Sisters Becky Bjelopetrovich Thalmann ’04 and Krista Bjelopetrovich Schrage ’06 grew up being inspired by both of their grandmothers.
In 2019, Thalmann founded her own life and business strategy coaching venture, Vivica Partners, named after her grandmothers, Vivien and Danica. In August 2021, Schrage joined the team as chief experience officer. For both sisters, entrepreneurship is in their blood.
“In our family, we have always been strong supporters of people,” Thalmann said, a value that she puts into her work, helping her entrepreneur clients to become better business people.
But, the sisters said, it’s also something they connected strongly with at the University of Dayton.
“Dayton taught us a lot about community in ways that were different from other environments we've been in,” Schrage said.
Schrage studied political science at UD and earned her master’s in education from National Louis University. For Thalmann, she spent her career working for tech companies after getting her bachelor's in marketing and entrepreneurship at UD; she is now head of leadership enablement at Google, which she does in tandem with Vivica Partners.
In her role with Vivica Partners, Schrage ensures that clients get the most personalized experience possible.
“I think it's incredibly special and something we want to cultivate with the people we work with — we want to support our clients as a partners so they're not on their own,” Schrage said.
Above all, the sisters said they want to invest in and help others. It comes from personal experience: When they separately faced significant hardships in their lives, they found the support of others guiding them to be especially comforting.
Five years ago, Schrage lost her husband unexpectedly, and two years later, Thalmann fought — and won — her battle against breast cancer. They have persevered.
“I stood in the shadows of a really hard time but also have seen the urgency and purpose of life ...”
“I stood in the shadows of a really hard time but also have seen the urgency and purpose of life and seen the support of others that have bolstered us on to do that for others,” Schrage said.
The sisters hope to help people move through life’s challenges in order to make their lives better, Schrage said. Most importantly, they want to make work a better experience for everyone, whether they want to start a business or improve the quality of the one they're already working for.
“We hope to keep up and expand our work in order to maximize the lives that we can in terms of impact so that people can enjoy their jobs,” said Schrage.
Photos provided by Vivica Partners.