Lana Pavić – Bellabeat

Inspirational Women interview with Lana Pavić

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Lana Pavić is a Croatian TV host, screenwriter, journalist, and the owner of a media production company. Her dream, however, is to become a university professor some day -- and she is well on her way to finish her doctoral degree in politology.

Lana and I met when she invited me to be a guest on her show which runs weekly on Croatian national television. Even though I normally feel extremely nervous in front of cameras, this time I felt more comfortable than usual. I believe it was because, besides being a serious journalist, Lana is a very warm person. This made a big difference in how I was able to open up and tell my story to the public while on the show, making a positive impact on both me and my business.

That first encounter with Lana and her amazing energy made me think about the warm, nurturing power that us women have -- along with being able to become anything we want -- thinkers, makers, leaders, fighters. I believe that every woman has the power to be the creator and nurturer of a better tomorrow; each in our own special way.

I’ve been saving doing an interview with Lana for the upcoming Mother’s Day, because besides all the professional and academic accomplishments that I’ve mentioned, Lana is also a mother of three. She was the one who inspired me to talk not just about what mothers mean to us, but also about what it means to be a mother.

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INTERVIEW

1. Lana, you’re a TV host, screenwriter, journalist, and a business woman with your own production company. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what drives you on your professional path?

Even as a young girl, I had many plans about my career. I knew that one day, I would like to work both on television, and in education -- so I always strived to achieve the best academic success in both those areas. In my early twenties, during my university education, I worked as a part time model, which led me to an audition for a TV entertainment show. Initially, producers gave me a small role as a host, but very soon I showed them that I can do much more.

Since then, I was involved in many aspects of the television business. From there, five years ago, I decided to start my own company. It wasn’t the easiest decision, since I act in the Croatian market, but it gave me a chance to work on what I enjoyed the most. I am a hard working person, constantly coming up with new ideas, so I believe that owning a private business is the best choice for me.

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2. Besides already having an established career, you decided to pursue a doctoral degree in political science. What does education mean to you? Why is it important to continue with your education even after you’ve already achieved a lot professionally?

As I said, I have always had two big interests: television and education. I am a trained high school teacher, but my dream is to work in academia. This is sort of a tradition in my family; my late father had a PhD in microbiology, my older brother Dario also has a PhD, and so does his wife Sanja. They are respectable researchers, who both teach at the university level.

I have to admit that I really like the lifestyle they have -- even though it is diametrically opposed to the world of mass media that I currently work in. I often feel it’s because I have some kind of a duality in myself - one peaceful and one restless part of my being.

My children give me the energy for doing things I didn’t even believe were possible. I don’t think I’m a different person since becoming a mother -- I am simply the best version of myself.

My children give me the energy for doing things I didn’t even believe were possible.I don’t think I’m a different person since becoming a mother -- I am simply the best version of myself.

3. As a journalist, writer, and producer, you’re obviously in close contact with the current state of society, culture, and media in Europe. What do you think about the representation of women in those areas? What seems to be the current progress of equal representation and success of women in Europe?

I strongly believe that there is still much to be done. In many aspects, we live better than before; but I disagree with the notion that women should be satisfied with the level of freedom and equality that we currently have -- especially in Croatia. Even today, our society suffers from the unfavourable effects of patriarchal upbringing, which has so many undesirable effects on our everyday life, and our business efforts.

Unfortunately, Croatia is not unique when it comes to this. Freedom and equality of women are still threatened in the majority of European countries, so I always take any chance I can get to speak out with a view to promote these values that we all need to build on.

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4. Along with being an accomplished and driven professional, you’re also a mother of three young children - two girls and a boy. Can you tell us about how your life has changed (or how you changed) after becoming a mother?

I became a mother at the age of 26 -- personally, this big change came at the perfect time for me to grow into an even more determined person than I was at the time. My children give me the energy for doing things I didn’t even believe were possible -- for example, writing a dissertation just a few days after my third C-section, or traveling with a two-month-old baby to participate in a conference at the University of Oxford. I don’t think I am a different person since becoming a mother -- rather than that, I am simply the best version of myself.

5. You’re in the process of becoming a doctor of political science, and are actively involved in politics through your work and public opinion, hoping to change things for the better. What kind of a world do you hope your children will raise their children in?

I actively promote values of liberal democracy, but also awareness of the environmental threats. Along with that, I advocate for better care for the people in need, especially young ones: victims of all kinds of abuse, refugees, and migrants. I am very sensitive to the suffering of children, older people, and animals.

I work for and live in hopes that mine will grow up to live in a world that will have good solutions for the issues of war, famine, and greed. Unfortunately, on a global level, I do not see many politicians who want the same.

6. Considering everything that currently occupies your time, your schedule must be quite hectic. How important do you find work-life balance? What does “me-time” mean to you, and do you manage to take some time out of your schedule just for yourself?

I consider myself lucky to have a job I really enjoy. That’s why most of the time, I do not have an impression that I work so hard. Lately, I’ve been missing my time to read; but I compensate by having the Kindle application on my smartphone. Every time I have to wait for something, or I happen to have a few moments to relax, I read.

7. What healthy habits do you hope your children will pick up from you?

I live a really healthy life. I walk a lot, and most of the time I exercise a few times a week. Since I am originally from the Croatian coast (I was born and raised in the town of Split), I mostly eat Mediterranean food rich with vegetables, fish, and olive oil. I don’t think I have to preach these healthy principles to my kids -- it is more than enough that grow up watching me do so. Children can often tell when you lie -- but they also realise when you live honestly and consistently.

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8. What other things are important to you, when it comes to what your kids learn from watching you in your everyday life?

I want them to be ‘the children of the world’, so I am striving to raise happy young people who respect their own culture, but also cultures and people that are different from them -- and the Earth in general.

I am teaching them to enjoy the small things and appreciate what we mostly take for granted: clean water, fresh air, and the food we have. It makes me happy that they are growing into curious little beings who love to play. Simple play, especially outside, is something many kids miss today, so I encourage mine to always be joyful and play a lot.

9. What advice would you give other young women trying to fulfill both their professional and personal aspirations at the same time?

This depends on what someone considers as the best combination of the professional and personal life. I believe there is at least a billion combinations which have to be custom-made; created for each one of us. But my general advice is to be brave enough to think outside of the box.

If you want your combination to be a conventional one, meaning having a demanding job, husband, and children, please embrace one important principle: when you think about the one you want to have children with, make sure it’s someone who’d never consider helping with the kids as doing a favor to you. I wouldn’t be able to have such a successful career if I didn’t have a partner who realises that kids are mutual -- so we have to be equal in this lovely mess. We share all the good and all the bad moments; for me, that is the only right way to go.

10. How do you see your life changing in the next 10 years, and what would you still like to achieve? How much do you think about your health and well-being when planning for the future?

I see myself happy with the life and family I have. I am looking forward to seeing my kids grow and find their own paths; I pray for their well-being. Professionally, I would love to teach at a university -- in Zagreb or elsewhere.

I hope to stay healthy and travel the world with open eyes and arms, embracing all the interesting people and events that I find on the way. And I pray for a world of peace. As someone who grew up during the time of war, I know that peace and freedom are the most important things on Earth.

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