Nađa Lutvikadić Fočo: I Live by My Own Rules
“I’m still discovering who I really am and getting to know myself over and over again”
Written by: Elma Zećo
Photos by: Irfan Redžović
The 21st century has seen a growing number of women assuming leadership roles in various areas of business and society, and thanks to their education they have a tremendous potential for occupying professional and managerial positions in business entities. They have been struggling to take the decision-making power in their own hands and rightly so. They have also been successful in creating a more effective business culture to deliver better business results.
That is the way Nađa Lutvikadić Fočo has been building a bridge between BH Telecom and the general public for years. She is in charge of a team that creates memorable and surprising promotional campaigns. At the back of the mind of its customers, BH Telecom does not only rank as one of the most successful companies in B&H, it is also a telcom giant with must-have products.
We don’t associate your name only with the work you have been doing for BH Telecom in the public arena for years, but more than anything else, we associate it with the public impression we get about this company through various promotional campaigns. How much self-sacrifice does your position require, and how often do you find yourself in the position to fight for your ideas, having in mind the complexity of any large company?
– We, as individuals, are impermanent compared to companies, brands, ideas, and the projects we partake in or work on. I’m fortunate to be in the job that I’m in, the job which brings together the things I’m passionate about—communication and promotion—so it frequently doesn’t feel like working; instead, it feels like I’m putting my energy into eagerly waiting for the final product to be released and the customers’ reactions to it. People fight for their ideas both in large and small organisations, but the fight is undoubtedly quite complex in corporations due to a large number of procedures and various decision-making levels, which brings with it a certain charm. What matters the most is to have good co-workers and colleagues, and freedom to occasionally think outside the box. I’m primarily talking about people who aren’t just creative, professional and responsible, but who also radiate positive energy around them bringing out our creative potential and our best professional practices and human values.
Everyone agrees that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a radical impact on investments in promotional activities. How does BH Telecom make the best of the current circumstances in this regard?
– I’m proud to say that we’re one of the rare companies that haven’t cancelled their promotional activities. We’ve been working together with a wide range of national media outlets and partners well aware that the pandemic will not last forever and that we’ve got to move on with our lives. Members of the No Limit Festival acknowledged that by declaring BH Telecom as the winner of the 2020 Advertiser of the Year Award. We’re trying to establish permanent partnerships and be the partner who primarily supports national production companies and media outlets with the aim of getting appropriate messages across.
Is there a project you’re currently “brewing up” with vigour?
– On the occasion of the BH Telecom Days event, we’re planning to promote a new project we’ve been working on for a long time. I’m convinced that it’ll generate a high level of public interest. For now, I can only say that it’s a project that truthfully reflects our determination to promote positive stories.
Who’s your right-hand person in business?
– Women, for the most part. And a few men. It’s a team of people who inspire me, criticise me as needed, and give honest advice. They support me whenever I need it.
Given the experience you’ve got in public relations, audiences are happy to hear you speak at seminars. How do you present to the attendees what the job they’ve chosen as their profession is about?
– The best part of my job are the lectures I give on various topics related to communications, performing in public, and public relations. The energy I exchange with the audiences becomes a great motivation for me to learn about new cases and tools that I can use for future lectures. I’d say that the job I’m in found me, because ever since I was a child I’ve been a vocal advocate for human rights, mainly on the side of the victims, and their representative. I represented my class at school and took on other engagements that required public speaking skills. While I was in secondary school—during the Bosnian war—I got a job at the Radio M station and entered the world of media outlets, and then the world of public relations, and that’s where my skills naturally blend in with everything I do.
What have you fought for the hardest in your career?
– Proving what the essence of communication is, and why communication and public relations are important, is something I’ve fought for the hardest. The key is to use them strategically, and not ad hoc. I believe that people here have finally begun to understand this properly.
Who’s always kept you motivated and driven in your life?
– Essentially, good people with considerable life experience. My parents, my sister who survived being shot, the way she deals with it so effortlessly, as I see it, my brother who’s always ready to help, my husband who’s helped me become a better person, my children, my friends, even the total strangers on social media whose interesting posts make me wonder about things and draw lessons from, but also people in the streets, and nature itself. Every single day everything around me shapes me into the person I am.
How do you pull yourself back up from failure?
– I collect my strength, breathe in, smile, and get back up. Failure is an inevitable part of life. As long as it’s not about your health, it’s easy to get back on your feet and start all over again.
I’m Always on the Lookout for and Exploring the Unexplored
To what extent do you find it challenging to balance between your private and professional life and to maintain a constant vigil over your children as they’re growing up?
– I’ve somehow managed so far. The key is to keep your time and engagements organised. There was a time in Asia when I had a laugh about a time management module. I thought to myself, what would I need it for? Now, I use all the knowledge I’ve gained, including advice my female friends give me. I make small “trips” occasionally, but even the “mess” I create brings along something new. We’re not machines after all; we’re human beings deserving of a change that’ll enrich us.
Are there some destinations you love to head out to with your family?
– We as a family invest in travelling, and we put in a lot of effort in choosing travel locations and things to do there. The children have gotten used to going on long journeys, they look forward to getting to know the new cultures and experiencing the activities suitable for them. My husband is the absolute winner in choosing interesting locations that aren’t too touristy, but he always makes it a point to satisfy my curiosity when it comes to exploring the remains of ancient civilisations. I’m guided by a wise thought that I agree with: the knowledge we acquire when we travel is special, so I’m always on the lookout for and exploring the unexplored.
Is there an amusing travel anecdote that you can remember?
– There are always some anecdotes, but the morning flight from Larnaca that I overslept is the one that stuck with me as an interesting trauma (laughs).
How would you describe B&H to the people you meet when you travel abroad?
– It’s a gorgeous country full of natural wonders, tasty and low-priced food, activities suitable for people of all ages, but also a country of good-hearted people who love their homeland. B&H is a warm-hearted country and everyone’s welcome to come there.
What are the core personal values you live by?
– Sincerity, courage, freedom and curiosity. I’m still discovering who I really am and getting to know myself over and over again.