Success means independence
09 May 2022
Gorana Rašić, member of the Executive Board of Generali osiguranje Serbia, CFO and COO, has a way to encourage women in business. Let’s hear it...
After graduating at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, Gorana Rašić began her career at the branch office of Swedish company Husqvarna, as an economic assistant. She stayed there for over six years, with duties directly related to finance, but also marketing, logistics, investments.
At the end of 2007, she transferred to Generali osiguranje Serbia, where she developed in a completely different setting and a dynamic environment. “On paper, it might sound ordinary, simple and predictable, but I am happy to say that my career so far was anything but ordinary and simple,” she said at the start of the interview for BIZLife.
Describe us your current position in more detail. What are your everyday responsibilities?
- Even though finance was always my first choice, in the last four years, my duties on the Executive Board of Generali osiguranje Serbia was expanded to include the COO domain, which includes IT, security and logistics, so my responsibilities and duties have been expanded with new challenges, as well as new space for professional and personal development. My day begins relatively early. I like the morning. I am the most efficient then, so I try to use the morning silence for reading e-mails and making a schedule for the rest of the day and the week with a coffee. It is very important for me to catch up on all inquiries, all invitations, messages, emails from the previous day, which I perhaps had no time to answer, and in order to not let anyone wait for a response for too long. I usually spend the rest of the day in meetings, which have in recent years significantly changed in terms of form and erased borders, so often in the same day, I’m virtually in Belgrade, Vienna and Prague, where the headquarters for our region is. I often like to independently view and analyse our reports, market and trends, in order to be able to provide the best support and direction for the business together with my team.
How much does your current professional life match the wishes you had at the start of your career? What do you like about your work?
- To be frank, I did not have great ambitions when it comes to career. My wishes so far have always come true, because they meant doing what I love, surrounded by people I can learn a lot from, and with whom I can exchange ideas and experiences. I always wanted to be involved in various projects, with many people, to have a lot of space and the opportunity to change things for the better, which is what motivates and drives me the most today.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you face them? With whom do you share responsibility?
- On the long list of responsibilities and obligations I have, the biggest, but not the only challenge in these turbulent times, is to ensure that everything we have planned, what we want and what we are striving toward, and what clients and employers expect from us - is achieved quickly and in a quality manner. Changes and demands change so quickly that we often have no time and energy to look back, breathe in and enjoy the results, and that is what we are missing.
How do you develop yourself as a professional? Where do you acquire the knowledge for developing on a personal level?
- Nowadays development is more accessible, but also more needed than ever. Due to constant changes in the world of insurance, and the business world in general, I read and study various publications, regulations, standards and professional materials, but I must admit that I find it much nicer and more beneficial when I hear and learn about them from co-workers who are quicker and more advanced than I am. I like “brainstorming” meetings where we exchange information and views about various topics. I love how young people today can quickly, simply with the help of tutorials or instructions found on the Internet, resolve and overcome problems that seemed insurmountable to me. I try to adopt the practice of instant solutions, when possible, but also to teach my younger co-workers about patience and a systemic approach, which is still necessary for the job. Sometimes it is necessary to remind ourselves that experience has to be acquired and that we cannot simply download it from the Internet.
Of course, I am also grateful for the support for professional development which Generali offers, globally and locally, via various trainings, talent programs, seminars, online platforms and everything else offered in the modern world, especially in Europe. So, I have also built the strongest bonds with my co-workers in Generali, and that is priceless.
What are the characteristics of a good insurance company?
- This will certainly sound like a cliché, but that's definitely my view and experience: the people, our associates and employees are the most important thing in the company, and the thing that makes a difference. The company I work for was founded almost 200 years ago, which is definitely a confirmation of its quality, tradition, and great knowledge and experience. But that will not ensure the next 20 years of success if we do not invest in our people, if we do not care for them, and if we don't approach all relationships, jobs, tasks or problems with clients and resolve them as people - with emotions, needs fears and expectations. The technology goes without saying, but the base and prerequisite of every successful company are satisfied, happy and motivated people who will change technology, processes and products and make them better.
Tell us something private about yourself. What do you do outside of work, do you have a hobby?
- I really try, and I’m succeeding so far, to separate work from private life. I need space where I can be myself, simple and ordinary, successful and unsuccessful in choices and attempts, without a guilty conscience. I relax in nature, with walks, mountaineering, a nice trip or picnic, and I spice all of that up with little joys, as I grow flowers, cook, read and spend time with interesting new people I meet, as well as old friends, unburdened by business successes or problems.
What kind of content do you enjoy and why?
- Since social media, Internet content and various formats became a thing, I have, like many of my friends and co-workers, become “addicted” to following all sorts of things. I was always curious and that never changed. Moreover, information is now more accessible to me than ever before. However, I spend the most times skimming through headlines on current business and political topics in the country and the region, because that gives me a good basis for business decisions. Of course, I peek into the world of celebrities, and I also can’t skip content about a healthy lifestyle, especially the ones focusing on nature.
How to be a successful woman in business? Can that even be defined?
- I would not answer on behalf of all successful women, nor do I think it is possible to even define a successful woman in business. I am satisfied with my successes and choices, and that is why it is nice for me to be me, Gorana. So behind that small word, “success”, there is a lot of labour, sacrifices, stress, learning and sometimes disappointments, but it is also important to say that - at least for me - with it also come freedom, independence, a choice to think, do and speak as I want. And of course, new challenges and new opportunities, people and horizons.