Danilo Kalezic: The job is all about honesty, transparency, balance, and the personal touch.

We had an opportunity to speak to Danilo who is an excellent example of how being passionate about something can push the boundaries, lead to personal development and broaden your horizons. Danilo Kalezic – PR manager of Porto Montenegro.

#mnetoday: Let’s start with a brief introduction of yourself and the reason you chose PR as a career.

DK: I’m Danilo and I’m a PR manager and communicator. I like to speak. I’m a Montenegrin who is passionate about life, beauty and traveling. As a PR manager I’m constantly speaking and communicating. I chose PR as a profession because I always wanted to communicate even as a child I was passionate about speaking and being the center of attention. To be honest I didn’t have many skills in acting or singing so I knew that the stage wouldn’t be for me. But I always wanted to be informed and for people to have the information rather than my performance. I was interested in directing films and wanted to enroll in the university in Cetinje, but things didn’t work out for me so I ended up studying political science journalism.

Right after that I started working on the radio. I wasn’t interested in TV, I preferred radio, it’s an intimate, popular and powerful tool. I did the morning programs, waking up the people of Montenegro, that was quite fun. It was one of the most influential radio stations in the country.  I created the comforting feeling of waking up with someone you know. I did that for few years and then moved to the office of the Mayor of Podgorica to work as a PR intern. Eventually I started covering all the PR events for the city. The job was dynamic and fun.  I wasn’t much involved in politics but rather concentrated on social work, healthcare and a lot of other activities within the governmental institutions. That led me to Porto Montenegro. I was recruited by a UK company to work for Porto Montenegro.

#mnetoday: You’ve been with Porto for four years?

DK: Yes, in 2017 it will be 5 years.

#mnetoday: Speaking about your work, what does your typical day look like?

DK: I try to wake up early, I’m awake by 8. It wasn’t like this before, but I’m an early bird now, so I go to gym in the morning.  The working day starts with a brief press overview so that we can monitor what’s happening nationally and internationally.  From 9:30 to 10:00 I read the international media. Then the team plans our strategy for the day. Every day is different especially in high-season, but we’re busy even during the off-season as we try to organize or attend events every second day. It is very dynamic; in the PR world you rarely have a typical working day.

#mnetoday: It sounds busy. What part of your job do you find the most challenging?

DK: The most challenging part is saying NO to people.  That was quite difficult to learn. I love the people that I work with and we form close relationship and spend up to 12 hours together every day and sometimes it’s hard to maintain a friendship as well as a professional working relationship. Because I work for one of the biggest investors in Montenegro a lot of people ask for various things, job, sponsorships, projects and collaborations. It’s hard to say no to them but sometimes I have to. I’m learning and it is easier now than it was 5 years ago.

#mnetoday: How has your job influenced your lifestyle? Are you the same person that you were 5 years ago?

DK: I’ve changed a lot! I think everyone changes over the course of 5 years, especially working here in Porto, in Tivat. It has changed my lifestyle significantly: it’s widened my perspective. I met amazing people from all over the world that I wouldn’t have met elsewhere. I see Montenegro from the perspective that expats see it and I understand the reasons people come to live here. I’m grateful to be a part of this story and to be part of this development and modern Montenegro. I can see real change in Montenegro and I believe that changes me as well. I’ve changed my habits. I’m in my 30s and have been working for 13 years and I’m still passionate about my work and people. I’m happy that I’m constantly learning and I believe every person has something to teach and if you listen you’ll learn.

[quote]I do believe that a picture is worth a thousand words[/quote]

#mnetoday: Talking about PR and the modern world how do you feel that modern technology helps you in your work?

DK: Technology helps a lot but I still think we’ll always need the human touch. I’m the type of person that will still go the post office to pay my bills because I believe that if I stop doing that the woman working behind the counter will lose her job. However, PR has changed a lot since I started, especially Montenegrin PR. To me LinkedIn was a life-changer. I believe in social media and it’s a great advantage if you use it wisely.

#mnetoday: Speaking about yourself and social media, which channel is your favorite?

DK: Instagram (laughs). I really love Instagram; Facebook is an old friend but I’m not a huge fan of Twitter. I do believe that a picture is worth a thousand words. So for me it’s all about Instagram, especially the feature that allows you to post a photo for 24 hours like they do in snapchat.

#mnetoday: What social responsibilities does a PR job have?

DK: There’s many. The job is all about honesty, transparency, balance, and the personal touch. In journalism, PR and public speaking you need these qualities to survive. People are not fools, and those trying to fool people are very wrong. You cannot communicate something that you don’t believe in or that’s not the truth.  You have to be honest, open and balanced. You cannot be too passionate or too objective.  I try to be creative, balanced and professional and I believe that people can sense that. I treat my audience as an intelligent group of people and I believe they know when you’re lying. It’s like any relationship, the key is honesty and being who you are regardless of whether you’re working for Porto Montenegro or a small business that sells fruit.

#mnetoday: Let’s talk about you some more.

DK: Let’s do that (both laugh)

#mnetoday: If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

DK: I would love to have the power to heal people. Just to make people healthy and happy. I think the other powers like being super-fast or super-smart are too radical. We don’t have a lot of violence or negative people that we need to care for so for me something practical like helping and healing people would be cool.

#mnetoday: Do you have hobbies?

DK: There’s a few things I love. I like gym, it makes me feel good, which is a passion I recently discovered, I wasn’t interested in sport growing up. I like good music, I like good books, and I like Instagram. (both laugh)

#mnetoday: Speaking of music, is there a song or a band that you listen to when you need energy or motivation, or when you’re struggling with a decision or looking for a solution?

DK: Yes, I love the Pet Shop Boys very much. I love Savage Garden; I think their song, Affirmation, is one the most beautiful songs ever written. I love Maroon 5’s music, The Fray’s How to save a life; Lara Fabian, I love all her songs even though I don’t speak French. I attended her concert in Paris and spent half the concert crying even though I didn’t understand a word of it.

#mnetoday: You mentioned books as well, what genre of books do you mostly read? When I look at your Instagram and you’re traveling it’s always with a book.

DK: Yes. (laughs)

#mnetoday: What kind of book?

DK: I don’t limit myself to a specific genre, I love everything. I like the great contemporary authors like Robin Sharma or the people who write about communication, self-reflection etc. I am also a fan of Spanish modern literature, I really like Juan Gómez-Jurado. I think he is one of the most amazing authors of today. He is young, very interesting and his writing is light, it’s perfect to read on the train. My favorite author of all times is Agatha Christie, I think I’ve read all of her novels. I like British authors in general, I always return to Shakespeare. I really like an author named Donna Tartt, she only wrote 3 books in her life, so she published a book every 10 years, my favorite book of hers is, The Secret History. I love books that are about relationships and people.

#mnetoday: When you read, do you prefer digital formats or actual paper?

DK: Paper. Always paper; I’m an old schooler. I like the smell of books. I like to mark my favorite parts and go back to them. I like collecting books.

#mnetoday: Another thing I noticed from your Instagram is that you travel, what, in your opinion, is the best place you’ve traveled to?

DK: I read somewhere that a great traveler once said that the best place is the place you have never been to. I agree with this. I love the world and I use every opportunity to change my perspective and I truly believe that traveling changes people in a good way. I believe that human beings need to constantly move and change places in order to stay normal. Some say it’s all about having money and of course it’s never easy, but you have millions of talented people that travel around the world. I started traveling when I was in college with my best friend Andrej. We contacted a travel agency in Belgrade and offered our services to organize a tour for them in Podgorica. So we advertised and managed to get a group of 20 people together and then we were able to accompany them for free. We did this for 2 years and that allowed us to travel to places that we couldn’t afford ourselves. There’s always a way if you’re creative and active. Recently I visited Yerevan in Armenia and Tbilisi in Georgia. They are great places to visit.

#mnetoday: Is there something you wish you had known before you started working in PR?

DK: Yes, definitely. When I give a speech or a lecture to younger people I tell them the simple truth that things will be okay; seriously, everything will be okay. People don’t understand that things are actually much simpler than they think.  If I’d known that at 22 I wouldn’t have struggled as much. If I could send a message to my younger self I’d say relax more, enjoy things more, have fun and do things because you want to, not because society is pushing you to do those things. There’s a lot I’d do differently although looking at the bigger picture there’s almost nothing; I’m absolutely happy.

#mnetoday: I have three short questions for you to answer quickly. What is the quality you like the most in people?

DK: Honesty

#mnetoday: If you were to die and come back as a person or object what would it be?

DK: That’s terrifying (laughs). Someone who’ll be remembered for something. An inventor like Nikola Tesla or even to be an invention like a light bulb.

#mnetoday: What is your motto?

DK: Everything will be good in the end. If things aren’t good, then it’s not yet the end.

#mnetoday: That was Danilo Kalezic. Thank you for joining us today.

DK: Thank you for having me.

 

*- you can listen to live record of this interview on iTunes. (or sound cloud >>)

Special thank you to Porto Montenegro Yacht Club for the venue provided for this interview.