This year’s conference Women in banking and financial services industry organized by Women in Adria was designed to start the discussion on women being leaders in the industry and how they achieved to reconcile their private and work life and manage to keep their career going upwards.
Doctor with an attitude
The conference was opened by Andrea Schleich, Board member of Merkur insurance in Croatia. She currently lives in Croatia but came from Germany couple of years ago.
She started her career as a doctor, but came to the insurance industry because she felt she could contribute to a positive change being a doctor and a woman. Shifting her career from a doctor to insurance industry required her to go through additional education, which wasn’t easy given that she was working and had a family.
For Andrea, it truly payed off to be persistent and hard-working because it only rocketed her career. But that is when she realized that it is not that easy being a women among so many men, and especially in Austria where she was offered a job when she realized there were almost no women in managing positions.
Being too ambitious and too persistent can sometimes be annoying to men in leading positions
What particularly bothered her in her career was the attitude of labelling “loud” men as bosses and firm leaders while “loud” women were called overly emotional or even hormonal.
Accept the challenges along the way
Ines Klapić, Member of the Board of Raiffeisen Leasing, has been in banking since 2001, and her career has sent her on adventures throughout half the globe.
She has always been looking for new challenges in business and education, and that is why she dedicated herself to go through additional education during the bank reorganization where she was offered a new role. Nowadays, she can boast with an MBA obtained from the renowned WU University in Vienna.
For two years I was in Vienna 4 days a month. I almost had no life for 2 years. There was only work and family!
Ines stressed out that accepting challenges along the way can help you not just in your career but also in your life. These challenges can only improve people and give a bigger picture of one’s job and life.
Building a company from scratch with reason and feelings
Barbara Cerinski is the Chief Executive of the company EOS Matrix. After a successful career in HT (Hrvatski Telekom), she took a small break and then accepted a new challenge putting her in a very interesting but not very enviable role.
She was the first employee of EOS Matrix and was in charge of building a new company in Croatia from the grounds up. After recounting many funny and interesting details from her first days that put smiles on everyone’s face, Barbara explained how after 4 years they are operating extremely successfully and have 315 employees.
But Barbara never felt she had any problems in her career because she is a woman. She emphasized how being a woman and having a stronger empathy and intuition than some men in business helped her throughout her career in all sorts of ways.
Living and working in two places at the same time
Our CFO Irina Bručić was one of the managers invited to give her story of life and work. She told her career story through her life story and how the two overlapping timelines affected one another.
Going from internal audit she came to the payments industry and settled there very quickly. Today she is a Board Member and CFO of Mercury Processing Services International and she kept accepting challenges as they came.
Her biggest challenge in work was accepting the role of Group Controller in the German Concardis Payment Group, which Mercury PSI became part of, while still working in Mercury PSI. That is when she start living and working in two places at the same time – Zagreb and Frankfurt. Irina said she is grateful for her “German experience” and that she learned a lot from being in Frankfurt and gained many wonderful friendships. She also realized that being a successful business women in Germany is much harder than in Croatia.
Don’t wait for ideal conditions, take life as it comes!
Irina said it was truly challenging and without two sons and a wonderful husband nothing would make sense. She added that one should never say never but to think twice when accepting to have two business roles at the same time. And if you do accept it then “insist on a clear scope, end date and adequate resources, if you don’t have full support from your family – pass, try to take best from both worlds, expectations do not help and copy-paste doesn’t work because every place has its own rules”.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
In the 25 years of her career, Marijana Puljak spent 10 years in the IT sector and then 15 years at Splitska banka. There, she was promoted to director of the IT production department and was responsible for operating all of the bank’s systems 24/7.
Marijana revealed the biggest and most valuable things she learned in her career:
Don’t be afraid to try to make mistakes! We must not be afraid to ask questions! Don’t be afraid to make decisions! Respect your colleagues!
Be your own captain
Nives Vreto started her career in PBZ Leasing and since 2018, she became its Board Member. In her first years in PBZ Leasing, she was in charge of charter management.
After a couple of bad experiences, Nives said she realized she must be her own captain and don’t look back on what other people are doing, or talking.
With a clear sense of direction, she kept moving up the corporate ladder even when Croatia introduced the Leasing Act, which moved her from charter management – a role where she had the most experience and felt being most confident.
Being very persistent to move on, Nives went to Marketing where she learned some very valuable lessons and in 2018 became PBZ Leasing’s Board Member.
If you don’t belong, don’t be long
The presentation part was ended by a very charismatic and lively Iris Stojko, Head of Marketing Management in Allianz Croatia.
She gave her own account on how to stand out, set your own goals and achieve them.
Iris gave an important advice for people who are starting their career and are not sure whether they are on the right way – constantly ask yourselves what you like in your job, where are you heading and what are your dreams. She concluded this with : “If you are not where you want to be, and if you don’t belong – don’t be long”.
Future Leaders in banking and finance industry
Before the presentations ended, Women in Adria presented the finalists and winners of their traditional Future Leaders award, in collaboration with Partus academy.
The finalists for this year’s Future leaders were Jelena Kolega and Gordana Breyer of Mercury Processing Services International and Anita Cvanciger of Raiffeisenbank Austria.
The Future leaders award this year was won by Renata Devčić from Mercury Processing Services International, Iva Periša from Raiffeisenbank Austria, Irena Kovačević from Raffeisenbank Austria, Jadranka Krajina from Privredna banka Zagreb.