NAME: Vesna Vodopivec
BACKGROUND: University education, degree in economy
ACTION/SECTOR: Bank and Finance
POSITION: director of Human resources management and organizational management
ORGANISATION: NLB d.d.
My Background and Career
I'm a CEO of Human resources and organizational management in NLB company. My main areas of work are human resource management, rewarding system, talent management, education, personnel selection and development, organizational and process management. At this moment we are implementing the EFQM model and establishing better culture for the future. For the last two years I have been responsible for three important transformational projects that have been implemented very successfully, which has been recognised and awarded in the last couple of years by a group of experts. Before that, I had been working for the multinational company Scania CV as a HR Manager, and before that, I had worked in a PR and Sales promotion department.
I started my career in steel-producing Liko Company and continued in insurance business. I have my masters in management and organization; I specialized in management and have a degree in economics. I studied on Stanford and gained a certificate ''Stanford certified project manager''. I'm also in the process of finishing my PhD studies at the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana.
My career path was quite random at first - I didn't think much about taking over leading positions. At the beginning I was more interested in marketing and PR. Only when I started working in HR, I realized my new passion – working with people. Working in multinational company helped me to gain new knowledge. My determined character and a multicultural company provided me to easily overcome possible promotion obstacles. Combining business and family is hard. Long working hours, travelling, stress … On the other hand work gives me pleasure and fills me with energy so I can give my friends and family much more that I would if I haven't had the job I have, even though my free time is limited.
I am very organized person and my friends and colleagues often joke that my 24 hours is their 48. My success doesn't depend only on me, it is primarily a result of my team. Wherever I worked, the success was a consequence of a teamwork, the energy between us. The other important key to my success is my personality. I'm precise, persistent, empathetic, cohesive, independent and very determined.
I am not sure if the competences were the most important factors in my career, but I would surely say that my personality was. I can emphasize self-responsibility in personal initiative and courage. To have courage to go on, to keep on trying and to be creative and fearless, on the other hand to have a feeling for people and environment. It is important to be yourself, to know how to use your advantages and minimize the weaknesses. Playing a role in which you don't feel comfortable doesn't lead to the success. In my career, I have developed diplomacy skills, listening skills and communication skills and being tough when needed.
Hints & Tips
Be yourself, use your advantages, don't hide your weaknesses – try to overcome them. Work by ethical standards and be transparent, have high set values that you practice every day. Try to be cohesive, gain new knowledge every day – that will make you interested to others and you will gain you competitive advantage.
In my opinion, there is no need to separate men and women in business. The fact is that there are more men in business environment; the question is why there is not more women. Once someone told me that it's because women are smarter … Joke aside, the question is what really motivates us. Constraint and women's quotas definitely not. What motivates us is an inner impulse and the knowing that we are capable of doing business. It would be pointless not to try it.
I have a worn phrase: always do what you are the most afraid of.