Interview with Renata Mrazova, Home Credit Group's incoming Chief People Officer
This interview originally appeared in Czech in Žena v autě, a Czech motoring magazine for women, on 2 April 2019
This year, Renata Mrázová is publishing a unique book “Amazing Women from the Heart of Europe”. (in Czech: Velke zeny z male zeme). A top-level manager who has successfully built a remarkable career while losing nothing of her femininity and while managing her family with a husband and two daughters. Last year, she spent her free time looking for inspirational women associated with the Czech Republic. Read more about this charismatic woman who is, among other things, a passionate driver.
If you could board and start up a time machine, with which of the “amazing women from the heart of Europe” would you like to go out with for a cup of coffee?
I would like to meet all the remarkable women from the book. But if I were to opt for one, Marie Šmolková would be the first. I was really touched by her strong and moving story of rescuing, together with Sir Nicolas Winton, 600 Jewish children. I would also love to meet Berta von Suttner, who was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and who helped to establish the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Of the others, certainly Eliška Junková or jockey Lata Brandisová, who won the Grand Pardubice Steeplechase.
There is no question that your book, just being launched, has been missing on the market. I can imagine it as an ideal gift for a woman friend, or for friends who visit the Czech Republic. How long did it take you to write the book? Which of the stories impressed you the most?
I spent almost a year preparing the book. Denisa Prošková, an experienced author, was very helpful with this throughout that time. It is difficult to select only one story. The great thing about the book is that it contains a large number of amazing and different stories.
Your career and the number of the awards that you have received indicate that “driving for results” is one of your natural traits. Will you tell us about your level of car driving? Do you like to drive, or is the car just a necessary transport vehicle for you?
I have always enjoyed cars and all developments in this area fascinate me. What I mean is mostly the new technology and the evolution of the car industry. I like driving a lot and I primarily like sport cars. When I forget, I might get a ticket sometimes, but I am a responsible driver. Cars are a pleasure for me rather than a necessary transport vehicle. I am also considerably influenced by my husband, who is a great fan of cars.
Do you think that car driving is part of general literacy?
I believe that a large number of people don’t need a car for their lives and can live without them. In particular here in the Netherlands where I live many people use a bicycle as their major transport which is great Of course it depends on personal choice. Motoring should certainly burden the environment to the least possible extent.
What car are you driving?
I drive a beautiful blue BMW 3 series hybrid.
You have a track record of a successful career and excellent results in the role of NN’s CEO in the Czech Republic, and also Global Head of HR of the insurance company NN Group in The Hague. Now, you are facing a change, namely the position as the Chief People Officer at Home Credit. What has been the most valid argument for you in favour of the change? What are you looking forward the most?
I look forward the most to move back to the Czech republic and get again the opportunity to keep in touch with the broader family, friends and Prague and, in general, to life in the Czech Republic. Talking about the new job, I look forward to the new challenge, meeting the new colleagues, working in different environment and culture and also travelling to Asia and other countries to be in touch with the business..
Your excellent results speak for themselves, and there is no question that you are one of the very inspiring women of today. Tell us, where do you get your energy from? Do you meditate?
We as a family like to travel, we go on trips, and we like to sport. I do not get energy only from the activities that inspire me, but I also like to spend time completely on my own – I enjoy the moments when I can switch off and relax. I like to walk our dog; we go for quite long walks. For me next to running, tennis, skiing sport is also connected with wellness; I go to a sauna, for massages, and love swimming. I also do a lot of reading, like listening to music, and do yoga. I also relax when driving a car, that’s my meditation.
What is the secret of healthy self-confidence? Tell us how to succeed at work and in organizing all around the family?
It is important that you spend a lot of time with yourself, invest time in understanding that you as a human being are unique and do not have to compare yourself against others.
How do you actually cope with the role of a mother together with the role of a manager in senior management? What would be your advice to women who also search how to combine self-fulfilment at work with obligations at home?
The fundamental thing is that for your life, you select a partner with the same values in life. The chores around the household and children cannot depend on the woman only. My advice to them would also be that they do not expect too much from themselves and don’t try to be perfect.
You have two adolescent daughters; to what extent does the “dominance of women” in the family influence the of the overall atmosphere in the family?
You should ask my husband. 🙂 We don’t have any dominance of women at home. Actually my husband enjoys all the discussions about fashion, music or cosmetics with our daughters, and often joins in with such debates.
Thank you for the interview. May all your plans come true and we sincerely wish you many happy kilometres!