Ivana Gažić, President of the Management Board of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, is one of the women who can undoubtedly offer encouraging guidance via her professional and personal life. As a student, she began her career as a Pliva scholarship holder, doing two jobs in parallel to ensure her existence; as a response, she does not dispute any job that a person has done in his or her life. Shortly after, she obtained a significant promotion. At the age of 29, she continued her career in the new company Lura Plc. as an assistant to the President of the Management Board and strategic finance project manager.
She has also held roles in banks and is a member of various supervisory boards. Among all, she is a frequent speaker at multiple conferences and a faculty lecturer.
As one of the few women in this position, Ivana shared her thoughts on subjects such as investment, women’s leadership, and achieving self-sufficiency via experience, as well as genuine advice for all young people.

What can we expect to hear from your speech at the LEAP Summit?

I will speak about my experience of leading regional stock exchange, team creation and motivation and finally on my view what makes an individual successful in the business.

Everyone wants to make additional capital, but is there something that individuals frequently overlook or surpass in terms of their initial desire to invest as well as their established expectations?

People need to make plans to save and then inform themselves about investment options and risks individual investments carry. People are often not realistic about potential returns and tend to be attracted to very risky investments.

What would be your recommendation for young individuals (who don’t have a large capital) to invest in, as well as those who are “more mature” to greater investments?

I am not allowed to give any investment advice.

What do you think about investing in cryptocurrencies? What critical factors can investors overlook if they get swept up in this fast-moving wave?

Again, people need to be very aware of risks of such investment. Cryptocurrencies are unregulated and there are many risks connected to them. In regulated investments regulators are taking care of investor protection, while in crypto world such surveillance is not applicable. Critical is the fact that AML procedures are not followed in this world – just think why all cyber crime ransoms are requested in cryptocurrencies.

Are there any principles by which you prioritize your tasks in order for everything to run according to the plan during your working day, and what is the most common guidance you depend on whenever something goes in an unexpected or opposite direction?

Yes – I start with information (reading newspapers, articles, LinkedIn, news), then continue with communication (meetings with my staff and potential customers or business partners) and finish with execution (making long term plans into practice). When something goes against your plan, stay calm, think, consult and make a decision according to the information collected.

What can you share from your personal experience as solid and well-founded facts concerning women’s leadership at one of the most dynamic institutions? How does this type of leadership vary from the typical “man” one?

As in everyday life, men and women are different. However, diversity is what brings the best results, so both genders should be equally involved into any process, including business, and making decisions. Organizations of the future will take even greater case to include all minorities into the company to achieve optimal results. I think women lead with more compassion and that is the key to maintain best workers in the company.

What foundations do you believe women should be more aware of in order to be more courageous in taking such huge corporate responsibilities or business ventures in general? What do you believe is the most common obstacle?

I think family is the place where successful business carrier start. If you were not lucky enough to have such family, then just make sure you do your homework (as women usually do), and make sure other people know about it. Do not be afraid to stand out by asking questions or giving your opinion. Most common obstacles are prejudices – by both men and women – that both often think women are not good enough.

Acting as CEO of the Zagreb Stock Exchange undoubtedly implies stress and dynamic environment; are you able to totally switch off towards the end of your working day? Which approaches do you use to balance working and non-working hours?

I am, but it took me years to learn it. It is natural and expected in a way. As you gain your experience, your confidence grow and you are able to solve more things in less time. It is also natural when you are young and just starting your carrier to work and learn more. As you will gain working years you will gain ability to switch off.

Best way to balance work and life is to build high quality circle around you – family, friends and helpers – all that helps you to be balanced person. When you are in balanced state, you will deliver best results in all areas of your life, including your work.

Among other things, you are a lecturer at the faculty, what have your experiences with students taught you about the development of the education system?

I am unhappy to see that students in Croatia ask so little. I can not conclude differently than they are thought to be quiet in the classroom. Interaction, debate, even confrontation create intellectually stimulating environment and I would like to see more of that.

Given your impressive career and expertise, what do you have to say to young people about personal development? What lessons would you teach them?

Be prepared to work hard and whatever they give you. Each thing you do will teach you something. Think less about your rights and more about what you can give back to the society. Whatever you do in your life – always stay good and kind person. Hard work does pay off. Choose your first job wisely, it will determine your working life.

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