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March 2021 | ISSUE No. 31 | ONLINE EDITION

21 FEB

www.diplomacyandcommerce.hr

9772466380002

GLOBAL DIPLOMACY HAS HAD A VERY CHALLENGING YEAR

100 YEARS OF THE FRENCH

INSTITUTE IN CROATIA

GORDAN GRLIĆ RADMAN

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia

I AM ROOTING FOR EQUALITY MARTINA SOKAČ SARAGA

Head of Independent Communications and Public Relations Office of the Croatian Chamber of Economy

THE TIME OF “SURVIVAL” AND NEVER-ENDING CHALLENGES

WE SEE THE WORLD THE SAME WAY

General Manager of Croatian National Theatre

Ambassador of Canada to Croatia and Kosovo

DUBRAVKA VRGOČ

Interesting facts

EUROPE IN 2024

H.E. ALAN BOWMAN

S P E C I A L

E D I T I ON

A WOMAN IN BUSINESS


The Roaring '20s, Part II How will the "twenties" be remembered in Zagreb, where the work of restaurants and clubs is banned and the secret "social life" is blooming like never before? They say that the situation is similar in Sarajevo and Belgrade. Will there be a Scott Fitzgerald to describe them? Who is the Great Gatsby of Zagreb in 2021? They also say that the majority of restaurants and clubs are working even with the bans. All you have to do is call ahead, like in Chicago in 1921, knock on the door, and say the code – Fidelio – like in the movie “Eyes Wide Shut”. The history of Zagreb’s “Twenties” is still being written, and it will certainly be interesting to see our December 5th, 1933.

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FOREWORD

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Translation GORANKA MILOŠEVIĆ

Predstavnik za RH

he Prohibition, the official ban on production, import, transport and sales of alcohol in the US lasted from January 17, 1920 to December 5, 1933. The history remembers these years also as “the Roaring Twenties”. The reason for the introduction of prohibition in USA in 1920s was the “public moral, order and peace”. One hundred years later, reasons for limiting the work of cafés, restaurants and night clubs are looked for in the “protection of public health”. As much as this breaking of rules then was regarded as “forbidden fruit”, it seems that the situation is the same today – no matter how schizophrenic that seems if we look at the numbers of the infected and dead in our country, the region and Europe.

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CONTENTS

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GORDAN GRLIĆ RADMAN

IVANA NOLA

LJUBICA GOČMANAC

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia

Owner and Director of “Dermatologija Ivana Nola”

Director of the Development Sector at SuperNova

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GLOBAL DIPLOMACY HAS HAD A VERY CHALLENGING YEAR

WE SEE THE WORLD THE SAME WAY

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CHALLENGING NAVIGATION IN MEN’S WORLD

H.E. ALAN BOWMAN

WHATEVER THE BUSINESS, WHAT COUNTS IS WHETHER YOU’RE HUMAN BEING OR NOT

Ambassador of Canada to Croatia and Kosovo

ANA LJEVAR

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WOMEN IN BUSINESS – LESS AND LESS EXOTIC, MORE AND MORE AN EVERYDAY THING NIVES ŠEREMET

Managing Director - Humed Pharma doo

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I AM ROOTING FOR EQUALITY MARTINA SOKAČ SARAGA

Managing Director Essilor Adria

Head of Independent Communications and Public Relations Office of the Croatian Chamber of Economy

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MILENA PRODANIĆ TIŠMA

ANAMARIJA HUCIKA

Director of Bright Horizons -International British School of Zagreb

PR Manager Jaguar Land Rover, Wallis Adria d.o.o.

THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS FINDING THE BALANCE

WOMEN ARE INEVITABLE IN BUSINESS

MAN IS THE HEAD, WOMAN IS THE NECK

PUBLIC NARRATIVE: LEADERSHIP AND STORYTELLING JAGODA POROPAT DARRER Business Communication Professional

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THE TIME OF “SURVIVAL” AND NEVER-ENDING CHALLENGES DUBRAVKA VRGOČ General Manager of Croatian National Theatre

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100 YEARS OF THE FRENCH INSTITUTE IN CROATIA Culture

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INTERVIEW

Global Diplomacy Has Had a Very Challenging Year The pandemic has brought an increasing necessity for more vigorous engagement, reminding us of the widening responsibility of diplomatic work in general

GORDAN GRLIĆ RADMAN Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia

he European Commission has presented legislative proposals concerning the introduction of the so called Digital Green Certificate, which would provide proof of vaccination, a negative test or recovery from COVID-19 infection, says Gordan Grlić Radman, minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. Proposals are only being analysed at the moment and they will be the subject of intensive discussion in the coming days at member state level, as well as at the highest level next week, says minister.

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What would you point out as key directions of Croatian diplomacy in the time of the pandemic? — Croatian diplomacy promotes advancements in several areas. Firstly, there is an obvious need for more cooperation in international public health safety, which

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includes not only combating major diseases, but climate change as well, which has a strong health dimension. Secondly, a more robust and streamlined crisis response mechanism needs to be developed and implemented, which aims not only to protect our citizens abroad, but also help other countries do the same. And finally, communication networks, not just between states, but between

would you describe the current situation around this phenomenon in the EU and globally, and where does Croatia stand in this respect? — The situation in a large number of member states is complicated, with very restrictive measures being in place, from curfews to various travel bans. At the European level, we have always advocated coordinated action and

are witnessing, however, are problems in the production and distribution of the vaccine, which have affected all member states, including Croatia. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has, therefore, pointed out certain problems with current vaccine distribution and called for the setting up of a corrective mechanism which would ensure equal distribution of vaccine doses. He has done so during his recent visit to Brussels, in his joint letter to Prime Ministers of six member states and at a videoconference with the President of the European Council Charles Michel. This is the only way we can reach the desired rate of vaccination as soon as possible, as it is clear now that we will not be able to put an end to the pandemic until the population of the EU is equally vaccinated. I must also emphasize that we have, in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation with our friends and partners from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, offered reception of ten COVID-19 patients from each country, given their increasingly difficult epidemiological situation.

To what extent and in what way is MFEA involved in the possible introduction of „COVID passports“ and the preparation of the best possible tourist season?

WE HAVE ADVOCATED A UNIFIED EUROPEAN APPROACH AS THE MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO APPROACH MATTERS REGARDING THE VACCINE, FROM INVESTING INTO ITS DEVELOPMENT TO ITS JOINT PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION international institutions and organisations, deserve our renewed attention with the goal of increasing the availability and exchange of information in response to global risks and crises.

Vaccine diplomacy has emerged as a very important topic in the year of the pandemic. How

decision making that would contribute to reducing the spread of the virus and bringing the pandemic to an end. We have also advocated a unified European approach as the most efficient way to approach matters regarding the vaccine, from investing into its development to its joint procurement and distribution. What we

— On March 17th, the European Commission has presented legislative proposals concerning the introduction of the so called Digital Green Certificate, which would provide proof of vaccination, a negative test or recovery from COVID-19 infection. Proposals are only being analysed at the moment and they will be the sub-

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ject of intensive discussion in the coming days at member state level, as well as at the highest level next week. We find it important that the use of these certificates is coordinated, and that it eases the freedom of movement while offering security and preventing discrimination of citizens. This is especially important to us as a popular tourist destination and we will strive to give a constructive contribution to these discussions at the EU level.

We expect Croatia to join the US Visa Waiver Program this year. How far have we come in this respect and when can we expect a final decision? — A month ago, the US State Department confirmed that Croatia has met one of the key conditions for joining the US Visa Waiver Program: the rejection rate for US tourist and business visa applications from Croatian citizens has fallen to 2.68 % last year, which is below the prescribed limit of 3%. In the coming period we expect a visit by a mission of experts from the US Department of Homeland Security, which will be tasked with confirming that all criteria for joining the Visa Waiver Program are met. Joining the Visa Waiver Program is one of the priorities of our foreign policy, as strengthening political and economic cooperation with the US is of strategic interest to the Republic of Croatia. Joining the Program confirms our good relations and partnership with the US, which we are building bilaterally and through NATO. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has established a state secretary office specifically for foreign trade and development cooperation. How is it that this particular field was chosen and what are the aims of the new office? — Trade policy plays an increasingly important role in foreign relations. It is an important tool for economic growth that is also often interconnected with political goals. That is why more and more countries in the EU, but also worldwide, have decided to include trade departments in their ministries of foreign affairs rather than in ministries responsible for the economy. Since both trade policy and development cooperation require specialisation and coordination on a daily basis with

other Member States and European institutions, it is quite common to appoint an assistant minister or a state secretary with these responsibilities. We have also recognized that need and followed this trend. Both fields participate in separate Foreign Affairs Council formations – Trade and Development which usually meet twice a year.

to take advantage of it. Economic diplomacy, as well as assisting our companies, is one of our main responsibilities. Egypt has a fast-developing market and a population of over a 100 million people and as such it represents a great business opportunity. Huge infrastructure projects like the expansion of the Suez Canal and the building

Southern Neighbourhood countries like Egypt is in our strategic interest and it is important to upgrade our relations and intensify political dialogue at all levels. A deeper focus on the Southern Neighborhood, now strengthened by the Joint Communication and the Economic and Investment Plan, is a continuation of the EU's and member states’ commitment to this region. The Team Europe approach gives us a comparative advantage to other actors in the region. It sets our focus on sustainable and inclusive development and social prosperity that will contribute to democracy, stable economy and growth in the region.

After your visit to Egypt, do you plan further visits to other countries with delegations including Croatian entrepreneurs? — Of course, we will propose to include this dimension and participation of companies’ representatives in certain visits, taking into consideration the interest of our business community. However, due to the pandemic, the number of foreign visits was greatly reduced in the past year.

CROATIA TRADITIONALLY INVESTS MOST OF ITS BILATERAL OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE (ODA) INTO OUR NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE Your visit to Egypt with Croatian entrepreneurs opens new doors to political and economic cooperation with that country. Where does Croatia see its opportunities and where specifically is there room for progress? — It is an important sign that my visit to Egypt has aroused great interest within our business community, especially in the field of oil and gas production, construction, food production and the shipbuilding and wood industries. I am glad that some of the representatives of companies from these fields will join the delegation during my visit to Egypt and that they will have an opportunity, in direct contacts with the Egyptian side, to better position themselves in this very important market. The visit comes after a very long time and we need

of the New Administrative Capital as well as extraction of gas and oil and shipbuilding are areas where Croatia and Egypt can further develop business and trade relations. On the political level we have common interests and challenges that we can and need to work on together. Peace and stability in the Middle East as well as mitigating migration flows and the fight against terrorism are all fields where we can benefit from our joint cooperation. Egypt and Croatia are both Mediterranean countries. Our interest for the wellbeing of this area is our common concern. We are also countries whose rich history and natural beauties make tourism an important part of the budget income. That is why sustainable tourism is our shared goal. Engaging with

Which projects are in Croatia's focus in the field of development cooperation? Are its priorities in this field changing because of the pandemic? Where are the biggest investments and assistance planned in comparison with previous years? — In the field of development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, our focus and the focus of the entire international community are turning towards a new priority – combatting the pandemic. It is equally important to follow that up with ensuring the socio-economic development and strengthening of public health systems in our partner countries. Croatia traditionally invests most of its bilateral official development assistance (ODA) into our neighbouring countries in South East Europe, with the priority being Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our geographic priorities include the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood and other developing countries. As is stated in our National Strategy for 2017 – 2021 - the dignity of every human being is in the centre of our attention. This includes education, health, empowerment of women, children and youth. Our focus is also on peace, security and economic growth.

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INTERVIEW

We See the World the Same Way The best example of our exceptionally good relations is the enthusiasm with which Croatia supports CETA, the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement

H.E. ALAN BOWMAN

an-Croatians are contributing to earthquake recovery.

Ambassador of Canada to Croatia and Kosovo

he Embassy of Canada has two deeply interconnected priorities. The first is to promote mutual prosperity through expanding trade, investment and innovation links. The second priority is to promote our mutual security, says H.E. Alan Bowman Ambassador of Canada to Croatia and Kosovo. There will be huge sums invested in both Canada and Croatia to support post-Covid recovery. We are watching the priorities of the Government of Croatia in that respect, as well as earthquake reconstruction efforts, to see whether the Canadian private sector and some of our institutional investors could help make a difference, says the Ambassador.

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We live in a pandemic of coronavirus. What is the current situation in Canada on this issue and how much has the crisis affected the economy, what is the psychosocial impact on Canadians and life in general? — My heart goes out to brave and dedicated healthcare workers everywhere – they are the heroes of 2020-21. So far, Covid-19 has caused over 20,000 deaths in Canada, which is about 591 per million population. In Croatia, the comparable number is 1391 deaths per million. It is not because there have been proportionally fewer deaths in Canada that the crisis has been easier for us. Indeed, it was much worse at the beginning. In April-May 2020, most days, there were under 5 deaths per day in Croatia. At the same time in Canada, we had between 150 and 200 per day, with a good share in nursing homes. This was extremely traumatic right at the start for

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us, whereas here, the full impact of the crisis only came much later in November-December. Like everywhere, the crisis has deeply affected the economy in

from a double crisis: the pandemic and earthquakes. To use a wellknown expression in Canada, you actually had a “double-double” crisis given you had two large

Canada-Croatia relations appear to be excellent. But from the point of view of an experienced diplomat, what would you point out as the best examples of mutual cooperation, and on the other side, in which fields there is still space for further improvement when we talk about bilateral relations? — Relations are indeed excellent. We are NATO allies and like-minded across a broad range of issues. We see the world the same way. Canada has long stood for a rules-based international order that is defined by five core values: democracy, human rights, the rule of law, open markets, and strong international organizations. Every time I have sought to engage Croatia on any of these themes throughout my career at the UN, the EU, and now here, I have found a willing partner. For me, the best example of our exceptionally good relations is the enthusiasm with which Croatia supports CETA, the Canada-Eu-

FOR ME, THE BEST EXAMPLE OF OUR EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD RELATIONS IS THE ENTHUSIASM WITH WHICH CROATIA SUPPORTS CETA, THE CANADA-EUROPE TRADE AGREEMENT Canada. The unemployment rate went from 5.2% in January 2020 to 13.7% in May. It has now recovered but is still far above pre-crisis levels. Our economy has shrunk by more than 5% in 2020. It would have been a lot worse had the Government of Canada and provincial governments not intervened massively with support programs for businesses and individuals. While Canada also suffered from Covid, we did not have earthquakes! Croatia is one of the rare countries having suffered

earthquakes. The other heroes of 2020-21 are the earthquake relief workers from all segments of society: the Red Cross, the military, MUP and other parts of government, NGOs, and individual Croatians. This is really a full “Team Croatia” response. I visited Petrinja and Glina after the earthquake and it was heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from all over Croatia and from many other places including Canada. It makes me very proud that both the Government of Canada and Canadi-

rope Trade Agreement. Croatia was one of only two EU countries from which all Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of CETA in 2017. I was Canada’s Deputy Ambassador to the EU at the time and attended the vote. Croatia’s unanimous support made that day extra special for me as I have long had close links to your country. Croatia was also one of the first countries to ratify CETA domestically in the Sabor. This was a message of support for Canada for which I will forev-

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er be grateful. Our challenge now is to make CETA fully deliver for both countries. This is why we are working hard to promote it here with government and private sector partners.

The two countries have excellent cooperation in all fields, political, military, economic and cultural. What is the focus of Canada in Croatia and what would you single out as some of the key points of your work? — The Embassy of Canada has two deeply interconnected priorities. The first is to promote mutual prosperity through expanding trade, investment and innovation links. Here again, CETA is a key tool. You were asking what more we could do to expand relations. My answer is increase science, technology and innovation links. There are already good links in information technology, but we are barely scratching the surface. Canada is one of the top countries in the world in artificial intelligence for instance and I am sure we can expand links with your excellent IT firms. There is also potential in clean technologies as well as in health sciences. One key asset

to build these links is the Canadian-Croatian community. I want to work more with scientists such as the University of Toronto’s Dr. Igor Štagljar, who shares my desire to expand innovation networks between our two countries. The second priority is to promote our mutual security. This starts with providing consular services to Canadians, one of the most fundamental roles of Embassies. It also means promoting key values that make our societies more just and secure. For Canada, this means first and foremost promoting women’s empowerment. Societies where there are more women in business, more women in security forces, more women in politics, and more women in the media; are more prosperous, happier, freer, and safer societies. Women also need to feel safe, including about combatting sexual harassment, which is why we are working to share lessons learned from the #MeeToo move-

ment in Canada with the #NisiSama movement here. I am never happier than when our priorities on trade and women’s empowerment converge. For example, when we sponsor mentorships for women in business, or when we sponsor women business awards or events on women, science and business. We are also active in sharing experiences on the management of diverse and inclusive societies, as Canada is extremely proud of its diversity, a real source of strength. We do this through sharing best practices on refugee integration in support of the work of the Government of Croatia and civil society organizations.

When we talk about progress in trade and investment development, additional improvement could be achieved in which domains? What sectors would be attractive to Canadian investors? — There will be huge sums in-

vested in both Canada and Croatia to support post-Covid recovery. We are watching the priorities of the Government of Croatia in that respect, as well as earthquake reconstruction efforts, to see whether the Canadian private sector and some of our institutional investors could help make a difference. We will also always support efforts to improve the business climate in Croatia. One of my main challenges is to increase bilateral trade as numbers are still modest. They will get a boost when 2020 statistics come out as last year, a Canadian company purchased a ship from a shipyard in Rijeka worth tens of millions of dollars. This was a win-win for both countries because it preserved hundreds of jobs in Rijeka, while providing a Canadian company with an excellent ship that will enhance its competitiveness. I want to see many more such projects of all sizes in both directions.

THE CRISIS HAS DEEPLY AFFECTED THE ECONOMY IN CANADA. THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WENT FROM 5.2% IN JANUARY 2020 TO 13.7% IN MAY. OUR ECONOMY HAS SHRUNK BY MORE THAN 5% IN 2020

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When we talk about economics, it is two-way. What is the scope of Canadian investments in Croatia and vice versa? — There is significant Canadian investment in Croatia. For example, whenever you drink an Ožujsko beer, you are benefitting for a partnership between Zagrebačka Pivovara and MolsonCoors, a North-American company with deep roots in Canada. Canadians have also made large investments in the tourism and real estate sectors. A Canadian company is active in natural gas exploration and production. Some of Croatia’s best IT firms have deep connections to Canada. A company is using Croatia as a regional base for its construction and engineering projects. One of Croatia’s most successful advertising agencies is co-owned by a Canadian. I am delighted that links go in both directions, as there is also Croatian investment in Canada including from one of your most successful companies, Infobip.

I AM VERY LUCKY AS AN AMBASSADOR, AND SO IS CROATIA AS A COUNTRY, TO BENEFIT FROM A DYNAMIC AND DEDICATED CANADIANCROATIAN COMMUNITY

How specifically can Croats living in Canada help deepen good relations and in what way?

— I am very lucky as an Ambassador, and so is Croatia as a country, to benefit from a dynamic and dedicated Canadian-Croatian community. As noted earlier, this was visible in recent months when so many Canadian-Croatians united to raise funds for earthquake relief. They raised around half a million Canadian dollars, which is equivalent to the contribution of the Government of Canada. Canadian-Croatians also promote trade and investment. The Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto and the Canadian-Croatian Business Network in Zagreb play critical roles in identifying business and investment opportunities and in promoting a better business climate. These organizations are also very active in bringing people together in Canada to celebrate Croatia; and in bringing Canadian traditions here. For instance, the Embassy is delighted each year to work with Canadian-Croatians to bring to Zagreb the great Canadian tradition of the Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research.

SUPPORT You are the ambassador for Croatia but also for Kosovo. What are your biggest challenges when we talk about Kosovo and how do you assess mutual relations? — The Embassy is indeed also responsible for Kosovo. We support Kosovo’s stability, prosperity, and commitment to a European path. Canada has contributed to all NATO operations supporting Kosovo, including the current mission, KFOR. Canada also supports the EU and the US as they seek to help Kosovo and Serbia make progress in the context of the EU-facilitated dialogue process, which will hopefully lead to a normalization of relations, which would be extremely beneficial to both countries. We also have an active development assistance program that supports projects in areas such as women’s empowerment and inclusive societies.

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A WOMAN IN BUSINESS 2021


ANALYTICS

GENDER INEQUALITY

Why the women earn less and make less CEOs?

hy do women earn less than men in global? Why do they earn less doing the same job, with the same qualifications, for the same hours of work and results? Why are there less women CEOs? How is the world, and especially the EU, Europe and Croatia, doing in reducing this gap? There is a lot of talk about the equality of men and women, new nouns and genders are being introduced, but none of this hurts as much as one simple thing that’s necessary for real equality – for women and men (and those in-between, as people say today) to get the same pay for the same work. And capital is always particularly sensitive to its wallet. Not to mention vanity, which is hard to overcome – there may be more women teachers, saleswomen or managers in lower positions, but when it comes to the highest positions, we almost usually find men there because "it's a serious position, and men are more reliable”. This entire story has long been ready for disintegration, so let's see how the world moves according to these parameters.

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THE WORLD IS MALE The gender pay gap or wage gap is the average difference between the benefits for working men and women. It is generally considered that women are paid less than men. There are two different numbers in terms of the wage gap: the non-adjusted pay gap versus the adjusted pay gap. The latter usually takes into account differences in working hours, chosen occupations, education and work experience. In the United States, the unadjusted wage gap (total wage bill for women) is such that the average female wage is 79% of the average male wage. When we look at the adjusted gap, the situation is better and women in the same positions earn 95% of men's salaries. There are many reasons for this, tradition is one of them, while those who try to find a realistic basis for their claims state that women should earn less because they are "physically weaker" (so they work less over the same amount of time), they take maternity leave so during their working life they have fewer working days than men (now men also have the right to maternity leave) and they take more sick leave both for themselves and for their children. Even so, children and childbirth are as important to society as profits, so companies must show social responsibility and stop punishing women for their physiology. ICELAND IS LEADING A BATTLE Iceland is the closest to complete equal-

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ity is between men and women. On January 1, 2018, new legislation was introduced, and it specifies that all companies and state agencies that employ at least 25 people, must give women 100% of men's salaries. If that doesn't happen, they will be fined. In 2018, women received 14% to 18% less money than men. Iceland plans to achieve its goal by 2022. As of 2015, 44% of boardroom executives in Iceland were female, compared with the OECD average of 20%.

With all the nice words about female empowerment, without the same salaries and equal division of the highest functions, there will be no true equality or better society STATISTICS Payscale conducted a survey in 2020 and concluded that in 2020, women earned 81% of men’s salaries, an improvement of 7% since 2015, and with the adjusted gap, it turned out that women earned 98% of men salary for the same job and the same qualifications, compared to 97% in 2015. In the EU, women earn 84 ¢ for every euro earned by men. In the U.S., that figure is 80.5 ¢, according to the Census Bureau - and the gap is even higher for American women of color, according to Time. The worst situation is in Islamic countries - in Yemen women earn 15 times less than men, in Jordan, Iran, Pakistan or Oman 5 times less, in Egypt 4 times less, in the Emirates 3.3 times less. In South Korea, surprisingly, women earn 37% less, in Germany as much as 22% less than men, while Finland is at 82% of men’s salaries when it comes to women. Eurostat found a

persisting gender pay gap of 17.5% on average in the 27 EU Member States in 2008 and 14.8% in 2020. The worst is in Germany and Estonia, which is a big surprise, and the figures are 20.9% and 22.8%, respectively. In Croatia, in 2020 the difference was 10.5%, which is an excellent result. The best situation is in Romania, a country of considerable "matriarchy" where women hold a lot of director positions and where the differences are only 3%! In Burundi, there is a true African matriarchate – women earn more there! It is the only such country, by the way.

LEADERSHIP GAP But there is also the leadership gap. American Progress states: “Although they hold almost 52 percent of all management- and professional-level jobs, American women lag substantially behind men in terms of their representation in leadership positions. They are only 12.5 percent of chief financial officers in Fortune 500 companies. In 1980, there were no women in the top executive ranks of the Fortune 100 companies; by 2001, 11 percent of those corporate leaders were women. Women’s share of board seats in S&P 1500 companies increased 7.2 percentage points, or 94 percent, from 1997 to 2009, and their share of top executive positions increased 2.8 percentage points, or 86 percent. The share of companies with female CEOs increased more than sixfold.” WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Although the situation is improving, it’s improving slowly. With all the nice words about female empowerment, without the same salaries and equal division of the highest functions, there will be no true equality or better society. And maybe it will first appear in Iceland, legally, or in Romania, organically. 

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INTERVIEW

WOMEN IN BUSINESS – LESS AND LESS EXOTIC, MORE AND MORE AN EVERYDAY THING

The business world is predominantly a man’s world and I believe it will stay that way, but that doesn’t mean that women can’t find their way in it or that they aren’t successful NIVES ŠEREMET Managing Director Essilor Adria

The business world is predominantly a man’s world and I believe it will stay that way, but that doesn’t mean that women can’t find their way in it or that they aren’t successful

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t is a great challenge to achieve balance when you have family on one side and on the other side you’re simultaneously building two successful careers and only with a great deal of mutual understanding and support can you be successful in this, says Nives Šeremet, Managing Director at Essilor Adria.

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“A woman in business”, how “exotic” is this still in 2021, how much has this become an everyday thing? — Given the growing number of successful companies run by equally successful women, I believe that women in business are becoming less of an exotic event and more an everyday thing. I must admit that in my current company, until a few years ago, I was more the exception than the rule,

but today I can proudly say that significant progress can be seen when it comes to fostering diversity and equality and more and more women are in leadership positions.

You are at the head of Essilor Company in three countries – Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. How great is the difference between doing business in the mentioned countries and what are the challenges that you are faced with? — There is a certain difference in the mentality of people, but you learn over time how to utilize these differences in the best way and achieve the best result based on this. Non-stop communication and checking the “pulse” are extremely important in order to dose the management, the support and even a certain level of control in

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preferable but never excessive amounts. In such regional organization, the greatest challenge by far is being physically present in different locations in a very short time, which is even more complex in current conditions. However, since I cooperate with hard working and professional colleagues, through good division of tasks and responsibilities we managed to achieve a good balance and good regional coverage.

— I would not be able to talk about my successful career today if I did not have the support of my husband and parents, who allowed me to do the job I love. It is a great challenge to achieve balance when on the one hand you have a family and on the other hand you are simultaneously building two successful careers and only with a lot of mutual understanding and support can you succeed in that. And it is very important for women to achieve that balance and that is why when one of the mentioned links is missing, it is the woman who will usually give up, accept a less demanding job and sacrifice a career for the benefit of her family.

Did you feel that someone looked at you differently as a woman in a leading position, and how? — We cannot escape the fact that a woman is viewed in a slightly different way than a man, in everything, including business. It seems to me that the business environment is still a bit more critical of women, starting from the visual impression all the way to the achieved results, so a woman still has to work a little harder. But when you believe in yourself and invest in your professional development, the effort will surely pay off in the end and business success will not be missed. How much the business world is a man’s world? — The business world is predominantly a man’s world and I believe it will stay that way, but that doesn’t mean that women can’t find their way in it or that they aren’t successful. Women are an integral and irreplaceable part of this world whether in leading positions or as part of the team, or in a secondary role as an extremely important support to her partner. There are far less women at the head of companies compared to their male colleagues, around 5%. What do you think is the reason for that and how can this number change in favor of women?

I honestly believe that a woman can be as equally successful as a man if given the opportunity and the support

What would you single out as advantage of having a woman at the head of a company, and when should a man do this job? — I definitely wouldn’t divide companies into “male” and “female” types because I honestly believe that a woman can be as equally successful as a man if given the opportunity and the support. All the more so since the success of a company depends not only on one person who manages it, but also on the team of people around that person with whom they cooperate. Of course, the leader makes the key decisions, but exchanging opinions and complementing each other are crucial to achieving successful results. Does female solidarity exist in the business world or should everything be observed professionally and individually? — At work, I divide people into professionals and non-professionals, and not according to gender, age or skin color. I will always be happy to support a good idea, diligence and dedication whether it is a female or male collaborator. So women's solidarity yes, but only when it is deserved. 

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INTERVIEW

BEING A WOMAN IS AN ADVANTAGE

The key takeaway should be that there is a lot of potential with promoting both gender-balance and diversity MIRNA MAROVIĆ Managing Director, VentureXchange Ltd. (VX) mirna.marovic@vxassociates.com

t VX, we believe that the sustainability paradigm, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, is the key to grow beyond those limitations, both in terms of market and mentality, says Mirna Marovic, Managing Director, VentureXchange Ltd. Unfortunately, the Croatian business environment is very narrow-minded and sometimes irrational issues prevail, says Marović.

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"Woman in business", how much is it still "exotic" in 2021, and how much is our everyday life? — I believe that women in business are definitely part of our everyday life. A large number of successful women have proven themselves in the business world, whether they are entrepreneurs who created and started their own business or managed to achieve leadership positions within the larger corporates.

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You are the CEO of VentureXchange. What challenges do you face, and how would you assess the business conditions in Croatia? — Unfortunately, the Croatian business environment is very narrow-minded and sometimes irrational issues prevail. We still have a long way to create a more open and growth mindset to encourage business development on purely rational, economic, financial and business issues. The discrimination does not have to be gender-related but can be personal. As a business community and society at large, we have to work more on gender-balance, diversity and inclusion. This narrow-mindedness sometimes seems to come from our small market and limitations, but the key to attracting investors is to realise that we have to scale at least regionally, if not globally. At VX, we believe that the sustainability paradigm, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, is the key to grow beyond those limitations, both in terms of market and mentality. We advocate the full integration of sustainability / ESG issues in the business strategy to all our clients, from startups to corporates and financial industry participants, such as private equity and venture capital funds. Did you feel that someone looked at you differently and how as a woman in a leading position? — I did not experience that. Quite the contrary, I think being a woman is an advantage.

At VX, we are fond of adopting the framework for managing ESG risks – which are perfectly suited for identifying the issues that can negatively impact profitability and return

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There are far fewer women at the helm of companies compared to their male counterparts, somewhere around 5%. What do you think is the reason for this, and how to change that figure in favour of women? — When we talk about issues of women in business, we have to discuss issues beyond the statistics. Most importantly, career/leadership advancement, engagement and retention in the workplace. Furthermore, diversity and gender balance at the deeper level may also include all the unconscious biases we have that can adversely impact talent management and building the right corporate culture. At VX, we are fond of adopting the framework for managing ESG risks – which are perfectly suited for identifying the issues that can negatively impact profitability and return. There is a strong business case for diversity because research has proven that diversity drives performance. It is clear that companies with a more diverse workforce perform better financially and have happier and more engaged employees with higher retention. Furthermore, diversity and inclusion are relevant in the talent pool, top-and bottom-line performance, increased creativity and innovation, and customer congruence.

What would you single out as an advantage for a company to be headed by a woman, and when should it be a man? — I would not divide the roles between gender, but I would like to promote diversity and inclusion as the right strategy for the winning teams and organisations. The key takeaway should be that there is a lot of potential with promoting both gender-balance and diversity. Is there female solidarity in the business, or should everything be observed professionally and individually? — My experience is that female solidarity is sometimes positive. For example, I would like to praise all the women-for-women mentorship programmes. In Croatia, this was organised and supported by EBRD, and now also by Večernji List/Zaposlena. In the INSEAD Alumni Community, where I am the President of the INSEAD Alumni Association Croatia and Slovenia, we have Women in Business Programmes and mentorships. However, beyond mentorship programs, either informal or organised, female solidarity is not an ally towards achieving business or financial goals. It can instead be a distraction, as team diversity and identifying talent is crucial. 

I would not divide the roles between gender, but I would like to promote diversity and inclusion as the right strategy for the winning teams and organisations

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INTERVIEW

THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS FINDING THE BALANCE

In general, I think it’s harder for women to build a career if they also have a family they want to dedicate themselves to MILENA PRODANIĆ TIŠMA Director of Bright Horizons -International British School of Zagreb

hings are starting to change because today there are many women in leading positions who have proven themselves with their competence and professionalism, says Milena Prodanić Tišma, Director of Bright Horizons -International British School of Zagreb. I believe that we are moving away from the traditional thinking even though the percentage you mentioned is small and concerning, I might add, Prodanić Tišma says.

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I believe that support and understanding of the family are most important, and that the key to success is finding the balance

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ing to the pedagogical standard. Also, the administrative part of the work tied to the opening of a school was slow. It was very important to me to be a part of the system and that we get the verification from our Ministry of Science and Education, in order to enable our students to pass in the system. To enroll in high schools in the Republic of Croatia, if they wish.

What were you guided by when you started your own business, the opening of Bright Horizons -International British School of Zagreb? — When I was opening the school, I focused all my energy on the idea of opening a school that will be made according to the needs of its students. I spent a lot of time choosing the curriculum that I thought provided the best quality and in which we would embed a strong educational component. Today when I look back on my beginnings, I am glad that I was so focused on the end goal that I did not take into account all the obstacles I was dealing with as they came. I believe that this is the key to success, a firm belief in your vision, and with work and effort the results should not be missed.

What is it like to be the head of a company in Croatia when you’re a woman? Did you feel that someone was looking at you differently because of that and in what way? — I have never had any negative experiences nor have I ever felt underestimated in my workplace because I am a woman. In my job, this is probably due to the fact that both women and men are represented in education. It was challenging, though, in the beginning when I stepped into the world of international British schools, to participate in conferences with principals who have proven over the years to be excellent leaders with years of experience. I can attribute this to my lack of experience at the time, and not to being a woman. And there I also received support and even found friends who help me with advice to this day.

What obstacles did you encounter at the very beginning? — Years have passed from the original idea to the very opening. It was difficult to find a space that would provide all the parameters accord-

How much the business world is a man’s world? — That depends on the business. As I already pointed out, in Croatia, I wouldn’t say that men outnumber the women in the field of education.

In general, I think it’s harder for women to build a career if they also have a family they want to dedicate themselves to. I believe that support and understanding of the family are most important, and that the key to success is finding the balance.

There are far less women at the head of companies compared to their male colleagues, around 5%. — Looking back, the situation with the representation of women in leading positions was far worse than today. Things are starting to change because today there are many women in leading positions who have proven themselves with their competence and professionalism. I believe that we are moving away from the traditional thinking even though the percentage you mentioned is small and concerning, I might add. What would you single out as advantage of having a woman at the head of a company, and when should a man do this job? — I think it’s difficult to generalize things because personalities are individual and I don’t think someone should be an ideal candidate for a leadership position solely because of the fact that they are a woman or a man. Also, self-improvement is crucial. If we look at it from the angle of diversity, maybe we women are more inclined to analyze relationships within companies that can lead to a better relationship strategy, while men, I believe, look at things more from the analytical side. 

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INTERVIEW

CHALLENGING NAVIGATION IN MEN’S WORLD

Free choice is indeed the source of all personal preferences, ambitions and true love towards doing business in which you can and want to invest a significant part of your own energy, time and finances IVANA NOLA M.D. PhD. Dermatologyst Owner and Director of “Dermatologija Ivana Nola” omen are undoubtedly capable and have all the qualities to succeed in the business world, but perhaps the real question is how strong a woman's ambition really is and what circumstances have brought her into the world of business, says Ivana Nola, Owner and Director of “Dermatologija Ivana Nola”. In any case, it’s not easy, because a woman has to remain a woman in every aspect, Nola says.

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What were you guided by when you started your own business, the opening of Dermatologija Nola clinic? What obstacles did you encounter at the very beginning? — Dermatologija Ivana Nola started its private business journey in 2014. That’s when I left the position of a specialist at Clinical-Hospital Centre “Sestre milosrdnice”, as well as the position of assistant at the School of Dental Medicine with the Chair of Dermatovenerology. Namely, after I experienced and mastered my academic duties, defended my master's thesis in the field of oncology, doctoral dissertation in the field of melanoma, I was attracted by a challenge of a completely different kind, and that was actually private business. I cannot say that I encountered obstacles at the very beginning, it was only necessary to perform certain administrative obligations. And as for my private life, the rhythm needed to change significantly and adapt to the needs of work.

Free choice is indeed the source of all personal preferences, ambitions and true love towards doing business

What is Your core business and who can come to your office? What awaits us there and what services you provide? — Since I got my PhD on the topic of melanoma, the core of my work is based on the examination and surgery of pigmented lesions and other skin tumors. Business op-

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Every woman has her own life, freedom of choice and in decision making

erations of “Dermatologija Ivana Nola” is largely based on examinations of the face, successful acne treatment, but great emphasis has been placed on aesthetic dermatology based on anti-aging face and body treatments, as well as treatments to stimulate hair growth. Ultimately, complete dermatological pathology is the basis of business operations of “Dermatologija Ivana Nola”.

What’s it like being at the head of a company in Croatia if you’re a woman? Did you feel that someone looked at you differently because of that, and how? — In any case it’s not easy, because a woman must remain a woman in every aspect. This position takes ambition, as well as a set of circumstances that enable the realization of the decision. It’s easy to take the already beaten track, but it takes a lot of courage, ability and will to take the road less travelled. I cannot say that anyone looked at me differently, in a negative way, because of it. On the contrary, I constantly receive great compliments based on everything I have achieved in my life. As in life, so in business, a correct attitude is needed. So is the relationship of respect and appreciation of the other side, but also the retention of certain attitudes. This can be achieved if you are guided by such criteria and standards for relationships that will ultimately guide you through the business world from day to day. I am lucky that it’s in my nature not to let every negative circumstance hold me back. On the contrary, it gives me a strong boost. And it’s like that every single time. People usually see only the bright side of the medal, and the other side is understood only by those people who run a private business. There is no need to explain what lies on the dark side of the medal to those who will not understand it. And that's perfectly fine. How much the business world is a man’s world? — The business world is absolutely a man's world and in such a world it is often challenging to navigate when you’re a woman. But by respecting my personal criteria and standards, the foundations of which are firmly focused on respecting others, I have gained respect and equality in a world where there is truly room for all. Free

choice is indeed the source of all personal preferences, ambitions and true love towards doing business in which you can and want to invest a significant part of your own energy, time and finances.

There are far less women at the head of companies compared to their male colleagues, around 5%. What do you think is the reason for that and how can this number change in favor of women? — Actually, sometimes I wonder if anything needs to change “in favor” of women. Every woman has her own life, freedom of choice and in decision making. Women are undoubtedly capable and have all the qualities to succeed in the business world, but perhaps the real question is how strong a woman's ambition really is and what circumstances have brought her into the world of business. Taking these parameters into consideration, I’m really not sure that anything should change “in favor of women”. A woman is entitled to a decision, if the circumstances allow and enable it. The world is full of all kinds of possibilities, but in the majority of personal experiences, they do get reduced to a rather small number. I am happy that I reached this “small number” of good possibilities. 

The world is full of all kinds of possibilities, but in the majority of personal experiences, they do get reduced to a rather small number

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INTERVIEW

WHATEVER THE BUSINESS, WHAT COUNTS IS WHETHER YOU’RE HUMAN BEING OR NOT

Men are at the heads of companies, while middle management has a higher percentage of women ANA LJEVAR Managing Director - Humed Pharma doo

usiness is business and you just have to have a knack for it, says Ana Ljevar , Managing Director - Humed pharma doo. It’s definitely difficult for women to cover all the roles being imposed on them, starting from family, social obligations to business obligations, Ljevar believes.

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What were you guided by when you started your own business, opening of Humed Pharma? What obstacles did you encounter at the very beginning? — I decided overnight to open a company. I watched my then boss and thought, well, I could do this too. Relations in that company were catastrophic, the work atmosphere was terrible. Since I recently changed jobs, I was ashamed to apply for a job again (there is always that worm of doubt, why does she change her jobs quickly, who or what is the problem). Considering that I graduated from 3 colleges, I thought, let me try this too. If it doesn’t work, I’ll get a job, but at least I’ll know I tried. 2013 was a crucial year. I opened the company and was on my way. I was looking for partners from a world I had experience with. Positive responses began to arrive and everything went from there. I was young, maybe that was the biggest obstacle for me then. But I was a fighter… And I still am. The company grows from year to year, the team grows with it. The hardest part is finding the right people. What I appreciate the most is honesty, and that is a rare thing to find today, am I right? Your field of work is aesthetic dermatology. How challenging is this sphere of business and what is your take on the current situation on the market?

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At the end of the story, whatever business it is, what counts is whether you are a human being or not

— Humed Pharma is engaged in the representation and distribution of medical products in the field of aesthetics and dermocosmetics. The first association that comes to mind is that there is a lot of money to be made there. But it takes a lot of investment (money, time, energy and nerves) to pick the right moment for a particular product, educate many doctors about how to use them, solve various problems of side effects, non-compliance with protocols, patient dissatisfaction, because some of them call us too, not just the doctors that treated them. As for the challenges, the pandemic crisis and what is happening all over the world have greatly aggravated the current situation. Different copies of products appear on the market. These are cheaper versions, and thus more dangerous, and at the same time everyone became experts in aesthetics; from hairdressers, beauticians, nurses,

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not to mention the visits of various "quasi" doctors from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina who do treatments in people’s homes, lower the prices, but do not resolve the complications. The struggle is great, but I sincerely hope that it will be regulated in the foreseeable future. The age of Instagram and Facebook has taken aesthetics to new levels, the safe segment as well as the “quacks”, which is a criminal offense.

What’s it like being at the head of a company in Croatia if you’re a woman? Did you feel that someone looked at you differently because of that, and how? — What people know about me is that I am a fighter. Today, if you succeed, many will not forgive you. And so, through my growth and development I lost some people I really thought were my friends, but I also found a bunch of wonderful people who encourage me and look forward to all my successes. I still fall into the small business category, which I don’t think I would want to change. My company nurtures friendly relations (of course, everyone knows who’s the boss), a pleasant atmosphere and what I want is that no one comes to work with a knot in their stomach. We all help each other, in the end - we work for the same goal. I have no problem receiving criticism from my employees, they know I’m there for them whenever they need me. It was hard to get to that stage, but now it’s all sorted out. I still look youngish (mostly because of my job) so people often can't connect me with the business world, or that the company is mine and that it has existed for 8 years, but as soon as they get to know me a little better they understand who and what I am. Giving up doesn’t exist in my book, I do not accept NO in any form. I think everything is solvable, you just need to be creative and find a way.

How much the business world is a man’s world? — Day after day we progress more and more and it has been shown that women are also capable of being entrepreneurs. Until recently, doing business was a man's job, but with our thoroughness, perseverance and strength, we pushed ourselves to be equal to some extent – with men. There is no need to compare genders, I run my own policy, whether others like it or not. At the end of the story, whatever business it is, what counts is whether you are a human being or not. No matter the race, nationality or gender. There are far less women at the head of companies compared to their male colleagues, around 5%. What do you think is the reason for that and how can this number change in favor of women? — Men are at the heads of companies, while middle management has a higher percentage of women. I discussed on this topic with my professor in my postgraduate studies. He didn’t want to answer in front of everyone, but when he finished, he called me aside and said – maybe women do make wiser choices. Business is business and you just have to have a knack for it. Whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s definitely difficult for women to cover all the roles being imposed on them, starting from family, social obligations to business obligations. Maybe that’s the reason, even we do multitask, everything can’t go together. Sometimes you have to put all the advantages and disadvantages of a position on paper and decide if it really is worth the sacrifice. What we are witnessing today is a growing number of divorces, dysfunctional families, troubled children… Is it all worth the success? It is up to each individual to decide for themselves… Woman or man! 

What we are witnessing today is a growing number of divorces, dysfunctional families, troubled children… Is it all worth the success?

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INTERVIEW

I AM ROOTING FOR EQUALITY

I wish for the time when we will talk from the positions of the functions we perform, the skills we possess and the results we have made MARTINA SOKAČ SARAGA Head of Independent Communications and Public Relations Office of the Croatian Chamber of Economy

am successful not because I am a woman but because of my qualities and I want to be perceived as such. And I want everyone to be my competition, and not only other women, says Martina Sokač Saraga, Head of Independent Communications and Public Relations Office of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, for Diplomacy&Commerce. What I can certainly see is that young people of both genders are moving forward today and that the pendulum is changing a little even now, Sokač Saraga says.

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Women in business stopped being an exotic notion a long time ago, but they sadly are in top managerial positions

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“A woman in business”, how “exotic” is this still in 2021, how much has this become an everyday thing?

— Women in business stopped being an exotic notion a long time ago, but they sadly are in top managerial positions. I wish for the time when we will talk from the positions of the functions we perform, the skills we possess and the results we have made, and less about whether these functions are male or female. Of course, as a result of numbers that increased in women’s favor. I root for equality, but only because of obvious competencies and not because of the set quotas.

You are the head of HGK Communications Office. How difficult is it to be at the head of a department like that and what are the challenges that you are faced with? — The most challenging thing is to reconcile the positions of the employer and the public, being in between is a demanding balancing act. The nature of the job where you predominantly service the media is such that you follow their destiny, that is, there is no moment in which you can switch off. It’s stressful, and you’re not saving human lives, so it can be frustrating. The problem with PR is that it can be an excuse for anyone’s omissions. Like in a political campaign, when things are good that’s the success of the individual, when it is bad, it must be PR. It’s hard, I believe, in any business, when you don’t have things under control or when you can’t influence them. Still, this dynamic business offers many more advantages than disadvantages.

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What are the advantages? — Participating in the penetration of our businessmen into foreign markets and raising business stories and successes in the media and public space is great and important. You have insight from the perspective of everyone involved. Promoting the world-famous inventions of Croatians who changed the world at the Be Croative exhibition and, for example, in New York at the UN, where Angelina Jolie was present as well, taking the opportunity to bring her, telling our story is an incredible PR opportunity that we took advantage of. To be a part of the most successful national campaign "Let's buy Croatian" that changed social consciousness is to be an important part of history. After the war, this institution opened the door to economic cooperation in Belgrade before politics. As part of economic delegations, I had the opportunity to participate in meetings of statesmen at the highest levels around the world. We have organized hundreds of conferences on various topics, from how to do business in certain markets, how to apply for EU funds to those on digital transformation and artificial intelligence, and even the Croatian entrepreneurial Oscar "Zlatna kuna". HGK has an amazing international network, we have someone in every corner of the world. With vast experience in communications and with the media, "swimming" with different policies, the network is the largest capital I have created while working at the Croatian Chamber of Economy.

their male colleagues, around 5%. What do you think is the reason for that and how can this number change in favor of women? — The reasons are both objective and subjective in nature, and biological after all. I have studied a number of researches, but here I will speak solely on the basis of my experiences and the impression based on them. If I simplify things to the core, it seems to me that a man will be more daring and women more hesitant because they are more often perfectionists. Starting a family is an objective factor in business growth. Women will often bring things to perfection, while during this time the man will overtake them and reach the goal faster. How to change things in favor of women is a million dollar question and I will obviously not get that. What I can certainly see is that young people of both genders are moving forward today and that the pendulum is changing a little even now. What would you single out as advantage of having a woman at the head of a company, and when should a man do this job? — Generalizations are ungrateful. For example, I get the impression that women in top management positions in Croatia manage similarly to men. You can often hear how she has a "male brain". It seems to me that things are somewhat different already in the second and third echelon of managers. Men will take more risks, women will be more re-

sponsible and strengthen team spirit. Men are more likely to make decisions individually, women are more prone to participatory decision making. When a company should be led by a man, and when a woman depends on the business policy and vision of the company itself. If they are willing to take a higher risk for short-term profit then a male leader may be better for them, on the other hand, if they are looking for longterm stability, a woman at the helm of the company may suit them better, but it depends on a lot of factors. In general, I think it's easier for women to put on "men's shoes" than the other way around, it gives them a small leadership advantage that statistics don't show yet unfortunately, but I hope they will soon.

Does female solidarity exist in the business world or should everything be observed professionally and individually? — Of course, I have wonderful experiences with many female colleagues, but the support from direct female supervisors even at the beginning of the professional path was often absent. That is why I particularly strongly give my support to young, capable and wonderful colleagues in the team I lead. You are just as strong as your weakest link. I am focused on the result, but if I see someone in my team not feeling well, I react. I don’t just wait for a specific task to be delivered. Professionalism mustn’t exclude humanity. 

I particularly strongly give my support to young, capable and wonderful colleagues in the team I lead. You are just as strong as your weakest link

How much the business world is a man’s world? — Predominantly still, it’s a global phenomenon. However, there are incredible examples of women in business, like in Saudi Arabia where a woman is the first director of a bank, her name is Ranie Nashar. Or Mary Barra, who is the leading face in the US car industry. It would be interesting to see a woman like that at the head of our Rimac automobile, or at the head of companies like Five, Q, Agrivi, Infinum, Infobip or Nanobit, where extraordinary men made wonders. Take a look at Emma Walmsley, the first woman of the British pharmaceutical company who saves over 500 million dollars annually for the company. Let me make a joke, us women can be strange and wondrous, often at the same time. There are far less women at the head of companies compared to

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INTERVIEW

WOMEN ARE INEVITABLE IN BUSINESS

Most PR managers dealing in car brands in Croatia are women ANAMARIJA HUCIKA PR Manager Jaguar Land Rover, Wallis Adria d.o.o.

omen in the car industry still have to prove themselves more, especially at the beginning, which is of course related to certain prejudices, the most common of which is that women are bad drivers, says Anamarija Hucika, PR Manager at Wallis Adria d.o.o. However, when you gain the trust of male associates with your knowledge, prejudices disappear, Hucika adds.

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Women in the car industry still have to prove themselves more, especially at the beginning

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“A woman in business”, how “exotic” is this still in 2021, how much has this become an everyday thing? — I wouldn’t say that a woman in the business world is an exotic event. The women started working in factories already since the industrial revolution in the 19th century, and during World War I they began taking more and more part in almost all the jobs in the industry that men were doing, mainly because the men were on the front lines. And the number of employees kept growing ever since then. Today, women are inevitable in business, it just took them a long time to fight for their right to be in leading positions in companies. Of course, the situation is not the same everywhere in the world, but let’s say that this is the situation in our business environment. You are at the head of a PR department in a company that sells cars which is

classified as “a man’s job”. How difficult is it to be at the head of this kind of a department in this business and what are the challenges that you are faced with? — My first steps in car industry from about twenty years ago are tied to a Swedish company which had equally represented women and men already then, and women were often leading important departments or projects. Maybe that worldview also influenced my attitude where I don’t see the auto industry as a men’s job. Cars, as well as technology in general, have always interested me so my job in communications and marketing in the automotive industry is a pleasure. I constantly have access to the latest technologies, and as a PR manager, I’ve always had the opportunity to drive cars that were still in the testing phase or just concepts, and that is every car lover’s dream. I should also point out that the car industry is full of women, especially in communications and marketing. Most PR managers dealing in car brands in Croatia are women. Why? Maybe because women simply communicate easier. I personally never had bad experiences, I always worked in environments where competence and quality were the most important factors, and there is no division into men and women there. Did you feel that someone looked at you differently as a woman in a leading position, and how? — Women in the car industry still have to prove themselves more, especially at the beginning, which is of course related to certain prejudices, the most common of which is that women are bad drivers. However, when you gain the trust of male associates with your knowledge, prejudices disappear.

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There are always some topics or moments that only women understand, but that is, if we are already dealing with stereotypes, a "woman's secret" in a "man's business" How much the business world is a man’s world? — If we consider the fact that men were traditionally the providers and women took care of the children and the house, then it makes sense that men build the world according to their needs. But times change, just like technologies and ways of doing business. The world has changed a lot in the last year. Working from home lost the boundary between office and home, between the business and family environment, between the male and female division of labor. Everything is intertwined, therefore I expect some new business world, without such divisions.

Does female solidarity exist in the business world or should everything be observed professionally and individually? — Likewise, I would not divide solidarity into male and female. Perhaps because I have mostly worked and work in predominantly “male” offices, I would emphasize professionalism as well as individual approach as the most important aspects of business. Of course, there are always some topics or moments that only women understand, but that is, if we are already dealing with stereotypes, a "woman's secret" in a "man's business" where, of course, this female solidarity does exist. 

There are far less women at the head of companies compared to their male colleagues, around 5%. What do you think is the reason for that and how can this number change in favor of women? — I believe it to be a matter of personal choice, and women have proven that they can be at the head if they want. The world of business is extremely competitive, sometimes ruthless towards free time, and that’s why some women decide to give priority to private life and thus lose the race for the top spots. And very often, especially in the beginning, women have to prove themselves more than their male counterparts, because it is simply a matter of mentality in our society, and not a matter of abilities. What would you single out as advantage of having a woman at the head of a company, and when should a man do this job? — I wouldn’t make a difference between men and women at all, what matters is that the person is competent and that they do their job professionally.

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INTERVIEW

MAN IS THE HEAD, WOMAN IS THE NECK

Women steer, but men are still behind the wheel LJUBICA GOČMANAC Director of the Development Sector at SuperNova

f it is a person who is committed and "lives their job", then I could not single out industries in which I would not like to see a woman at the head of the company. I would always give advantage to a man who is a good leader over women who are good workers, says the director of the Development Sector at SuperNova, Ljubica Gočmanac.

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a man’s world. Man is the head, woman is the neck. Women steer, but men are still behind the wheel.

There are far less women at the head of companies compared to their male colleagues, around 5%. What do you think is the reason for that and how can this number change in favor of women? — We can talk about the reasons in great detail, but it is important to change the number in favor of women through education, schooling and work with children. I don't just mean working with girls, but also with boys. Invest in raising children in a way that everyone has more self-confidence to make their dreams come true regardless of whether the occupation is labeled, for example, as “male job“.

“A woman in business”, how “exotic” is this still in 2021, how much has this become an everyday thing? —I like that it’s defined as “exotic”, because that gives it special value and protection. I think that the situation is changing and that there are increasingly more women in leading positions, even though, as it seems to me, things are progressing slowly and with less intensity than it may seem to us at first glance. You are at the head of the Development Sector at SuperNova. How difficult is it to be at the head of a department like that and what are the difficulties that you are faced with? — It’s not difficult. It’s challenging. There are many problems but when I m now thinking, I can not define a specific one. This means that there are no serious issues that cannot be solved. Did you feel that someone looked at you differently as a woman in a leading position, and how? — I have a feeling that everyone’s looking at me differently but that doesn't bother me. I hope that my male colleagues will always open the door for me and hold my coat when I leave the meeting, and that I will exchange experiences about new cosmetic treatments with my female colleagues. It used to take them longer to start listening to what I was saying, but I would say it has more to do with my age than my gender. How much the business world is a man’s world? — Business = being busy = a totally women’s thing. We don’t go fishing. But, if we’re not talking about the etymology of the word “business”, then it’s predominantly

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Invest in raising children in a way that everyone has more selfconfidence to make their dreams come true regardless of whether the occupation is labeled, for example, as “male job“

What would you single out as advantage of having a woman at the head of a company, and when should a man do this job? — If it is a person who is committed and "lives their job", then I could not single out industries in which I would not like to see a woman at the head of the company. It’s easier for women to manage women because they feel solidarity and mainly have the same development path. I would always give advantage to a man who is a good leader over women who are good workers, but are not good enough at running a company or who are insecure when it comes to making decisions. Does female solidarity exist in the business world or should everything be observed professionally and individually? — Female solidarity does exist. It rarely happens that women cause me a problem at work where there is none. I would say that only in large collectives where the majority of workers are women, one should pay special attention to the organization of work and there should be a maximally professional attitude. I would say the same for the situation with a predominantly male team. 

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ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES

NATIONAL DAYS MARCH

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IVAN JANDRIĆ President of HGK Bank Association Members of the Association of Banks of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce unanimously elected a member of the Management Board of Addiko banka Ivan Jandrić as President of the Association for the next four-year term, and member of the Management Board of Hrvatska poštanska banka Anto Mihaljević

IRELAND

and Financial Director of Zagrebačka banka Mirela Budojević Čulo. "The Association will continue to carry out activities that are of common interest to the banking sector, especially those related to the development of financial literacy of citizens and businesses and the improvement of the legislative framework," said Jandrić.

St. Patrick's Day

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TUNISIA

Independence Day

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GREECE

Independence Day

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PREDRAG MILINČIĆ Regional Director for Mars Balkan Mars Company appointed Predrag Milinčić as new Regional Director of Mars for the Balkan region. This experienced executive with good knowledge of the regional market joined Mars in 2017, taking over the position of Director for Mars Eastern Balkans (Serbia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania), and in 2019 his responsibilities were extended to

MALTA

Bulgaria. By taking over the new position, Predrag Milinčić also became in charge of the markets of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The company is convinced that Milinčić's experience, achieved results and excellent sales and leadership skills will contribute to the improvement of business and employee development at Mars in the region.

DEJAN LAKOVSKI CEO of Astra Zeneca in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina He will manage a cluster of countries from Sofia. “Damir Nevjestić, the former director of the company for Croatia, has decided to look for new opportunities outside the company”,

states in the announcement of AstraZeneca. Nevjestić has been the head of the Croatian branch of Astra Zeneca since 2012. AstraZeneca has been present in Croatia since 2000.

Freedom Day APRIL

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GUINEA

Independence Day

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SYRIA

National Day

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NETHERLANDS  ational Day N (King’s Day)

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SOUTH AFRICA Freedom Day

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COLUMN

Public Narrative: Leadership and Storytelling Leadership storytelling is a powerful tool for building authenticity, persuading, and winning trust of our audience, whether they are our followers, clients, or peers

JAGODA POROPAT DARRER Business Communication Professional

hat is true for media mogul Oprah Winfrey is true for any leader, states Choy (2020). We are all in the storytelling business. After all, being granted the authority of a leadership position is not enough. If you tell great stories, then you also have social power as a leader and people will want to align with your vision. Leaders must harness the power of storytelling. According to Gothelf (2020) telling a compelling story is how you build credibility for yourself and your ideas. It is how you inspire an audience and lead an organization. Whether you need to win over a colleague, a team, an executive, a recruiter, or an entire conference audience, effective storytelling is key. To construct a story as a public narrative it takes three elements: challenge, choice, and outcome. Public narrative combines a story of self, a story of us and a story of now, according to Choy (2020). A “story of self” tells why we have been called to serve. A “story of us” communicates why our community is called to act, and why we have the capacity to lead. A “story of now” communicates the urgent challenge we are called upon to face now. Public narrative is the “why” – the art of translating values into action through stories. Ganz (2011) defines public narrative as a leadership practice of translating values into action since values are experienced emotionally. Narrative is the discursive means people use to access values that equip them with the courage to make choices under conditions of uncertainty. Leadership requires understanding that while some emotions can inhibit mindful action, others can

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facilitate it. Leaders engage others in purposeful action by mobilizing those feelings that facilitate action to trump feelings that inhibit action. Organizations that lack a story lack an identity, a culture, core values that can be articulated and drawn on to motivate. Leaders learn to tell the story of their organization by identifying the choice points of the organization's journey, recounting experiences that communicate the values embedded in the work of the organization. Public narrative, understood as a leadership art, is an invaluable resource to stem the tides of apathy, alienation, cynicism, and defeatism. As Jeff Bezos said, according to Harvard Business Review, “You can have the best technology, you can have the best business model, but if the storytelling is not amazing, it won’t matter. Nobody will watch.” Choy (2020) defines narratives in leadership storytelling as

the strategic sequencing of facts and emotions. The most common misstep in crafting a story is to mistake recounting events as synonymous with telling a story. It is not how it works. To be strategic means resisting the default mode of following chronology. Our audience’s attention drifts away before they know why they should care. Strategically sequencing facts and emotion considers the audience’s needs and what they (not the teller) will find persuasive. Because leadership storytelling occurs in a business context, it naturally incorporates many facts, but presented in a way that stirs up emotions like hopeful or saddened, motivated or suspicious, elated, or disgusted. To understand a leadership storytelling at work let us look at the advices Choy (2020) tells her clients to make his presentation presentable and persuasive. She had a client who found himself needing

PEOPLE DON’T CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE

to make a data-heavy presentation to the hospitality industry. He had created a technology platform that used data to improve customer experiences so people in this industry could increase their profit margin. The main problem was that he only had 10 minutes to convince a general audience to use it. In the way the presentation was structured it was, clearly, mission impossible. She worked with him to come up with a storyline. Then, helped him select a specific client he had gone to visit, which then allowed him and his team to show how his data benefited this company. Parallel, they carefully wove emotions with facts and had an amazing success, as Choy states (2020). Therefore, importance of leadership storytelling is high. Once again, in public, we face the disclosure moment. A moment in public speaking revealing an intimate story to connect to our audience (whether they are your clients, bosses, or peers). According to Forbes, crafting a public narrative as a story is important in competitive environments, showing our and our fit with the organization is the most effective way to stand out. As the adage goes: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Furthermore, as stated in Forbes, leadership storytelling allows leaders to become more powerful because it helps them to lead authentically and build bridges with its audience, leading to greater trust. As Gothelf (2020) concludes, storytelling can make or break any initiative. A poor storyteller can butcher even the best ideas, while a strong storyteller can present a daunting concept with care and compassion for their audience. It will take practice, but when done well, good storytelling can make a major impact on your team, your organization, and your entire career.

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INTERESTING FACTS

Europe in 2024 he IMF has given a growth forecast by the year 2024, and we can see a few interesting things in the forecast. Serbia will catch up with Montenegro in terms of growth, but it will not catch up with Belarus, which will slow down a bit. Serbia will also not be able to catch up to two neighbouring countries - Romania and Bulgaria. Romania will soon catch up with Greece and overtake Turkey, which growth has been slowing down. Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as Turkey, are still far ahead of Serbia. The Czech Republic’s growth will exceed not only Greece and Portu-

T

gal’s, but also Italy’s, which will no longer be able to justifiably be a part of the G-7 most developed countries in the world, because it will also lag behind Spain. Italy will be overtaken by Lithuania (as

once much richer United Kingdom since it seceded in 1922. All Eastern EU countries, except Bulgaria, will be wealthier than Croatia, which is a giant step back for the country considering that, in

IRELAND WILL BE ALMOST TWICE AS RICH AS THE ONCE MUCH RICHER UNITED KINGDOM SINCE IT SECEDED IN 1922 well as Spain), but also by Slovakia. Italy is the biggest loser in the adoption of the euro too. Ukraine, Moldova and Kosovo will slide into even greater poverty. Ireland will be almost twice as rich as the

1991, it was the second richest country in Eastern Europe after Slovenia. The decline will be even greater in other republics of the former Yugoslavia, as a result of the 1991-2001 wars. The Czech Re-

public and Lithuania will overtake Slovenia, and thus Slovenia will no longer be the wealthiest country in Eastern Europe. The countries and territories affected by the wars (from 1992 to date), like Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia, will be at the level of African countries in terms of economic growth while the countries of southern Europe, that have adopted the euro as their national currency, such as Greece, Portugal and Italy, are falling behind in regard to wealth. The Eurozone is beneficial only to budget savers, not spenders.

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INTERVIEW

The Time of “Survival” and Never-Ending Challenges All the theatres in the world were equally unprepared for the pandemic, they were caught off guard, without a clear strategy or ways to be sufficiently strong or sufficiently flexible to go through all this with the smallest consequences possible

DUBRAVKA VRGOČ General Manager of Croatian National Theatre

e are one of the few countries where theaters are open and where the audience is really not afraid to come to the theater. I don't know how things will turn out in the future, because I can't predict whether life will return to normal or if this is our new normal, Dubravka Vrgoč, Director of the Croatian National Theater, says for Diplomacy & Commerce. Despite all the uncertainties, all employees at the Croatian National Theater are working on new projects and making plans, waiting to return to the "old normal", but even without that, they are there for their audience, Vrgoč says.

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Photo: Mara Bratos

Life seems to be on a break for the past year. Where has the culture been in the past year? How has the situation with the pandemic affected the culture? — I still can’t believe that it’s all happening to us, it’s as though it’s actually happening to someone else, while we repositioned ourselves and became observers of the absurd reality that we are living. When we closed the theatre precisely one year ago, on an afternoon of March the 12th, it all seemed absolutely surreal. We believed that we would open the doors very soon and start working as we have always worked. Little by little we accepted the situation and started to realize that the end of this misfortune is nowhere near. Looking back I agree that we have really been on hold for the last year. This is one of the worst years in the history of theater, because it was never recorded throughout history that all theat-

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ers closed at the same time and failed to find any common platform for "survival" in times of crisis. But, I would add that it was also one of the most challenging seasons. It directed us above all to complete chaos and disorientation, to fear and finally to helplessness. Soon, however, we began to function thinking intensely about how we must preserve the theater, the artists, the staff, the audience, and then, after the earthquake, the theater building itself. So, faced with two disasters at the same time, a pandemic and an earthquake, we were finding ways to cope. Many artists in our country and in the world have managed in a similar way, opening digital platforms and various links that would allow them to stay in touch with their viewers. Culture, and especially the performing arts, suffered the most in this pandemic and proved to be extremely fragile. Many artists around the world have lost their jobs, their engagements, many institutions have closed forever or are left to the will of the market, and so this year of "living on a break" has brought little good to culture.

EXTREME BEHAVIORS ARE NOT SURPRISING IN EXTREME SITUATIONS AND IT IS REALLY EXTREMELY DEMANDING TO DEAL WITH ALL THIS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU RUN A HOUSE WITH 500 EMPLOYEES Still, HNK consolidated quickly, being the most important cultural institution in the country. How are you functioning currently, what difficulties are you currently faced with and how do you handle them? — It seemed to me at the beginning of the pandemic that we needed to consolidate as soon as possible, precisely to protect the institution. Even after we closed the theater, in mid-March, and started broadcasting our plays on the 24sata YouTube channel, we received thanks from viewers who found it easier to endure this "house confinement" by watching our plays. The number of 470,000 visitors during the month and a half of broadcasting is truly fascinating and speaks for itself how much the theater was not only significant to everyone, but above all necessary then, in those first days of the lockdown. Then, when it was already possible to go out to the city in small groups, we started with open-air concerts and we

were the first theater to make direct contact with the audience after fifty days of lockdown. In the program "HNK in your neighborhood", we visited ten Zagreb neighborhoods and sang on improvised stages, between buildings, on plateaus, playgrounds, in parks... We recognized our subscribers, people from risk groups, our loyal viewers and we were all equally happy that the theatre has returned, at least in that modest, limited form. After that, we “built” a stage in front of the theatre and organized “Ljetne večeri HNK” (HNK Summer Nights) and performed various programs at the end of the last season and at the beginning of this. Hundreds of viewers gathered on our square with the performances of opera, ballet and drama artists. This brought some excitement to the city itself. And then, as we continue to do, we adapted the program in the theatre to the recent situation, in an effort to respond to epidemiological measures, but

also to the audience’s expectations. At the moment, for these reasons, the drama scene has the most work, with plays that are performed with a small number of actors, the opera program is being filled with concerts, and the ballet is still on hold because it involves major productions which we should not be performing, according to the recommendations. The plans are constantly changing, we are simultaneously considering several options which we always have to have prepared, and we make decisions at the last moment depending on the situation. I have never worked more and the result of that work has never been more uncertain.

What novelties can you announce to us in the repertoire and what is the calendar of events? — The premiere of Gogol’s “The Inspector General” directed by Russian director Sergey Potapov was held several days ago.

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Photo: Mara Bratos

Our play doesn’t enter the dialogue with Gogol’s era, but it testifies of the corruptness of the society we are living in through the display of the 19th century, and that’s what makes it exciting. In March, we also had the premiere performance and staging of the text written by Sándor Márai “The Candles Burn Till the End”, directed by Branko Ivanda and coproduced with Teatar Erato. This play is being performed by our actors: Zrinka Cvitešić, Siniša Popović and Goran Grgić. By the end of the season, along with a few symphonic concerts, I hope that we will manage to prepare Gluck’s opera “Orpheus and Eurydice” and present reduced versions of “Madame Butterfly” and “The Marriage of Figaro”. As for ballet, in May we would perform again our cult ballet "Death in Venice" choreographed by Valentina Turcu, and we plan a co-production with the famous ballet of Angelin Preljocaj. At the end of May, we plan to continue with the "Summer Evenings of the Croatian National Theater" program in front of the theatre building, and it would be even more spectacular this summer.

You recently signed a contract on cooperation between Croatian National Theatres in Varaždin and Zagreb. What is this contract about and will there be others similar to this? — There is a little more than 70 kilometers between Zagreb and Varaždin. These are two historically extremely important cultural centers with national theaters between which there has never been official cooperation. Therefore it seemed to me more than necessary to connect with them and exchange plays in the first phase. I signed a cooperation agreement with intendant Jasna Jakovljević at the end of February and we have already exchanged the first programs. We were guests in Varaždin with the play "Gdje se kupuju nježnosti” (Where to buy tenderness) based on a play by Monika Herceg, which was awarded at the HNK competition in Zagreb last year, and the Varaždin theater presented itself to our audience with a great concert by young singer Evelin Novak, who works at the Berlin Opera. This is just the beginning of cooperation, because we are also planning some joint projects. And the signing of cooperation between all Croatian national theaters - Rijeka, Split, Osijek, Varaždin and Zagreb, has been

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I cannot see or predict this end anymore. I don’t even know how we will finish this season and how we’ll start the next one. I don’t know if we will be able to perform the large stage music formats such as operas and ballet blanc, or will be continue to stage smaller drama forms and come up with projects to keep the audience. I don’t know if the pandemic will suddenly end one day, like they set the date when World War II ended, for example, or will it last in various forms and continue, keeping the theatres “semi-open”, in constant changes of plans and programs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the first scenario.

THE SIGNING OF COOPERATION BETWEEN ALL CROATIAN NATIONAL THEATERS - RIJEKA, SPLIT, OSIJEK, VARAŽDIN AND ZAGREB, HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED FOR MAY announced for May. If this crisis "corona time" had not happened, perhaps this cooperation would not have intensified as much.

How did you personally experience the entire situation and how do you think things will develop in the future? Will our life return to "normal" or is this our new normal? — I found it to be quite difficult, almost traumatic. There were some disturbances in the theater as well, in communication and in the functioning of the theater, which I am sure would not have happened had it not been for the pandemic and the fear caused by the earthquake. Extreme behaviors are not surprising in extreme situations and it is really extremely demanding to deal with all this, especially if you run a house with 500 employees. I don’t think it was that complicated and that difficult to be a theater intendant even during the war as it was in

the past year, in the era of this disaster. Because you can't plan anything, because you can't count on anything, because you don't know what is allowed and what is not and how long it will all last. Another specificity of this situation is that it is global, so you can't rely on anyone or ask anyone for advice, learn something from someone... All the theatres in the world were equally unprepared for the pandemic, they were caught off guard, without a clear strategy or ways to be sufficiently strong or sufficiently flexible to go through all this with the smallest consequences possible. We are one of the few countries where theaters are open and where the audience is really not afraid to come to the theater. I don't know how things will turn out in the future, because I can't predict whether life will return to normal or if this is our new normal. For a while I believed in the expected end of this crisis, but I was mistaken and now

The topic of this issue is women in business. You are the head of a cultural institution, but you are also involved in business in some way. What is it like to be a woman at the head of an institution? What difficulties do you face and do you think that all these situations are different from the ones that men face? — I don’t think it’s easy to be a woman at the head of an institution, even if it’s a cultural one. Although we are living in the 21st century and we are all seemingly equal and we like to talk about gender equality, the reality is actually a bit different. I know from experience that I always had to prove myself more than my male colleagues in this line of work, that I was certainly more vulnerable than them and more left to criticism, manipulations and accusations. It would probably be wrong to say that we women care more about the job we do, but we certainly do care in a different way, so to speak, as though this job is part of our personality and that’s why we try even harder when we do it and that’s why we defend it more when it’s being attacked. I don’t like division into male and female jobs, I hate any kind of divisions at all as I don't even admit gender differences, I'm not raised that way, but again by performing the jobs I did I testified that sometimes it was extremely difficult for me to run an institution knowing that I could certainly manage to avoid certain unpleasant things if I were not a woman, that is, if a man was sitting in my place. These are still some remaining cultural barriers that I hope future generations of women running theaters will manage to if not avoid, then at least overcome.

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Photo: Damil Kalogjera

CULTURE

100 Years of the French Institute in Croatia Establishment of the French Institute was part of a larger movement to renew the interest in France and the French language, a direct consequence of the end of World War I and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ringing together the country's leading cultural institutions, as well as actors of the alternative scene, in various fields such as film, literature, animation, music, performing and visual arts, gastronomy, the centenary program will take place throughout 2021 in various cities across the country.

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BEGINNINGS OF THE CENTURY OF HISTORY On February 21, 1921, a group of Francophones and Francophiles gathered at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb, and founded the French Institute to promote and spread the French language, literature, and culture. In the same period in France, in 1920, the French Ministry of For-

eign Affairs formed a new department whose mission was to promote the cultural influence of France abroad. In 1922, this department appointed Raymond Warnier the first French lecturer in Zagreb. In 1935 he became the Director of the French Institute in Zagreb.

tion will focus on placing accent on this cultural relationship and dialogue between our two countries, which the French Institute has been encouraging, monitoring and structuring for an entire century. Over the course of this year we will remember the most

THE FIRST DIRECTOR OF THE FRENCH INSTITUTE, RAYMOND WARNIER, BECAME A VERY GOOD CONNOISSEUR OF THE CROATIAN CULTURE AND HIS SURROUNDINGS Precisely this mutual dynamics, from Croatia to France and from France to Croatia, was crucial for the establishment of the French Institute in Croatia, which will be the focal point of this centenary celebration. This celebra-

beautiful pages in the history of this ancient and living dialogue that continues to be enriched, renewed and conceived. Cooperation, as well as solidarity, will be keywords of this centenary. Croatian cultural insti-

tutions and stakeholders went through an ordeal in 2020. This solidarity of the French Institute will be expressed through the implementation of joint projects as well as through a dedicated program presented at the French Institute in Zagreb. By bringing together the country's leading cultural institutions, as well as stakeholders from the alternative scene, in various fields such as film, literature, animation, music, performing and visual arts, gastronomy, etc. the centenary program will take place throughout 2021 in various cities across the country. Around 4 “rendez-vous”, annual key events of the French Institute, will be organized: “Rendez-vous of Francophony” in March, “Unexpected Ren-

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Photo: Damil Kalogjera

dez-vous” in May and June regarding the performing arts and heritage, “Rendez-vous au cinéma” in September and October and “Digital rendez-vous” in relation to the art and culture tied to new media. The Institute will also be part of main current events, like Rijeka 2020, European Capital of Culture, until the end of April 2021 and “BD 2020, Year of the Comic in France” which has been extended until the end of June 2021. This program takes place in a specific context, the context of a pandemic, which requires the society, and especially the actors of the cultural world, to reconsider their methods of intervention: this centenary will seek to con-

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COOPERATION, AS WELL AS SOLIDARITY, WILL BE KEYWORDS OF THIS CENTENARY tribute to this reflection by highlighting forms of artistic intervention and participatory projects that enable new methods for encounters and exchange of energy with the audience! The first Director of the French Institute, Raymond Warnier, became a very good connoisseur of the Croatian culture and his surroundings. He was a friend of the famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović and he was crucial in organization of a grand exhibit of his artwork at the Musee Jeu de Paume in Paris in 1933. He was very close to the arts collective “Zemlja” (Earth

Group) and helped many members to continue their studies and careers in Paris. His successor Jean Dayre spoke Croatian and was an expert in Dubrovnik literature. He was the founder of the annual magazine of the French Institute "Annals of the French Institute in Zagreb", which was published from 1937 to 1990 and which helped France become familiar with certain Croatian writers such as Miroslav Krleža or Predrag Matvejević (but also Vladimir Nazor, Antun G. Matoš, etc.). By the end of 1930s, 3,000 students were learning the French

language at the French Institute by using their rich library. The creation of the French Institute was part of a larger movement to restore interest in France and the French language, a direct consequence of the end of World War I and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Thus, in those years, many other associations of the same type were opened in different cities in Croatia: in Bjelovar, Đakovo, Dubrovnik, Karlovac, Knin, Koprivnica, Ogulin, Osijek, Pakrac, Petrinja, Požega, Slavonski Brod, Sisak, Šibenik, Split, Sušak, Trogir, Varaždin, Vinkovci, Vukovar, with the same goal – to maintain and strengthen the ties with the French language and culture.

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