For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the biochemical connection between our minds and bodies. What began as a youthful curiosity grew into a life-long drive to understand how the connection works. Finally, intuition and scientific interest led me to my specialty – heart physiology.
I was born in Novi Sad, Serbia, at a time of political and economic turmoil. My early life was filled with both great and not-so-great experiences: winning the Serbian team ping-pong championship and twice being named best student of the year. On the downside, I lived through three wars and one of the world’s worst instances of inflation. These early experiences, some intensely difficult at the time, have helped me develop resilience which I wanted to understand on the “molecular” level.
After completing studies in biochemistry at the University of Novi Sad, I moved to Graz, Austria, to attend a PhD program in molecular medicine. Soon after graduation, I was awarded the Austrian Science Fund most prestigious postdoctoral fellowship for young female scientists, which led me to the University of California, Davis. While living in California, I entered the world of coaching by completing Professional Coaching for Life and Work, at the UC Davis Extension, and The Science of Happiness, at UC Berkeley.
I left the coach-training program inspired to learn more about life values, in particular about their origin: are our values our own, or do we pick them up from other sources? In addition, I was determined to understand whether disconnect from our value system can have detrimental effects on our heart. I organized a team of coaches, educators and scientists to conduct a large experimental study on life values and how values-based coaching can change levels of wellbeing and stress. In 2015, the study won the 1st Place Research Award at the Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare Conference organized by McLean Hospital’s Institute of Coaching, and Harvard Medical School.
As a young adult, I realized that my experience of the world was quite uncommon. I somehow, miraculously, made it through the childhood feeling grateful for the hard times, as well as feeling completely authentic. The idea of being “vulnerable” sounded odd to me, because I grew up in a time and place where hiding myself behind an image made no sense – being vulnerable was normal. I’ve started the Science2Wellbeing in order to turn empirical observations that have helped me maintain a deeply optimistic worldview into evidence-based concepts on how you can promote cardiac health and overall wellbeing by creating a state of satisfaction that weathers the ups and downs of life in a constantly changing world.
Session length: 90 minutes
As a coach, you know you and your clients are at your best when you’re living in ways that are aligned with your values. What most of us are not aware of (and what our research convincingly showed) is that we operate within two completely different value systems, core and acquired values. Core values are one’s inherent values and intrinsic guiding principles, while acquired values are those we adopt along the way from outside sources, like our family, culture, and generation. Unfortunately, when lacking awareness of the different value systems, we may be living each day attempting to align ourselves with values that are not even our own!
The scientific study we recently conducted showed that focusing on acquired values reduces the levels of wellbeing. For competitive businesses or hard-pressed public agencies and institutions, focusing on employees' fulfillment can feel like a luxury. Yet research is remarkably consistent in suggesting that fostering social and emotional wellbeing in a workplace leads to less turnover, fewer sick days, greater overall job satisfaction and consequently, better productivity.
In this session Business & Executive Coaches will learn an exciting new approach for helping leaders at every level of the organization put this research into practice. We’ll share with you the results of the study, meaningful exercises, and key take-aways to help your clients unlock their team’s most powerful resource - intrinsic motivation, create healthy working climate and attract, retain and engage top performers. As a result, your clients and their teams will experience a lasting increase in levels of wellbeing, better motivation for work, more harmonious relationships, and a feeling that their lives are more purposeful.