Name: Tanja Tatomirović
Where do you live:
For the last couple of months, I have officially been living in Germany. It is 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, I still spend a lot of time in Serbia, in Belgrade and Pancevo fifteen kilometers away from it…
Since 2016, I have been defining Consumer and Digital & Social marketing strategy, planning and execution in Microsoft for its business in the Central Eastern European Multi-Country region.
Since the beginning of 2013, I have been responsible for driving Microsoft’s communications strategy, ensuring its product messaging resonates on the market well and helping Microsoft in Serbia and Montenegro become the leader in socially responsible business, while coordinating PR in Microsoft Malta and Cyprus and driving communications and digital campaigns across the CEE Multi-country region (24 countries).
I have been in communications for the past 15 years, and for three years I have managed corporate communications, internal media and CSR as a Corporate Communications Director at one of the largest telecommunication company in the region.
I also managed crisis communications for the country`s largest exporter, Pancevo-based petrochemical company Petrohemija. I worked as a Spokesperson and Public Relations Advisor at the Supreme Commercial Court, coordinated communications for 17 regional Commercial Courts, and a journalist in a number of Serbian broadsheets.
In late 2010 the international magazine Digital TV listed me among the top 50 of the most important people in European digital TV & Broadband industry; I received a number of national and international awards for excellence in communications.
In 2011 the Serbian Privatization Agency certified me as a qualified candidate for a Capital Representative. As a licensed Capital Representative, I have been compelled to take all necessary measures and to advise how to carry out the business of the oldest regional weekly under the privatization.
I have a MSc in Communicology & am a PhD researcher, focusing on digital media. I am a vivid user, trainer and adviser on digital communications.
I am a character in one novel and author of my own book (“Mussolini`s Microphone”).
Currently working with:
In addition to my regular and official job I have recently started to do, which includes daily communication with dozens of people across the region; in my remaining free time, if I sometimes have some, I read and write for my research in PhD studies. So far, I have passed all exams, published some scientific papers and put my mind deeper into the topic of my PhD thesis. It relates to the use of social networks, but you have to be patient and wait for it to be written and published.
In the meantime, it has been an honour to me that one of the most popular writers in the region, Igor Marojević, has been writing a novel for more than a year in which my life story served as the basis for the plot of one of the main characters in this novel. Somewhat distracted by health problems, Marojević is late to end the novel “The Real Women of Belgrade”, but I hope that he will soon be in his full creative power, because the novel is eagerly awaited by many people.
When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
Media has always been what I was interested in. I could read when I was 4, type on a 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 daily newspapers. I cherish the memories of writing for “Demokratija”, a daily newspaper that flourished in the late nineties, when we were fighting against the totalitarian regime of Slobodan Milosevic. My cover page is what I am especially proud of today, twenty years later. Back then I received serious threats because of my work…
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, I cannot even lie on the grass without someone thinking that I am crazy.
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?
I am currently 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 and which I am trying to relax, but all of them, including me, are under tremendous pressure of achieving results, so the result of putting pieces together is not always great. However, when we meet live, and we meet from time to time, then everything is much nicer and easier with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
Those that are not related to the transaction 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
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 relax completely and remain sane. People think too much technology and marketing-wise, and arts, agriculture and crafts remain neglected. It is true that the technology produces works of art, 3D printers produce food too, I am just waiting to see the robot arm make my haircut. I hope that I will not live long enough to see that… 🙂
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 15 years ago. What is important is not how it started, but how it will end… I hope that I will transmit my knowledge someday, 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/studio for you?
I do not know whether it has anything to do with the season when I was born, but I was born in the 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.
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”, starring 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 lasagna because I did not make it to anyone of them. 🙂
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 PR’s and me actually made a noticeable shift in the transparency of the work of courts and when we got praise from the Republican Commissioner for Information of Public Importance. 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 and 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.
What does a regular day look like for you?
I spend every day with my headphones on. J First thing in the morning is waking up around 7 am, when a cold little muzzle of my adopted cat wakes me up warning me that it is time for breakfast. Then he and his female cat friend have breakfast, and I take out my dog Bole. Then I make coffee and drink it in my bed, read e-mails and around 9 am I start conference calls with colleagues from other countries… We put a lot of effort to reduce the number of hours spent on Skype, but when you do a job like this, you cannot see everyone live. These are the rare good moments when we are all together.
The working day usually lasts until early in the evening, and then I return to my little empire, whether it’s a walk with the dog or a cup of coffee or dinner with friends… And every day is the same, except weekends… I try to keep weekends for other things and people, but this “keeping weekend” has not been successful for me lately. There are many things that you see only in the job, although they are not always meaningful, they must be completed… If they are not finished, someone will point a finger at you, justified or unjustified. This is the machine that grinds you, but it is not about the machine, but the people who lubricate it, although there is no need for lubrication very often. 🙂
Tell us about your dream project.
If I tell you about my dream project, I will have to kill you. 🙂
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/inspiration?
Anyone who is willing to turn under the parking brake and turn his life around for 180 degrees.
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
I am not accepted as academically oriented in that rigid sense even in the academic milieu in which I am because of my PhD studies. I am being reproached for the lack of academic vocabulary, too many practices which I put into my written works; I am compelled to write on the basis of other people’s theories, I can confirm or reject someone else’s theory, but who am I to have my own one…
I am being criticized because I take the subject of my job for the topic of my paper, because sometimes the professor knows nothing about it, it is a little bit awkward that I know more than him… I mean I am a bit rebellious type. In business, in learning, in life. It is not good for me. I constantly have to apologize to some mediocrities for what I know and for what I have experienced. Critical thinking is not advisable anywhere, in any segment of life. Otherwise, if you have one, you suffer the consequences. It depends on the background what those consequences are.
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.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
No, I will not tell you that this is a great or avant-garde work. These are common stories of ordinary life. I do not like when people take a great or popular title and represent it as their bible in public. Well, I like to read Agatha Christie, and I am proud of Tony Parsons’s personal inscription in his first detective novel. Most people like similar stuff, but they often refer to what the world should think about them…
Did I tell you that even now, when I am 43 years old, I blame my father for not allowing me to become a police inspector?