From Generation X to Generation Z: Four Women, Four Stories, One Agency

UM Sarajevo is a full-service media agency that has been present on the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina for 25 years, first as the media department of McCann Erickson Sarajevo, and since 2013 under the name UM, as is the practice with offices around the world. It is part of the global IPG group, and in the region it is a member of the I&F communication system with about 450 employees, of which over 40 are marketing experts on the BiH market. For many years, women make up more than ¾ of the agency team. This time we drink coffee with four wonderful ladies from UM Sarajevo who share with us their experience of working in an agency.

“The coffees in the agency are lively, dear, interesting and almost always brain-storming. Then we confide in each other, talk, look for solutions and find happiness in having each other. Our strength lies in the diversity of our feeds. This makes the exchange of views and experiences more significant, both for personal and for the development of the agency’s business, and it’s best with coffee. At coffee with the women in the agency, you can get great advice on how to make the most delicious gluten-free bread, how to make your hairstyle last longer, how to balance family and work, and how to establish successful cooperation with the most demanding clients on the market.”

Meet 4 women from UM, with different years of experience. What they think about the industry, women in marketing, and what are the challenges in digital marketing, read below.

Amila Falić, Account Director (17 years of agency experience)

Experience comes with age, so when we say that someone has rich experience, we unconsciously imagine a person at a mature age. I am happy that I see years as just a number, because the dynamism of the job, the challenges, and working with young and smart people truly refresh and enrich me every day.

Every individual has a need for personal development, both through education and training processes and through the experience of quality communication within a team. That need never ends. The working environment must be a breeding ground for good ideas and a creative approach to solving problems, and this requires a constant pace with the times.

The world is fast, instantaneous, and impatiently thirsty for instant solutions to its problems and the fulfillment of aspirations. This makes work in the industry more demanding, but also more stimulating. The challenges of modern marketing lie in defining needs and offering good and quick solutions while maintaining creativity and pragmatism with a sufficient dose of empathy because our audience is well-informed, smart, and insightful.

I am especially proud of the partnership relations with our clients, who recognize the power of our creative thinking and entrust us with the realization of ideas that, as a rule, are recognized and rewarded. As we are a company that strives for social and environmental awareness, the pleasure of creating and implementing campaigns with this sign makes us extremely proud.

Lejla Zeba, Account Manager (10 years of experience in the agency)

The journey from a final-year master’s student to an account manager, wife, and mother of a wonderful boy. Everything has accumulated in these ten years, which have passed so quickly. We work and grow together.

What is hidden in the world of marketing and media advertising, what are the thorny roads, ups, and downs, only people who live through it know. This is not a classic job that you do from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., this is a job that is lived. Every day is different because no matter how much you think that after so many years of work, you have a template and know what awaits you that day at work, there is always an ad-hoc request that requires an immediate response. But at the end of the story, we are all happy when we achieve our goal, cooperate with a new client, launch the first campaign on air, and, of course, when receiving positive feedback for it. I really enjoy the whole process, from research and strategy creation to implementation itself. We live daily challenges and changes, we push our limits.

I have learned many things through this industry, and I am still learning and looking forward to the whole process that awaits me. Long-term experience with large domestic and foreign clients is what fulfills us and forces us to always move forward. Various clients bring great challenges, but also great experiences and knowledge with them. This industry is called the women’s industry. I would agree, there really are more of us in this business and I am happy that I had the opportunity to meet and work with many female icons of this world.

I witnessed many changes that affected work, especially in the past period, which was very challenging both for the whole world and for our industry. New times have taught us that we must be ready for anything, and always have an ace up our sleeve. Flexibility and quick adaptation are very important, in order to always be on your feet. But we realized that with a good team and adequate support, everything is easier and we can handle everything and win. We have a big system behind us and I am happy to be in an agency that is, above all, family-friendly, that invests in research, tools, education and seminars. We always have opportunities for additional learning, which really means, that we are up to date with all changes in the market.

Azra Halilović, Account Manager (5 years of experience in the agency)

Although I started my internship in the agency during my student days, small and persistent steps led me to my current position as an Account Manager. Every day I believe more and more that the career path I have chosen is the right one for me. Why? The marketing industry has always been very interesting to me, but now that I am a part of it, I realize that it is a real wonderland, a large field of unexplored and new ideas that are up to us to discover and turn into reality.

The possibilities of this industry are endless, especially for those who like to examine, analyze, clarify, illuminate, and discover. There is also ‘mining’ work here, as we like to call it in the agency, but where is the fun if you don’t roll up your sleeves a little?

For me, working in the agency was primarily a way of growing up in business, but also in my private life. Throughout the process, my colleagues were there for me like a big cheering team. The list of things I’ve learned is quite long, but we still continue to make progress together. I am especially happy that I had the opportunity to have my first business experience at UM Sarajevo, which is part of a large system that allows us to use the best technologies for learning and working with clients.

Through my work, but also attending a large number of conferences and meetings, I mostly met successful women, which always motivated me to one day become just like that – a woman who effectively juggles all obligations, is independent, and strong.

Dina Bašagić, Digital media planner (4 years of agency experience)

As someone who encountered her first job, an agency job, already during her student days, now almost 4 years later, I can say that it is very challenging and dynamic, but also creative, and offers many opportunities for learning, growth, and advancement. When you learn and work in a professional environment, with brands that are big world names, you very quickly get a broader picture of this industry and work in it.

Networking is something that this industry cannot function without. Expanding the network of acquaintances with people from a diverse range of industries, we recognize as one of the better sides of our job. The opportunities for development and advancement in the marketing world are really great, both those that bring improvement of skills and positions. At the end of the day, what fulfills and makes each of us happy is personal satisfaction as a result of well-executed and successful campaigns, many of which are long remembered, satisfied clients, and achieved results.

It is noticeable that it is women who mostly find their place in the world of marketing. Women have numerous qualities that make them ideal employees in this industry. They are creative, empathetic (they can easily recognize the needs of clients and customers), and have good communication skills and the ability to work in a team, as well as multitasking, which is necessary for this job.

With the development of technology and increasing competition in the market, the need for successful digital campaigns and their optimization is growing.

Digitization and automation bring numerous advantages for companies in our country, the biggest of which is accessibility to the global market and clients and simpler communication with the public, which automatically reduces costs and increases productivity. The biggest challenges in the digital world are the introduction of new trends and constant innovation, which requires the education of employees in the industry to follow.

An attractive change in the digital world in the last period is the introduction of the use of artificial intelligence through different segments of life and business, it is increasingly becoming necessary for use in digital everyday life.

Finally, what further complicates digitization in companies in our country is the poor legal framework for the protection of digital assets, which creates risks for companies. We can conclude that the digital industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina has great potential for growth and development, but there are still challenges that need to be overcome in order to realize the maximum benefits. We are ready for it.

Source: UM site