President of the Council of Zavod Vitae+

Enzo Smrekar

Sport is my great passion. I am happy and proud to be the president of the Ski Association of Slovenia, the president of OC Planica 2023, the vice president of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia, a member of the supervisory board of the Sports Lottery and a member of the board of KK Cedevita Olimpija.

I am the vice president of Atlantic Group and the general director of Atlantic Droga Kolinska. As a marketing and strategy executive, I would like to make the best use of my knowledge and experience in an international environment. I have over 30 years of experience in marketing and management, including 18 years in multinational companies such as Philip Morris, Diageo and LVMH , and entrepreneurial experience with start-ups in business consulting, marketing and human resources management.

I am a Harvard Business School Alumni, a certified coach with NLP Richard Bandler – Society and Coaching and Mentoring degrees at Oxford Brookes University, and a pro bono coach and mentor to many young entrepreneurs and managers in CEED, IEDC MBA, DMS and Amcham Young Professionals. I have received numerous awards from the profession for my work, including Best European Manager (2019), IEDC Alumni Achievement Award (2018), Advertising Personality of the Year (2017), MBA Outstanding Performances Award and Manager of the Year (2020).

If you were to ask me what value I would place at the centre of my thoughts and actions, I would most likely choose responsibility. Before you set out to change the world, you have to talk to yourself. So I do a lot of thinking. Including about how much joy and pride I, the whole Slovenian nation and our country, felt about the success of our top athletes. How much hope, admiration and excitement. How many clenched fists and pats on the back. And at the same time, how much pressure we could create with our expectations. We were not concerned with unilaterally strengthening the personality and life of young people, nor with how much renunciation is necessary in all other areas of life for top performance in sport. Together with the athletes we rushed through the modern form of gladiatorialism, together intoxicated by victories and success. To the zenith. When there is a decline in power and success, there is also a decline in support and adoration, and we replace "ours" with another that becomes "ours.” There is really nothing wrong with that, it is just a form of the natural life cycle in a top sports environment. What is wrong, however, is that most do not feel responsible for helping an elite athlete replace the "juice" they have squeezed out of themselves into their peak successes, some of which we have all enjoyed. Mostly, these are not material resources, as athletic success today is financially rewarding, at least in some sports. They are deficits in socialisation, education, self-reliance, and coping skills for everyday challenges. It is about coping with the simple and naked life when the armour of a sports organisation and its offshoots comes off. When people are just people in the open emptiness of everyday life, which is often foreign to them.
My life partner Laura and I are both big sports fans, so we talked a lot about the fate of top sportsmen and women after their careers have ended. We felt a responsibility to repay the good with good. We used our knowledge and skills to help people who have given us so much joy to transition from one way of life to another. We are sure that Zavod Vitae+ will appeal to many people. Perhaps not as numerous as athletic successes, but enough to fulfil our mission responsibly.