Ana Lukner Roljic, an internationally acclaimed businesswoman, network builder, visionary, inspirational speaker, passionate philanthropist, and the founder of Truhoma & Ana’s Little Star, gave us the opportunity to speak with her. We decided to interview her as part of our initiative to inspire women in tech, and Ana has proven time and time again that she is a wonderful example of a successful businesswoman who is building her career while also following her heart.
Her international life journey began at an early age when she was granted a full athletic tennis scholarship by San Jose State University, California. Ana successfully completed her studies and went on to receive her MBA in international business. It was her experience in Silicon Valley that paved the way towards her successful career for which she is widely recognized today.
Her list of accomplishments is long and impressive.
In 2010, Ana founded Anina zvezdica / Ana’s Little Star – the biggest non-profit organization in Slovenia. She runs her philanthropic organization with the help of over 150 volunteers. So far, they have been able to reach out to more than 300,000 families, by providing donations in food, sanitation, cleaning, baby supplies, and more.
In 2012, Slovenian national newspaper Delo named Ana “National Person of the Year”. It was the same year when she was honored by the Slovenian President for her outstanding achievement in philanthropy & ethical leadership. In 2013, she received the honorary title “Femme Fatale” from a respected Slovenian magazine. In 2015, she received the Ethics & Social Responsibility Award from the European Union and was nominated in 2017 for the Veuve Clicquot “Business Woman Award”.
Currently, Ana is sharing her knowledge and expertise as an advisor for two prominent companies, Eligma and Urban Catalyst. She is also a Founding Member of Cryptonite Ventures, a global, invitation-only community of entrepreneurs, investors, and key influencers leading the blockchain, AI, and sustainability revolutions, as well as an active member of the Silicon Valley Capital Club and the Rotary Club of San Jose.
Her philanthropic mindset and her background knowledge in high-tech served as a foundation for her latest project – the blockchain-based humanitarian organization Truhoma. The name is an acronym for “True and Honest Mankind”, being the first blockchain charity organisation to provide complete transparency, traceability and efficiency over all donations. Truhoma is a marketplace where donors, donees and charities can connect, eliminating the need for (and the high cost of) millions of charity distribution operations worldwide. The platform enables donors to donate, purchase and deliver care packages requested by individuals, families, or partnered charity organizations. Donations can be made via bank transfers, credit cards or crypto payments, including all three GoCrypto supported wallets: Binance Pay, Bitcoin. com Wallet and Elly Wallet. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Truhoma launched its Version 1 in Slovenia, where the platform is already helping numerous people in need. Recently it also opened its first international project to help people from Ukraine. In a few months, Truhoma will be launched also in the US.
With Truhoma, Ana strives to create a global movement that will transform the entire charitable sector and make it 100% transparent and trustworthy.
Ana takes time out of her heavy workload to provide some insights into her life and business philosophy. We are delighted to share what she had to say with you.
How would you sum up your career path?
It all started when I came to Silicon Valley when I was 18. I got a full scholarship for tennis at San Jose State University. I studied International Business. And that was when I started to embrace all the high-tech, innovation, network, entrepreneurship, a philanthropic vibe that Silicon Valley offered. Since then, I have been living my life halfway between Slovenia and Silicon Valley. I am a high-tech entrepreneur and philanthropist who is always merging both worlds together. My main drive is to always do things that make this world a better place. I can say that I have never perceived what I do as “work” but rather as a lifestyle. I’m living it in every sense of the word.
How do you perceive your work as a female in a male-led industry?
Ninety percent of the time, I am the only woman at the meetings. I never let it bother me, never really put too much energy or thought into it. I just stay focused, professional and I continue to believe in myself and my vision. I guess that the opposite side always felt my determination and always respected me. I do, however, always speak up about the lack of females in this industry and the lack of the same conditions, paychecks, etc. I always support women and include them in everything that I do.
What leverage do you think women have in the modern world?
I think we are gaining more influence especially because women started to support each other and ”smarter” men realized that it is about time that we start shining. This should have happened a long time ago, though. I believe that women really are functioning as an all-in-one – family, career, purpose, we are highly effective, compassionate, and open-minded. Overall, women inspire woMen. We should all simply turn off our egos and start acting out from our hearts.
How would you inspire young girls to become women of power?
Find your passion and purpose and follow your dreams. Never stop believing in yourself. Work hard, stay focused, stay humble. At the same time never forget to always respect and help others. Be grateful for your family, your friends, and for your purpose in general.
What is the best advice you ever got?
The best advice is from my mom and dad … to always treat everyone with respect and kindness. For me, it does not matter if the person standing next to me is Obama or a cleaning lady. We are all people and we should always be kind to one another and spread love.
What is the worst advice you ever got?
The worst advice was definitely that business is not personal. For me, business has always been personal because I believe that a successful business is always built with inspiring leaders creating vital corporate culture, inclusive teams and network, led by high integrity and values. Moreover, attitude is important – both professional and personal.
Ana Lukner Roljić serves as an amazing role model for women and men alike. Her work has set up a strong entrepreneurial, network & philanthropic bridge between Europe and Silicon Valley. She is a pioneer in the field of blockchain-based philanthropy and is constantly seeking new ways of serving the global community.
Being a successful businesswoman in a men-led business world, she does not see gender as an obstacle. What is more, she inspires both women and men to support each other and share their knowledge and expertise for the greater good.
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