World of Work - CEO
As part of our new ‘World of Work’ series, our in-house writer Holly Pigache interviews members of the Picaro World and EdTech Lobby community to find out about different professional pathways. Here, she interviews the CEO of both companies, Danijela Čolić.
Why did you establish the EdTech Lobby?
I started the EdTech Lobby to create a platform (lobby) that supports, empowers and promotes amazing people, content, products and ideas. The aim is to lead the change for a better tomorrow, through people who understand edtech and where it is, where it needs to be and how to get there in terms of transitional phases we need to take as well as how to help each other achieve our aims. Through connecting one beautiful mind to another, we can show that collaboration wins.
What drove you to take Picaro World from corporate business and establish it as a start-up?
I fell in love with the content and the educational value/ethos that Picaro has. I saw so much more in the product than the restrictions a corporate company had to work around which I felt blurred their vision to grow Picaro organically and with passion. I understand Picaro’s stance in the global educational space and made it my core business (in its previous corporate setting, it was a subsidiary project). I believe that Picaro aids us to break borders of education and reach millions of children (from the age of 3 years old) through rich content using an engaging, fully-blended and fun approach to learning English so children can develop strong academic and life-skills.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
Pushing boundaries of education (there are so many to explore and push). I enjoy the exploration of how to take the delivery of education to the next level. I’m also continuously learning from my teams and business partners and I love meeting new people every day (usually I’m travelling, but we’re now all on Zoom and utilising social media). I’m passionate about driving educational change to make the world a better place – every single person on earth should have the right to an education.
What is something that surprises you about your work?
I’m surprised at how far behind education systems are compared to where the generations of tomorrow are going, and more importantly need, to be! Also, many companies are still in competition when they should be in collaboration with one another!
Have there been any key turning points in determining your career progression?
Yes. Firstly, becoming a mummy. I've also had a loving and supportive family; who, despite being shocked at my choices at times, have supported me nonetheless and I'm forever grateful. Similarly, I’ve been fortunate to live and worked abroad (in the Middle East and China) which altered the direction of my career and carrying out a management buyout and building everything from scratch has determined where I am now.
Describe your career journey in three words.
Fulfilling. Relentless. Unpredictable.
Do you have an ultimate career goal? If so, what is it?
I do. To help others unleash impossible possibilities that showcase their strengths, ideas and passion and in turn, deliver good into the world. I would also like to keep the excitement, enjoyment and success in what I do whilst attaining ultimate life/work balance.
Would you do anything differently if you could start your career again?
Absolutely not! I started my career in teaching prior to running my own companies and that gave me so many solid foundations and the chance to build on EQ [emotional intelligence].
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
Apart from a wine taster, I would keep the exact job I have now. I love my work and the amazing people around me that make every day of mine special and unique.
What’s the main piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to reach the CEO level in business?
(Advice I live by taken from William Pasmore’s Centre for Creative Leadership - and that which I will forever advise others myself.)
An impressive track record is not enough to prepare you for the role of CEO. In fact, it’s a role in which 50% of people fail. Effective senior leaders are one thing - but taking on the role of CEO is a different kettle of fish! Remember, doing more of the same thing does not make a difference! To become ready for the role of CEO bring the following: your network (personal and professional - this can never ever be big enough) your life and work experience, your willingness to grow your emotional intelligences and be relationship ready! You have to be focused enough to grow a healthy, successful company into an uncertain future.