“Passion, success and gratitude”
Born in Serbia, with an early education in Britain, the civil war brought Sanja’s family to flee to another country and live a not always easy and happy adolescence. Her anger with the world and the guilt over her origins were washed out by time and by a loving husband that taught her the value of being included and respected as a PERSON. “My father wanted a boy, so he kept calling me son” – this seems the foundation for her decision to dedicate all of herself to raising a family before focusing on her career.
Once her children became old enough, she started working on her profession and started by receiving accreditation as a Professional Home Stager, in the US. Upon her return to Europe, Sanja decides to found EAHSP, European Association of Home Staging Professionals together with the only other home stager residing in Europe, a woman as passionate as her about the benefits of this profession. Bold and determined, they proved all sceptics wrong, having established a presence in 14 countries in just 5 years, training new professionals, truly being Ambassadors of this profession in Europe. And if you are wondering, like me, what home staging is about, one of the examples Sanja gave me about her work might say it best: “I see the soul of a person in the house they are selling, and I make sure to value and respect that”.
Less than 10 years after she took the entrepreneurship road, Sanja has 3 intertwining businesses in real estate, a multinational presence, and a great personal satisfaction that radiates on her face. What surprised me is that in almost two hours she didn’t speak about her businesses, for that there’s LinkedIn, she spoke about the people she partnered with and about how she finds in others the driver to always grow and aim higher.
What is the recipe for her success? There is not one recipe, but there are definitely magical ingredients: while choosing to become an entrepreneur, first of a not-for-profit association, she chose a trustworthy female mentor with a volcano personality that fuelled her ideas and supported her mission and vision. Thanks to her, Sanja’s initial fears of not being enough vaporised: “you either come from a place of love or a place of fear” she remembers having heard that many times while she was kicking off her professional success.
Grateful for everything she managed to achieve and for the long road ahead, I realise that giveback is the backbone of Sanja’s life. Forged by tough experiences at a young age, I see in my mind the people she is thankful to as she names them: her husband, her children, her business partners, her customers, and her collaborators. They are the main ingredients for Sanja’s success. But it is her ability to choose them and allow for their best qualities to flourish that is the catalyser of it all.
Asked for her definition of a successful woman, here is what Sanja answered:
Any woman, at any given age, of any race, culture, religion, political views, aware of her personal value and of the contribution she brings, aware of herself as a woman while she’s juggling different roles is a successful woman. A woman happy and mindful of her own value.
Thanks to her experience, she testified to the power of women and the value of what they can achieve. This realisation made her join PWA, attracted also by the international spirit of the association, happy to meet women with backgrounds different from hers and exchange experiences. The mission of PWA resides already in its name, that of bringing women altogether, and its events raised up to Sanja’s expectations.
All through her life, Sanja tried to learn from everything, and appreciate the help received and the barriers that pushed her forward. I have in front of me a woman liberated from all chains that life put her in, stronger, grateful and loving, with a thirst for helping others and giving her contribution to society. A person that used the love for her family and the passion for her profession as the fuel for her success as a WOMAN.