From standing out to work-life balance: Career growth insights from Jelena Galić


We had the pleasure of speaking with Jelena Galić, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of AIK Bank, who shared valuable lessons from her 30 years of experience in the banking industry. 

Jelena Galić is no stranger to being the only woman in the room. With her extensive experience and knowledge, she is passionate about empowering other women to take on leadership roles. This makes her the perfect first guest for our “In Conversation With…” series of webinars, exclusively available to our Women on Boards members.

Here are some of the lessons she shared.

Accepting the challenge

Jelena emphasized the importance of embracing failure and using it as a stepping stone for growth.

If you go to work every day just to perform regular tasks without finding space for individual contributions, neither you nor your company will be satisfied. It is as much about your professional growth as it is your personal growth.

She believes in the constant pursuit of learning and growth.

“You must always strive to learn, no matter how experienced you are. Always seek something new and different that will broaden your views and knowledge and help you grow.”

“Be honest and be transparent, because only with honesty and transparency, you will be what you are. And only with what you are, you will succeed to achieve what you want.”

Standing out

To stand out in your career, Jelena highlighted the importance of personal attributes and skills.

“You can build specific work competencies throughout your career. However, your personality and confidence are what truly set you apart. Dedicate yourself to developing your work habits, communication, management, and teamwork skills with the same intensity as your formal education and specialization.”

She encouraged taking the lead in different projects and activities, rather than staying in the background.

“Be at the forefront. Don’t just support—lead! Present your work confidently.”


Mentorship plays a crucial role in career development, according to Jelena.

“Mentorship is important for your career growth and development. Do not shy away from seeking support! I always encourage everyone to seek multiple mentors, not just women but men as well. Find someone you look up to and trust! These open and honest conversations are invaluable.”

Using your network

Jelena urged the importance of sharing ideas within your network.

“Do not shy away from sharing your ideas with others! Discussing your vision and opinions with your colleagues and partners can create a ‘critical mass’ for stronger positions and added value.”

Work-life balance

Finally, Jelena stressed the importance of maintaining a clear boundary between work and personal life.

“Once you leave work and come home—do not think about work. You cannot do two jobs at the same time. If you are at work, think about work. After work, think about your family, friends, and personal life. There is nothing so urgent that it cannot wait for tomorrow or Monday.”

Her insights are sure to inspire, especially for women aiming for leadership roles.

If you want to join these conversations in the future with other exceptional leaders, become a Women on Boards Adria member! Learn how to join our network here.

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