Softvision EVP Snjezana Cvoro-Begovic: “Leadership becomes art when we are able to link these daily bits of work into the silky knob without knots and roll them into the world, and people say “wow”. It is called, making the impact.”

Think about leadership as a form of art. All things we do daily as leaders are important. However, leadership becomes art when we are able to link these daily bits of work into the silky knob without knots and roll them into the world, and people say “wow”. It is called, making the impact. You […]

Think about leadership as a form of art. All things we do daily as leaders are important. However, leadership becomes art when we are able to link these daily bits of work into the silky knob without knots and roll them into the world, and people say “wow”. It is called, making the impact. You will know it when it happens and it will be the best feeling that you will want to repeat and to get better at it every single day.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Snjezana Cvoro-Begovic, EVP of Partnership Strategy at Softvision. In this role, Snjezana is responsible for building delightful partnership-focused experiences, and promoting culture where Softvision’s success is directly linked to the success of her client partners. She comes to Softvision with over 25 years of experience in the high-tech and entertainment industries with a passion for delivering technology-enabled products and services. Prior to joining Softvision, Snjezana was the COO at a technology start-up in Vancouver, and held leadership positions at Globant, EA, IBM, and PWC. She is a member of The Center for Digital Media Faculty and passionate about contributing her industry knowledge to the digital community.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My education has enabled me to pursue a dual path: business and technology. During my time at school and at the start of my career, I was not sure if I wanted to build technology, or if I wanted to focus on business. The impact that technology was making on business was fascinating, and I enjoyed learning different programming languages. However as soon as I “got it’ I would start to think about “how” can technology support business and transform it.

I was lucky that the path became pretty clear for me early on. I was in my second year working in a technology company when my team was invited to participate in a strategic planning program to build and demonstrate a technology solution which would change the way we were doing business. As we were working hard on technology architecture, development, and testing, I realized that we have to focus on not only building the most elegant technology, but we have to identify partners we are going to need to create a growth path. My team was selected as one of the core teams for the multi-year strategic program not only because we built a great technology solution, but because we outlined possibilities of business and technology transformation.

During this process I felt great passion and desire to continue on the path of building solutions and discovering partnerships to enable business growth. My career path was clear at that moment, and 30 years later I feel the same passion for finding paths to transformational technology enabled partnerships to fuel growth.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

My role at Softvision is to lead strategic partnerships. It is a pretty clear role when you think about external relationships and partnerships with our customers. What has been an interesting and enriching experience for me is building and nurturing internal partnerships with my colleagues in Softvision.

For us to be successful in business, our own teams around the world need to be excited and proud to build partnerships with the customers. The most rewarding experience for me since I’ve been at Softvision has been travelling around the globe and working closely with our amazing teams in the Softvision studios across US, Canada, Romania, India, Argentina, and Australia.

Many times, our customers come along and we all work together to create magic. Each trip to cities such as Cluj, Atlanta, Melbourne, Mysore builds a unique story. Seeing diverse teams building innovative technologies which enable business growth is very rewarding. But partnerships are not built on technology alone. The strongest partnerships get built when after working long days, teams continue to blend and bond together with a visit to the Mysore Palace in India, to the Turda Salt Mine in Romania, or an Atlanta Braves game.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

As a young and up and coming management consultant, I was in charge of reviewing the Oracle ERP implementation at a bank. The implementation was not going great and my company was hired to review it and present the findings to the client’s executive team. It was the first time I was presenting in a large boardroom to a group of bank executives and board members. The findings were not positive, and my analysis was pointing out a fair amount of issues and risks. Once I had finished my presentation, the Chairman of the Board asked me: “How do we fix this?” I stumbled and tried to improvise some suggestions, but it was clear I didn’t think it through.

It wasn’t so much funny as it was embarrassing, but it provided me with a very valuable lesson that stayed with me throughout my career: As a leader your job is not only to identify problems. This is the easy part. Your role is to proactively suggest solutions and provide guidelines to correct problems.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Without a doubt it’s our methodology and organizational model. Our value proposition is based on innovation focus, technology specialization, and delivery credentials which combined together lead to transformational partnerships.

Our methodology brings together talent from our global studios, organized into carefully crafted and innovation focused technology guilds and communities in the form of uniquely modeled agile teams called agile PODS. This model, combined with our transformational partnership approach, is what makes Softvision stand out.

One interesting story involves a retail customer. Our enterprise guild crafted an innovation lab for “a future point-of-sale application.” Based on its initial success our mobile and user experience guilds contributed new features which continue improving the solution beyond the specified requirements. Our guilds continuously act as accelerating agents, and our approach helps our partners fundamentally change the way they do business.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, there are many exciting new projects I am involved in. One that all of us at Softvision are very excited about is what we call Intelligent Automation (IA).

Intelligent Automation (IA) is a holistic approach to design and build automation mimicking human intelligence and decision management. IA weaves the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and User Experience to create flexible and scalable business operations.

I am excited about IA because of its ability to embrace and include all employees inside an organization, rather than a few privileged ones locked inside the R&D departments. On its journey from scripted automation and business process management, through automation of human judgement, and its use of artificial intelligence, Intelligent Automation opens up doors to all who are willing to play.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Female leaders often seek perfection and get easily frustrated if they don’t achieve it. There is no perfect leadership style. You are already a perfect human being, you just need to be resilient, persistent, and a flexible leader.

Don’t forget, female leadership is still a novelty in many aspects. It didn’t start with you and it will not stop with you. Remember that women got the right to vote less than 150 years ago, and we were officially allowed to run marathons only 46 years ago. It will take time to grow female leaders in significant and meaningful numbers. Don’t get discouraged. Play your own part to open doors for more female leaders.

Think about leadership as a form of art. All things we do daily as leaders are important. However, leadership becomes art when we are able to link these daily bits of work into the silky knob without knots and roll them into the world, and people say “wow”. It is called, making the impact. You will know it when it happens and it will be the best feeling that you will want to repeat and to get better at it every single day.

Have a trusted and loving community. I am a marathon runner and I’ve been running with a group of amazing women of different ages (35 to 75) for many years. My gals are lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, accountants, and moms. On Saturday mornings we run our long runs starting at 6am. I travel a lot and often I come home late Friday night feeling exhausted. But I get up on Saturday morning as I know that while pounding pavement and testing my physical and mental endurance I will also get love and support which fuel my growth and keep me going.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Focus on what is important. Large projects are overwhelming in scope, size, and impact. Make sure it is clear “what” the project is about. Picture “the headline” in the newspapers that will tell the success story once the project gets launched and use it as your guide in the long process.

Invest in your team and lead them by example. Make sure they have all required resources to be successful. Identify the key leaders and empower them to be the best they can be.

Over-communicate. Create “a heatmap” of all people the project can impact, different teams, customers, partners, competitors, nay-sayers. Everyone. Make sure that information about the project is easy to access, easy to understand, and it matters to all.

Find “X Factor.” A large project has to contribute to a meaningful cause. You should be proud to talk about it with your family and friends.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I attribute much of who I am today to my father, who unfortunately died before I ever got the chance to tell him what a great mentor he’d been to me. My father was an executive in the hospitality business in Eastern Europe, and managed hotels and restaurants. He was also the president of a local soccer club. He took me everywhere with him, immediately making me feel special without ever telling me directly. He also taught me how to be an effective leader without imparting any specific lessons, merely by allowing me to watch him interact with staff and others around him.

When my father ran his soccer club, he was a strict disciplinarian. You gave 100% effort all the time, no matter what. And when the star of the team was late to practice, then he owed the team 100 push-ups. Some people scream to motivate people. Others surround themselves with people who will enforce rules so they don’t have to. But watching my father swing his arm around the shoulders of a budding champion, explain to him the concept of team and rules, of what is fair and what is right, and convincing this young man that the team needed his 100 push-ups so they knew the rules exist for everyone, and that after watching him do 100 push-ups they’d follow his lead and his leadership as a result, this was one of the best lessons a young girl could hope for from her father or any mentor for that matter.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

When I was working on the EA FIFA game, I shared my passion for soccer and the legacy my Dad left as a soccer enthusiast and coach with my FIFA team. They rallied around me to help me raise money and sponsor a local soccer club from my home town in Bosnia. You can’t imagine the feeling of pride and happiness when a picture of “my soccer team” appeared in the local newspaper with the headline: Our team is ready for new season in our new uniforms and cleats, sponsored by Snjezana, a daughter of one of our beloved coaches.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Encourage your team to approach problems by applying new and innovative techniques: Don’t get comfortable solving problems one specific way. Give your team permission to use creative approaches, you might find gold mines. One of my team’s was asked to solve hardware performance issues. Instead of the traditional way (adding more hardware and optimizing servers), they used an innovative BDD (behavior driven development) framework that not only allowed our client to stress test devices in automation lab, but also created an entire new approach for testing.

Build Innovative Organizations: In parallel of building innovative technologies and services, focus on building organizations that are truly diversified and support innovation. For example, Softvision’s unique model of studios, guilds, and communities are a testament of building and constantly improving an organizational model not only internally but with and for our customer and partners.

Celebrate Small Wins: Big wins don’t happen in isolation. They are typically a collection of small, everyday wins. Find opportunities to point out how everyday progress contributes to the overall success. For example, when the team releases a new feature, remind them how it contributes to the strategic goal and send kudos to the team to celebrate their success.

Tackle Bottlenecks with Passion and Vigour: We are not able to do all things well even if we want to. What do we do? We tackle bottlenecks! Improvements in areas that are not bottlenecks don’t impact success, so leave them alone. Ask yourself and your team everyday — is this a bottleneck to achieving success? If not, ignore it.

Don’t Create Noise: One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is to communicate every new idea they have to their team without providing either context or priority. The team is eager to do great work and without thinking, they tend to move the boss’s idea straight up the priority list. Don’t underestimate the ability to create distractions. When making a request or sharing an idea with the team ask yourself: Is it more important than the current projects? Is it urgent and why?

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Call your mother every day. First, tell her you love her and share with her one of business problems you are trying to solve. She is the first female leader you’ve met, and you will be amazed what one’s love and care can do in solving complex business problems.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It is more of a “business lesson” than a life lesson but here it is. Tom Peters says: “The business of America is business … but good business is the result of kindness, courtesy and sweating the details.”

In my world, Kindness and Courtesy become long and strong partnerships, and Sweating the Details (impeccable and innovative execution) results in profitable business and success. It is a winning formula I’m passionate to work and live within.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow my via the Softvision blog:, and people can also reach me at [email protected]. Additionally, I would encourage everyone to follow the Softvision website here and social media via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where we continually update our news and events.

Thank you so much for these inspiring insights!

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