Bisera Savoska (’12), Managing Director at Savion Ray: ‘My goal is to have Brussels’ political campaigns win a Cannes Lion’
Meet alumna from North Macedonia Bisera Savoska: a theater lover, a person who launched her company at 23 and a marketing expert who works with the world’s top organizations to bring social change.
How did your AUBG education prepare you for life and work? What classes, extracurricular activities or other university experiences had the most impact on you and why?
During my university years, I studied business and fine arts. I was obsessed with theater: my hometown has years of theatre tradition, and hosts one of the biggest festivals in the country. That is how I became curious about making people feel certain emotions in a particular setting.
This form of art taught me that you can use emotions to create a connection with your audience beyond the stage and, for example, in commercials. My studies in both marketing and theatre ultimately taught me how to grab the audience’s attention, which is a crucial skill in the field I work in now. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to create my communications company.
What was your first destination after AUBG? What has happened since – where have you studied, lived and worked?
After my AUBG studies, I went on to study advertising at the Miami Ad School. Once I returned to Europe, I moved to Belgium and I started working as a Communications Officer for the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and the EU.
While working, I also enrolled for a master’s at KU Leuven, in their Brussels campus, LUCA School of Arts.
Since I was working for an organization which operated around the European Institutions, I realised there was a gap between the materials they produced to gain political influence and the materials that would actually work.
Ultimately, having a commercial background made me realize there was no reason for Brussels’ influence campaigns to be boring and technical: they could easily use methods from creative advertising in order to communicate the importance of their issue and gain support.
I remember the day I convinced my dad to invest the initial capital to start my own business and, aged 23, I started working directly for my clients.
Today, my company Savion Ray has a full creative capacity, with an 8-people team of strategists, designers, digital experts and copywriters.
We have wonderful and inspiring clients, including influential organizations and companies working to stimulate social change: the European Commission, United Nations, Philips, and many others.
My goal is to bring Brussels’ political campaigns to a level where they can win a Cannes Lion: the most prestigious creative campaigning award in the world.
What do you enjoy the most about your current job?
I love working with some amazingly talented people at Savion Ray. My rule is to only hire people who are better than me, and my current team features an award winning cinematographer, a designer-illustrator who can do miracles with a blank page and a digital expert who can get incredible results on social media in almost no time. I’m in awe with them all.
Are you still in touch and collaborating with other AUBG alumni and in what ways?
Yes, I’m still in touch with a lot of AUBG Alumni and in different capacities: there is a huge community of AUBG alumni in Brussels and they constitute a big part of my professional network. They were my first clients and trustees back when I started, and to this day, I still turn to them for their opinion and advice.
What advice would you give to Class of 2020 on finding personal and professional fulfillment and on being part of the positive change?
It’s your job to manage your career. Ultimately, you determine how fast you move through the ranks, if you want to follow a conventional career path or if you want to get there on your own terms. It’s your responsibility to ask for a promotion or for a raise, as much as it is to work hard to earn it. You have more power than you think.
Surround yourself with positive people. Your colleagues, your friends and your partner - they all give you energy that transcends between your professional and personal life. Use them to charge your batteries and focus that energy on what you believe in. Support and positivity are undervalued assets and people who remember to value them are happier and more grateful in their lives. Also, choose your co-workers carefully and work with people you enjoy having around: they really are the key to stay motivated and be successful.
Be fierce, but stay humble. Pursuing what you love is hard work and you will face hardship and failure. You will need to practice a lot of patience and perseverance. And in certain cases you will succeed only because of pure luck. Be kind and stay humble in that process. Some of us are more lucky than others, but that is not an excuse to be entitled. Know where you come from and celebrate where you are.