Some will say that this is not an easy or small task, especially in Serbia, but I was never a fan of easy tasks. This is a work in progress, in which we all take part and where we are the drivers of change.
When I think about myself, I would say that I like challenges and dynamics. The American Chamber of Commerce is truly a dynamic world, so I can honestly say that we are a perfect match. We have up to 100 events a year. Some of them are really big; many are small ones dealing with specific topics such as, for example, the introduction of innovative drugs into the healthcare system, or a lecture given by a renowned professor, cooperation with local startups, or promotion of outstanding persons.
Through all these events, we strive to promote the work as well as the needs of over 200 members, the biggest American, international and national companies. We work on improving the business environment for our companies so that they, in return, can give more to our community.
How did I end up here, and how did everything begin?
Let’s see – chaotic 1990s, finished Valjevo high school, beautiful memories from this city, thinking about further education that led to a very practical choice at the time. Since I was one of the best students at the Faculty of Law, on the day, I graduated in 2003 with average grade 10.00 I started working in up-and-coming law office Karanović & Nikolić after sending them my CV.
Then suddenly in August 2004, I was informed that I was granted a full scholarship by the Chevening Fund of the UK Government for master studies at Cambridge University. The scholarship was intended for the development of global leaders. This was the only foreign university I ever applied for, and it was at the suggestion of the Karađorđević Dynasty Fund, my scholarship provider at the time.
My experience in LLM studies at Cambridge, where I specialised in 4 legal areas, was incredibly important for me and it was a great privilege to live and learn in a place like that, that exudes such academic spirit and inspiration. Cambridge is certainly a place that changes you. I am a perfectionist by nature, but I believe that this experience has given me a new, more strategic, perspective on the world, so now I am very much interested in the big picture.
After returning from the UK and working for a short time in the CMS office, I spent nine great years in telecommunications working on a better regulatory framework in this field. Working with advanced technologies is very interesting because there is never a dull moment. Technologies are ever-changing, and you see the future happening before your eyes.
Finally, I received AmCham’s offer at the beginning of my maternity leave at the end of 2015, while I thought that it might be time to accept a completely different offer from UAE company Etisalat, one of the biggest telecommunication companies in the Middle East. I decided then that we had to change our country first, in many areas, and that the position of AmCham executive director in Serbia actually fits my needs perfectly. Also, I have always intended to stay permanently in my country.
And here I am. And we are all here on a joint mission. Among many areas in which we are active through our committees, the focus of AmCham this year is how to improve the relationship between science and business and thus promote investment in research and development and outstanding individuals in Serbia, and improve the efficiency of the state in general.
My former boss used to say, and I am going to quote him here because I believe in optimism as a way of life and persistence as a trait: “The best is yet to come”.