It is not said without reason that employees are a company’s assets and ambassadors. We had the privilege of engaging in conversation with one of those ambassadors, Gorica Stojkovic, newly appointed General Manager for Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia at The Coca-Cola Company
Gorica embarked on her professional journey 16 years ago at Coca-Cola HBC Serbia and Montenegro. She has progressed over the years through various roles in finance, before taking on the role of finance director in 2019. Under her leadership, during this highly volatile macro- and local economic period, the company has completed two important local acquisitions – of Bambi in Požarevac and the sparkling water plant in Neresnica.
Her compelling business story shows that Coca-Cola employees are evolving as the business itself continues to grow and evolve.
At the Coca-Cola Company, your people are your power. How important for your personal development and new career positioning is the fact that you work at a company that invests in its employees, giving them the opportunity to grow within the system?
A mindset of continuous learning and growth is part of Coca-Cola’s DNA. The Coca-Cola System encourages both personal and professional growth. With my personal example – of developing from a junior finance associate to general manager – it is clearly visible how Coca-Cola rewards dedication, high work ethics and a genuine passion for developing high performing teams.
A mindset of continuous learning and growth is part of Coca-Cola’s DNA. The Coca-Cola System encourages both personal and professional growth
We celebrate our diversity and champion inclusivity. By bringing together our wide range of talents in achieving great results, we also create an environment in which people grow while nurturing their unique personalities. I work with a strong team of professionals and every day at work I learn something new from them. That really feels great and makes me proud to be part of this amazing team!
The Coca-Cola growth strategy is grounded in your commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Could you please tell us more about your approach?
Every company with aspirations to operate responsibly must take seriously the principles of sustainable development. We have set challenging sustainability targets for our System business. Our water, packaging and climate goals are unified with our local sustainability strategies to contribute to achieving the ambition of being climate net zero by 2040.
Water is essential to every person and every ecosystem, and it is also the main ingredient in all our products. We continue to challenge ourselves to return more water to nature than we use in our finished beverages. We preserve natural habitats like the Upper Danube, dubbed the Serbian Amazon, together with the WWF, our longstanding partner. We are proud to be the first plant in Serbia to be certified by the Alliance for Water Stewardship standards. We build new experiences for Serbian citizens, like 47 km of hiking trails in the region around Vlasina Lake, where our still water plant is located, developed in partnership with UNDP and the local community. As you can see, water stewardship goes well beyond wastewater treatment at our plants.
Coca-Cola is a brand that strives continuously to inspire moments of optimism, togetherness and happiness. Real magic happens when people get together to enjoy and share experiences and learn from each other
As part of our World Without Waste strategy, we have committed to collect one bottle or can for every unit that we sell by 2030, and we foster packaging waste collection initiatives with local municipalities. We will ensure that our growth is profitable and sustainable by driving circularity, minimising waste and reducing our packaging footprint, all of which help to support our net zero ambitions.
The Coca-Cola Company is also considered a leader in the marketing industry. Your campaigns always spread the magic, especially during the holiday season. What does Christmas mean to Coca-Cola and how do you define Real Magic, which has been your brand platform since 2021?
Coca-Cola is a brand that strives continuously to inspire moments of optimism, togetherness and happiness. The Christmas period is a time when people across the world come together to share in the spirit of kindness and generosity. Our Christmas campaigns always invite people to celebrate those magic holiday moments and to share goodwill. Real magic happens when people get together to enjoy and share experiences and learn from each other.
From your point of view, as a general manager, what is the purpose of the Coca-Cola Company?
Our purpose is to refresh the world and make a difference. We build brands that people love; brands that bring joy to our consumers’ lives, with beverage choices for all occasions, tastes and lifestyles. The Coca-Cola system has spent more than 137 years making drinks that create joy and pleasure for billions of people around the world. The Coca-Cola System in Serbia today produces over 650 million litres of non-alcoholic beverages per year, and, together with Bambi, our 2021 contribution to the national GDP was 0.7%.
At the same time, we have a strong focus on our people, our sustainable operations that are improving by the day, and while we build brands that people love we are also focused on leaving a positive mark on the local community. We win and grow sustainably, learning all together with smiles.