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Maja Marić, CPI Property Group, Country Operations Manager Serbia

Supporting Positive Change

She launched her career at CPI Property Group in 2016 and has since advanced constantly to become one of the leading experts in Serbia’s retail industry. As a successful Country Operations Manager and leader of the Belgrade office of the CPI Property Group, but also as a mother, Maja proves it’s possible to strike a balance between one’s private life and career, while she confidently and tenaciously leads the team behind the renowned STOP SHOP retail park brand

Here Maja discusses the challenges brought by her dynamic daily life, as well as success in the business world, for CorD Magazine’s Empowering Women special edition.

You seem to have had a fairly dynamic career path, particularly since joining the CPI Property Group. How challenging has it been to become one of the leading experts in the retail property sector while remaining a good mother?

— I’m well aware of the times in which we live, as well as all the challenges they bring for women who are mothers and are successful in their work. Striking a balance is possible when we don’t forget about ourselves – when we find personal time that’s exclusively for ourselves, dedicated to the things we enjoy. For me, that means making time for sport and films, while I’m also fulfilled by trying new flavours, so cooking is one of my favourite hobbies. All of that, coupled with the positive energy I receive from my children at home and from my wonderful colleagues in the office, ensure that I’m a happy and fulfilled woman.

I attribute my success to my great desire to learn, my team-based approach and the great support I’ve received from my colleagues and the management at CPI Property Group. I’m proud of the fact that, at one point in my career, I was successfully covering as many as three markets – Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia – and I believe this experience helped me additionally prepare for my current position as Country Operations Manager and head of the Belgrade office.

I will strive to be part of positive changes and to support all ladies working in the dynamic world of retail

Today, together with my team, I’m establishing new standards in creating a unique shopping experience, by jointly building a brand that’s becoming a key player in the retail park sector.

To what extent does successfully balancing your work and private obligations help when it comes to conceiving the content mix of STOP SHOP retail parks, which are among the favourite shopping destinations for families?

—It is a great honour to lead the Serbian portfolio, which includes 14 STOP SHOP parks nationwide, as well as to manage a team of brilliant and inspiring professionals. Taking the responsibility to manage such a prominent brand, which has set significant market trends and high standards in eco-friendly construction, represents a challenge, and that motivates me to continue, together with my team, to bring positive changes to the retail industry. Considering my professional path and personal experience as a mother, I develop a vision of retail parks as places where people can relax, socialise and spend quality time with their families, while this also reflects the business culture at CPI Property Group, which emphasises the importance of creating spaces that satisfy a community’s various needs.

Could it be said that you’ve paved the way for other women in the retail world by working, step by step, to conquer a sector in which men represent the majority in leading positions? What would you advise your young female colleagues?

— Empowering women in the retail world is very important to me personally, while it’s also among the values woven into CPI Property Group. I’m happy to be part of a company that supports its employees and fosters equality and diversity… I would like to encourage all women to be bold, always true to themselves and to persevere in pursuing their goals, because I believe that’s key to achieving success in any sector, regardless of gender. On the road to empowering women in the retail world, I will strive to be part of positive changes and to offer my support.

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