When someone grows up in the cabins of planes and helicopters, reads fluently, writes and speaks five languages, has the curiosity of a three-year-old child and diplomas from prestigious educational institutions in Europe and America, and doesn’t recognise a division between male and female jobs, then even the sky isn’t the limit for such a person
At TeleGroup between 35 and 38 per cent of the workers are women, because I try to choose a young female engineer every time I can choose between two equally good male and female candidates, reveals Diana Gligorijević, who has for years been encouraging girls to enter the IT world.
You studied at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, the Sorbonne in Paris, the Technical College of London and Wharton University in America. How much has that contributed to your success?
During the time that I was getting an education it was also important where you went to school, in terms of location. Back then knowledge and sources of information were mostly related to specific institutions and the professors who taught them, for recommended literature, bookshops and libraries.
That is no longer the case today, because – thanks to the Internet – there are none of the previous territorial restrictions, everything is more accessible to us, and all we need is the desire to learn, progress and improve, and we also need to be curious.
Although where you study isn’t the most important factor today, it is important that a high-quality lecturer transfers knowledge to you and that you learn because you want to learn and discover something, and not because of grades. Curiosity, questioning facts and thinking analytically have been extremely useful to me, in business and even in my personal life.
You entered the IT world from the aviation industry, both of which are known as male domains, and showed that you can do better than men in both fields. Does that have anything to do with gender or is it more about attitudes towards work and life?
I entered the aviation industry as a translator, after completing a one-year course for scientific and professional translators, but also as someone who grew up in the cabins of planes and helicopters from the earliest childhood alongside a father who was a pilot. I worked a lot for the centre for the exchange of international aviation documentation and documents related to civil aviation, and then very quickly found myself in a situation where I was not only translating documentation, but also working on the proper management of all documents and all professional data for the aircraft maintenance process, for the Flight Control and the Federal Inspectorate for Civil Navigation, on the one hand, and for the Civil Navigation Association in Geneva on the other. For me that was all a natural environment and great inspiration, and then I realised that the aviation industry isn’t just technical, that there are also innovative technologies involved, so I slowly embarked on a journey into the IT field.
Is it true that you encourage young girls and teens to learn IT. Why is that important?
I would like to help little girls, and then also young ladies, to understand that these moulds shouldn’t limit them in choosing a profession. Someone else sets limits for them during childhood. Guided by what they brought from home, most of them turn to the humanities and stay away from technology, although the female brain is the same as the male, if not superior in some things. However, it is difficult for them to grasp that, which is why it is my desire and ambition to encourage them to turn to the IT industry. And I don’t only talk to them, but I also sponsor mentoring courses and teach whenever and wherever the opportunity arises, because they can learn a lot from my experience. I am a mother, wife and expert in my work; a woman with an enviable career, filled with knowledge and amazing experiences from travelling around the world, and I know that all of that comes together if you are diligent, love what you do and love your life. And I love my life.