Home People Mirela Spagovic – on embracing different cultures and working through it all

Mirela Spagovic – on embracing different cultures and working through it all

by Grazia

We had the pleasure of sitting down with the Director People & Culture Pakistan - PMI and getting to know her better. As we sipped on tea in Bhurban, she shared some interesting facts of working in many different countries across the globe.

Grazia: Mirela, you are a female role model for a lot of aspiring ladies, what, in your view are some tools for success? Any advice for the upcoming generation?

Mirela: I have never perceived myself as a role model nor I’ve ever wanted to be.  We are unique individuals and our paths may differ in many ways; “advice” for success may work in certain circumstances but may be quite ineffective in other.  If I must talk about myself, this is my “recipe”

  • Passion & Inspiration: I love what I do – it inspires me to work harder, to push harder, to compete with myself everyday.
  • Experience & Learning: Dostoevsky wrote: “Beauty will save the world”, I think that knowledge will save the world and I try to gain  it, not only through a   new book or course, but even more, thru each new assignment, new experience, new individual that I cross paths with. Knowledge makes us credible and relevant. 
  • Perseverance & Fun:  2 sides of the coin, nothing comes over night and if you do not enjoy, don’t do it.

Grazia: How has relocating from Lausanne to Karachi been for you so far? Do you notice a difference in work culture and the environment overall?

Mirela: I have been here for a month and the first impressions are very positive. Great hospitality and care are the first things I’ve experienced.  Professionally, I’ve met talented people, ready to go an extra mile, knowledgeable and creative.
However, challenging authorities (e.g. management teams), asking difficult questions and driving new ideas or ways of working are a couple of things that I would like to see more. Globally, we are so vested in our smoke free future vision and without stated behaviors, we will not be able to achieve it.

Grazia: You have lived in many different parts of the world for work, what are some important life lessons that you have taken from each country? 

Mirela: I am so thankful to PMI for giving me the opportunity to live in different countries.  Life lessons are very similar: 

  • Listen and reflect before act
  • Learn as much as possible before making any decision or judgment
  • Appreciate and embrace diversity in any form that exists around you
  • Success and failures are the same, if they do not teach you how to be a better person or do things in a better way, they are useless 

Grazia: As the world slowly progresses towards gender inclusivity, what are some difficulties/hurdles that you had to face in your career due to your gender – if any

Mirela: Frankly speaking, I do not see them as hurdles but as inspiration to be better.  Furthermore, in my case, it is not only about my gender, I am Eastern European, I come from a very small country, English is not my mother tongue, my education does not include western universities… any of these aspects may spark  biases. However, my response to that was to find allies – partner with other female colleages, work with our Inclusion & Diversity team, have a mentor… We cannot find all answers by ourselves or fight our battles alone, my support group was and still is extremely important – a lighthouse that brightens my path even in the darkest night.

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