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TANJA SUBOTIĆ LEVANIČ: “IN LIFE, IT’S NOT ALWAYS IMPORTANT THE RESULT, BUT THE WAY TO IT.”

At the biggest women’s sports event in the history of independent Slovenia, our “second team” will cheer on our first team from the stands. 17 outstanding, successful women make up the Women’s EHF Euro 2022 ambassador group, which supports and will continue to support the two main pillars of the November competition – the empowerment of women in sport and society in general, and sustainability. Among the ambassadors who are aware of the importance of both areas and try to contribute to a better tomorrow with small steps is Tanja Subotić Levanič, an expert in the field of marketing and communications and director of corporate relations at Pivovarna Laško Union.

Who is Tanja Subotić Levanič?
First and foremost, I am a person who loves life. I believe the world is beautiful. But we humans have the possibility, the opportunity and the responsibility to co-create such a world.
My first love is my family, my three boys. In addition, I work at Pivovarna Laško Union, where I manage corporate relations with the best team. I am also the president of the Young Managers Section of the Association of Managers of Slovenia, whose mission is to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable leadership and to live it. At the same time, I am a proud ambassador of the European Women’s Handball Championship.

Pivovarna Laško Union is a sponsor of many Slovenian sports clubs. Why did you recognize sports as a segment of society worth investing in?
We look at it from two angles. Sport inspires, connects and encourages positive emotions between people, through it we can convey strong messages. On the other hand, sport is an economic industry.

How powerful messages can we convey through sport and what can it teach us?
The most powerful messages. It teaches us perseverance, teamwork, connection and how to achieve victory even when it seems impossible.

Why is sport so attractive to spectators, sponsors and investors?
Because it brings out the best in a person. But that doesn’t come by itself, but through training and quite a few sacrifices. With the falls on the way, we learn how to pick ourselves up and move on, and the ups are the way up to the set goal. The results may not be visible immediately, but when they come, they are the sweetest and pay off all our efforts. Of course, successes count, but we must not forget that these would not have existed without the journey to get there and all the ups and downs. And it is this path that is the experience, the lesson and the essence of attraction for all stakeholders in sports travel, as well as otherwise.

Where do you see parallels between the two spheres, sports and business?
Usually, good strategists or coaches are successful in both the sports and business worlds. Sports and business teach leadership, the power of team spirit, organization, perseverance and how to pick yourself up when things don’t go according to plan.

In addition to the competition, women’s empowerment in sports and sustainability will also be in the foreground in November. How sustainable are you yourself?
Sustainability is a long distance run. It may not bring immediate results, but it pays off in the long run. The effort we put into it pays off.
I see sustainability from two perspectives. The first is what I can do myself. I like to get on my bike, whether it’s for commuting to work and meetings or for recreation. I much prefer going to the city by bike than by car. I prefer the smells of fresh laundry drying in the sun to wasting extra energy with a dryer. In the diet, however, it is not necessary that meat is always on the menu. Deliciously prepared vegetables, preferably from a local farmer, work very well. The second aspect is what I can transfer in my role as a leader to the work environment, where I work together with my colleagues, where as a team, department or the entire company we can take even greater sustainable steps. Starting where we have the most influence and can do the most, and continuing by always asking ourselves in the decisions we make, what we do is sustainable, it is responsible.

What is the first step you would advise someone who is at the beginning of their transformation into a more sustainable person. Where and how to start?
First of all, that people don’t get scared. It is a way of life to which small steps lead us, and changes begin with the first. It is up to individuals to take this first step, but in companies the steps can be bigger and faster.

How important is the empowerment of women in sports and society in general. Where is the opportunity for progress?
Not only is gender equality a fundamental human right, it is also essential for us to shape peaceful, open and inclusive societies that demand the full human potential. Half of it is made up of women, based on the fact that the world’s population is made up of both men and women. It is most efficient and effective to co-create together. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it is necessary to speak much more loudly about the empowerment of women, because we are not where we would like to be. It’s not that we want women to have more rights than men. We just want equal rights. And together we can do the most.

What impression did the female colleagues leave on you, who together with you accepted the challenge of the Women’s EHF Euro 2022 ambassadorship?
A woman alone can have power, but women together we have influence. Some of them I know from before, some not. I am proud and grateful to be in this company, because the power of collaboration is the real power of women to change for the better. I believe that together we can change the world for the better. I often wonder why I didn’t meet them earlier. I believe that with our cooperation we will further strengthen and expand the circle of female ambassadors. And inclusive, grateful and proud to know each other because we are better together.

Why should every Slovenian man or woman watch at least one match of our handball players at the European Championship?
I just can’t imagine not being a part of a love story. We are talking about Slovenia, which has the word love in its name, that is, love. We want to be part of a great story that happens for the first time in this format.

What do you think will be the main legacy of the November competition?
I will not predict the result, because even otherwise in life I think that not only the result is important, but the path to it. Being a part of co-creating this story is the greatest legacy that will be fondly remembered.

You said that you will not predict the result…
That’s right!

Then let’s turn to the last question. Where would you like Slovenia to go?
Always and everywhere love first. Slovenia first!

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