Mirena is Croatian. Before emigrating to the US following college, she grew up deeply steeped in the culture of Dalmatia in the midst of the agriculture and winemaking of the rich soil of the Neretva Valley, beginning with participating as a child in her grandfather’s winemaking.
Her parents were active participants in preserving and illuminating the culture of the region. Her father, Vido Bagur, is an ethnographer internationally known and published for his work about traditional village songs and dances; her mother, Radojka Bagur, just recently published a deeply researched book on the traditional costumes and dress of the Neretva Valley.
Over the years, Mirena has worked in many dimensions to support the culture, traditions and economy of her beloved Croatia. Her activities have included dancing in a national troupe that performed internationally; singing and traveling with Pajdasi, a Croatian-American group specializing in traditional Croatian songs; serving as the President of the non-profit New England Friends of Croatia; supporting the emerging entrepreneurial community in Croatia as a lecturer and mentor; and introducing many Americans to Dalmatia through custom “backdoor” tours.
Along the way, Mirena introduced her husband Win Burke, a high tech entrepreneur and wine lover, to the country of Croatia and her home region of Dalmatia, including the food, and, of course, the wine. Spending as much time as they can during the warm months at their family beach house on the Adriatic, over time they have strengthened their family and friend connections with the local winemakers. The development of the local Komarna appellation into a world-class wine-making region has excited them, and they happily look forward to helping introduce the wines of Komarna to the US as a part of the greater story of the rich culture of the Neretva Valley and the Dubrovnik-Split region of Dalmatia.
Win Burke, President and CEO
Croatian Premium Wine Imports is Win’s first professional experience in the wine industry, after many years of exploring and appreciating good wines from around the world, and learning much about wine production by visiting numerous wineries. He has deep business experience in other industries which he hopes to apply to this new initiative.
Win is a serial high tech entrepreneur experienced in building early stage companies, with an extensive background in multi-national and US high tech company operations in product development and product management, marketing, sales, corporate development/M&As and general management. He is a Co-Founder of iGetBetter, his seventh early stage company, that has developed remote patient monitoring application software for hospitals, since it was established in February, 2013. His previous experience includes large systems vendors as well as six early-stage companies, five of which had successful exits, including four M&As and one IPO. Win was most recently CEO of Incentive Targeting, which was sold to Google. Following his training as an EE/Computer Scientist at MIT, Win began his career as a software engineer, and later became a marketing executive, general manager and CEO. Win is a PSIA certified part-time ski instructor at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.
Mirena Bagur, VP of Brand Management
Mirena is our primary liaison with the wineries in Croatia.
Mirena was born and raised in Croatia in the small town of Metkovic in the Dubrovnik-Neretva county in Dalmatia. Through numerous family members involved in the region’s cultural life, she has learned how to breathe in not only the Dalmatian breezes, the smells of the Adriatic, rosemary and lavanda, but also “inhaled” everything that tradition can bring to society.
From her parents who saved and reconstructed the traditional dance, songs and the folk costume in the Neretva region, to her grandfather who had Plavac Mali vineyards, Mirena’s passion for Croatian culture began in her home town. She started learning about the village traditions as a child when she joined her parents in conversations with people who were passing down the traditions, including hearing the old songs from the villagers and learning them on the spot. She participated in the wine harvest as a kid, when her first memory of them includes riding on a donkey to transport the wines from the vineyard to her grandfather’s wine making konoba.
While in high school, Mirena was a lead female dancer in the Metkovic folk dance group, and in college joined one of the prominent Zagreb dance groups, then called Joza Vlahovic (now ZFA) with which she performed in numerous concert halls in Zagreb and folk festivals, as well as participated in six international tours representing her homeland.
Mirena now lives in the Boston area where, in addition to her business career, she has been involved with numerous Croatia-related happenings. She is a member of Pajdasi, a band and choir focused on Croatian folk songs, which recently participated in the International Folk Festival in Zagreb representing the Croatian-American community. Most notably she has, for the last 14 years, led various programs as the President of the New England Friends of Croatia, a non-profit focused on spreading awareness about Croatia in New England. She is also a member of The Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) where she is actively participating in the medical task force.
Mirena’s business career started at Weber Shandwick, a leading global marketing communications agency, where she held a senior management role focused on national-level initiatives designed to elevate Weber Shandwick’s brand and to increase visibility in new markets.
Mirena’s most recent professional role includes founding in 2005 The CONTeXO Group, a consultancy for start-up companies, where she leads a team of technology, health tech, and start-up experts, in working with a wide variety of technology-inspired companies.
To juxtapose Mirena’s interest in cultural traditions and the positive aspects it can bring to today’s society, Mirena is passionate about innovation and is active in the Boston area technology and start-up ecosystem. She has been involved as a member of Boards/Advisory Boards in various industry organizations in the Boston start up ecosystem: from The Capital Network, the MIT Enterprise Forum, and The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, to holding roles of reviewer, judge or mentor at various business competitions including the MIT 100K, Simmons College, and the MassChallenge Accelerator.
In addition, as the Course Co-director for 10 years at the joint Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Sciences, and Technology course HST.921 "Enabling Technology Innovation in Health Care and the Life Sciences,” she has developed curriculum and managed the execution of academic programs and real-world innovation projects with graduate students from all Harvard and MIT.
Mirena holds a Masters degree in international trade and marketing from the University of Zagreb School of Economics in Croatia, and has completed a strategic business leadership program at Columbia University. She is a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), and is involved in numerous non-profit organizations.
Ante “Braco” Bagur, Local Representative, Croatia
Braco lives in Metkovic, Dalmatia, and is our local representative working directly with the wineries.
He is Mirena’s uncle, born in Metkovic, and from his early days participated in tending the Bagur family vineyard and helping make their wine. In his professional life, he has worked in the business departments of utility companies, establishing many contacts throughout Croatia. He also worked as a business analyst in the informatics department of a retail chain. Being an entrepreneur at heart, he later founded and operated a successful bakery in Dubrovnik, which is now operated by his son.
A serious chef, Braco plants his own organic garden, and loves to venture into the woods to pick wild asparagus in season. He is famous for hosting his family and friends at his home for traditional Dalmatian peka dinners.