Men are at the heads of companies, while middle management has a higher percentage of women.
Business is business and you just have to have a knack for it, says Ana Ljevar , Managing Director – Humed pharma doo
It’s definitely difficult for women to cover all the roles being imposed on them, starting from family, social obligations to business obligations, Ljevar believes.
- What were you guided by when you started your own business, opening of Humed Pharma? What obstacles did you encounter at the very beginning?
I decided overnight to open a company. I watched my then boss and thought, well, I could do this too. Relations in that company were catastrophic, the work atmosphere was terrible. Since I recently changed jobs, I was ashamed to apply for a job again (there is always that worm of doubt, why does she change her jobs quickly, who or what is the problem).
Considering that I graduated from 3 colleges, I thought, let me try this too. If it doesn’t work, I’ll get a job, but at least I’ll know I tried. 2013 was a crucial year.
I opened the company and was on my way. I was looking for partners from a world I had experience with. Positive responses began to arrive and everything went from there. I was young, maybe that was the biggest obstacle for me then. But I was a fighter… And I still am. The company grows from year to year, the team grows with it. The hardest part is finding the right people. What I appreciate the most is honesty, and that is a rare thing to find today, am I right?
- Your field of work is aesthetic dermatology. How challenging is this sphere of business and what is your take on the current situation on the market?
Humed Pharma is engaged in the representation and distribution of medical products in the field of aesthetics and dermocosmetics. The first association that comes to mind is that there is a lot of money to be made there. But it takes a lot of investment (money, time, energy and nerves) to pick the right moment for a particular product, educate many doctors about how to use them, solve various problems of side effects, non-compliance with protocols, patient dissatisfaction, because some of them call us too, not just the doctors that treated them.
As for the challenges, the pandemic crisis and what is happening all over the world have greatly aggravated the current situation. Different copies of products appear on the market. These are cheaper versions, and thus more dangerous, and at the same time everyone became experts in aesthetics; from hairdressers, beauticians, nurses, not to mention the visits of various “quasi” doctors from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina who do treatments in people’s homes, lower the prices, but do not resolve the complications. The struggle is great, but I sincerely hope that it will be regulated in the foreseeable future. The age of Instagram and Facebook has taken aesthetics to new levels, the safe segment as well as the “quacks”, which is a criminal offense.
- What’s it like being at the head of a company in Croatia if you’re a woman? Did you feel that someone looked at you differently because of that, and how?
What people know about me is that I am a fighter. Today, if you succeed, many will not forgive you. And so, through my growth and development I lost some people I really thought were my friends, but I also found a bunch of wonderful people who encourage me and look forward to all my successes. I still fall into the small business category, which I don’t think I would want to change. My company nurtures friendly relations (of course, everyone knows who’s the boss), a pleasant atmosphere and what I want is that no one comes to work with a knot in their stomach. We all help each other, in the end – we work for the same goal. I have no problem receiving criticism from my employees, they know I’m there for them whenever they need me. It was hard to get to that stage, but now it’s all sorted out.
I still look youngish (mostly because of my job) so people often can’t connect me with the business world, or that the company is mine and that it has existed for 8 years, but as soon as they get to know me a little better they understand who and what I am. Giving up doesn’t exist in my book, I do not accept NO in any form. I think everything is solvable, you just need to be creative and find a way.
- How much the business world is a man’s world?
Day after day we progress more and more and it has been shown that women are also capable of being entrepreneurs. Until recently, doing business was a man’s job, but with our thoroughness, perseverance and strength, we pushed ourselves to be equal – to some extent – with men.
There is no need to compare genders, I run my own policy, whether others like it or not. At the end of the story, whatever business it is, what counts is whether you are a human being or not. No matter the race, nationality or gender.
- There are far less women at the head of companies compared to their male colleagues, around 5%. What do you think is the reason for that and how can this number change in favor of women?
Men are at the heads of companies, while middle management has a higher percentage of women. I discussed on this topic with my professor in my postgraduate studies. He didn’t want to answer in front of everyone, but when he finished, he called me aside and said – maybe women do make wiser choices. Business is business and you just have to have a knack for it. Whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s definitely difficult for women to cover all the roles being imposed on them, starting from family, social obligations to business obligations. Maybe that’s the reason, even we do multitask, everything can’t go together. Sometimes you have to put all the advantages and disadvantages of a position on paper and decide if it really is worth the sacrifice. What we are witnessing today is a growing number of divorces, dysfunctional families, troubled children… Is it all worth the success? It is up to each individual to decide for themselves… Woman or man!