I had the pleasure of interviewing Tamara Milić. Tamara is currently the Senator at the Grand Assembly of the World Business Angels Investment Forum and is representing the U.A.E. in the Global Woman Leaders Committee of the Assembly. Before being appointed to her current role, she was the Senior Manager of International Ventures at The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum. In February 2018, she had the honor to speak at the UNESCO Italian National Youth Forum on how to successfully penetrate the U.A.E. as an international company and on how the U.A.E. Government pushes innovation through to the private sector. Outside of her professional career, she is very passionate about humanitarian work. She is currently sponsoring orphans in Iran through schooling and is working very closely with humanitarian organizations in the Middle East to support refugee efforts and education for children.
What’s your story?
My story thus far is one with a lot of ups and downs in a very short amount of time. I graduated university with a degree that I was proud of, but not one that I wanted to make a career out of. Straight out of university, I started working for a company that connected Middle Eastern investors to North American companies seeking series funding. It was challenging the first few months since I knew nothing about the investment field, but I made it a mission to learn everything about it and excel at it. Less than a year later I got transferred to the HQ office in Dubai. I worked there for a few months before getting recruited by His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum’s office to be a Senior Manager of International Ventures. I focused heavily on international expansion as well as public policy in the MENA region. During my time working there, I was asked to be a Keynote Speaker at the UNESCO Italian Youth Forum. I was also appointed the U.A.E. Senator of the Grand Assembly of the World Business Angels Investment Forum. Since I’ve moved to Dubai, I’ve been involved in humanitarian work in the MENA region focused primarily on orphans, refugees, and women’s rights.
What is your mantra?
My mantra in life is one I’ve had since high school, and it’s: “There’s a silver lining in everything” In life, both your personal and professional one, there are always going to be incredibly rough times that will knock you over. In my professional life, trust me when I say there have been plenty. However, regardless of life events that have tried to overtake me, I have always overcome them and have been able to find the good in every bad thing that has happened. It takes a lot of strength, patience, and forgiveness to find it sometimes, but when you do, it helps you move on and grow as a person.
What do you think is necessary for success?
1. My advice for anyone who is looking to be a leader is not to be afraid to make mistakes. Fall on your face, learn from it, get back up, and continue changing the world.
2. Define leadership on your terms and find your pattern. Stop listening to people who tell you that if you don’t wake up at 5 am and sprint 100 miles that it won’t make you a leader. Do not let anyone guilt you if your grind is different from theirs.
3. It is better to have four quarters than 100 pennies. Watch who you let into your life.
4. Just because you have a nice degree from a prestigious college does not mean you are better than someone who works three jobs, had to take a break from schooling, or is an intern at your firm. The mindset of “being better than” is incredibly toxic and I refuse to work with anyone who has it. Humble yourself, then let’s get to work.
When did you take a risk? What did you learn?
I moved to the Middle East, never having visited, at the age of 23 with very little savings and no safety net other than my family who were thousands of miles away. Before I moved, I knew that I needed to get out of America if I wanted to grow as an individual. I saw many people my age fall into the trap of comfort by staying in the same state they were born in, and the thought of me living my life without some risk irked me. I have always felt that I had a purpose, but I never knew what it was. I knew I wouldn’t find it in my hometown.
When you faced adversity, how did you move forward? How do you decide to continue or to move to a new direction?
I am someone who has never been silent if I’ve been disrespected. In my life, I’ve faced adversity hundreds of times, and I’ve never lived in fear of speaking out when I do encounter it. If you disrespect me, you’ll know it.
What are you most excited about in your industry?
I see many people in my generation coming up with ideas to better this world and the lives of the people living in it. There is a lot of mess to clean up, and I love seeing people my age take on the challenge of doing so without playing the blame card on older generations.
Do you have anything you want to share?
There’s going to be many people and a lot of events in your life that are going to want to make you a cold-hearted person. Do not let other people or life-changing events change the goodness in your heart. You are here to do something good, whatever it may be, so keep doing it.
What questions are you asking yourself lately?
“What is my purpose?” It is a question that drives me and is the root of my ambition. However, I have yet to answer it fully. I don’t think I’ll be able to for quite some time.
Takeaway #1:Don’t let other people or life-changing events change the goodness in your heart. You are here to do something good, whatever it may be, so keep doing it
Takeaway #2: There is a lot that we can do to change the world. Come up with ideas, pursue them, fail, then get back up and keep pursuing
Takeaway #3:Define your leadership style.
Originally published at medium.com