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Diving headfirst into new opportunities

5 min read

Growing up, she had an almost obsessed curiosity about how things work. Larisa Hadzic, Head of Hull & Weapon at Saab, has always been fascinated by the machinery and mechanisms in the automation of trains and aircraft. Although she wasn’t sure what the job of a Systems Engineer really involved, a future with advanced technology was always an obvious choice.

Larisa Hadzic has been a part of Saab ever since she graduated from Malmö University in 2011. With her determination to constantly develop professionally, she started her career as a Systems Engineer at Kockums, which soon led to a position as a Project Manager. During her ten-year career, she has followed the company through reorganisations and changes, for example, when Kockums became a business unit within Saab's business area Security and Defence Solutions. That change created more responsibility for her and the possibility for more female engineers to join the company. Find your next IT job here

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"It makes me happy to see more female colleagues than ever in an often male-dominated industry," says Larisa.

With Saab's acquisition of Kockums, she quickly saw the possibilities to influence the company. Getting out of her comfort zone and challenging herself is something Larisa enjoys doing. Her curiosity and drive to learn made her expand her knowledge and move on to new and exciting positions within Saab.

“Don’t wait for the opportunity to come to you – grab it and make it yours.”

After a little over two years as a Project Leader, she was ready for a new challenge. With support from her older colleagues, she made sure to gain as much experience and knowledge as she could to apply for a managerial position.

"I read all the books that I could find about systems engineering, leadership and management, not only to prepare myself for new leadership positions but also because it’s a genuine interest of mine that I always strive to develop."

Interested in joining Larisa at Saab? Apply here

With Yoda as a role model

According to Larisa, the best thing about working as a leader is developing people professionally and exchanging ideas on how to improve the work environment and collaboration. Even though it’s a rewarding job, it’s also challenging. Being there for the team and making sure that they deliver on time and within budget can feel stressful. But unlike others, it’s in stressful times Larisa has learned to find her peace – with the always-so-calm Yoda from Star Wars as her guiding star.

"I think one of my strengths as a leader is to remain calm under stress. That is something you learn through experience. And also, from having kids!" Larisa continues.

Even though many companies talk about their humble way of working, it’s a real strength consistent with the work environment at Saab. In an organisation with many different minds and experiences, it is clear that every voice is heard, that everyone matters and has the same value.

“It’s the creative minds behind the innovations that really matter.”

The knowledgeable team of colleagues she collaborates with daily, combined with the flexible work environment, is something Larisa really appreciates about her job. The fact that she has been able to juggle a successful career while going on maternity leave twice during her time at Saab has been invaluable.

"I feel like everyone is treated with the same respect, no matter their position or role. At Saab, we all pitch in and work together to deliver."

A big fish in a big pond

Thinking back on her career at Saab, Larisa is proud to have been involved in several exciting projects, such as developing the Multi-Mission Portal system for submarines and special forces operations. But in a pioneering tech world with innovative products, it is the people who make her job meaningful.

"It is an engineer’s dream to work with complex products such as submarines and surface vessels. But the real privilege is to be part of a team of specialists with over thirty years of experience. I feel like I’m learning something new every day."

“We are creating things that should be impossible.”

As a manager at Saab, she gets to combine her experience in project leadership with her passion for technology. From start to delivery, her responsibility is to support her team in building and designing different systems and solutions to efficiently produce a desired result. To take part in shaping and developing products that make a difference in society is truly the best thing about working at Saab, Larisa says.

"I sometimes get asked if I would like to do something different or work at another company, but I could honestly not imagine a better place if you want to have a meaningful job with a real purpose."

3 questions

The best thing about Saab:
Everyone at Saab works together to deliver. Everyone matters and plays an equally important part in the bigger picture.

The most inspiring:
To work with such experienced and knowledgeable colleagues.

Your best advice to a potential colleague:
Take the initiative to create the right conditions for yourself and dare to try new things when the opportunities come! You are in charge of your development.