Neda Ðokić, Managing Director, Heineken Serbia

Leadership Is Vision, Boldness, Connection & Authentic Inspiration

As a global company with operations in over 70 markets, HEINEKEN uses the power of diversity and entrepreneurial spirit to create an inclusive environment where everybody feels they belong and have equal opportunity to contribute

Ms Đokić says she would love to leave a legacy in this role, one of developing people’s capabilities and careers where they all work in a positive, encouraging and fun working environment, making HEINEKEN Serbia the most desirable place to work and renowned for creating future leaders.

You are the first managing director in the HEINEKEN world to come from Serbia, which represents both a great success and a great honour. Does this fact make you feel great responsibility?

Taking the role of Managing Director at HEINEKEN Serbia presents a great privilege and honour, which definitely comes with a lot of responsibility, despite gender and county of origin.

In this role, you realise quickly how your influence and decisions steer the company’s performance. And even more importantly, how you can steer the mood of the organization and impact the lives of people by creating a positive working environment with great learning and development opportunities, so that all the teams leave the work with smile.

You have gained a wealth of international experience within the commercial sector and forged an impressive career in marketing. How much does running the company differ from anything you’ve done previously?

Every new position outlines our growth and shapes us personally. Success is when you develop throughout these changes not only in terms of broadening your knowledge and capabilities but also in terms of expanding personally, as each new experience enriches you.

In essence, I believe that your work style and ethics remain unchanged, you lean on your strengths. I am still learning about the role of Managing Director, however, I believe that your focus on strategic thinking is greater, so as to create a vision that advantageously guides all business operations ensuring that the company achieves its long-term goals.

One focuses on inspiring others to deliver, whilst building a strong stakeholder network essential for the organisational functioning and moving forward.

Equally important is to be surrounded with the right senior management and people that share the effort to create longterm legacy of excellence, success and innovation.

What are your plans, dreams and desires as you enter this new phase of your business life? What can your team and employees expect from you, and what will your focus be in strengthening HEINEKEN’s leadership position in Serbia? What are you looking forward to in particular?

Being a leader within the category makes you responsible for its further growth and comes along with the obligation to ensure its a long-term potential.

Responsibility is the flagship of our commitments. We believe in moderate drinking by placing our efforts to support, build awareness and educate people. HEINEKEN employees are ambassadors for our moderate consumption agenda with sincere faith that we should lead by example, promoting it throughout our entire brand portfolio.

We also take great pride in being responsible towards the world and nature, constantly improving our practices in this respect.

Being able to inspire people’s careers goes beyond anyoneone’s tenure

Taking the utmost care on the safety and highest quality of all our products with no compromise, staying open to our consumers’ needs, partnering together with Government, our customers and all our stakeholders – all reflect our company’s purpose.

I would love to leave a legacy in this role of developing people and their careers, where we all work in a positive, encouraging and fun working environment, thus making HEINEKEN Serbia the most desirable place to work and the company renowned for creating future leaders. Being able to inspire people’s careers goes beyond anyoneone’s tenure.

Creating lasting and positive impact on the community where we operate presents a base for the category to be recognized, appreciated and embraced by everyone, no matter their choice of brand. Lastly, ensuring HEINEKEN Serbia is highly visible in the HEINEKEN worldwide.

What makes women such good leaders? Could it be precisely because they are constantly striking a balance between their family life and all of their professional obligations, deadlines, pressure etc.?

My belief is that good leaders are not defined by gender. Men and women make equally good business leaders. Inspirational and impactful leadership is more about how bold you are in your vision, ambition and decision making, about your devotion and commitment to the role. It is about connecting with the people and business. As well as your ability to be empathetic and sense the mood of the organization along with the external world to ensure that you are always relevant.

In the end, I trust that capability, talent, competence, the right attitude and shared values do not favour any gender.

Do you believe that nothing is impossible if you love what you do or do what you love?

Absolutely! When you love what you do motivation and drive are much greater and you stay persistent until you succeed.

Do you like football and a good night out? How men react when you tell them that you work for HEINEKEN/ beer company?

Well, I live with three guys, my husband and two sons, one of whom is greatly passionate about football and has been training since he was very young. Therefore, in my home, football is often on the agenda, via either TV screen or watching my son playing it. As such, I know a few things about the game… and I can vouch that for the full experience, you absolutely need a cold HEINEKEN®.

When you share that you work in HEINEKEN company, it definitely creates a lot of excitement and talk about the beer, along with enjoyment and fun. It is without any doubt that many men would love to be a part of HEINEKEN company. I can affirm by own example, that there are many very aspirational roles for a female as well, since the brands are stimulating and cool whereas the company culture is very warm, open, inclusive and enjoyable. At HEINEKEN Serbia, the key to our success is an open secret – it lies with the great people who work here & to whom we are proud to offer fantastic opportunities for growth.

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