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We do not have to take everything seriously in order to do the job well

Emotions inspire us, not spaceships...

Tanja, Paphos (Cyprus)

For the last couple of years, she has officially been living in Germany, in Karlsruhe, a wonderful city on the south-west of Germany with plenty of nature, 320.000 inhabitants and a famous technical university, not far from France and Switzerland. However, she still spend a lot of time in Serbian capital where she was born 45 years ago…

Who is she?

She is Tanja Tatomirovic, Microsoft Communications Lead for the Multi-country region of Central and Eastern Europe. Diverse region of fifteen countries from Baltic to Black Sea, Adriatic and Balkans. She is very well known within the PR communities all around her states. She wrote a book, one of a kind in the Balkans and explained many things around fascist radio propaganda during the WW2. And we can see her great short screenplays for social media video commercials that she wrote,… and she advocates for pets. Meanwhile, she is wrapping up her PhD.
Good enough to have some inspirational chat over the coffee?


I wanted to know when you realized that you are going to work in PR area?
Media have always been what I was interested in. I could read when I was 4, type on a cyrillic typewriter when I was 5, read my father`s weeklies which he regularly bought… Somehow, I was good at it more than karate and volleyball which I practiced for some time. I enrolled the Faculty of Political Sciences, and then I worked as a journalist in some Serbian daily newspapers. I cherish the memories of writing for “Demokratija”, a daily newspaper that flourished in the late nineties in former Yugoslavia, when we were fighting against the totalitarian regime of Slobodan Milosevic. My cover page is what I am especially proud of today, more than twenty years later. Back then I received serious threats because of my work…

You are leading communications for your company in fifteen countries. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
If I could choose, it would be a Dutch or a German village, with a large yard for my dog and two cats. If it had to be a city because of my work, then it would, definitely and without any doubts, be Amsterdam. Big enough, but not too big, close enough, and without abusing the freedom of choice. I have recently opened my suitcase in the middle of one of the main streets, and changed my shoes and a piece of clothing. This is Amsterdam. In Belgrade or in most of the Eastern European cities, I cannot even lie on the grass without someone thinking that I am crazy or homeless.

How would you describe your creativity?
If I tell you that I explain my share of creativity as a diagnosis, you might think that I am fooling around. However, creativity is nothing but taking your foot off the brake. Then, liberated from prejudices of criticism or failure, almost every man can make a miracle. Nevertheless, we are buried in our ego or fears of what someone will say and our creativity comes down to thinking whether someone will have to accept something or not. When I am relaxed, I am the most creative. When I cry, when I laugh, then I create the best things…

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
Who said that I had ever become serious in life or business? Yes, sometimes serious, only when it is easier for me to be serious than to explain to people that I am not kidding. We do not have to take everything seriously in order to do the job well.

What do you do at the moment? Any special project?
I am putting the pieces together. There are various pieces. There are those concerning work and more than a dozen countries and teams which I work with. Those that are not related to the business are the points connecting the city of my life, my desires and abilities, my mind and my feelings, my (un)reasonable attachment to people, jobs or city…

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business in Central and Eastern Europe?
Anyone who wants to achieve something has to be comfortable so that all his creativity can prove to be functional. However, today it is like telling a fairy tale. The market and the speed of business and the development of the things that was brought to us by the internet and all the technology, are the reason why we cannot remain the same… From steam revolution to electricity, human invention has revolutionized how companies interact with customers and how new products are developed. One big idea is not enough anymore. Digital leaders should drive for micro-revolutions – whether it’s a new market or business model or product – every 12 to 18 months.

Tanja at the University of Belgrade, Career and Entrepreneurship Opportunities conference

Tell us how it all started.
If you disregard my youthful career in journalism, it began when I was waving a bunch of papers in front of the TV camera once almost 20 years ago. What is important is not how it started, but how it will end… I hope that I will transmit my knowledge some day, although I do it now from time to time… if I do not get behind the times. And even then, someone will have to teach the history of communication. What was up-to- date in marketing or communications last year, today has already become history.

What is the most important thing in a workplace for you?
I do not know whether it has anything to do with the season when I was born, but I was born in summer and I need a lot of light. Moreover, I like to sit on the floor. I think it is due to me being enthusiastic about lunches that I went to the Muslim friend of my family, with whom I had lunch on the floor. Perhaps it does not matter, but certainly I like to have contact with the ground. I love being and walking barefoot. And with all those collaboration software and Skype calls, we can have home offices anywhere, right?

What is your favorite film?
I like British and French films. Nevertheless, the first one that comes to my mind is Luc Besson’s “The Professional”, which stars Jean Reno. It is a great work about humanity of the one from whom we least expect it.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
All my exes, all of them at once, so that I could apologize to them if I treated them badly in any way, and I am sure I did… and show them that I can make lasagne because I did not make it to none of them. (laugh)

How do you like to spoil yourself?
Spoil oneself means allowing oneself to be a child, to be relaxed, to say everything one thinks and do what one wishes. Currently, a good book, Istrian wine and a bit of sun and sea would be just fine…

What is luxury for you?
Spare time without the internet is a real luxury for me.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
At work I received an award for the best crisis communication, for the second best integrated campaign for a new product, I was on the list of 50 most important people in the digital television industry in Europe, I wrote a book… but somehow I am most proud of working in a network of commercial courts of Serbia, when a great team of PRs and me actually made a noticeable shift in the transparency of the work of courts and when we got a praise from the Republican Commissioner for Information of Public Importance in Serbia. It was a very hard work for all of us, but with very tangible results. Finally, they were able to obtain information… It sounds unbelievable, but it was not possible until then.

What do you fear most?
My greatest fear is that my assertion that we will witness the end of a civilization will come true. However, it does not have to be so bad if we hit bottom and realize that all the evil that we do to each other and this planet has to stop. I am afraid of wars and murders, narrowing of consciousness and lesser concern for other people, animals or nature.

What is a happy life to you?
A happy life is a life that slides, although many people say that I love life on the roller coaster… A happy life is when I do not have to share tweets to help the sick, to adopt animals, to aid refugees… A happy life is when everything in the world works as it should. I am not important. I do not ask for much.

Tell us about your dream project.
If I tell you about my dream project, I will have to kill you! (laugh)

My dream project is nothing momentous and will not represent a civilizational shift. The older I get, the more I am connected with nature. And this project is connected with nature. I am looking for a partner who will venture it himself. I will invite you to the opening.

Who is your professional role model and inspiration?
Anyone who is willing to turn under the parking brake and turn his life around for 180 degrees.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
Paper and pencil. Talk. Animals. Learning.

What inspires you?
Life. Ordinary life. Everything stems from it. All inspiration, creativity … Ordinary things are triggers.
Emotions inspire us, not spaceships.

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