On The Front Lines: How The Bosnian War Shaped This Entrepreneur’s Career Path On The Front Lines: How The Bosnian War Shaped This Entrepreneur’s Career Path Transitioning from an investigative journalist to a real estate entrepreneur was a major career change Aleksandra Scepanovic never saw happening in her lifetime, but now as the managing director and co-founder of Ideal Properties Group, it’s safe to say that same career move has her at the helm of one of the leading real estate firms in Brooklyn, New York. But before actually moving to the Big Apple for the first time in 1999, Aleksandra was reporting hard news on the front lines of war-torn Bosnia. These same challenging investigative reporting experiences fueled her strong work ethic, and also lead her to pursue a new future in New York City. Although Scepanovic never imagined moving to New York at first, moving to the East Coast allowed her to build a new business from the ground up successfully, and of course, achieve her own version of the American Dream. “I’ve always found the American dream to be an interesting conjecture, based on the notion of hard work, little play and a solid, however unfounded, dash of unwavering hope for a better future,” says Scepanovic. “For me, personally, it seems that these embedded prerequisites to achieving the American version of success are simply part of my makeup. I was born an eternal optimist capable of dreaming grand dreams, and a workaholic, who finds even the most tedious and repetitive work – fun, or if not entirely fun, then at least interesting enough for me to want to complete.” Now, staying 20 steps ahead of the Brooklyn real estate game, Scepanovic works alongside her partner Erik Serras who serves as the Principal Broker of Ideal Properties Group. And although not all couple work partnerships are easy, both parties make it work by running the business on equal terms. “The most important aspect of our partnership is the clear definition of our respective spheres of influence,” she says. “What I do, he cannot, no matter how at times he feels that he could. The same goes for me – I am, beyond any doubt, the wrong person to complete his tasks. In short, the most important part is understanding which parts you’re responsible for bringing into the partnership, and which parts are your partners’, and make sure to stick to them. If his or her job is to generate revenue, and yours is to develop training programs – no matter how good you feel you may be in sales, relinquish the task to your partner.” Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times As Ideal Properties Group continues to expand, Scepanovic sees the company far ahead of where it is today in the next five years. And although she has faced several challenges as a female entrepreneur, she advises other female business owners to keep on going, no matter how much others disapprove. “Jump in, breathe, don’t look back or listen to theories your friends, family, or competitors are likely to offer, as to how (un)likely your effort is to succeed,” she suggests. “Arm yourself with confidence, and never stop.” The Quick 10 1. What app do you most use? Uber. 2. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? I check my schedule. 3. Name a business mogul you admire. Elon Musk. 4. What product do you wish you had invented? Glass bottle. 5. What is your spirit animal? The Hummingbird. 6. What is your life motto? Never fear and always trust your inner self. 7. Name your favorite work day snack. Chocolate. 8. What’s something that’s always in your bag? My reading glasses. Turns out that after your 20/20 eyes turn 40, you learn a new word: presbyopia. 9. What’s the most inspiring place you’ve traveled to? Istanbul, Turkey. 10. Desert Island. Three things, go. A fully stocked sailboat, water, flare gun. Courtney Leiva Courtney Leiva is a lifestyle and beauty writer who has contributed to Refinery29, Women's Health, NewBeauty, Byrdie and Self.com. When she's not writing, she's usually found experimenting with new gluten-free recipes that pop in her head. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @misscourtneysays!