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Never be afraid to ask and to present your authentic self, create your own opportunities, always keep in mind your worth and don't settle for less than that.


For this month's interview, we're delighted to have Nevena Brasanac, Programming Manager for Southeast Europe, Cineplexx International. Nevena was a mentee in the fifth edition of the UNIC Women's Cinema Leadership Programme and is here sharing her insights and experience as a female professional in the cinema industry.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAILY HABITS THAT KEEP YOU INSPIRED AND MOTIVATED.

I attempt to live by some key principles in my job and personal life, and they serve as more than just daily routines; they keep me inspired and driven. Always look out for the good and try to see it in all circumstances. No matter how preoccupied I am, I make an effort to find time for meaningful interactions with the people around me. I try to give purpose to activities I do, because I believe that's how inspiration is lost, when we just do things without considering their significance.

LOOKING BACK AT YOUR CAREER JOURNEY, WHAT ARE YOU THE PROUDEST OF?

I am proudest of the turning point when I understood my worth, the value I bring to my work and those around me, and the potential I have yet to realise. Up until then, I had not acted accordingly and had not received adequate recognition. My mentor at the time, Daniela Elstner, played a big role in that “enlightenment”, by sharing her experience and pointing out things I was doing wrong. I changed my priorities and attitude from that moment on, and even though it seems like a cliche, people truly started treating me quite differently.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR YOU AS A WOMAN LEADER IN THE SECTOR?

It is very much related to the previous question and the biggest challenge for me was myself, and overcoming low self-confidence in a work environment that is very male dominated, and where I am - almost - always the youngest person. I was agreeing to situations that didn’t suit me, accepting to do other people's job and remaining silent when they received credit for it, and often not knowing how to say "no". Acquiring skills to address such situations and to stand up for myself were my biggest challenge and my biggest victory.

HAVING A DEMANDING ROLE, HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE?

Setting clear boundaries, believing in your team and their capabilities, good prioritisation and always keeping in mind that we are irreplaceable only for our loved ones, no matter how much we love our work.

FROM YOUR CAREER OF NEARLY 10 YEARS IN CINEMA, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS HOLDING WOMEN BACK? WHY DO THEY STILL REMAIN UNDERREPRESENTED IN SENIOR POSITIONS IN THE CINEMA INDUSTRY?

This is certainly a common issue and is not specific to the cinema industry, and I think that we women need to learn from men and to question ourselves less and seize every opportunity. While we build up our courage, and worry about what other people will think of us, whether we deserve things, whether we are good enough and well-prepared, how that will affect us… Our male colleague has already asked for that raise, has been promoted, has become a CEO, a board member.. :)

AS A FORMER MENTEE, WHY DO YOU THINK MENTORING IS IMPORTANT? 

Having a mentor by your side can be crucial when you're designing your own route and I think I'm lucky to have had several of them in my career so far, both male and female. I have already mentioned how my mentor truly helped me see things more clearly and helped me identify the areas I could improve on, completely honestly and without embellishment. I believe it happened because I told her exactly what was going on with me and how I was struggling, and she was able to tell me from her own experience how she handled it. It turns out that my struggles were rather common.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO CURRENT MENTEES?

My advice from personal experience is never be afraid to ask and to present your authentic self, create your own opportunities, always keep in mind your worth and don't settle for less than that.


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