Working in an industrial environment and a production site has always been a specific passion and an environment that differs completely from companies operating in other types of business. The fact that we have employees in production, maintenance, quality and other functions, such as sales, marketing, human resources and finance, provides a challenging and diverse environment.Although a lawyer by education, after Lafarge entered the Serbian market and acquired the cement plant in Beočin, I was offered the position of Integration Manager, which I held for a year. The integration of a local, traditional production site into a large, global company was a learning process for everyone, including myself, as I had the responsibility of not only understanding and incorporating new processes, rules and procedures, but also translating them into tangible, transparent and acceptable business behaviour and values. My legal background helped me to cover all of these elements and ensure that they were aligned with local regulations and legislation, but it also helped me in communicating with different stakeholders. That was an exciting and challenging year, with strong collaboration with all internal departments, but also with the Group Integration and Communication teams. After the integration period, I was promoted to the position of Communications Manager, which I have held for 15 years.
At the time that I started my journey in this field, the communications function was not a well-developed and recognised function in Serbia. I was lucky to get the chance to learn about the communications function from professionals from around the world. Lafarge is a group that nurtures a strong culture of high performance and development, with an established spirit of networking, collaboration, sharing and learning. At our company, communications covers many aspects, from internal communication and employee engagement, to corporate, brand positioning and commercial communications, public relations and sustainable development, including community engagement and CSR. This provides the opportunity to communicate with a variety of different people with whom I need to talk, from employees and media representatives, to investors, local communities and authorities, but also enjoying the fact that there is no typical day. The nature of the job is also such that whatever you have planned can always be turned upside down by a need to react to an enquiry or crisis.
While growing as a professional and business partner internally, I also witnessed the development and growth of Lafarge as company in Serbia. A lot has been done in the last 15 years to integrate the company into the Lafarge Group culture, but also to establish Lafarge Serbia among the best Lafarge operations worldwide, and as a leading industrial company in Serbia. We succeeded in gaining recognition as a role model, while adopting Lafarge’s policies, values and culture, and integrating them into the local context.
Since 2010, Lafarge Serbia has operated not only in the cement business, but also in the aggregates and concrete business – through the acquisition of four concrete production sites in Serbia. Namely, we transformed our company from a one-site based production company to a multi-site production and sales company, partnering our customers and the communities in which we operate.
I have been included in the changes and this transformative journey by learning, sharing knowledge and supporting the company with both strategic and operational responsibilities, contributing to business development and addressing transformation challenges. Transformation for the better is what I’ve done and love to do: with heart, with respect, with people.