Open Assist Experience at 2019 ISPI-EMEA Conference

by Sep 6, 2019Events & Webinars

As in previous years, the Skopje conference will be organized around an opportunity for participants to be immersed in a unique live teamwork experience recently renamed, Open Assist. This important centrepiece, which runs throughout our conference, provides an exciting opportunity for teams of participants to engage directly with senior management representing a real organization (client).  The objective for the teams is to respond to the organization’s (client’s) Request For Proposals (RFP) to outline an approach for resolving a current problem the organization is facing and/or to identify and take advantage of opportunities to perform and produce “even better” results.

Through the Open Assist process the client organization receives real value for their participation, as measured by their immediate feedback at the end of the process and also, importantly, one year later.  Participant teams gain valuable knowledge and actual experience, working on a diverse multinational team, as they interact directly with, present to and get feedback from a senior management team, all in a “safe”, supportive, constructive environment of learning, sharing and enriching each participant’s experience and ability to grow their professional network.


Introducing ISPI EMEA 2019 Open Assist Client


Wines of Macedonia


Wines of Macedonia (WoM) is an organization that unifies the work of Macedonian wine producers around a commitment to promoting the quality and image of Macedonian wine throughout the world.

The WoM Association of winemakers was established in April 2010 as a NGO to represent the common interests of its WoM members, as well as important goals to benefit the entire winemaking and viticulture industry in the country, which, in turn, benefits the overall economy of North Macedonia. Note that WoM is also very much concerned with sustainable use of natural resources as well as corporate and social responsibility.


To increase awareness of North Macedonian wine among global customers, and to promote, protect and improve North Macedonian viticulture. To build and promote the image of North Macedonia as a wine country and increase the awareness and recognition of North Macedonian wines within international markets, worldwide, in order to enable greater export opportunities and enhance income generation for grape growers and wineries.


Worldwide recognition of the Republic of North Macedonia as one of the leading wine producing countries in South – East Europe (SEE), through our collective efforts


Developing strategic programs, branding, marketing and promotion, and education

Main WoM Objectives

  • Provide strategic support to the North Macedonian wine sector including developing the wine and viticulture industry in the Republic of North Macedonia
  • Increase the export of both bottled and bulk wines
  • Build umbrella recognition for Macedonian wines within regional and international markets
  • Advocate in front of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and other relevant national and international institutions
  • Identify opportunities and design and implement joint marketing and promotion activities, including participation at international Trade fairs and other events.

Wine Industry – Republic of North Macedonia (RNM)


Wine is one of the traditional symbols of, what is now, the Republic of North Macedonia. The secret of the taste of Macedonian wines is the sun, which in Central Macedonia, contributes to the taste of each and every grape.  Even though North Macedonian wines might be new to many people in the region and internationally, wine and wine making are not at all new to North Macedonia. The country, situated in the middle of the Balkan Peninsula, has been making wine from ancient times. In this area, the vine has been cultivated for more than 4000 years.

The first winery in the modern age was opened in 1885 and is today the largest winery (Tikves, a WoM member) in South – East Europe (SEE).  Wine was packaged in this wine cellar before the dawn of the 20th century, and the winery even had a semi-automatic machine for filling bottles.

Since that time, viticulture continued in the area, through ups and downs caused by political and economic adversities, an attack by a very destructive, but almost microscopic insect called phylloxera, the Second World War, and the process of gaining independence from the former Yugoslavia, to form the Republic of Macedonia, now the Republic of North Macedonia. While part of the former Yugoslavia, North Macedonia was a major producer of wine, accounting for 2/3 of Yugoslav production. After the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia, formerly state-owned wineries in Macedonia were privatized and a number of small family owned wineries flourished all over the country.

Modern Era

Despite a long winemaking tradition, only moderate international recognition as a wine producing country, is one of the crucial challenges that the RNM wine industry faces in its efforts at promotion within foreign markets and improvement of its export performance. One of the priorities of the WoM association, is creating the image and promoting North Macedonia as a country that produces high quality wine.  The first challenge has been to gain recognition as a country producing and exporting its own recognizable/distinctive wine and certainly not as a country known for the production of “cheap” and/or bulk wine only or predominantly.

Beginning in the late 1990’s, Macedonia’s wine industry entered a decade of intensive development in grape growing and wine making, with new wineries being built, old ones restructured, and leading producers and wine makers committing to put North Macedonia on the international wine map. This has resulted in a devotion to quality and a sincere desire to offer unique wines to the world’s consumers – to continuously improve and enhance the image of North Macedonian wines.

Over the last 5 years, the Wines of Macedonia association coordinated many joint promotions, master classes and specialized wine tastings, in addition to participation in leading Trade Fairs within international markets.  These efforts have all been aimed at strengthening recognition in order to get North Macedonia included on the global wine map. Currently, wines from the Republic of North Macedonia are distributed throughout most of the EU and all countries of the Balkans, making wine Macedonia’s second most important export product.  Despite the progress made, there are significant opportunities and challenges for individual wineries, the wine industry in North Macedonia, the overall economy of North Macedonia, and the Wines of Macedonia association, whose mission and aim is to make a significant positive difference that will help member wineries, the RNM wine industry in general, and, ultimately, the overall RNM economy.

Join us in Skopje and you will have the opportunity to offer assistance to our 2019 Open Assist Client, Wines of Macedonia on its journey to gain worldwide recognition for the Republic of North Macedonia, as one of the leading wine producing countries of South East Europe!

Authors profile:

Carol M. Panza

Carol is a management consultant with an extensive track record of successfully assisting client companies from a broad range of industries and functions. She has clients in financial services, pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, technology, marine transportation, and more. Carol's approach to organizations and consulting is practical and down to earth. Her focus is on building strong and lasting relationships with clients as a trusted colleague.