Maja Poljak

volleyball player and coordinator for EU funds at the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO).
Maja Poljak was born and raised in a sports-oriented family, inheriting her athletic spirit from her father, Željko Poljak, a successful basketball player for the former Yugoslavia national team.

After completing high school, she received numerous offers to play and study abroad, deciding at the age of 17 to move to Vicenza, Italy. In her first year, she won the European volleyball cup for her club, affirming her dedication to a professional career. During her 17-year international career, she played for clubs in Vicenza, Bergamo, Ankara, Istanbul, and Moscow, winning numerous national championships and cups. She was a four-time winner of the Champions League with three different clubs, claimed the World Club Championship, and was twice named the world’s best middle blocker and three times the best European middle blocker. Additionally, she was selected in the European Volleyball Confederation’s team of the decade. Despite her remarkable sporting achievements, Maja considers her greatest success to be completing her studies at the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb, while simultaneously serving as the captain of the national team for over 10 years and winning a silver medal at the 1999 European Championship. After retiring from active play in 2017 due to injuries, she joined the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV), initially as the coordinator for “Top Events” and later becoming the “Head of Events,” becoming the first woman to hold a directorial position in the institution. During her five-year tenure at the CEV, she successfully organized numerous prestigious events such as the European Championships, Champions League finals, and European Beach Volleyball Championships, introducing numerous innovations and raising the standards of European volleyball competitions. In 2022, she returned to Croatia, currently working at the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) on international collaborations and EU projects, while simultaneously pursuing her studies in “Executive Master in Sport Organisation Management.”