Deputy Mayor of the City of Ljubljana, the recipient of the Women’s Economic Forum Award for Women of the Decade in Public Life due to the successfully implemented Green Capital of Europe project.
Why did you decide to accept the role of Ambassador of the Women’s EHF EURO 2022?
Mainly because, in the kind invitation of Mr. Franjo Bobinac, they were exposed to topics that I believe are crucial for future social development and for the quality of life of future generations. I am glad that the issues of sustainable development and empowerment of women or. gender equality is central to many debates, strategies, resolutions, and many solutions and actions have already been identified. If ever, now is the right time to proactively move from words to deeds, when we are not waiting for others, but ourselves – even with seemingly small steps – contributing to a common goal.
In addition, I really like watching collective sports competitions, so in November I would cheer for our fighting girls in front of the TV or on the playground. As an ambassador, of course, I will do this even louder and am honored to be a part of this important sporting event for women.
Why is it worth fighting for a greater role of women in society?
If we do not proactively strive for gender equality, we are giving up part of social, intellectual, and human capital. Why consciously give up the potential and capabilities of women? In an extremely complex and uncertain world that is changing at supersonic speeds, we need all the knowledge, experience, ideas, and suggestions available to be able to solve our present and future with them. Women and men can do more and we are stronger together, which is always confirmed in all areas.
How important is the concept of sustainable development in your everyday life?
Sustainable development in a broader sense has accompanied me since 2007 when we formed a sustainable vision of Ljubljana 2025 and then a few years later the candidacy for the Green Capital of Europe. At the time, this notion was not as ubiquitous as it is today, awareness was incomparably lower and it was just beginning to grow. I’m glad it’s different today. I deal with the challenges of sustainable development on a daily basis, both at work and in my private life. It seems “fine” to me that we also talk to family and friends about solutions and encourage each other to change some habits. I do not see it as one of the alternatives but as the only possible path for future development. If we know how to strike a balance between environmental, social, and financial sustainability and are able to maintain it successfully, we will win.
What do you think are the main parallels between sports and business?
In both areas, multiple winners are considered to be disciplined, willing to learn and work hard, highly motivated, and eager to win and succeed more than (financial) rewards. In the desire to prove themselves, they are driven by passion instead of fear.
The function of a coach in team sports is similar to that of a director in a company. He or she needs to find the most suitable places for their co-workers (players) to be the best and motivate them to pursue a common goal. I have heard this many times from Zoran Janković, who has had many successes both in sports and in running large companies. I believe in this and I strive for it in leadership.
What is your attitude towards sports and especially handball?
I have never been a professional athlete. From an early age, however, the sport has been my regular companion on a recreational level, from skiing, gymnastics, dancing, running, sailing, swimming, canoeing, beach volleyball, to walking and climbing one of the nearby hills, tennis, and golf, Pilates and yoga. I enjoy testing my abilities in different sports. If I had an hour or two more a day, I would probably spend most of it on a movement that relaxes and invigorates me. When I let my thoughts run free, I also unravel many challenges that seemed unsolvable just before.
I admire professional athletes for their perseverance, discipline, and hard work.
I also enjoy being a fan, most often at the basketball court, which mostly means fun and relaxation, but it can also be stressful in a tense ending.
I first started watching handball more regularly on the way to the European silver medal in 2004, and after coming to Mercator I learned about the incredible story through many stories of the former president and now honorary president of the RZS, also known as the “father” of Krim. Women’s sports team Krim Electa, later Krim Mercator and their journey from the amateur team to the title of European champions. At that time, I also had the opportunity to personally meet many handball players and other individuals who really lived for handball.
Which of the ambassadors do you know best and which do you appreciate?
I know most of the ambassadors and I respect the work, efforts, and achievements of all of them. I am pleased that we come from very different business environments, each with its own story, experience, and examples of good practice. We can learn everything from each other and upgrade our acquaintances through joint championship activities. It’s nice to be part of this “side-kick handball team”.
Where will Slovenia place at the EHF Euro 2022?
I am optimistic and cheering for the finals.