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Jelena Galić, AIK Banka CEO

Success Doesn’t Depend On Gender

The country’s banking sector is stable and highly capitalised, and as such also resistant to external shocks. It is in a position to reduce, to a certain extent, the negative impacts of the crisis and slow down its spill-over onto the real sector of the economy ~ Jelena Galić

Our interlocutor, winner of the Serbian Association of Managers (SAM) Annual Award for 2022 in the Manager of the Year category, assesses that the global crisis we currently face is neither the first nor the last of its kind, and stresses that predictions regarding its impact on global systems could certainly help when it comes to creating mitigation measures.

From the global health crisis caused by COVID-19, we have stumbled into a global financial crisis. Do these challenges also trigger positive change in the banking sector, acting as a call to action?

Periods of prosperity, but also crisis, have always alternated through cycles marking the history of humankind, not only in life, but also in the economic domain. That is not surprising, particularly today, considering the impact of globalisation and strong interdependence among economic systems. However, there are no great advances without great challenges.

The global health crisis has brought us accelerated digitisation, which has influenced the fact that we are today much better prepared than before to perform most of our work online, with availability 24/7. It also brought us a hybrid model of doing business, proving that even the most conservative systems can operate remotely with success, thereby erasing labour market boundaries, which was previously unimaginable.

When it comes to the country’s domestic banking sector, it is stable and highly capitalised, and as such also resistant to external shocks. It is in a position to reduce, to a certain extent, the negative impacts of the crisis and slow down its spill-over onto the real sector of the economy. Still, none of the aforementioned means that there won’t be changes, nor that we won’t feel them, but rather that it’s up to us to adapt to the new circumstances and to responsibly, each on our own side, confront the upcoming challenges of the altered macroeconomic environment and rising interest rates. in order for the coordinated action of all stakeholders (state, businesses, banks) to enable a timely response in the direction of mitigating the negative effects of the global crisis.

In business, as well as in my private life, I believe that consistency is one of the crucial values providing validity to everything you do

Has your entire 28-year career, or the positioning of AIK Banka among the leading banking groups, led to you winning the SAM Annual Award for the 2022 Manager of the Year?

It is a great honour and pleasure to receive this award, esspecialy having in mind the fact that I am one of the founders of SAM, and that this acknowledgement comes from my dear colleagues. In business, as well as in my private life, I believe that consistency is one of the crucial values providing validity to everything you do. That’s why I’m sure that a single business success isn’t the reason I’m where I am today, but rather dedication, being oriented towards goals and flexibility, or the ability to adapt to the changes that occur every day.

Men used to dominate the finance world, but what about today?

Even after having spent two decades in management positions in the financial sector, I wouldn’t know how to differentiate. I consider competence, knowhow, experience and approach, which should be all-encompassing, as being the key determinants of success regardless of your gender, the position you hold or the industry in which you work. In that sense, I encourage and support diversity, as viewed from all aspects, because a human is a universal, unique being, and companies and institutions are composed of people, creative, committed, responsible, who create societal and civilisational values with their personal devotion and example.

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