Today I’m interviewing Koviljka Lukic CAPM®, a volunteer with the PMI Chapter in Serbia, mother, sales engineer and all round lovely person. Below, Koviljka shares what it’s like to study for project management exams with small children and how she’s finding a work/life balance that works for her.
Koviljka, tell us a bit about your career path to date.
For the past ten years I have been working for an international sales company in different capacities. Project management was part of my job as a regional sales engineer selling industrial equipment for waste water treatment for several years.
I worked on sub-projects where we implemented equipment into complete waste water plants. Our project methodology was not standardised but we had to stay within budget, deliver on time and within scope and quality. The end product was always unique as the machines were tailored to the specific needs of the customer.
What’s it like being a woman in the waste water plant industry?
I had several very dynamic years in the waste water plant industry in the Balkans. I got to meet top subject matter experts in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria as well as around Europe.
The region has great needs for water treatment and I realised that all of us face challenges that may seem intimidating.
Perhaps such an environment reinforces gender stereotypes. Once when I asked an older colleague for career advice, he half-jokingly replied “Get married and have kids” 🙂 Yes, sales seems to be a boys’ club.
It was always very important for me to focus on giving my best, rather than on the stereotypes.
And now you’re doing more project management? How did that come about?
What got me interested in project management is the experience of work involving a variety of stakeholders – I did not have only the customer to think about but also the sub-suppliers, installers, end users, contractors, technical support from the central office, the purchasing department, factories across the globe, etc.
I realised that there must be better ways to organise these projects. I discussed this with a friend who at the time was a project manager for a major construction company and he suggested I looked at PMI.