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Maja Vujaskovic-Djueinovic, Corporate Public Relations & Public Affairs Manager, IKEA South East Europe

“I had the pleasure of working with Jesse with a large community governance project in Serbia. He was an inspiring leader, whose style I would describe as an optimal balance between challenge and support. Besides successfully managing business, he was a thoughtful, people–oriented leader.  He praised good performance but also welcomed well-intentioned mistakes. He was generous with time and resources for professional development and advice, always daring employees to get out of their comfort zone and grow as individuals and professionals. Jesse always demonstrated a strong growth mindset and led us towards bold goals but with strong empathy, which I think is a rare mix that makes him a great leader. 


As a young professional at that time, I learned from Jesse to focus on my strengths and amplify them in my job, to be proud of my achievements and celebrate them with my colleagues. He also helped me with a selection of trainings to leverage my professional growth areas and to turn them into opportunities. I learned from Jesse that you can achieve strong results and be a kind person.  I admire him still for the passion and time he invested in many people to help them pursue successful careers in international development.  


I have now moved to the corporate world and I’m building a successful career in communications and public affairs, but l sometimes go back in memory to the time when I worked with Jesse and his advice on how to present international projects in partnership with and appreciated by communities and local governments. 

Today with my team I do my best to take and give responsibility to people, helping them build their professional confidence the way Jesse helped me build mine.”

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