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Ritjana Ceveli

24 February 2024 12:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • By offering a holistic approach that combines talent solutions with strategic guidance, mentorship, and a vast network, we aim to empower start-ups to not only thrive in their initial stages but to lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable success in diverse and vibrant markets
  • Our focus extends from fostering innovation to nurturing mentorship, creating an ecosystem where entrepreneurs not only survive but truly thrive

In the realm of executive search and diversity-focused leadership, she stands as a formidable force, steering the ship of ERC International with passion and strategic foresight. As the CEO and Founder of ERC International, her dynamic leadership transcends borders, currently operating in three countries and serving clients across fifteen markets within emerging and diversified sectors. Her mission is clear: to elevate women to leadership roles, enrich boardrooms with diverse perspectives, and integrate GCC talents such as Emiratis, Saudis, and Omanis into the workforce. Passionate, out-of-the-box thinker, and resourceful, these descriptors encapsulate her approach to leadership. Her journey is marked by a commitment to shattering stereotypes and actively contributing to gender diversity and inclusion. A proud member of the 30 Percent Club, she engages with a global campaign led by Chairs and CEOs, advocating for increased gender diversity at board and senior management levels. As an entrepreneurial visionary, she extends her influence as the Chairwoman for strategic alliances for the EO Accelerate program in the UAE and a key member of the Advisory Board for Youngship UAE, an NGO focused on the Maritime industry.

Her ability to navigate various industries and emerging markets, honed during her tenure as an investment manager covering Global Emerging Markets Equities in London, positions her as a valuable contributor to businesses across diverse sectors. Her commitment to supporting start-ups and entrepreneurship is palpable in ERC International's impact, serving over fifty start-ups across the MENA Region, Africa, and the Balkans. Her expertise in this domain is recognized by her role as a Program Mentor for Microsoft for Start-ups Middle East. Having commenced her career in London after graduating from the London School of Economics, her journey took her from managing Global Emerging Markets Equities to various leadership roles in Dubai. Her rich experience encompasses pivotal roles with Naeem Asset Management, Dubai Investment Group, Masdar, and successful ventures in Islamic Asset Management. Having sold and exited two businesses, she is now dedicated to building and growing the ERC brand across EMEA and Asia. Her thirteen-year career journey has equipped her with invaluable insights into industries, strategies, operating models, and markets spanning from Indonesia to South Africa and Hungary. Her expertise lies in building talent pools across diverse markets and seniorities, contributing significantly to the growth of her clients' businesses. As she continues to shape ERC International into a global influencer, she remains an exemplar of visionary leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion; Ritjana Ceveli.

Share with us in summary, your professional journey from classroom to boardroom?

My professional journey has been a dynamic and transformative expedition that started with managing Global Emerging Markets Equities at Aberdeen Asset Management in London. This role provided me with a solid foundation in investment management and a global perspective on financial markets. As I progressed, I transitioned from the world of investment management to entrepreneurship by founding and leading ERC International as its CEO. This shift marked a pivotal moment in my career, requiring me to develop a diverse skill set encompassing origination, execution, and strategy formulation. Navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship allowed me to cultivate a deep understanding of how to drive a business from inception to sustainable growth. Over the past two decades, I've honed my abilities, moving beyond the traditional confines of a classroom education to acquire practical insights in the boardroom. The journey has been a continuous process of evolution, where I've seamlessly bridged theoretical knowledge with real-world acumen. This fusion has been instrumental in not only navigating complex business landscapes but also in steering ERC International towards success in the competitive business environment.

Can you share with us in summary details pertaining to ERC International and its mission to bring more women into leadership positions and boardrooms?

ERC International serves as a prominent advocate for Diversity & Inclusion, particularly in the realm of executive searches. Our mission goes beyond the conventional scope of filling leadership roles; we act as catalysts for transformative change within corporate structures, with a specific emphasis on increasing the representation of women in leadership and boardrooms. At the core of our approach is the conscious integration of diversity into our services. It's not just about placing talented individuals; it's about cultivating an environment that fosters inclusivity within the highest echelons of corporate leadership. We believe that by actively promoting and facilitating the inclusion of more women in key decisionmaking positions, we contribute not only to the success of individual organizations but also to the broader realization of a more diverse and equitable future in the corporate landscape. Our commitment to weaving diversity into the fabric of executive searches is a testament to our belief in the power of inclusive leadership and its positive impact on the business world.

What inspired you to focus on diversity and inclusion, specifically in terms of gender diversity?

My journey across various industries in emerging markets was like uncovering hidden treasures; the untapped potential of inclusive leadership. Witnessing the transformative power of gender diversity, I was inspired to become a catalyst for change. This passion led me to commit to dismantling barriers and actively championing the increased participation of women in boardrooms. I firmly believe that businesses thrive when they embrace a rich tapestry of perspectives, and my dedication to fostering gender diversity is rooted in the conviction that it not only benefits individuals but also enhances the overall success and resilience of organizations in today's dynamic and competitive landscape.

How has your membership at the 30 Percent club influenced your work in promoting gender diversity at board and senior management levels?

Being a member of the 30 Percent Club has been a profound influence on my efforts to promote gender diversity at board and senior management levels. It's not just a symbolic association; it's a commitment to tangible action. The ethos of the 30 Percent Club resonates deeply with ERC International's values, urging me to spearhead initiatives that go beyond mere rhetoric. This membership serves as a constant reminder that the goal is not merely a numerical statistic but a catalyst for meaningful change. It propels us to take deliberate steps towards fostering more equitable, diverse, and effective leadership. The 30 Percent Club acts as a driving force, pushing us to actively contribute to the transformation of boardrooms and senior management teams, ensuring that our commitment to gender diversity translates into impactful results and a lasting legacy of positive change.

As the Chairwoman for strategic alliances for EO Accelerate program in the UAE, what are some of the key initiatives you have been involved in?

In my capacity with the EO Accelerate program, I've been instrumental in building alliances that go beyond geographical boundaries. Our focus extends from fostering innovation to nurturing mentorship, creating an ecosystem where entrepreneurs not only survive but truly thrive. The essence lies in empowering minds, dismantling barriers, and propelling the entrepreneurial spirit forward. It's a dynamic journey of collaboration and empowerment, shaping a landscape where visionaries can turn their ideas into impactful realities.

How does ERC International identify and place the right talents to drive businesses forward in emerging markets?

At ERC International, it's not just about placing talents; it's about orchestrating synergies. Our approach is rooted in a meticulous understanding of both client needs and candidate potentials. By marrying cultural acumen with industry insight, we go beyond the conventional recruitment process. We're not merely filling positions; we're forging strategic partnerships that act as catalysts for business success in the dynamic landscapes of emerging markets. It's about creating a harmonious blend where the right talents meet the right opportunities, fostering not just employment but enduring collaborations that drive sustained growth and prosperity.

With your expertise in start-ups and entrepreneurship, how does ERC International support start-ups across the MENA Region, Africa, and the Balkans?

ERC International serves as a dynamic launchpad for start-ups, going beyond conventional talent solutions. We provide strategic insights, mentorship, and access to a global network. Our commitment extends to nurturing startups in the MENA Region, Africa, and the Balkans. It's not just about supporting businesses; we see ourselves as architects of sustainable success stories. By offering a holistic approach that combines talent solutions with strategic guidance, mentorship, and a vast network, we aim to empower start-ups to not only thrive in their initial stages but to lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable success in diverse and vibrant markets.

What industries does ERC International primarily focus on in terms of providing talent solutions?

At ERC International, our approach is panoramic, transcending industry boundaries. From automotive to healthcare and beyond, we don't confine ourselves to specific sectors; instead, we're guided by a commitment to deliver tailored talent solutions that seamlessly adapt to the unique needs of each industry. Our versatility and expertise span across diverse sectors, allowing us to bring a holistic perspective to our clients. It's about understanding the intricacies of each industry and customizing our solutions to ensure that our clients receive not just talent but a strategic advantage that aligns perfectly with the nuances of their specific sector.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

In the next ten years, I see ERC International becoming a major global influencer in moulding inclusive leadership. On a personal level, my ambition is to persist in championing diversity and making a lasting impact on corporate landscapes across the globe.

Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?

I find inspiration from various quarters, but the entrepreneurial grit of trailblazers such as Elon Musk and the visionary leadership exemplified by Sheryl Sandberg has left an indelible mark on my journey. Their narratives not only kindle my dedication to innovation but also amplify my commitment to fostering diversity in my pursuits.

Any regrets?

Regrets, to me, are valuable learning opportunities. Every challenge, setback, or pivot has served as a stepping stone. I embrace them as integral parts of a dynamic journey that shapes character and resilience.

How do you want to be remembered one day?

My aspiration is to be remembered as a visionary who didn't just break through ceilings but crafted limitless skies. A leader who left an enduring mark on fostering diversity, innovation, and inclusivity in the corporate realm.

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