Valerija Spacapan Fris
Director, Schenker d. d.
As the (MD) of DB Schenker Slovenia Valerija Spacapan Fris already 5 years the only female holding this position in Schenker Europe. She have been successful in the logistics business for more than 25 years, 22 years She spent in DB Schenker, an industry traditionally led by men.
Her career journey started in 1997, She was Head of Customs Clearance Department in the company acquired by DB Schenker. After 5 years, She was promoted to Branch Office Manager in Maribor, which developed from a customs office into a modern logistics terminal under Her leadership. She was responsible for the Branch Office at Maribor for 13 years and with the retirement of the previous director, She was nominated for the position of the MD. The decision to accept the new position was not difficult for her, since She have gained extensive knowledge of the company throughout the years. She knew that She is taking over a great team and a successful company. One of the reasons why She was and am confident in Herself, Her strengths and abilities is because Her career has been focused on becoming the MD of the company. Her path was supported by Her mentor, previous director of the company Mr. Rok Svetek.
Valerija Spacapan Fris a person who is a great supporter of lifelong learning. You need to be ahead of time to be successful. She have a master’s degree in Economics and Business, and She often participate in educational and professional associations. She was active in the strategic council of Higher Vocational College of Traffic and Transport in Maribor and Valerija Spacapan a member of the Slovenian Logistics Association; and vice president of the Board of the German Chamber of Commerce- AHK. She completed the MDP (Management Development Program) program in 2006 in Vienna and ILP (International Leadership Program Ashridge College, UK) in 2009. Every form of education supplies you with new knowledge and experiences, which are important for making the right business decisions.
With Her knowledge, experience, persistence and good results She as successful as Her male colleagues in this business. Gender is not important if you manage to do the business professionally and with self-confidence. Instead – intuition, organization, perseverance, consistency at achieving goals, team leadership, strong will and positive attitude proved to be key factors. However, the work of course can’t be done well without a great emotional charge and passion for the business.
Two of Her previous supervisors made a big impact for the successful development of her as a business woman. She admired both and She appreciate, and Valerija Spacapan Fris extremely grateful that they recognized the potential in her and supported her in Her career development. Above all, they gave her the chance to prove Herself and supported and understood her at the time of Her motherhood, which She believe She gave back twofold with Her engagement and success in achieving company goals. Valerija Spacapan Fris a person who is motivated and driven by new challenges and achievements in the business world.
A lot of women face issues/concerns about the alignment of career and motherhood, the solution that worked for her is that you should effectively organize family and professional life every day and arrange “support” network if possible. She believe that where there’s a wish and a strong will, there will always be a way. After the birth of Her first son, She decided to find a nanny who could help me out. I’ve considered this decision as an investment in Her family and Her career at the time. She did the same thing with Her second boy and She never regretted this decision. She only took 6 months of maternity leave and was ready to go back to work and Her family supported me a great deal at this decision and at that time.
Valerija Spacapan Fris a mother of two sons, wife and a business woman, living between Maribor and Ljubljana, but all-in-all, She believe She manage to coordinate between Her family and professional life very well. She like the saying “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. It is important to be flexible, creative, well organized, brave and to change the common belief that logistics business belongs solely to men. The limits exist only in our heads! Family support is of course important, however, Her male colleagues also need family support to succeed, so in that regard, there is no big difference. The only difference is that after a long working day, us, women, have another “job” at home – as mothers and housewives as wives and friends. We never seem to find enough time for ourselves.
Her biggest learning throughout Her career is that business is unpredictable and risky, but there are always new opportunities for developing success, we just need to recognize them and put in the knowledge and positive attitude to make it happen. She wish She had recognized earlier that “the sun always shines after every storm”, if She knew that in the beginning of Her career She would not have cared so much about unimportant things and situations that used to take some of Her focus and time in the past. With a positive attitude, hard work and persistence, everything can be solved and developed, and success is in reach of your hands.
Women are ambitious and if they get an opportunity, they will take advantage of that in the fullest, but first they have to decide on what they want to do and search for opportunities to prove themselves. She would like to advice all the women out there that the keys for achieving success are courage, determination, persistence, passion, team leadership and optimism. Some people succeed because it is their destiny, others succeed because they believe and go for it!