No Mountain Too High For Wellbeing
Brigita Tetickovic, Teva’s General Manager Serbia & Montenegro, shares her inspiring story of taking the Triglav challenge with her team, climbing Slovenia’s tallest mountain together, which stands at an impressive 2,864 meters.
On a personal level, wellbeing for me is a holistic state of emotional, physical, and financial health. On a professional level, wellbeing is always top of mind, continually inspiring me to think of new and impactful ways to help my team and peers feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled.
Creating a positive environment is very important to me. It really is the key to a higher quality of life, both at home and in the office.
I’m originally from Slovenia, which is a beautiful country. There’s the seaside, there are mountains, forests, and many options for exploring nature.
Slovenians are a mountaineering nation. And I’m no exception. I realized many years ago that being in nature, surrounded by the forest or on a mountain, gives me a great sense of serenity.
It’s the perfect way to clear one’s mind, get focused, and recharge. So, this brought me to start taking short walks outside. Then my short walks turned into longer, more challenging treks and ultimately into mountaineering expeditions.
Not too long after I joined Teva in 2015, I decided together with my team, then in Slovenia, that it would be exciting and rewarding to go on a mountaineering challenge together.
We wanted to do something different that would deepen our connection, and there’s nothing like overcoming the demanding challenges of mountain climbing to make that happen.
So, we set off to climb Slovenia’s tallest mountain, Triglav, and continued to do so every year while I was in the role of Slovenia country manager.
In fact, even though I am no longer heading up Slovenia, the team has continued to take the challenge, and recently completed the great climb with their current country manager, Matej Rukavina.
While I had taken the challenge with the previous team, this is not something that the Serbia and Montenegro team had ever done before, though, they did hear about this great experience. So, when I moved into my current role, they expressed great interest. They also wanted to know what it would be like to feel that tremendous sense of accomplishment when reaching Triglav’s peak.
It’s important to note that Serbia doesn’t have a widespread mountaineering culture as in Slovenia, so the challenge was even greater.
You can’t just wake up one day and say – hey! I think I’ll climb a 2800-meter-high mountain today. There is so much preparation, training, and learning that must be done before you take that first step.
However, the team nailed it! They were amazing. I was so moved to see how everyone was trusting and supportive of each other, always encouraging and motivating.
It was also inspiring to see how brave these mountaineering newcomers were. Climbing a mountain means going to great vertical heights. When you look down, you see hundreds of meters below you. This can be extremely unsettling.
But these men and women overcame their fears and kept on going, wholly committed to reaching the top.
Back at work, the sense of collaboration and willingness to go the extra mile to lend support has never been greater. And our bond as a team has also significantly deepened. When you take on a challenge like this, you can’t just be focused on yourself; you can’t do it all on your own. It’s about the team.
No one could have climbed this mountain without the support, encouragement, and trust of their colleagues. And all this has cascaded into our day-to-day.
I fully believe that when you are well inside, you are also well outside – that is, when you authentically care for yourself, you also care for those around you.
Now, everyone has their own special place or special activity for achieving wellbeing, whether it’s meditation, playing soccer, reading, or mountaineering.
For me, it’s mountaineering, which brings me so much peace and joy. And I know that when I’m a calmer, happier person, then I’m also a better person and a better leader.
I encourage everyone to put wellbeing at the center of their lives; it will bring so much goodness to you and those around you. And that’s the best reward we could hope for.