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Børge Brende, President Of The World Economic Forum

Biotech For A Brighter Future

Biotechnology is rapidly expanding as it modernises...

H.E. Yahel Vilan, Ambassador Of Israel To Serbia

Friends Who Occasionally Disagree

I met with President Vučić a few...

Zorana Đaković Minniti, Artistic Director Of The 59th October Salon And Assistant Director Of Programming At The Cultural Centre Of Belgrade

Peaceful Anarchist

I’m a kind of peaceful anarchist and...

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General Of Europa Nostra

Together We Can Move Mountains

Europa Nosta will next year celebrate the...

News

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Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and wife of the President of the Republic Tamara Vucic hosted a festive cocktail reception...

Serbia, The U.S., Spain, Argentina, Thailand Apply To Host EXPO 2027

Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Finance Siniša Mali said in Paris, after the end of the...

German Ambassador Konrad Visits The City Of Pirot

The Ambassador of the SR of Germany in Serbia, Anke Konrad, visited the city of Pirot, where, in addition...

Uzice To Become The Cultural Capital Of Serbia In 2024

The working group for the preparation and implementation of the "Cultural Capital of Serbia" program has chosen the city...

Kosovo, Serbia Reach Deal To End Dangerous Dispute Over Car Plates -EU

Kosovo and Serbia reached a deal on Wednesday to end a nearly two-year dispute over car licence plates in...

Iva Petrović, Director Of The Nordic Business Alliance In Serbia

Embracing Uncertainty, Facing Fear

As I embark on my new journey at the Nordic Business Alliance, I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had in my life and the lessons that I will cherish going forward

Although I was born and raised in Serbia, I spent most of my life in the United States. It was at the age of 17 that I left my family in Belgrade and, with mixed emotions, embarked on a journey that would take me far from home. On one hand, I was excited to pursue my dreams, while on another, I was scared of what the future holds. Fear is natural when abandoning one’s comfort zone, which is something I learned much later in life. After graduating with an economics degree, I pursued a career in management consulting in Atlanta and became an avid runner.

Running was a way to clear my mind, spend time in nature and stay fit. Aside from the health benefits, running taught me perseverance (especially on a rainy Sunday morning) and pushed me to exert myself to the fullest and always keep an eye on my goals. Running also allowed me to connect with myself, and to continue to pursue my dreams, one of which materialised in 2002 when I was accepted to Harvard Business School.

My journey continued at Harvard, again with somewhat mixed emotions. While I was thrilled to be part of this incredible community, I was also intimidated by my brilliant classmates and again scared (although less this time) over whether I could make it. My experience at Harvard Business School was undoubtedly a defining moment in my life. This diverse, interactive learning environment stimulated my growth on many levels. It is okay not to be the most intelligent person in the room, as long as you listen actively, ask questions and speak openly about your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone had hopes and fears, but – more importantly – at Harvard ambition was balanced with humility, mutual empathy and the sense of joint responsibility that comes from the privilege associated with this institution.

My experience at Harvard Business School was undoubtedly a defining moment in my life. This diverse, interactive learning environment stimulated my growth on many levels. It is okay not to be the most intelligent person in the room, as long as you listen actively, ask questions and speak openly about your strengths and weaknesses

After Harvard, my career took me to New York. And, yes, my emotions continued to encompass both sides of the spectrum, though it was different this time. My world was lipsticks, mascaras and hair dyes. I was launching new products, developing marketing campaigns and trying to figure out why red never goes out of fashion. I enjoyed the city life and soon transitioned to financial services, in order to tackle “more serious topics”, such as interest rates, hedging and capital raising. I witnessed the unprecedented Wall Steet crisis of 2008 first-hand. It wasn’t an easy time. Many of my colleagues were laid off. The fear of uncertainty was looming and I felt it. I think it was then that I realised that uncertainty was here to stay. And fear is inevitable with every uncertainty.

I continued to put myself in uncertain situations in the following years. I took a new job in Prague, leading a regional a hub for Citigroup, and in my quest for adventures in nature I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2010. Did I feel fear? Yes, absolutely, but I also felt an opportunity for self-discovery and self-growth.

Many years later, I now lead a non-profit association committed to specific values: social responsibility, solidarity, sustainability, transparency, inclusion, care for environment and innovation, to name a few. Our goal is to learn from pioneers – the Nordic countries – and encourage Serbian businesses and society at large to adopt and live according to those values. The journey that lies ahead is again long and uncertain. Sceptics often say that Serbia will never be like Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden. And I agree that it won’t, naturally. We have to remain authentic to who we are and cherish our own heritage. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do better. The first step is to admit our shortcomings, open up to change and embrace the uncertainty. Let’s take that step together.