, negotiation and encouraging inactive stakeholders. Having an experience in managing ex-war cross-border projects I have enhanced my capacities in conflict management and empowering unconfident partners.
1: The applicant is validated for C. The summary provided is accurate and can be used directly. The CV is also accurate and concise.
Theme / Policy:
Employment, Human Capital and Labour Mobility
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.:
As a senior staff of City of Dubrovnik’s development agency, within last 5 years I have been in position to lead initiatives for local social innovative projects that develop and diversify local economy, but have also participated in local strategy creation (City of Dubrovnik’s Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2020). Graduating from RIT Croatia, my background knowledge and skills are in business and economics. In the last two years, I have been managing TechTown project with a goal of developing digital economy for job creation on the local level. As a senior staff in City of Dubrovnik’s Development Agency I have been involved in various activities within implementation of Smart City strategy (2015) that is aiming, through a holistic smart city model, to strengthen its existing competitive advantages by using technologies and to increase the quality of life for the citizens ensuring long-term sustainability. My experience extends on projects in employment area and I have been directly in charge for two projects related to improvement of community services to its citizens. The first one is 50+ project (2013) that I created, developed and coordinated, the second one a project for ensuring impaired children’s assistance in schools for improved results (2015).
1: The applicant has experience in the field of employment, human capital and labour mobility. Specifically in projects related to education and social initiatives.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved:
Within EVOLAQ project, as one of the partner cities that has greatly supported the development of Youth volunteering and Attestation of competences acquired through volunteering I had to provide the partnership with quality reports and background briefing on the topic and its methodology. This is leading to the fact that the topic will be included within the “Volunteering Guidelines” that is going to be written as a final project stage. Within TechTown project, as part of the IAP creation, I produced several reports and briefings following transnational meetings and study visit (Tallinn, Estonia) in order to feed relevant stakeholders with background information and good practice examples from other EU cities that are relevant and useful on the local level. Within the process of creating and developing 50 Plus project (2013) I wrote several reports and papers regarding good practices all over EU and presented them to City’s senior officials and Mayor to get the project approval. Project is still being run and coordinated by me and it has led to over 70% employment to all involved participants as well as a thorough database of the ‘need and supply’ within the local area.
1: The applicant provides three relevant examples of inputs produced to feed the learning process at transnational level.
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice:
Within my involvement as a city expert in creation of New Skills Agenda for Europe, I was to discuss the potential environmental, social, governance and economic effects of the implementation of the Skills Agenda package at local and regional level. Following workshop, I outlined expected effects and policy proposals that were used within the creation of the document. http://cor.europa.eu/en/events/Documents/COTER/TIA/new-skills-agenda.pdf In 2015. I actively participated in creation of City of Dubrovnik’s Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2020 by writing research reports that were used to create a framework for the Strategy. Also, within the participative workshops that were organized for creation of the document, I presented the funding opportunities for activities that were included in the document. http://civilnodrustvo-dubrovnik.hr/uploads/20150904/Nacrt%20Strategije.pdf
1: The applicant provides two examples of reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes:
Since most of the projects I have managed took place in transnational or cross border setting involving a large audience and partnership, it was always set as one of the end project goals to enable sustainability of the certain projects through capitalization. For this purpose, project outputs are always presented at the final stage at the conference to the wider local audience in order to raise awareness about the most important conclusions or changes made locally during implementation. In addition, many projects produce additional documents, such as action plans (TechTown), thematic papers (EVOLAQ) and mutual memorandums (T.H.I.N.K. and Olympic Hopes) to be used as capitalization materials outside the project partnership. Those documents are distributed via project’s web site and social media in order to be available to large number of potential users, such in case of TechTown project.
0: The capitalization process is described only to a limited extent. The role of the applicant in the design of these outputs has not been described.
Summary Thematic expertise:
My expertise relates primarily to development of local economy through topics such as social welfare, labor mobility and employment. I am part of the local development agency where over the last five years I have been working on various EU- funded projects enhancing jobs and skills creation, community services, volunteering practices and urban development in general in transnational environment. Additionally, I have been engaged in initiatives on which I had opportunity to work on incorporating learning from exchange and learning activities, putting forward good practice and policy messages targeting city practitioners and urban policy-makers for improved performance of local governments while simultaneously following up the entire process. As a project manager I always tend to maximize the use of project results for strategic benefits in policy design, awareness raising and other capitalization activities.
1: The applicant is validated for D 'Employment, Human Capital and Labour Mobility'. The summary is a bit short. It should be extended.
Expertise support to local authorities and other stakeholders in designing & delivering integrated and participatory policies
E.1. Knowledge on participatory methods and tools for co-production and implementation of local polices :
As a project manager of TechTown project and through my involvement in ULG group work I had the opportunity to directly apply methods for activating stakeholders and fully engaging them. After conducting a research on a local level, a group of relevant stakeholders was decided upon. The participative process of IAP creation continued with several tools that were used within the meetings (Fishbowl method, Six thinking hats method, OPERA method, etc). After the core draft was created Scenario planning method was used to gather opinions, knowledge and visions on presented alternatives. Within the work with ULG I had to foster intensive dialog at all meetings and conclude with good examples that have already taken place but needed to get intensified and structured in a form of an action plan. After providing examples, introducing guest speakers, participation to transnational meetings and events, the group became coherent and motivated to get highly valuable inputs for action plan design. This process was parallelly followed with creating visibility about project aims among local decision makers who were also expected to support the efforts of ULG group. Jointly with other members of ULG, I have conducted a series of meetings in order to get decision makers understand better why digital jobs have the future in our city. Without this triple dialogue (decision makers- stakeholders- project team), the action plan would not be possible to put in place and to become operative.
1: The applicant has shown experience in tools for the production of local policies, specifically in the ULG project.
E.2. Knowledge on integrated approach for the design, delivering, monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies/policies:
Mainly all projects I took part in had some form of monitoring and evaluation involved. 50+ project (2013) was one of the projects that I fully designed, delivered and monitored. Prior to its creation I extensively researched and reported on several possible models that could match long-term unemployed people with individuals that required personal care. Besides a very unsupportive legislative (regarding the issue) in Croatia, inclusion, special education, security, health, labor market etc. was to be thought through. 50+ project is a strategic project for City of Dubrovnik and it was created with defined indicators that were monitored on yearly bases, using the baseline for comparison. Since this type of monitoring resulted only in quantitative measurements, in 2016 I decided to perform a Participative monitoring and evaluation of the project involving its target group. This included participative workshops; surveys with end users, officials and other relevant stakeholders; re-defining the result indicators and reassessment of data collection activities that were already done. This process resulted with a thorough qualitative evaluation of the project and proving positive results on local level, it gave a full City support for its greater development.
1: The example of the 50+ project is relevant since it involved monitoring and evaluation with multiple tools and over multiple moments in time. The applicant has actively designed this method.
E.3. Awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level:
As a senior project manager in development agency, my expertise is to keep track on available funding opportunities on a daily basis, in particularly the ones coming from EU programmes. I regularly follow on official EU funding web sites but also refer to my networks on local, national and EU level to find out about new initiatives. I am also keen on participating personally on various gatherings, conferences, workshops and other forms of information provision in order to stay well informed and up to date. For example, I have actively participated in a two-day seminar: “A workforce for the future: Designing strong local strategies for better jobs and skills, Capacity building seminar” organized by OECD in Venice 2017., “Urban Innovation Forum – Ethical Cities: advancing urban resilience, inclusion and innovation”, organized by RMIT and UN-Habitat in Spain, 2016.
1: This is the applicants main job title. She has highlighted a few manners in which she keeps up to date with main policy and funding schemes.
E.4. Ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities:
While working on various projects, I have sharpened my ability to quickly screen and assess situation in a certain area using various methodologies- from working with stakeholders to conducting research. Also, I often look at what has previously been done in certain area and on what results can I capitalize while managing a project. Good example is previously mentioned cross border project “Olympic Hopes” which, thanks to the good implementation and adaptation of activities in different local contexts, has been upgraded and awarded funding for the second time. Although the starting idea was to perform all activities and tools in the same way in both countries, within the first implementation period I decided to adapt the tools for Montenegrin partners since they were completely unexperienced in any sort of participatory methods. There were more workshops dedicated with a greater variety of facilitating tools and methods and greater number of stakeholders included than for Croatian partnership consortium. The ending results were successfully accomplished and the project was evaluated as the best one performed within given financing period.
1: The applicant has shown that she is able to adapt tools and methods to local levels in the Olympic Hopes CBC project.
As a Senior Advisor for Local Development and EU Funds in a Dubrovnik’s development agency, my expertise is to keep track on available funding opportunities on a daily basis, in particularly the ones coming from EU programmes and finding opportunities to fund some of the city’s priority projects. While working on various projects, I have sharpened my ability to quickly screen and assess situation in a certain area using various methodologies- from working with stakeholders to conducting research. In addition, experiences of a local and programme evaluator has enabled me to use some of the pre-schemed charts to better monitor on certain project activities. I value both qualitative and quantitative monitoring and project evaluation that I tend to set while designing the project. Having a vast practice within transnational projects I have experience in understanding and adapting to local situations through my facilitation and leadership methods.
1: The applicant shows ample experience in the field of support to local authorities and other stakeholders in designing and delivering integrated and participatory policies.