Ever since I could remember, I have been surrounded by strong, diligent women and hard-working men in my environment. Very early I learned from my family that there are no shortcuts to success and that devoted work full of integrity, not only gives purpose to our lives, but it also enables us to make much better choices, to express ourselves and to live life on our own terms.
For my peers born in the Balkans in the late 1980s (Novak Djokovic is also a 1987 guy), the crash course about growing up happened quite early. We witnessed former Yugoslavia disintegrate, we saw families fall apart as thousands of adults and children became refugees, orphans or impoverished. We saw our parents working multiple jobs to get by and provide fundamentals as inflation in 1993 was skyrocketing and we experienced 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.
Now, at the distance of a quarter of the century (where did all these years go by?), I can see that all these utterly tragic events, devastating almost entire generations, had a bigger purpose.
The paradox of overcoming the biggest hardships is that later on in your life you start to feel like you have nothing else to lose.
If your spirit is vibrant, if your mind is curious and if your heart is joyous, you will remember that there is so much more left inside of you that you can give to the world. You will also learn to live with gratitude and inner peace, because let’s face it, there are not so many real things in life to worry about if all of your beloved ones are healthy, happy and safe.
Yes, if you are a One Young World Ambassador, you may consider yourself to be privileged as you speak the language of the world, you have the empathy towards challenges that other regions are going through and you have the courage and capacity to do something about it: to help others, understand the situation and advocate for change. So many times the One Young World community stood united in harnessing the potential of young people as well as tackling globally sensitive issues from SDGs to internet security and political reforms in many countries.
I am quite confident to predict a positive future for those who belong to the community of One Young World Ambassadors because we received the best education we could, we did the best we could, our parents prepared us the best they could and we are going to learn our entire lives. What is highly likely to happen is that our impact, happiness and stability are going to increase in years to come as we are not satisfied with the status quo and we are entrepreneurial in pushing our own boundaries and delivering value to our teams, clients and society. And our most fundamental values oblige us to lift others in our community through mentorship, projects, words and deeds of kindness.
I would have never stood in front of you just as I am today if it had not been for the resilient women and men I learned from in many cities of the world, if it had not been for the books I read, tough questions I asked and never giving up on my creativity, hard work, empathy and passion.
There is a saying in Talmud, ’’Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’ ’’
Somewhere around the age of 25, or even earlier, we start to ask ourselves questions about our purpose and which legacy we want to leave in this world. I said to my team that the major thing that gets me up in the morning is creating a bigger project than all of us together which is the mentorship program for young people in IT and knowledge-intensive industries.
After 7 months of preparation and countless coordination efforts, we can now guarantee that all of us, including you the reader, are going to have the best time at the first ever Innovation Attitude Summit. And you are all invited to this spectacular conference of innovation, networking and celebrating excellence. You are invited to Belgrade from April 20-23, 2017.
At this conference, you will learn from 30 renowned experts about hot topics whether you are a tech entrepreneur, NGO leader, business analyst or policy-making activist.
We invite you to participate in the INAT Summit because you can connect 500 young professionals, venture capitalists and investors from IT and knowledge-intensive industries in times of pressing challenges such as the migrant crisis, increasing unemployment and climate change. During the project, you can experience new frameworks for mentorship and leadership on an international level as young leaders can create innovative projects and get mentored.
Also, INAT Summit will foster collaboration, further investments, networking and learning about top trends in ICT from Europe and beyond about agile project management, product development, content marketing, Artificial Intelligence, VR/AR, and Internet of Things. You can apply for INAT Summit Awards or nominate an innovative friend. Plus you can enjoy the best parties ever in the city of Belgrade.
Furthermore, we encourage all One Young World Ambassadors to apply for the INAT Summit Awards. Go to the INAT website where you can nominate yourself or a distinguished colleague in the field of IT for INAT Summit Awards. There are seven categories that you or some other IT business leaders may fit in: Best INAT Local Innovation and Best INAT Potential (for Serbian participants) and these for innovators from entire Europe: Best INAT Regional Innovation, Best INAT Company, Best INAT Potential, Best INAT Dude and Best INAT Gal.
This year, we celebrated International Women’s Day with renowned hope as so many One Young World Ambassadors make a superb difference throughout Europe and other continents. We get to acknowledge, with excitement, a strong presence of women at the INAT Summit as well.
Women have come a long way, from winning voting rights to receiving education and having their rights to give birth, form families, choose spouses and build careers unapologetically. One of the legacies the INAT Summit team will create from the very start is mentorship opportunities for young women who wish to excel on all frontiers, not only because 50% of our team members and visitors are women, but also because we know that women are capable of anything they wish to accomplish.
See you in Belgrade.
Milena Milićević is the founder of INAT Centre and INAT Summit project with the intention of developing competencies of driven IT teams focused on global markets. She obtained her Masters degrees from The Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade and MPhil in Management from Judge Business School, The University of Cambridge. She has been awarded for achievements by The Fund for Young Talents, The Ministry of Youth and Sport, The Republic of Serbia, DAAD and German Parliament as well as Cambridge International Trust and PEXIM Foundation.