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Tijana Ristić, Member Of The Executive Board, Merkur Insurance

Women Achieve Excellent Results

Seven of the 16 executive boards of insurance companies in Serbia have at least one woman. This is the case with Merkur Insurance, and in some companies women are in the majority. This shows that women have really managed to impose themselves in insurance too

Women have a slightly different approach to leadership, perhaps a little more lenient, more emotional, but one that in the end achieves the goals, just by a different route. Tijana Ristić talks with us about what that road looks like.

Many of your colleagues claim that women in insurance are increasingly aware of their opportunities and that they consistently work on themselves and their leadership competencies. Do you agree?

I can completely agree with this view, but I think that it also applies to the wider social context, that this is a trend in most industries.

Research shows that women tend to underestimate their qualities and abilities, and that the traditional division of roles still has an impact on women’s own perception of themselves and their potential. It is clear that this is changing, we can see more and more women in high managerial positions with excellent results, although still in a much lower percentage than men.

You have been dealing with insurance for a full 15 years, practically since graduating from college. You were not deterred by the fact that you work a lot, travel often, find it difficult to balance family and work…?

I can say that I really like insurance, it’s a job that intrigued me even during my studies, and I chose the Finance, Banking and Insurance major at the Faculty of Economics. Very soon after graduating, I started working in insurance, in the controlling department, where I had the opportunity to get to know the wider picture of how insurance companies work. Certainly, this experience helped me when I took up a position on the Executive Board of Merkur Insurance.

There are more and more women who have fought for their place in management positions, primarily through their work, dedication and results

My enthusiasm and commitment to work resulted in really hard work, often 12 hours a day, but I always had the desire and will to tackle the biggest challenges and successfully solve them. That always motivated me and pushed me forward. Only those who have experienced it can truly understand the satisfaction when you have a task in front of you that seems almost impossible, and in the end you and your team succeed in everything that was planned. I try to spend my free time with quality, with cycling, walking and watching good quality serials, which helps me recharge my batteries and inspire me for a new working day.

Insurance is traditionally a man’s job. Why is that and will it stay that way? Is insurance ready for women leaders?

The insurance business is not easy, there are many challenges, it is very dynamic. So it is perhaps a little more natural for men to cope better in such an environment, and this results in male dominance in leadership positions. In recent years, more and more women have fought for their place in management positions, primarily through their work, dedication and results, and I believe that in future this will be more and more pronounced. Women have a slightly different approach to leadership, perhaps a little more lenient, more emotional, but one that in the end achieves the goals, just by a different route. I think it is best to have a gender balance in the organisation, because in that way it is possible to make the most of the advantages and biological diversity of both sexes to maximise business results.

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