Why the new space
In February 2022, we conducted a membership survey to listen to the needs of EUPRERA members, to receive evaluations on the activities carried out and new ideas. Among the most recurring comments, there was the need to promote knowledge among the members of the Association. Some respondents stressed that the days of the Annual EUPRERA Congress are too short a period to meet new members and wanted to understand if there were colleagues in some part of Europe and the world with whom to share projects, research, experiences.
Therefore, we decided to try and foster the knowledge of those members who have achieved important career results, have obtained professional awards and recognitions, have launched important initiatives in the academic world. The new #EUPRERApeople space will be dedicated to them, to us, to all the members of the Association who want to share a part of their life and encourage networking. Enjoy the reading.
Interview to Mirela Holy
Ph.D., VERN’ University in Zagreb
Can you summarize some key features of your career and CV?
I graduated in ethnology and comparative literature, and I hold a master’s degree and a doctorate in the science of literature. After public relations career in a PR agency, Croatian Ministry of environmental protection and an environmental NGO, and after a political career as Croatian Minister of environment and nature protection and member of the Croatian National Parliament, I work at the VERN’ University in Zagreb as Head of three graduate studies “Business Communication Management”, “Human Resources Management”, “Sustainable Tourism Management”, and undergraduate study “Cyber communication and network science”. I published six books, two picture books and many articles about the environment, human rights, especially gender equality, and communication. I received the Miko Tripalo award for outstanding contribution to society democratization and promotion of human rights in 2012. I also founded the green-left political party ORaH (an acronym for Sustainable Development of Croatia), and I was elected to the European Parliament in the 2014 elections. Still, I left my mandate to the runner-up on the list. I was a member of the EU Mission Board on Adaptation to Climate Change and Social Transformation under Horizon Europe.
How was your background in communication helpful to hold such high government positions?
The experience in communications has undoubtedly helped me more easily present my political views and ideas to Croatian voters, especially when it comes to planning communications and conducting campaigns. But I want to emphasize that the communication experience for politicians can also be a burden. It reminds me of the old Croatian folk proverb, “A shoemaker always has the worst shoes”, because if we constantly look at the bigger picture, we can neglect some essential details.
What advice would you like to give to your communication colleagues to invest in scientific research? On which themes / topics?
I believe that all communication trends point to the growing role of integrating communications, especially in digital communications and the application of big data tools. In this amount of unstructured information published daily in cyberspace, it is crucial to pay great attention to the skill of storytelling because it can help us better target audiences. As a former politician and scientist, I am particularly interested in manipulative communication and how various communication tools are used in contemporary political indoctrination. We must know these methods well to work on promoting media literacy which, it seems to me, is much lower today than before the digital communication era.
What advice for women?
Women don’t have to be ten times better than their male counterparts to get career advancement. Women are also entitled to their 50% mediocrity, and it is necessary to realize that resistance to the introduction of gender quotas in politics, academia and business only perpetuates the patriarchy. A small illustration from my political career: after being elected to the Zagreb City Council as one of five women out of 20 councillors elected from my political list, a colleague told me that he would have to change his sex. He claimed that this was the only way for him to be elected. Men have no problem taking power, and women often expect men to cede power to them. But power is never given, power is always taken. We have the right to parity, and therefore, we must ask for our 50% of power and positions. Whoever questions the quality and abilities of male managers and politicians? That is why I have absolutely no problems with quotas, and I will take every opportunity that comes my way.