*V nadaljevanju objavljamo intervju s Ksenijo Frelih. Intervju je objavljen v angleškem jeziku.
As an individual and professional how do you operate today (after the MBA)? What’s different from before, during the MBA time?
The MBA program has given me much more than expected. It gave me perspective, another view on the overall business landscape and company organization as a whole. We, the participants, all came from one industry field, which had its own set of rules and definitions, however, when this fusion of industries collided and these aspects came out, it opened a new world, a new structure. Each industry has one way of operating and experience sharing among participants is enormous. And when you take all these different experiences, know-how and combine it with theoretical and academic knowledge from professors, it broadens your mind. You are not the same person. I am more tolerant, humble and even wiser after I have finished the MBA.
What are the most important decisions/challenges that you face daily as a leader in your organization?
As a leader of a department, you have to be a connective link between the entire team and you should create a safe environment for all team members. You need to motivate, navigate and enhance all the members to unleash their potential. It is a buzz word and a nice thing to hear, however, it is not an easy task. Above all, you need to be human.
Do you think businesses benefit more from having women in them?
Yes, I agree. However not at any cost. We strive for equality towards men, and when we push ourselves towards that, we push aside the unique assets that differentiate us from men. We attack the managerial positions as men and by doing this we destroy our competitive advantage. In pursued to be equal, we kill our intuition, empathy, and care. These qualities are what make us, women a good leader. We care about our employees and our decisions have to be made based on care, even though they can be tough sometimes.
What is the best business decision you’ve ever made? What are the three events that helped shape your life?
All decisions are tough, and only time told me if they were eventually good ones or even one of the best. My first job switch was one of them. Everyone was telling me, it was career suicide. However, it was the best decision after all. It gave me a global mindset, a wider perspective, and meaningful connections. This was one of the events that shaped my life. The other two were being financially independent since I was 15 years old and having my three kids at a quite early age (having my first one at 23). As a consequence, I grew up very quickly. I straighten up my priorities at an early age. Why it has affected my business because I could focus on my career and let my ego aside. My kids are in my teenage years and I haven’t even reached my peak performance yet.
When you’re busy, how do you manage to find balance in your life?
Thankfully, I live on a small farm in the western part of Slovenia. Even though there can be some stressful challenges, I counterbalance it with physical work in the forest or on the farm. It is a blessing that I can have the best from both worlds and I can find peace in these picturesque landscapes. For sure I do a lot of hiking in the nearby hills, reading books and gardening when I have the time.