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Tamara Vlastelica, Communications Professor, Belgrade Faculty Of Organisational Sciences And Consultant At Victoria Group

Communication – Business And Academic Challenge

I’m a workaholic and a hedonist. I’m not sure if this thin line separating my professional and private lives even exist anymore, because I got some of my best business ideas while playing with my daughter, travelling or socialising with friends. On the other hand, some business successes and satisfaction have become part of my personality, while the people with whom I have worked have become my closest friends.

I love to learn. That’s also why I chose a profession in which you have to learn something new every single day, and I am glad I have the chance for someone to learn from me. For the last twelve years, I have been lecturing at the Department of Marketing and Public Relations at the Faculty of Organisational Sciences. When learning from books was not enough for me, I got engaged in real business challenges. And I’ve learned a lot, something in a more difficult way and something more easily.

I was Head of Marketing and Communications at Deloitte, Corporate Affairs Manager at Coca-Cola HBC, a member of the Management Board of the Public Relations Society of Serbia, Corporate Communications Consultant at Victoria Group, a Communications Expert for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, as well as a consultant for numerous corporate clients and international organisations.

I like to read. And I also like to write. My experience, as well as my master’s and doctoral research, I published in five books on communications, that I hope will be useful for future generations of professional communicators.

My experience, as well as my master’s and doctoral research, I published in books on communications: “Media Strategy – Publicity and Advertising”, “Corporate Reputation and Social Responsibility” and “Examples of Good Public Relations Practices”

Three key moments determined my professional development. At the age of just 20, I started working as a producer for foreign media companies ARD, WDR, The Guardian, Televisione Svizzera-Italiana and others. Producing a documentary reportage in Serbia for foreign journalists during the time when the country was under embargo raised my long-term resistance to work stress and redefined the term “hard and intensive work”.

Then I realised that I want to deal with communications, to create news, to produce information at the right time and in the right place. The following year I enrolled in the Belgrade Open School, which – in line with its mission – opened up new horizons for an entire generation after the darkness of the ‘90s and taught us to weigh and evaluate our successes in relation to European and world standards. Finally, in 2006, while attending the programme “Corporate Responsibility and Global Business” at the London Business School, I was introduced to, and still remain interested to this day, the additional dimension of business – corporate social responsibility.

Communications remained the great challenge of my academic and professional career. Only when chapters on “Strategic communication planning” from books on marketing and public relations become your real responsibility in terms of developing, presenting and implementing the business plan of the company where you work; when “Stakeholders” become organisations and individuals with whom you communicate on a daily basis and whose expectations you manage; when the “Media relations” means meetings with editors, losing sleep because of a bad article, successful and less successful media appearances, monitoring clippings and ratings; when “internal communication” means you should relate good or bad news to all employees, to motivate them to fulfil the vision and mission of the organisation and to do so in accordance with “Corporate values”; when “Crisis communication” is unavoidable because crises feed the media and the public, and when you try in a few hours, or even minutes, to gather and place accurate and relevant information…

I truly believe that it is only then that you can stand before students in a lecture hall and talk to them about marketing and corporate communications, and for them to come back to you years later and tell you how successful they are in what they do.

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