Zana Goic Petricevic

Zana Goic Petricevic is an international leadership coach and keynote speaker with over 20 years of rich experience in corporate management, entrepreneurship, and executive coaching. 

In her own words, “My journey began in the bustling world of corporate communications and marketing in the oil & gas and pharmaceutical sectors. However, my true calling is in the exhilarating field of leadership development where I get to ignite the potential in executives and C-suite leaders around the globe with my powerful talks and transformative leadership programmes.

I proudly lead Bold Leadership Culture, headquartered in the EU and UK. Here, I offer cutting-edge leadership development solutions across the EU, UK, USA, and Asia-Pacific. My leadership model called The SOUL Framework®, which I presented in my book “Bold Reinvented: Next Level Leading with Courage, Consciousness, and Conviction,” is the cornerstone of my company’s philosophy and global impact. My life isn’t just about holding work-related roles. I’m also a mother, stepmother, wife, daughter, friend, and colleague. My driving force in everything I do? A relentless commitment to cultivating bolder leadership for a brighter, more sustainable, better world. I’m devoted to elevating collective consciousness, boldness, empathy, and respect for each other and our planet.”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey/venture/initiative and what inspired you to choose this career. 

I was fortunate to grow up in a loving, stable home where my parents instilled core values like hard work, discipline, learning, and a burning passion for life. They also gifted me a global perspective, teaching me to embrace and respect our diverse world with open arms and an open heart. This foundation has been my guiding star.

Initially, my path led me to the corporate world as a communications director, where I honed my skills in crafting narratives and engaging in meaningful dialogues. But there was something more I yearned for – a career that resonated with my deepest values. Today, as a leadership coach, I’m living that dream. I use words and conversations not just to communicate, but to connect, empower, and inspire. I love to think that I continuously create opportunities to cultivate authentic growth and impactful leadership that goes beyond just business – it’s about creating a legacy of positive change, deep meaning, and human connection.

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

Absolutely, there was a critical turning point in my life that dramatically altered the course of my journey. This moment of transformation is elaborated in the prologue of my book, “Bold Reinvented”, specifically in a section I titled “School of Hard Knocks.” While I invite you to delve into the full narrative in my book to grasp the intricate details of how my corporate career came to an end and a new chapter began, I will share with you a paragraph that offers a glimpse into the profound change I experienced:

There’s a powerful message I once read that says “I’d rather walk around naked than wear a coat the world has made for me”. What I’ve realized from my story is, you don’t have to walk around naked. We equally don’t have to walk around conforming and wearing other people’s creations. We have a choice, which means an opportunity and a responsibility to keep creating our own coats to wear that truly serve us, so that we can do our work serving our world in what we all find meaningful. Acting on that choice is called leadership.” This was a key insight that guided me to understand that true leadership isn’t about conforming to pre-set norms but about courageously crafting and embracing our unique path.

Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.

As for my goals, interests, and role models, there’s so much I’m passionate about. At the core of it all is my love for connecting with people. I’m fascinated by exploring the cultural landscapes that individuals call home and delving into the personal stories intertwined with their identities. It’s thrilling to meet people exactly where they are and then guide them to bolder, unexplored territories in their minds – places they might not have dared to venture before.

Practically speaking, I adore traveling and immersing myself in new cultures, discovering different parts of the world and the unique rituals that hold significance for others. Engaging in deep, meaningful conversations energises me, and I’m constantly seeking learning experiences that have the potential to transform who I am. I have a deep passion for speaking and writing. It’s thrilling to share that my second book is on the horizon, set for release next year. It’s centered around the concept of ‘edge walkers’ – a new breed of leaders tailored for a world on the brink of significant change. My writing aims to explore this transformative leadership style. In addition to writing, speaking is a profound source of fulfillment for me. I embrace every chance to be on stage, where I feel most at home. My keynotes are more than speeches; they’re designed to shift the mindset of my audience. Through them, I aim to change perspectives and unlock the boldness potential in every listener. Each opportunity to speak is a chance to inspire and ignite a change in consciousness, encouraging every individual to embrace their inner leader.

When it comes to my role models, they often aren’t famous figures. Instead, I’m inspired by what I call ‘ordinary extraordinaries’ – people who have courageously stepped beyond the confines of the boxes created for them, whether by society, their circumstances, or their own mindsets. These people represent a remarkable archetype of leadership – they are the bold edge walkers. In their quiet yet courageous defiance, they embody the kind of leadership and authenticity I aspire to in my own life and work.

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

One of the first things you need to embrace is the art of risking and moving boldly ahead, even before you feel completely prepared. This requires befriending uncertainty and the unknown. What can truly motivate and sustain you in this challenging state is when your passion outweighs your fear. It’s essential to find what drives you, what you feel you absolutely must do, and then pour your energy into making a significant impact in that area.

In this journey, you will undoubtedly face days filled with doubt and others where you feel on top of the world. The key is to find a community that not only supports and celebrates you but also challenges you, especially when you become stagnant. These people are essential for they push you to break new ground and not settle into complacency.

However, it’s vital to remember to never give up, no matter who is with you or against you. Staying true to what you believe is your most significant contribution to the world is essential. Another key element in this journey is the continuous process of reinventing yourself. It’s about being in a perpetual state of learning, changing, growing, and developing. As the philosopher Eric Hoffer said, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” This quote encapsulates the essence of adaptation and growth, which are crucial for any entrepreneur.

What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?

The impact of my work so far has been deeply rewarding, particularly in the realm of leadership development. Working with leaders from numerous global organisations, I’ve offered them tailored experiences that challenge their perspectives and encourage self-questioning, ultimately leading to embracing change. This change isn’t just about organisational improvements, but also about personal growth and transformation. I believe that the higher the position of the leaders I work with, the greater the potential for a ripple effect, influencing change on a broader scale. Moving forward, my ambition is to grow both on a personal level and through my business. On a personal front, I aim to push my boundaries further, embracing even more significant risks to realise my vision and overcome any obstacles in my path. For my business, the objective is to make a more extensive impact on diverse communities, cultures, and organisations. I’m driven to introduce more profound challenges that redefine our approaches to living and leading, with a focus on long-term, sustainable solutions, deeper human connections, and decisions anchored in our fundamental human values.

To blend these personal and professional goals, I am committed to delivering transformative keynotes. These are more than mere presentations; they are pivotal in shifting mindsets and raising awareness. My ultimate vision is to cultivate a global movement of bold leadership cultures. These cultures will not only embrace but also love this mindset of challenging the norm and driving innovative progress. I envision a future where other leaders are inspired to join this movement, contributing to the shifts in leadership paradigms. This dream of fostering a new, bolder type of leadership across the globe is what pulls me and defines my aspirations for the coming years.

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?

Professionally, as someone deeply involved in the global business of professional coaching, leadership development, and training, the sudden halt in travel was a major impact. The pivot to digital platforms was crucial, and thankfully, technology facilitated this transition. However, the more significant shift had to happen mentally. Adapting to this new reality wasn’t just about utilizing new tools; it was about reimagining the way we work, interact, and deliver value in a drastically changed world.

Personally, the pandemic underscored the importance of resilience and adaptability. It was a time that demanded a reevaluation of priorities and methods. Reinventing oneself to align with the rapidly changing context and continuing to create value was not just a professional necessity but a personal journey as well. The experience highlighted the significance of being agile and responsive to external changes, a lesson that has been invaluable in both my personal growth and professional efforts.

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?

Reflecting on my journey and the various roles I embody, my greatest achievement lies in successfully juggling these multiple facets of my life and career. It’s about creating harmony amidst the chaos of work and life responsibilities, while staying true to my values and vision. This involves being a committed coach to my clients, a loving partner to my husband, a nurturing mother to my son and stepchildren, a caring daughter to my parents, a supportive colleague, and, importantly, being kind to myself.

Balancing all these roles and continually challenging myself to grow and learn from every experience is something I take immense pride in. I appreciate this question as it has prompted me to acknowledge and celebrate these achievements, which often go unnoticed in the hustle of everyday life. 

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

To all the aspiring young women entrepreneurs, the change I earnestly hope to see and contribute to in the world is one of true equity across cultures and genders. I envision a world where the first thing we notice in others is their will and passion, and in ourselves, a deep sense of ownership and confidence to make meaningful contributions towards a world that is equitable for all.

In whatever we do, it’s crucial that we never get tired of encouraging ourselves and others to cultivate this mindset. We must continually strive to unlock our potential for boldness, using it as a key to drive forward this vision of equity. This isn’t just a goal but a continuous journey of growth, understanding, and bold action.

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

The most vital lesson I’ve learned in my life and career is the importance of resilience and persistence. My guiding principle, encapsulated in my personal motto, “Fail seven times, stand up eight,” teaches the significance of not giving up, especially when faced with challenges. 

Persistence and grit have been the cornerstones of my journey. They remind me that the path to success is often paved with failures, but it’s the relentless determination to rise again that truly defines achievement. 

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

The rise of women in leadership positions across the globe is a testament to the breaking of long standing barriers and the gradual cracking of glass ceilings. My view on women’s leadership today is deeply optimistic yet grounded in the reality that there’s still much work to be done.

Empowered women are a driving force for thriving societies. It’s essential to ensure that women from all backgrounds have the opportunity to realise their full potential and contribute meaningfully. While we’ve seen progress, the journey towards true gender parity – where women and men participate equally and have fair access to opportunities, resources, and power – is ongoing.

Empowerment is about helping women recognise their self-worth, harness their inner strength, and assert their presence in all spheres of life. When women understand and value their capabilities, they become catalysts for change. They challenge existing norms, break down barriers, and pave the way for more inclusive and equitable environments.

Maya Angelou said, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” This powerful sentiment echoes the need for every woman to embrace her role in fostering change. Women must see this as their commitment – to be the change they wish to see in the world.

In one of our programs called ‘Her Boldest Self,’ that we delivered to women in organisations we focus on Discovering and Activating Personal Leadership Presence in Women Leaders. It’s about empowering them to step into their roles confidently and become role models for future generations, creating a ripple effect of equality and empowerment. This commitment to nurturing women’s leadership is crucial for a balanced and progressive world.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

This is our dream and our mission: Supporting women’s leadership development and providing mentorship and sponsorship to help break the glass ceiling and foster a new generation of female leaders – women who activate their presence to become influential voices in their communities and workplaces thus standing up for all women and society as a whole. 

If you feel a calling to bring your unique voice and perspective to the table, recognise that it’s more than an opportunity – it’s a duty that you owe to yourself and those who will follow. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Seek out a supportive community that can guide you in discovering and activating your presence. By doing so, you become more than a leader; you become a pillar of possibility, an inspirational story for many other women.

Embrace this journey with courage and conviction.