Aida Rejzovic founded Sassy Organics in 2016, to make shopping for organic and vegan products more accessible. In honour of International Women's Day, we asked Rejzovic what the day means to her, how it has inspired her journey and what the future of female leadership looks like.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
For me personally, International Women’s Day is a great way to celebrate women’s achievements in business, sport, politics and other facets of life. It is also an opportunity to highlight inequalities that are still prevalent in many fields.
Women in Australia have been making headways in business management and leadership over the past decades and it’s an honour to be surrounded by so many strong and powerful female change-makers. However, it is important to continue to speak up and to encourage change at every opportunity.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?
Sassy Organics isn’t just female owned and run, it’s also proudly owned by a former refugee: me.
I was born in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina where I spent the first 12 years of my life. I lived there with my mum, dad and my sister until 1992 when we fled Bosnia due to conflicts. We spent the next four years seeking refuge and living in different countries (Croatia, Czech Republic and Germany) in various refugee camps. We were lucky enough to make it to Australia in 1995 and settle in this beautiful country that I now call home.
Experiencing hardship and my refugee experience has certainly been a big obstacle in my life. But it’s also taught me to value life and to find happiness in the small things. My past doesn’t define me, and I’m lucky enough that I don’t hold onto things, like grief and sadness.
As a business owner, it’s important to have a resilient attitude. My refugee experience has helped me with this no-end. If I have a difficult or bad day, I know that tomorrow is always going to be brighter and this sort of attitude that has helped me continue to grow my business and not lose hope even when the going gets tough. There are always things to be grateful for. I remind myself that I’m lucky to not have experienced any illness and that my family is healthy too.
Aida Rejzovic, Founder of Sassy Organics
Are there any women you have looked to for inspiration in your career?
Absolutely! I am forever inspired by my mum; she is my rock. As a single mum, she gave my sister and me the best possible life and courage to do and to be anything that we wanted. Her courage and strength have inspired me to be where I am today. Mum always supported us with every choice that we have made (well, almost every choice) and she encouraged us to try different things, to travel, to be challenged and to never give up. She never put any limitations on us and she would always say that ‘the sky is the limit’. Mum is a fighter and she is also my best friend.
I also have beautiful, strong and powerful sisters and female friends who motivate me every day to do better in this world.
What is the best advice you’ve received when it comes to your career?
“There is no wrong way of doing things. You just have to figure out what works best for you.” This advice has served me many times and especially in times of difficulty.
Every day provides a new opportunity to try something new or different. I believe that everyone is capable of succeeding in their respective role, but they need to be willing to explore, learn and adapt.
I have transitioned from a career in criminal justice to e-commerce by being adaptive and willing to learn and attain new skills like SEO, marketing etc.
What does the future of female leadership look like to you?
It looks powerful and hopeful.
We are seeing many successful female leaders, in the e-commerce industry in particular and this should serve as a reminder that it is possible to be successful and balance it with family life.
Working remotely has provided us with even more opportunities than in the past, allowing us to work flexible hours, from remote locations and be there for our families. This is something that has held many females back, opting for family life instead of a career. Remote working allows us to enjoy both and it is great to see many workplaces encouraging flexible working arrangements, even post COVID-19.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
If I could give other aspiring business owners advice, especially any young women out there, it would be to just do the things that you really love! This may be easier said than done, but you have got to start somewhere. We spend way too many hours at work, not to be happy. At least give it a go and don’t wait for the perfect or magic moment as this may never come. Make a decision, commit to it and take your first step. The rest will follow.
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