The following is a list of current Board Members:
Leslie Brlec - President
Leslie brings 15 years of experience in the GTA Real Estate market to the table with confidence and determination. Her business acumen is highly regarded across Toronto where her commitment to personal ethics and the ongoing success of her established client base have seen her business goals not only grow but thrive in a highly competitive market. Although born in Toronto Leslie was immersed in Slovenian culture as a child and has developed strong relationships within the diaspora as a result. Her easy going nature and ability to make clients feel at ease bely an acute business sense.
Recent regular summer sojourns to Slovenia have seen Leslie rekindle deep family and cultural connections in that country. As a dual citizen she is able to work without restriction across continents allowing her to plan, develop and implement business opportunities between Canada and Slovenia not only in the Real Estate sector but also in Food and Beverage, Import/Export and Cultural Tourism.
Joseph Cestnik - Past President
With 35 years in the financial and manufacturing management experience in areas of strategic planning, evaluation, financial reporting, business acquisitions, negotiating, marketing, commercial and retail banking and human resource development, Joseph brings experience and enthusiasm to the Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce having served on the Board for over 15 years.
As the CEO of Krek Slovenian Credit Union, Joseph has guided the credit union over 16 years through leadership change using effective organizational communication, transparency and strategic team building. Working in concert with the Board, he developed strategic and tactical implementation plans to reposition and rebrand Krek to focus on two pillars: financial excellence and giving back to members and community.
With his high energy and support of his Board, Joseph piloted the leadership team to implement a record number of changes resulting in higher asset growth, significant innovation, enhanced risk management, better positioning for the future, higher productivity, increased member relevance and an effective change management process.
Prior to joining the credit union, Mr. Cestnik held the positions of Controller for 12 years and as interim CEO for an internationally-known company in the commercial construction and manufacturing business.
Mr. Cestnik attended the University of Toronto, completed 4 years towards the Certified Management Accountant Designation. In addition, he completed Canadian Securities course and received his certification as a Certified Financial Planner.
Joe Pust, B.A., CPA, CMA - Vice President
As a corporate accountant in various financial and administrative positions in the materials testing industry, Joe explains his most fascinating engagement was working with acquisitions of testing labs across North America. He brings this background and passion to his role as a Business Broker, in helping people and companies buy and sell businesses.
- B.A. (Economics), McMaster University
- Member, Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario
- Licensed Sales Representative, Real Estate Council of Ontario
Simon Pribac BA Hons - Executive Director
Simon is a Canadian-Slovenian entrepreneur and strategic-marketing consultant. As a Public Relations & Marketing associate at Vision Factory, the Slovenian branch of Young & Rubicam communications group, he worked on various corporate communications projects for clients such as Goodyear, Toyota, Colgate/Palmolive, Dunlop, Fiat…etc.
As the founder and president of the Final Flash Association, Simon and his team developed art and entertainment events as well as educational projects in Slovenia, UK, Canada, Israel and South Africa, amongst which included a unique partnership with MTV Networks Europe, with co-promotional TV coverage across 25 countries supporting a itinerary of events of 3000+ international clientele.
As a respected associate of the Department of Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives at Ontario Place – a Schedule “C” Crown Corporation of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Recreation and Culture – Simon had lead responsible for developing and maintaining private-/public-sector relations with companies such as Rogers, Mac’s, Nestle…etc.
As an independent Marketing and Project Management Consultant, Simon has successfully managed the delivery of a wide variety of mission-critical projects for clients such as Panasonic, Dell Computers, Ministry of Labor, Family & Social Affairs of Slovenia, Sony…etc.
2011 saw Simon consulting on early-stages business development for vertical marketing opportunities within the AEC and Manufacturing sectors, for a leading Canadian provider of digital graphics and 3D printing.
Simon’s public appearances include presentations at numerous business and leadership conferences, including the Emerging Global Leaders Conference at York University (Toronto), and The National Assembly of the Parliament of Slovenia. In 2012 he was given the honour of authorization by the Government of Slovenia to pass the lifetime work achievement award in its name to Canadian Slovenian artist and writer Ted Kramolc.
As part of his efforts for ongoing work improvement, Simon attended training in public diplomacy and leadership at the IDC institute in Herzliya, Israel and also had the pleasure of collaborating with the Canada-Israel Chambers of Commerce.
A graduate of York University (Toronto) and having significant international educational credentials, Simon has been recognized for his many contributions to both community and commerce from York University and the Parliament of Slovenia.
Simon is excited to be a part of the Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and is looking forward to turn challenges into opportunities.
Michael Luzar - Secretary, Head of the Directory Committee
Michael Luzar, has been an entrepreneur his whole life. His business endeavours have been both international and domestic in nature. His areas of expertise include the business of manufacturing, design, research, engineering, finance and renewable energies. Having a broad range of experience to pull from, Mr. Luzar’s current drive has encompassed all of his experience to offer clients the truth about building efficiencies and renewable energies. Being Green sometimes leads to being put in the RED. There is a way to be an environmental steward and leader, all whilst being economically leaner and greener. As a Past President of the Ontario Junior Chamber, Michael is also well versed in non-profit organizations and their ability to affect change for the better. Michael is a leader and believes that service to humanity is the best work of life, we all have to do our part.
Andrea Jamnisek - Treasurer
Andrea Jamnisek, BBA, CPA, CA
After completing her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Andrea worked for a public accounting firm in the audit and assurance group for 3 years and obtained her CA designation. Since that time, Andrea has worked in commercial lending for one of the Schedule I Chartered Banks on various portfolios in an analyst/credit underwriting capacity and now in the role of Relationship Manager. In her current role, Andrea manages a portfolio of clients covering a variety of industries in the mid to large market segment and works closely with a team to serve existing clients and develop new business.
Andrea has been an active participant in the Slovenian community from a very young age with her involvement inclusive of being a member of the Mladi Glas and Planika Dance Group, attending and teaching at Slovenksa Šola, and attending banquets and picnics at the various parks throughout the GTA with her family. She is also a member of the Ženska Liga at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – enjoying keeping up the traditional baking for their semiannual bake sale. Born in Canada, Andrea has dual citizenship and has travelled to Slovenija on several occasions and highly anticipates her next visit.
Andrea is looking forward to becoming further involved in the Slovenian community through the Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and increasing the community’s awareness of its imitativeness.
- Bachelor of Business Administration, Schulich School of Business
- Member, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario
John Doma BBA, C.A.
John brings over 20 years of public accounting experience as an Assurance Partner to help clients grow their business. Working with a diverse array of clients, his approach is to get to know the business first-hand by listening and understanding the owner-manager’s business and personal concerns. In collaboration with the client, John prioritizes business goals and assists in developing appropriate recommendations to preserve and grow the family’s business assets. John recently published a chapter on “Tax Strategies for the Owner Manager” and is a member of the Independent Review Committee of Portland Investment Counsel Inc.
“Each family business is unique,” notes John. “It’s my job to understand the needs of the business and family, and provide the owners the individual attention they deserve.” John finds that meeting his clients outside of the boardroom helps him better understand their goals. His approach is to get to know the business first-hand by walking through the facility, meeting the employees and understanding what the business is all about.
“Getting to know the clients personally helps me to develop the most appropriate recommendations to protect the family and the business’s net worth.”
Working closely with his clients, John shares his personal experience in strategic acquisitions and financing to help businesses prosper. John’s expertise also extends to planning for real estate transactions with an emphasis to minimize tax.
- Bachelor of Business Administration, Wilfrid Laurier University
- Memberships and Professional Designations
- Co-Founder/Director, Canadian Slovenian Scholarship Foundation
- Founding member, Innovation Night
- Member, Independent Review Committee of AIC Ltd & Copernican Capital Corp.
- Past Executive Director, Golden Horseshoe Venture Forum
- Past Executive Member, Burlington Community Professional Advisor’s Committee
- Member, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario
- Advisor and Coach, Burlington Youth Soccer Club
Teresa Gomes B.Sc
Teresa being born in Toronto is a true representation of multiculturalism with her diverse cultural background of Slovenian-Indian decent. From an early age Teresa was exposed to the Slovenian language and culture through her grandparents and her many visits to Slovenia during her childhood. As a former Board of Director for Slovenski Dom, Teresa reconnected with her cultural background as a young adult and got actively involved in the Canadian-Slovenian community of Toronto.
Teresa now furthers her involvement in the Canadian-Slovenian community by bringing passion and commitment that developed through her 10 years of experience in the realm of personal finance. With a dual role in Teresa’s organization, she has successfully built trusting relationships with her clients while coaching families to achieve debt freedom with financial independence, whilst being the ‘backbone’ and support system for her colleagues and team.
Teresa is looking forward to the re-growth of the Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and the personal success of all of its members.
- B.Sc from University of Toronto
- Life Insurance License with The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO)
- Mutual Funds License with Mutual Funds Dealer Association (MFDA)
- Branch Manager’s Certificate issued by IFSE Institute
Andraz Nanut is a Slovenian-Canadian entrepreneur with over 20 years of business
experience, and he currently runs two Canadian companies, Soniccan which is involved in the design and application of architectural acoustic elements, and Edil North which does construction projects across Ontario.
While living in Slovenia, Andraz owned a construction company specializing in finishing works and building interiors. For the quailty of his work, his company received the “Golden Seal of Quality” award for 5 consecutive years, as awarded by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Slovenia, and one of the highlights of his work is the award-winning project nebesa.si. His other projects in Europe include acoustics for Paris City Hall and the headquarters of Moet Chardon in France, as well as multiple sports hall, schools, studios and other buildings throughout Slovenia.
Andraz currently lives in Toronto. He is proud of his Slovenian heritage, and the experience he brings to the Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce will be a great asset to the Canadian Slovenian business community.
Richard Vitrih B.Eng.
With an educational background in engineering and management Richard brings 10 years of technical and management skills specializing in design, analyses, project management and financial budgeting as well as 15 years of experience in the Canadian food industry. While his current career path has taken him into the Aerospace Industry he also continues to support and be an active participant in the food industry.
Coming from a Slovenian entrepreneurial family in the food industry that has been serving the community for over 35 years has provided Richard with a multifaceted view into the Slovenian small business community.
Richard has been involved in the Slovenian community from a young age, participating in the Mladi Glas Dance Group, Cubs and Scouts, a graduate of Slovenian School and volunteering for the Slovenian Cultural Radio Show. Growing up in a Slovenian family, working closely with Slovenians and participating in the numerous cultural community activities has allowed Richard to stay close to his roots and heritage.
Richard is Canadian born with both Canadian and Slovenian Citizenship and is looking forward to his next visit to Slovenia.
Combining this blend of entrepreneurial and professional experience as well as Slovenian roots, Richard is looking forward to working closely with the business members of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and further our membership’s presence both locally and internationally.
Mark Dresar BBA Hons
Born in Toronto and coming from a robust Slovenian background, Mark has been immersed in the Canadian-Slovenian culture at an early age from the days of attending and graduating Slovenian school at our beloved church “Marija Pomagaj” on Manning Ave. This has given him a keen understanding of Slovenian culture and enabled him to be actively engaged in the Canadian-Slovenian social community.
Mark obtained his business degree from Lakehead University where he completed his Honours BBA. He then continued his studies overseas in Slovenia where he attended the Masters Level Business Program at the University of Ljubljana.
Mark is currently the Sales Director at XVIDA Canada, an innovative technology company from Slovenia. Working with and for Slovenian companies in the past such as RIKO Ribnica d.o.o and Pivovarna Union d.d., has provided Mark with a wealth of knowledge and experience in understanding how business operates in Slovenia versus Canada.
Mark, along with his family have also been keen in holding and investing in real estate in Canada and Slovenia, and together with his brother, continue keeping the family legacy alive.
Mark has always been and will continue to be a part of this community. He is happily married and currently has two children. He enjoys travelling with his family to Slovenia on a yearly basis. His current sports activities include tennis and squash. Mark is also an active member of Slovenski Dom and the SAAB Club of Canada.
He learned the electrician trade in Slovenia and came to Canada at a young age. After initial work in construction he received his Canadian Electrician license and gained employment at an electrical company where he stayed for 10 years. After that John started his own electrical business Condus Electric, first focusing on the condos market, but later switched to commercial and industrial buildings.
Specializing in retrofit lighting, retrofitting industrial units to LED lights and induction lighting, and wiring industrial equipment, Condus Electric services are covering the Greater Toronto Area and the rest of Southern Ontario. Condus Electric has an impressive list of clients, including Famous Players / Silver City, Carbon Steel, Toronto Pearson Airport, Bell Mobility…
John has been a great supporter of Slovenian Community contributing to various causes and an active member of the CSCC for about 20 years. He is looking forward to the upcoming year marking the 25th year of Slovenian independence and to further connect with businesses.
Born in Slovenia, Justin received most of his mechanical education at Tomos Koper, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of motorbikes and mopeds. After leaving Slovenia at the age of 19 and a year of living in France, he finally made Canada his home. His work as a machinist brought him to different industrial companies including the de Havilland Aircraft Company Limited.
His machining work was followed by 16 years of successful sales practice as a real estate agent before he opened his own company Just Aluminum and Glass (JAG). Justin built JAG into a successful doors and windows manufacturing and installing business. Today JAG employs 50 people and supplies custom windows solutions across Canada and USA. Product diversification added two additional brands to the JAG family: Trillium vinyl doors and windows and Bigfoot Door high-end / high-efficiency European windows systems which produced, among other solutions, the largest sliding door in North America.
Justin has been involved with various Slovenian organizations, such as Slovensko Letovisce, Slovenian Canadian Culture Exchange, and an active member of the CSCC for over 20 years. Justin is a great supporter of a number of Slovenian organizations and initiatives.
His database design skills and information gathering expertise has kept him in demand.
Boris has had the opportunity to consult with startups and kick-start their operations. In the past few years, he has honed his skill in web development and digital marketing. Many businesses have benefited by getting increased exposure in the market place.
When not working, you may see him at the Slovenian events with a camera in his hand.