NAME: Martina Vuk
BACKGROUND: University degree in law
POSITION: State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
My Background and Career
* March 2014 to the present day - State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor
* May 2010 - March 2014 - Head of Legal and Human Resources at the Social Democrats party and professional associate at the National Assembly in the field of employment, family, social security and health
* January 2006 - May 2010 - Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Public Administration, participated in the establishment of the new wage system in the public sector, particularly in the social and educational field
* February 2005 - January 2006 - trainee and adviser at the Ministry of Education and Sports in the sector of adult education
More than 10 years I have been active in the field of human rights – as an activist, head of campaigns and a coach (certificate of the Council of Europe) for human rights.
More than 15 years I have been active in youth organizations and umbrella youth associations in Slovenia and abroad.
Since 1995, I am also politically active.
I studied and graduated at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, and before that, I attended grammar school Bežigrad.
During my studies, I also studied informally – languages, project management, rhetoric and public speaking, management of non-profit organizations, etc.
I have a partner, and we have two sons (3.5 and 6.5 years old).
Since I am short (154 cm) and still relatively young :) I am constantly confronted with the fact that I have to fight for my place and continue to demonstrate my abilities, skills, knowledge of content and rhetorical skills. People in principle like stereotypes, so the first impression is usually based on stereotypes (in my case that means that people think, "Oh, what will this little girl do").
Mentoring is something that I strongly believe in, and I try to promote and strengthen my younger colleagues this way. On my way, I learned from different people. I have received very valuable advice from some of the older politicians, successful women and men. The support of the nearest circle of friends means a lot to me; we mutually promote, strengthen and advise each other, as well as collaborate.
My family – partner and children and the extended family (parents, sister, and partner's family) represent invaluable support to me. They offer me unconditional support, eternal sincerity and well-intentioned advice. They are definitely the ones who are key factors when coordinating family/private and public/business life.
Children accept my career as something completely normal. They do not feel they live different from their peers. It is a way of life that we live all the time. It is necessary to emphasize that the division of labor in our home is practice and not just fine words. What is more, I can say that my partner does most of the household chores and that the collusion (coordinating schedules and logistics) is of utmost importance for family life.
First, I would highlight the broad scope that I have. I have interest in different areas, in my work it is of the utmost importance linking contents, searching for joint solutions and reconciliation. I am a lawyer, but I always took the law as an excellent tool and the basis for working in any field.
I learned a lot from my youth activities and from working in the field of human rights. The informal knowledge and experience I gained by working in youth and other non-governmental organizations and with the social activities, are an excellent basis for further work. I learned to work in groups, to plan and manage projects, discussions and negotiations, speaking and debating. Above all, all this social engagement gave me awareness that it is necessary to stand up for what I believe in. That I care for my cause.
In each of my jobs, I acquired additional knowledge and skills, and through time, I arranged them in a mosaic of experiences that reinforces me and from which I can draw my entire life.
Politics gave me a harder skin, something heavy - but highly valuable - "life lessons" and awareness that cooperation and integration are the key to successful solutions.
For a good leader or entrepreneur, it is important to be able to listen to people – to be able to hear and consider this in her future work. Welfare of coworkers (when they feel that their work is appreciated, and that they can co-create solutions, and that their opinions count) also means an increase in their motivation and identification with the organization or business respectively. In the long run this means a lot – it brings results.
A good leader must believe in what she says, and she should do what she believes in. She must be able to motivate coworkers. She should radiate strength and positive attitude and be trustworthy. Must be aware that the networking / informal links are something that has to be built. Finally yet importantly, she should know that the team is the one that can be successful. "One person does not make summer". It is therefore necessary to know how to say THANK YOU to all who help create a successful story.
Hints & Tips
My advice to all young women is be active. Connect with adherents and supporters. Engage in an NGO or any other organization that is committed to what you believe. Fight for your right and support everything that is good and you can put your word for it. First, definitely start with the content, strengthen your knowledge, and expand your horizons. Then the paths will open up itself. Always choose the one that you think is right. And do not underestimate. Do not be embarrassed to express your will. Do not be embarrassed to tell what are you good at, what you know, what kind of experience you already have.
Build your social network. Not because of selfishness and exploitation of relationships and acquaintances, but because you will develop "your circle" from this network. The circle of people who will support each other together to build their future together and consolidate the corrosion of self-esteem (or lick wounds, if you will).
Do not ever land at the fears arising from the stereotypes and prejudices – that a woman cannot be a good leader. That entrepreneurship is not for women because they are not strong, hard, and relentless enough ... That it is natural that the mother spends all of her time with children; that she is the only one who takes sick leave to take care of the children; that the coordination of work and family life is impossible and that the family is always suffering.
My motto is, "Walk along your path, no matter what the rest of the world says."
My message, in which I strongly believe, is the verse of Tone Pavček: "This world is nice when you are a human to the people."