NAME: Jerneja Kamnikar
BACKGROUND: Master's degree in tourism
ORGANISATION: Vivo catering
My Background and Career
It is in this autumn Vivo celebrates 22 years. I started my business journey when I was still a college student. I set up a company that organizes and carries out events. Memories of my beginnings and Vivo catering are still alive and beautiful. Vivo is the common home of all our colleagues, with whom I have been together from the beginning.
Vivo was created because of the need for protocol services, which at the time no one offered. It was a time of Slovenia's independence when Ljubljana became the capital city and gained some new needs in the market. And so, Vivo started. With high and demanding cuisine for discerning guests. Vivo is still developing today, it is becoming increasingly urban. We have new premises, where we also offer daily food 'to go' to our regular customers. We operate on the international market, with a wide range of services (from picnics, weddings, and daily diet to protocol events). Today we are counted among the most important representatives of South Eastern Europe. We are the trendsetters.
I started working in the service activities more intuitive, not strategic.
I graduated from the Faculty of Tourism Studies at the University of Primorska, and later I obtained a master's degree.
I started as a student, so I did not know much about the difficulties. The obstacles: there are not any. When there must not be any obstacles, there are not any. The Chinese say, do not worry in advance – If it is insoluble, you cannot save it, if it is solvable, it will be resolved. In any case, do not make trouble, until there are not any. However, when they arrive, you confront them.
My road was marked the most by two women. The first is my mother; she was a headmistress at the catering school and a director in cultural institutions. I assume that my encounter with the culture, the cuisine and demanding banquets to which we went together, affected me. These experiences were later proven as my competitive advantage. I knew that there are needs, the knowledge exists, but in the wider environment such protocol services were not yet present.
Another person who influenced me was our family friend Olga Novak. She was head of protocol for Josip Broz Tito. As a 20-year-old, I monitored her work and its importance for Broz. Very soon I realized that Mrs. Olga possess very specific knowledge. With her, I learned, investigated, like a girl I informally attended all the most important banquets at home and abroad. They expected I would be working in health care, but I slipped into entrepreneurship.
My greatest asset is the environment in which I grew up. It was morally and ethically very demanding. Recently my mother pointed out in an interview that I was on results always ready to work hard for my results. To me that was self-evident, because I was raised that way. However, as I see it now, in addition to the innate ability, the heart culture and what the environment gives you, this is a big advantage. When talking with my students, very little of them understands that it is necessary to work hard for the results. However, you have to be lucky too. The success of my company lies in its business partners and loyal employees. To achieve this you have to be true to yourself and to your environment, be honest. It is also essential to track trends, search for new paths, and learn constantly, constant inquisitiveness – not a day goes by that I do not fall asleep with a book. Above all, it is necessary to be aware of the fact that you do not know everything – you are not the smartest, behind your success there is standing a team of people.
Hints & Tips
My advice to all future generations is to listen to yourself, and be willing to work and truly live your work, be at it as a whole, not just half.
My motto is associated with the fact that I am transcendental meditator since I was 13 years old, when I met with the literature of Chopra, from which I borrowed the thoughts that hang above my desk from the first day: The objective you create yourself, you are what you give. Results and successes are what you sow, and this way you get to the goal: what you give, you get back. This could be the motto for all the things that we do, and for all ages. In particular, it is necessary to pay attention to what environment you develop in, people who are around you are a reflection of you.
There are significant differences between male and female entrepreneurship. Men are more rational, more niche, strain less on the details, the environment, and are therefore highly suitable for service in the banking, stock exchanges, project work, where the rules of the game are known. Women are more suitable for service activities, since this is the segment that makes up a completely different concept. I guess everybody must choose the one area they are good at. I cannot imagine that I would be in an enclosed environment, in the office, in a large corporate environment. However, the character is more decisive than sex. I do not know a man who would be successful and would not have a strong woman by his side.