Maja Stojanović, Executive Director at Olaf&McAteer:

How Fast do You Change?

 

If you don’t like where you are, move! You’re not a tree! And if you do like it, move even faster! Always learn and improve!! Personally and professionally – as someone’s child, mother, partner, friend, but especially as a leader, manager and communicator.It is now 14 years since I started working in communications – first as an in-house specialist, and for the last nine years, “at home”, at our Olaf&McAteer agency. Back in the days when my generation started, there was no formal education in the field of communications. This has changed in the meantime, which I find very important. Several state and private universities have graduate or post-graduate courses in Public Relations, and I think this will certainly contribute to the further development of the communications industry in Serbia.

I personally studied Scandinavian languages and literature. I loved drama, theatre, acting, and adored Scandinavian authors, such as Strindberg, Ibsen or Amalie Skram. I was very much into Shakespeare and Aca Popović, but after having failed at the Drama Academy (What a loss for Serbian culture! Yes, just kidding!), the Philological Faculty was a natural choice.

There I met famous professor Ljubiša Rajić, who taught me some of the most important things in life: Think, don’t reproduce! Discuss and argue, don’t fall for general acceptance! …Argument is my favourite, some would say!

Through my studies – those were the ’90s – and my early twenties, I started working. The industries I worked in were different, including even TV and fashion, as well as teaching. But the idea of the communications industry came to clearly stand out in the early 2000s.

I started in-house, in 2002, in the strong political, social and governmental environment, which is how my interest in public affairs was born. I cooperated at different levels with state officials, ministers, MPs, mayors, and the international, NGO and diplomatic communities. This experience had a major influence on my current location – public relations and strategic communications, once and for all. Brands and the for-profit sector came later!!

Today, with a dedicated team of 20 professionals, strong enthusiasm and a drive for continuous learning and changing, the agency meets the needs of modern business

If you’re still reading this article, here’s where the interesting part comes. The story takes us to the 2002 FIFA World Cup! That was when our Olaf&McAteer agency was founded, as one of the then first communication consultancies in Serbia. In 2002 the top story was the sticker album with football players participating in the championship. The agency’s founders, Srđan Đurić and Ivan Radovanović, picked symbolically two of them, Olaf and McAteer, and launched a successful team that has been playing ever since, for 14 exceptional years!

The “scoreboard” shows more than 150 international and domestic clients operating in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, with more than 25 brands launched, advising more than 100 international and domestic CEOs, countless media events and more than 15 pro-bono campaigns.

The agency was founded as a typical PR and media relations consultancy. Today, after a decade of strategic changes, driven from both in- and outside, Olaf&McAteer, an exclusive affiliate of Ketchum, which has been recognised as top-specialists in the field of communications: above all in corporate and brand communications, crisis and change management, intern communications, CSR, media relations and event management, communications trainings, design, visual identity and digital communications.

Today, with a dedicated team of 20 professionals, strong enthusiasm and a drive for continuous learning and changing, the agency meets the needs of modern business. On a daily basis we provide creativity and strategic thinking to our clients, their top management and related sectors. We give our best to drive change not only in ourselves, but in the ones we work with, not only because business, society and technology are changing faster than ever, but because change leads us to learning, improving and being better in every sense. So, if you ask me for the tip-of-the-day – yes, it’s: change!