MUNPlanet: It would be great if you could shortly introduce yourself to the audience.
I am Tamara Jović. I was born and raised in a respectable and honorable family of five. My father always wanted for his daughters to graduate university, but unfortunately only I fulfilled his wish. He had to take out two loans to pay for my education, while my mother had to clean apartments and stairways to provide for our basic needs. I can proudly say that I graduated with honors which made my parents elated, although I was the only one in the family to get a higher education. I learned that besides your university degree, before anything else you have to learn to fight and accept jobs and work. That is I got the position of director in Super Zena after working in family medicine, taking census, selling helium balloons and working in shops.
MUNPlanet: Who is Super Zena? (Direct translation into English is Super Woman)
Once I realized that I had to change my outlook on the country, people, and myself, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My life had to change and so did its meaning. I became a part of a couple of NGOs and started to enrich my own and other people's lives. However, since you cannot do everything on your own, different circumstances occur. And so it was that Youth bank of the Mozaik Foundation published a call for the youth of Bosnia and Herzegovina who want to do something that would contribute to the society for which I and four other girls applied. Through our social project “Deciji Dani” we wanted to include children with psychological and physical handicaps in social activities. We wanted to show inclusion in practice. Around 500 children of typical and atypical development took part in only one of the activities. While realizing the project we were told that only a certain number of young people will have the opportunity to start their social business. Luckily, we received the call, but we separated into two teams. I wanted to try another direction because I realized that I could do everything if I set my mind to it.
The inspiration behind Super Zena was actually my mother. She is a woman of over 40 years of age that only went to Elementary school, without the prospect of getting employed. The new team Super Zena researched this problem and realized that this was one of the major background problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that it was extremely hard for women in this group to get employed. As far as law is concerned, they are allowed to only work physical jobs and cleaning is often in their job description. But, the most important thing to emphasize is the social aspect of Super zena. Namely, at the end of each year, Super zena allocates a certain percent for education of these women such as additional education, foreign language courses, computer literacy, self-defense courses, handmade creative workshops, etc.
MUNPlanet: There are three ways/reasons that people become entrepreneurs:
- They always wanted to
- They had to
- The opportunity rose
Honestly, I have never seen myself as an entrepreneur, and even less a social entrepreneur. I had a chance to do something in my life and I took advantage of it. One fantastic person once told me: “ Why board a train going in the opposite direction? Take the one going in yours.” People often don’t see the opportunities right in front of their noses because they overestimate their abilities, or even worse, they idealize themselves and their surroundings. Maybe it is even harder to admit that young people have become full of themselves and the only thing they want is to earn quick money, and even worse, they want someone to do it for them. You will often hear the majority say that he/she have parents in a high positions or has been employed through political patronage. I don’t deny these claims because “where there's smoke, there’s fire”, but I judge every young person who gives up and doesn’t try to change their life.
MUNPlanet: To accomplish anything in life, we have to combine a good dose of motivation with lots of discipline and hard work. When it comes to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, all this had to be multiplied by ten. What are the things that push you forward and motivate you?
I think that all of us have to work towards a personal interest. What motivates me is that I am now employed, or even too busy. By doing this, I have given someone else a chance to earn their salary and make their life happier. Every day is a story for itself and every day makes the job even better and more interesting. It is true that you have to predict ten steps ahead, but sometimes that is simply impossible. You don’t control the space, but you are a part of it. I want to succeed, I want to change my life for the better, and when I change my life, I also change the lives of those around me and Super zena. It is those smiles and happiness which actually pushes you forward and accomplish even better results. Most importantly, when you find yourself in a bad situation, you have to do your best to try and solve the issues. In one instance, I found myself in a very bad situation when I basically failed, but thanks to Lola Tomic and her famous sentence: “Tamara has to feel well for Super Zena to function,” I got myself together. Whenever I get in a bad mood or I think that I won’t succeed, I remember this sentence and it is almost as if a new Tamara appears, even stronger and more persistent.
MUNPlanet: Social entrepreneurship as a concept is becoming increasingly popular among entrepreneurs not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in the region. What advice would you have for the youth on the question of whether to start a social business. What would be the first steps if they decided to go in that direction?
Before anything else, there should be a long and detailed conversation with the young person thinking about starting a social entrepreneurial project for numerous reasons. However, possibly the most important piece of advice would be for them to think clearly about their ideas. When you see a successful entrepreneur, you don’t see all the things they have been through such as hours and hours of being awake, and hours and hours of hard work so that everything falls into place. Each and everyone of the young people have to know that persistence is one of the key aspects of success. Moreover, they need to know about giving and receiving. The more you give, the more comes back into your life. In the end, we are all people, if I don’t like something, why would I be doing it to other people?
MUNPlanet: What is going through your head at the moment? What have you been reading? Which websites do you use for learning new things?
Right now, I am working on myself and the changes I have to make to be able to adjust to new situations. I have focused on Life coaching, something completely new for us, but it helps a lot. It is a positive psychology which can actually help us. Your train of thought is very important. Healthy thoughts make for a healthy and happier life. My Facebook profile is full of statuses by Smiljan Mori who inspires me and makes me feel human. He can frequently make me sit down and think about myself and my life, new steps and the future. Every day is a blessing and a new beginning.
When it comes to social entrepreneurship, it is something new and unknown for me which is why I am trying to learn as much as I can and apply it to myself and my work. To completely grasp the concept of social entrepreneurship, I read many books and I am still trying to figure out the boundaries and understand all the new information currently surrounding me.
MUNPlanet: What can we expect from you on LONAC?
Ugh, I am a person that love philosophy. I will try to keep my philosophical theories useful. I will try to be there and give as much as I can as well as gain information. The one thing I would love to see on LONAC is, possibly the opposite of what it was created for, the contemporary positive psychology I mentioned - Life coaching. I find it helpful and I think that people could use it. All day long we deal with numbers and problems, we need an hour of conversation or reading books which enrich our souls and give answers to our doubts or problems which might not be as big in the end as we thought. I think that Life coaching can help our social businesses advance and direct us to the solutions in a subtle and relaxed way.
MUNPlanet: Do you have any additional, secret advice for our readers?
I recently read a fantastic piece of advice for all of us, and especially for those of us in entrepreneurship. A rich entrepreneur takes a piece of paper and writes down all the things they have to do and all the problems they have right before bed so that they could sleep well. They fold the paper, put it on the desk, forget about it and calmly fall asleep. I started doing the same routine and I sleep much better.
Be honest and open to people, someone could even get offended, although it won’t be because you told them the truth, but because egoism took over their mind and body. Reveal your cards on the table and be happy when others do the same for you because then your reflection in the mirror looks even better and you can congratulate yourself on a new, maybe the most important, success without feeling guilty.