Ms. Milena Dostanic, a Project Coordinator, sits down for an interview

As a woman, how do you take the lead in a maledriven industry (like the construction field)?

"Although I have been in this field for about eight years, my aim has always remained the same: to do my job to the best of my ability. In more practical terms, it boils down to ensuring maximum success of every project I am involved in. I firmly believe actions speak louder than words, and it is through my ideas and effort I take the lead. Even though being a woman in a male-dominated industry is by no means all roses, in the end, it all comes down to competence. Talent knows no gender, race, or ethnicity. After all, the only business-savvy approach is promoting a merit-based system. Let the best idea win. Let the grit and hustle lead the way forward. Leadership means encouraging others to fulfill their full potential and grow professionally. Being in a driver's seat means staying true to myself, pouring my heart into the work I do, and making my voice heard no matter how challenging it may be."


What is the biggest challenge you faced in the field? How did you solve it?

"Being in a position that entails many different responsibilities and simultaneously working on various projects is the greatest challenge I face. Switching between an architect, interior designer, client representative, and project coordinator requires many skills. From my experience, the key to success is taking the lead, identifying priorities, and adequately planning and allocating the required time to address them."


What advice would you give to someone, especially a woman who wants to start a career in this industry?

"The construction industry is a very dynamic, fast-paced, and fun field. Although it can be pretty challenging at times, this might be a perfect match if you are ambitious and energetic. In construction, everything revolves around deadlines. That means things move quickly, and every day presents us with new learning opportunities. My key piece of advice is to seize and cherish these opportunities. Ask questions, be curious, go that extra mile, and try to enjoy the journey. Be proactive, and everything will fall into place. As for any young woman learning the ropes in this industry, she should know that it is still a male-dominated working environment. Her mentor and the people she works with will mostly be men. So, being authentic, developing a good working relationship with colleagues, and understanding workplace dynamics are crucial."


What is your favourite project you have worked on?

"So far, I've' been involved in various projects of different types and scales, including residential buildings, private villas, offices, and mock-up apartments. There is something special about every single one of them. But one that stands out to me is the award-winning project, Hyati Residence. It was the first major project I worked on. I gained much experience and valuable insights. Most importantly, it taught me the importance of teamwork and setting a clear goal that ensures the project's success. In this case, the initial project design was subject to significant changes during the construction period, which brought several additional challenges. Thanks to creative thinking, teamwork, and persistence, the project was completed successfully."