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inspirational women of banking and finance

Even though numerous companies around the globe are rising to meet the gender equality standards, the number of women in senior and executive positions is still way lower than that of men. When it comes to women in IT and fintech companies, this number goes even lower not just in executive positions. However, not all is bleak. In the past 5 years there has been a big change in global awareness that significantly impacted company cultures as well. 

Women in senior and executi positions

Women in business, women in leading positions, gender barriers. All of these topics are still current and discussed about. There is no easy answer on how to create an instant gender equality culture in organizations, but working on it indisputably helps.

Even though Mercury PSI can boast itself with 60% of women in C level management, and 40% of women in an IT predominant company, not all similar companies have the same structure and that is why we want to give our contribution to help and support women in general.

Women in Adria

One of the initiatives done in this area is supporting women through conferences aimed at encouraging, motivating and strengthening women in industries similar to ours where we can use our own experience.

Women in Adria is one such initiative and in their words "a brand for aspiring women: entrepreneurs, corporate women, women who want to have a successful career in any field.“

Their devotion goes towards inspiring, informing and connecting women through their online magazine, membership program, conferences and networking events.

They organized a special conference for women in banking and financial services, that we proudly sponsored, and invited one of our own – Irina Bručić, CFO – to share her ideas and advice with other women.

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She told her career story through her life story and how the two overlapping timelines affected one another. Starting from audit she came to the payments industry and settled there very quickly. Today she is a Board Member and CFO of Mercury Processing Services International and she has continued to accept challenges as they came.

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Source: Women in Adria

Her biggest challenge in work was accepting the role of Group Controller in the German Concardis Payment Group, which Mercury PSI became part of, while still working in Mercury PSI. That is when she started living and working in two places at the same time – Zagreb and Frankfurt. Irina said she was grateful for her “German experience” and that she learned a lot from being in Frankfurt, also establishing many wonderful friendships. 

She also realized that being a successful businesswomen in Germany is much harder than in Croatia.

Irina said it was truly challenging and that without her two sons and a wonderful husband nothing would make sense. She added that one should never say never but should think twice before accepting two business roles at the same time. And if you do accept it, then “insist on a clear scope, end date and adequate resources, if you don’t have full support from your family – pass, try to take the best of both worlds, expectations do not help and copy-paste doesn’t work because every place has its own rules”.

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We also asked Irina about her impressions from the conference and her opinion on why initiatives like these are important for networking and encouraging women:

Why do you think initiatives like these are important for businesswomen?

Whether you are just starting your carrier or you are not really a rookie any more, you often find yourself in a situation where your hands are full of different tasks you are trying to juggle. Having a platform you can turn to for advice, someone who has “been there, done that” is – in my opinion – a huge advantage. 

A friend of mine has recently commented that she finds any relationship meaningful only if it makes her feel enriched. I fully agree! 

And what can be more enriching than sharing experience with or helping someone who can appreciate it and then do the same for you? 

What was your experience from the conference?          

I really enjoyed the content, setup, small talk… Even lunch war great! However, the real value comes from the feedback and recognition which you receive when sharing experiences with the ones who can relate and reflect. 

We also heard wonderful stories from other participants Andrea Schleich, a Board Member at Merkur Insurance in Croatia, Ines Klapić, a Member of the Board at Raiffeisen Leasing, Barbara Cerinski, Chief Executive at EOS Matrix, Marijana Puljak, Information Technology Consultant at Megatrend, Nives Vreto, Chairwoman of the Management Board at PBZ Leasing, and Iris Stojko, Head of Marketing Management at Allianz Croatia.

Women as future leaders

Before the presentations ended, Women in Adria presented the finalists and winners of their traditional Future Leaders award, in collaboration with Partus Academy.

The finalists for this year’s Future Leaders were Jelena Kolega and Gordana Breyer of Mercury Processing Services International and Anita Cvanciger of Raiffeisenbank Austria.

This year, the Future Leaders award was won by Renata Devčić from Mercury Processing Services International, Iva Periša from Raiffeisenbank Austria, Irena Kovačević from Raffeisenbank Austria, and Jadranka Krajina from Privredna banka Zagreb. 

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As Renata was chosen for the Future Leader, we asked what she thinks are the most important qualities and skills a succesful leader must have and also to tell us more about her leader role-model:

I think the most important qualities of a successful leader are the way they communicate, motivate and establish relationships with their team. Being open to helping them and coaching them when needed, respecting their good and bad days, respecting their personal business desires, helping them achieve it. In the end, I would point out the importance of having the vision and passion to lead your team into achieving it.

My role model for an inspirational leader is Rosa Luxemburg. Rosa did not let her illness or being a woman at a time when they had no rights stop her in her fight and mission. A Polish Jew who grew up in imperial Russia, Rosa Luxemburg or Red Rosa, was a woman ahead of her time, who fought hard for labor rights and women’s rights all her life. She had the courage to enter the world of politics, to take the floor, put forward her views and ideas, and to stand behind them.