Guest lecture  takeaways: Pointing out inevitable obstacles on the road to success and the importance of persevering

May 4, 2020

On Monday, April 27th, professor Domagoj Nikolić organized a special class for the departing senior students attending his International Resort Management course, the eBoard members from the planned breweRIT project that is postponed due to situation caused by COVID-19 pandemics, and one of our star students Belma Sokolović, who joined the class from Rochester, NY.

In this special class, he hosted Jelena Backović, ex-Guest Services Manager at Burj Al Arab, Dubai, ex Guest Relations Manager and currently the Housekeeping Manager at The Carlyle Hotel, NYC. (

Professor Nikolić emphasized the importance of introducing successful young people from various fields and giving students the opportunity to learn from their personal and professional paths. „In her work, Jelena is in daily touch with people we only see in the media, from royalty, music and movie stars, famous athletes, business people, models and other VIP and VVIPs.  A great thing about having her in the class is that she is still young, from our neck of the woods and the ultimate girl next door. Students can easily identify with her experiences and learn what can be achieved with the right attitude, perseverance and hard work. She also explained who ultra-luxury services/experiences differ from the standard five star in the contextual and operational sense", said professor Nikolić.

"The whole lecture was very informative and Ms. Backović pointed out every obstacle she had to face during her journey as well as how to act and get the best lessons out of those uncomfortable situations. I was intrigued by the experience she gained by working at the most luxurious hospitality establishments and how much she managed to learn. By listening to her I also realized the high value of the education that RIT Croatia offers and how much It actually prepared me for the various situation I might face during my career", commented Dejana Kušić, HTM junior year student.

Petra Knežević, who is now finishing her senior year and is eager to be as much prepared for her career as possible says: "I am glad we had Jelena as a guest speaker because there is so much to learn from her. Not only how to work your way up to the top but also how to stay humble and humane. I am looking forward to seeing what else she achieves as she moves forward. Jelena is a true inspiration to all of us."

"I especially liked Jelena’s honesty and willingness to share both good and bad stories with us. She was not sugar-coating anything, and it made her that much credible in our eyes. Although she’s exceptionally successful, Jelena was very down to earth, and she spoke to us like we’re her fellow colleagues.  Jelena can serve as an inspiration to all of us and a real-life example that hard work and persistence pays off. I am positive that we will hear many great things about her in the future and I truly believe that she inspired us to strive for our goals", concluded Milica Markoč, HTM junior year student.


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