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  • Writer's pictureKristina Lang

Meet Dr Sanja Perić/Upoznajte dr. sc. Sanju Perić

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

For my first interview, I asked my long-time friend, Sanja Perić, whom I have been friends with since my earliest childhood. Sanja is a successful businesswoman, and I am happy to have the opportunity to introduce Sanja to you here.

1) You are the director of one of the larger Croatian research institutes. What is it like to be a businesswoman in Croatia?

I am the director of the only state forestry institute in Croatia whose very name says, "Croatian Forest Research Institute".

As in other European countries, it is not easy to reach the high position of director. It is about investing great effort, positive energy, the desire to achieve positive results, and most of all the knowledge and persistence to achieve success. At the very beginning, I had to prove myself a lot to my colleagues around me, but over time they recognized that everything that I do contributes to the better status of all employees and thus the institution as a whole.

2) Was the path to such a high position thorny and did the fact that you were a woman have any influence? Did being a woman make it harder?

The path was challenging, not thorny. We all know that the forestry profession prefers men, so it can be said that it is more difficult for women. Regardless, I am not the only high-ranking woman in Croatian forestry. Even several forestry institutions are headed by women, in the Ministry of Agriculture (which includes the Forestry sector) the minister and director of the Directorate of Forestry, Hunting and Wood Industry are women. Also, women are the president of the "Croatian Chamber of Forestry and Wood Technology Engineers" as well as the head of the "Forest Administration" of the company "Croatian forests". As for me personally, I must point out that fellow foresters treated me correctly and treat me the same way as other male colleagues. But as in other professions, it is not easy for women. I hear stories that female colleagues have a hard time reaching leadership positions.

3) Where in your work do you find satisfaction?

I enjoy working with people, I look forward to achieving positive and good results, I am inspired and fulfilled by the success in raising the rating of our Institute compared to other Institutes in the Republic of Croatia. With all that, I really love forestry. The Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology is the only faculty I wanted to study. You know my dad was also a forester, so I grew up with that. Forestry has been a part of me all my life.

4) How do your employees describe you, and how do your friends describe you?

My employees probably perceive me as energetic and hard-working. I think now everyone knows that I work for the benefit of all employees and the institution globally. I appreciate people, I appreciate their work and I try to reward each of them for their efforts and contribution to our joint success.

My friends tell me that I work round the clock, that I'm a traveller, that it's hard to catch me, and yet I am always there for people.

5) Who in your family influenced you the most? Who did you learn the most from?

It depends a lot from which angle we look at it. If we look at feelings, love, attachment to family, friends and people in general, I definitely got that from my mom. On the other hand, business spirit, attitude and responsibility towards work, concern for economic sustainability and the profession of forestry, I got that from my dad. My parents are my biggest role models.

6) How did the loss of your husband in a car accident at the age of 30 affect your life path?

My whole life turned completely in an instant. This irreparable loss shook everything inside of me so much, including my attitudes, inner thoughts as well as thoughts towards the whole world. I turned to my family and my daughter. They were my salvation and a source of strength to move on. I became both father and mother to my daughter at once. Although full of pain, I already became aware of this great responsibility. I had to be the one who had to solve existential tasks, but also much more than that. I had to be the one to convey love to our daughter, and that kept me going. I think that during that difficult period I decided to become successful in the business world. I wanted my daughter to absorb that and to raise her in that way to become a responsible person. What was also crucial was the large support of my family. I think that without it, such a tragic period can hardly be endured, and it is even more difficult to continue living normally.

7) How do you cope with the distance from your daughter who is studying in the Netherlands?

Maybe I'm a bit of an unusual mom. I am happy that she went to the Netherlands because she fulfilled her dream. At the beginning, I reluctantly accepted, but after a certain period of time, and with her satisfaction and the effort she invests and the joy with which she appears to me, I am satisfied and happy.

I also left my parents' home at the age of 19. I was two hours away by car. My daughter is an hour and a half away by plane. It is nothing difficult to overcome. Children have to find their own way.

8) Is it possible to be a successful mother and a successful businesswoman?

Yes, it is. However, the support of a family is enormously important. My mom helped me the most, but so did my dad and my brothers. Everyone from the family in their own way.

9) What makes you fulfilled apart from work?

I have many hobbies and interests and am lucky to have a lot of friends that I can rely on. Due to some family reasons, but also due to the desire to support and help others (or loved ones), I am fulfilled by the humanitarian work that I have achieved through my work in the "Croatian Association for Rare Diseases" and the "Association for PKU of the Republic of Croatia." I am especially happy and proud that my commitment and work was recognized at the international level, and for that I received the Sheila Jones award.

10) I know you've been dancing all your life. What do you feel when you dance?

I somehow feel all the most beautiful things that I can feel inside me while I'm dancing. Dance is my inspiration, true pleasure, and joy. Music is what leads me, and when I dance it's like I'm in another world. I enjoy dancing and it brings happiness, satisfaction, love and optimism into my life.

11) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Considering that I am an eternal traveller and wanderer, there is no special place for me. I travelled all over Europe, I was in Ireland and Russia, I went to Canada and part of North America. But if you want a specific place I have not been, then it is South America. My desire is to go to Brazil and Argentina. These are countries with a lot of dancing, beautiful nature, street life, full of events.

12) What do you think about eternity?

I believe that there was life before us and that there will be life after us. I believe that there is eternity and that we are still going somewhere.

13) Finally, what are you grateful for?

I am grateful for the love my parents gave me, for the love I found in my life, which left too soon, for a beautiful child whom I consider a gift from God, and for all the wonderful friends I have.



Sunday, November 20th, 2022.

Upoznajte dr. sc. Sanju Perić

Za svoj prvi interviju zamolila sam svoju dugogodišnju prijateljicu sa kojom se družim od najranijeg djetinjstva, Sanju Perić. Sanja je uspješna poslovna žena i ja sam sretna što vam ju imam priliku predstaviti na svom blogu.

1) Ravnateljica si jednog od većih hrvatskih instituta. Kako je biti poslovna žena u Hrvatskoj?

Ravnateljica sam jedinog državnog šumarskog instituta u Hrvatskoj kojemu i samo ime kaže “Hrvatski šumarski Institut”.

Kao i u drugim europskim zemljama do visoke pozicije ravnatelja nije lako doći. Radi se o velikom uloženom trudu i energiji, želji za postizanjem pozitivnih rezultata, a ponajviše znanju i upornosti da se uspjeh ostvari. Na samom početku sam se morala puno dokazivati svojoj okolini i svojim suradnicima, ali sa vremenom prepoznali su da sve što radim doprinosi boljem statusu svih zaposlenika pa tako i institucije u cjelini.

2) Dali je put do tako visoke pozicije bio trnovit iI dali je to što si žena imalo utjecaja? Dali je to što si žena učinilo da bude teže?

Put je bio izazovan, ne trnovit. Svi znamo da šumarska struka više preferira muške osobe pa se već i samim tim može reći da je ženama teže. Bez obzira na to ja nisam jedina visoko pozicionirana žena u hrvatskom šumarstvu. U čak nekoliko šumarskih institucija na čelu su žene, u Minstarstvu poljoprivrede (u koji je uključen šumarski sector) ministrica i ravnateljica Uprave šumarstva, lovstva i drvne industrije su žene. Također su i predsjednica “Hrvatske komore inžinjera šumarstva i drvne tehnologije” kao i voditeljica “Uprave šuma” poduzeća “Hrvatske šume”, žene u šumarstvu Republike Hrvatske. Što se mene osobno tiče moram istaknuti da su se kolege šumari korektno odnosili i odnose prema meni jednako kao i prema nekim drugim muškim kolegama. Ali kao i u drugim strukama nije lako ženama, čujem priče da kolegice teško dolaze do vodećih pozicija.

3) U čemu nalaziš zadovoljstvo u svom poslu?

Uživam u radu sa ljudima, radujem se postizanju pozitivnih i dobrih rezultata, inspirira me i ispunjava uspjeh u podizanju rejtinga našeg Instituta u odnosu na ostale Institute u Republici Hrvatskoj. Uz sve to ja istinski volim šumarstvo. “Fakultet šumarstva i drvne industrije” je jedini fakultet koji sam željela upisati. Znaš da mi je i tata mi je bio šumar pa sam s tim odrastala. Šumarstvo je dio mene čitav moj život indirektno kroz tatu i njegov rad, a sad već dugo kroz moj vlastiti.

4) Kako te opisuju tvoji podređeni, a kako prijatelji?

Podređeni me po svoj prilici doživljavaju kao energičnu i vrijednu. Mislim da svi znaju da radim za dobrobit svih zaposlenika i institucije u globalu. Cijenim ljude, cijenim njihov rad i nastojim svakog od njih nagraditi za uloženi trud i doprinos našem zajedničkom uspjehu.

Prijatelji mi kažu mi da živim sto na sat, da sam putnik, da me je teško uloviti, a opet da sam tu kad sam potrebna.

5) Tko je iz obitelji najviše utjecao na Tebe? Od koga si najviše naučila?

To umnogome ovisi iz kojeg ugla gledamo. Ako gledamo sa strane osjećaja, ljubavi, privrženosti obitelji, prijateljima i ljudima općenito to sam sasvim sigurno dobila od mame. A sa druge strane poslovni duh, odnos i odgovornost prema poslu, briga o ekonomskoj održivosti i profesija šumarstva, to sam dobila od tate.

6) Kako je gubitak supruga u saobraćajnoj nesreći u dobi od samo 30 godina, utjecao na tvoj životni put?

Čitav se moj život u trenutku okrenuo u potpunost. Taj nenadoknadivi gubitak je toliko uzdrmao sve, uključujući stavove, razmišljanja i odnos prema svijetu. Okrenula sam se prema obitelji i prema svojoj kćeri. Oni su bili moj spas i izvor snage za dalje. Svojoj sam kćeri odjednom postala i otac i majka. Iako prepuna bola vec sam tada postala svjesna te velike odgovornosti. Morala sam biti ja ta koja je trebala rješavati egzistencijalne zadatke, ali i znatno više od toga. Morala sam ja biti ta koja će našoj kćeri prenijeti ljubav i to me držalo. Mislim da sam u tom teškom periodu odlučila postati uspješna u poslovnom svijetu. Željela sam da moja kćer to upija i da ju i na taj način odgajam da postane odgovorna osoba. Ono što je isto bilo ključno je velika podrška obitelji. Mislim da se bez toga takav tragični period teško moze izdržati, a jos teže nastaviti živjeti.

7) Kako podnosiš udaljenost od kćeri koja studira u Nizozemskoj?

Možda sam malo neobična mama. Ja sam zadovoljna da je ona otišla u Nizozemsku jer je ona ispunila svoj san. Na početku sam nevoljko prihvatila, al’ sa odrđenim vremenskim odmakom, a i sa njezinim zadovoljstvom i trudom koji ulaže i veseljem kojim mi se javalja ja sam zadovoljna i srtena.

I ja sam napustila roiteljski dom u dobi od 19 godina. Bila sam na dva sata udaljenosti autom. Moja je kćer na sat i pol udaljenosti avionom. Nije to ništa teško premostivo. Djeca moraju naći svoj put.

8) Može li se biti uspješna majka i uspješna poslovna žena?

Može, ali treba podrška obitelji. Najviše mi je pomogla mama, ali i tata i braća. Svatko od obitelji na neki svoj način.

9) Što Te čini ispunjenom osim posla?

Imam puno hobija i interesa i sretna sam što imam puno prijatelja na koje se mogu osloniti. Zbog nekih obiteljskih razloga, ali I zbog želje za podršku i pomoć drugima (ili bližnjima) ispunjava me humanitarni rad koji sam ostvarila kroz rad u “Hrvatskom savezu za rijetke bolesti” I “Udruzi za PKU Republike Hrvatske. Posebno sam sretna i ponosna što je moje zalaganje I rad prepoznato na međunarodnom nivou te sam za to primila i Sheila Jones nagradu.

10) Znam da čitav život plešeš. Što osjećaš kada plešeš?

Sve najljepše što čovjek moze osjetiti u sebi to nekako osjećam dok plešem. Ples mi je inspiracija, istinski užitak i radost. Muzika je ta koja me pokreće, a kad plešem kao da sam u nekom drugom svijetu. Uživam u plesu I to mi u život nosi sreću, zadovoljstvo, ljubav I optimizam.

11) Da možes putovati bilo gdje po svijetu, kamo bi otišla?

Obzirom da sam vječiti putnik i lutalica, za mene nema nekog posebnog mjesta. Obišla sam čitavu Evropu, bila u Irskoj i Rusiji, proputovala Kanadu i dio Sjeverne Amerike. Ali ako želis neko konkretno mjesto onda je to Južna Amerika. Tiha mi je patnja želja da odem u Brazil i Argentinu. To su zemlje sa puno plesa, predivnom prirodom, životom na ulici, prepune događanja.

12) Što misliš o vječnosti?

Smatram da je postojao život prije nas i da ce biti nakon nas. Vjerujem da postoji vječnost i da mi i dalje negdje trajemo.

13) Za što si zahvalna?

Zahvalna sam za ljubav koji su mi pružili moji roditelji, za ljubav koju sam našla u životu, koja je prerano otišla, za prekrasno dijete za koje smatram da je dar Božiji i za sve prekrasne prijatelje koje imam.

S ljubavlju,


Nedelja, 20. Studenog 2022.

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