What kind of career’s advice did you get as a young woman?
I grew up in Yugoslavia, prosperous and socialist country. Women worked, concept of stay at home mum was unknown to us. You had to be really poorly educated not to be in any type of work. I was always good at maths and science and both my parents are engineers so engineering was something I was naturally advised on to pursue as a career. This was reflected at the university – 50% of engineering students were female. When I moved to England, I was a rarity ( only 7% of engineering students were female).
What did you want to be when you left education?
Telecom engineer. My first job was telecom architecture of BT optical ring around London. I am still proud of it.
Did your mother work?
Yes, my mother was mechanical engineer and worked in Fiat as well as doing extra teaching at technology college associated with the factory.
Love & Relationships:
Do you think getting married is important?
What did you dream your future partner would be like when you were a little girl?
A prince ☺
Is your relationship with your partner the same as your parents’ relationship?
How like your mother are you?
I am more involved in my children’s every day activities.
What are your hopes for any daughters or young women you know?
To be able to pursue any career they like. I can see time and again girls are moulded into stereotypes ‘maths is not for you’.
Do you bring your son up the same way as your daughter? Do you think boys and girls should be brought up differently?
Exactly the same. They should be brought up exactly the same and be given the same opportunities.
If you don’t have children, what have you been able to do that having children would have prevented you doing? What has your focus been?
I have two children, boy age 12 and girl age10. I believe that I have a successful career in technology and my children enriched my life.
Expectations and Dreams:
Who are your heroines and why?
Mileva Einstein, for being brave to go against all stereotypes, to study maths when rarely any women did and to marry the genius Albert despite all pushbacks from his family and the society at the time.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Standing up on stage in front of 300 plus people and telling them that big transformation program we were leading is failing and that they to follow me if we are to stir the program boat in the right direction. At that point I did put my career at the biggest risk.
What drives you?
Innovation in technology and all areas of life. I have a passion for changing things for better.
What are your values?
Honesty, Compassion, Bravery
What is your biggest achievement?
Being mum and being good female leader ( not because of myself but because I will be able to show it to my daughter and her friends that it is possible)
How old are you?
What has been your favourite age to be and why?
20s – my student years were brilliant, 30s – – my children were born, 40s- my career is proving to be a highly successful one
Do you think it’s better to be young now than when you were young? (Or better now than when your parents were young?)
It was much easier when I was young. The pressure children have from the digital age is huge and unnecessary. It was much easier for me to keep my confidence levels high without my photos being uploaded on various platforms for hundreds of people to see and comment on. I wasn’t even interested what other people were thinking of me when I was experimenting with my hair style or my wardrobe. It is was much easier for me to be authentic.
What are the pros and cons of being a woman?
Pros: motherhood, Cons: not fully understanding how man can support family equally
What have been the biggest challenges in your life?
Juggling motherhood, care for my elderly parents and keeping the career in good pace of progress
Self-image – Body or Looks:
Why do you dress the way that you do?
It is simple and yet I still think it looks elegant
What would be your musical soundtrack?
Coldplay : Adventure of a lifetime
Do you have a life’s motto?
Anything else you’d like to add?
As a mum I realized that it is more important to focus on my children’s happiness than on their achievement. We became so obsessed with league tables and results in this country and this is largely driven by the schools and their business model. I don’t want my children to be part of anyone’s business model.