06/06/2024

Spotlight ON: Montenegro

ODCN Spotlight ON Montenegro

 

This month we are digging deep into one of the best-performing countries in our network. A stunning Montenegro. Where the average area above sea level is as high as their performance. We got a chance to speak with the Regional Coordinator for Montenegro just after the recent trip of our Data Collection Manager – Jakub Breś. Here you will find an interesting interview with Marko Dragovic and for dessert, we have a field report from Jakub with photos that add another dimension to the story!

 


 

Spotlight ON: Marko Dragovic

 

Meet Marko Dragovic, Regional Coordinator at IMG Arena in Montenegro, who joined the team in the summer of 2022 and quickly became essential in efforts to improve communication and manage the complex scheduling of sports events. With a robust corporate background and a direct role in data collection, Marko helps the Data Collection Manager keep the network of DCs strong and sharp.

Montenegro group photo

Can you share your journey to becoming a Regional Coordinator at IMG Arena? What sparked your interest in this field?

I joined IMG Arena team in summer 2022 and started doing regular DC work and covering matches of Montenegrin football league. At the start, there were just a few of us covering all the matches and it was quite intensive and interesting to be on some football or basketball field every day. As a huge fan of sport (especially football) and because of my corporate background, I had a lot of communication with IMG Arena team to support the project. Soon, they recognized that I could be the solution for an effective communication bridge between the central and local team.

 

As someone who still participates in data collection, how do you balance your dual responsibilities? 

It is interesting and for me – crucial to do data collection, as you must keep it up with adjustments in app to be able to help and support local colleagues.

 

What strategies do you use to ensure high-quality data collection during live events, especially under pressure? 

Quite simple and, I am suggesting that to the local team – be 100% focused during game, turn off your private phone (incoming calls, messages, and internet), find spot on venue that is suit to you and open “four eyes”. Also, take a notebook and pencil with you and write tricky situations, so you can update them later. Data collecting is a job as any other and if you are not 100% focused – results will not be high-quality once.

 

How do you maintain effective communication with your data collectors and the central management?  

As I said, I have a long corporate history and have worked in two big trade corporations in management positions, so I am aware of the importance of effective communication. So, communication regarding IMG Arena became a regular part of my working day – as I am checking messages, mails, and newsletters regarding my regular work, I am doing it regarding IMG Arena project. Also, I am an organizational freak – so, I am not able to finish my working day, without covering all written communication (answering or passing needed information).

 

What is one thing about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?  

Most of my local colleagues already knows, but in general I am working four different jobs (including IMG Arena) – beside IMG Arena and my own company, I am also included in project of football club where my young son is playing (as PR, camera guy, supporting social media actions and a lot more) and also my hobby / work – beekeeping 🙂 

 

What makes the sports culture in Montenegro unique compared to other regions, from your experience?  

Tough question, but – answer can be used for all countries on Balkan – last decades was not so easy in this area and sport was a lighthouse for a lot of people, where we tried through success of our sport teams or athletes to color our lives and forget about difficulties. That is a reason people react when you say something bad about Novak Djokovic – for example; we are ready to fight anybody, as we fill as he our own blood.

Also, we are also all the time optimistic about our sport teams and athletes; even if all odds are against us, we will be sure that we will win – alone against the world, something that is built in character of our people and can explained with just one word on our language (that as I know do not have translation on English) – INAT!

 

What role does feedback play in improving your team’s performance, and how do you implement it? 

From start, I was trying to be open to anybody who needs any help regarding IMG Arena project (not only data collection), so firstly – I think that all of us in Montenegro have open and honest communication, where anybody can help and support other colleagues.

Regarding feedback from my side, once when I get information about some mistake or if somebody is asking me something, the best way of communication is phone call – where we can talk about mistakes, discussing (not forcing and talking in a way YOU MUST) about situations and together come to conclusion how to improve and prepare Data collector for future similar situation.

So, feedback is crucial – as I said before, IMG Arena is a serious job like any other and it is not enough that you just love sport. In matter of fact, I like to say that we are doing sport (so our previous understanding of sport and sport rules are not enough), but we are doing data collection – watching match and converting situations on the filed via app and PER AGREED RULES to final customer).

 

If you could have dinner with any athlete, past or present, who would it be and why?

There are many of them but let us say Novak Djokovic and Michael Jordan – legends of sports that achieved so much on and off field, affected so many lives not only through sport. It would be amazing to hear from them how they pushed themselves far above limits and achieved greatness. Any advice from them about life and motivation would be amazing and useful for anyone.

 

Can you share any funny, favourite, or memorable moments from your time as a Regional Coordinator and Data Collector? 

Closing of first football season 2022 / 23…Kinga wanted to honor me and assigned me for a last match of the season – the finale of the Montenegro cup in our biggest stadium; I can say that I was happy as I did not have chance to work on that stadium too much.

The match was starting at 21:00 local time, nice evening, no rain, not so hot temperature. Everything is going like in a dream…

But, at the end of first half, storm started with heavy rain and match interrupted during the half for some 45 minutes…On the start of second half – electricity shut down and lights were off – another 20 min of interruption!

Away team is leading 1:0 and playing well, but somehow (still till today I do not know how) home team is equalizing to 1:1 aaaaaand – we are going to extra time (only duel in our Cup that is playing extra time is final, all other we are going to penalty shootout after 90 min).

Of course – no goals after extra time; it is also passed midnight and SV asked me on Telegram “Marko, do you know that this is the only match in Europe that is playing still in this moment; even Portugal and Iceland finished)”.

Finally, the match finished somewhere in 00:45. Buuuuut, it is not the end – as due to high traffic, I was exiting the parking for more than hour and got home after 2 o clock after midnight.

So, funny night, with a lot of F words used from my side 🙂

 


 

Special field report: Jakub Breś

 

During a recent trip to Montenegro, which was primarily for personal reasons, I decided to take the opportunity to explore the local football scene. As a Data Collection Manager at IMG Arena, I am always keen to see firsthand how our operations unfold in various regions. My destination was a match between Budućnost and Sutjeska at the largest stadium in Montenegro, Stadion Pod Goricom.

Jakub ODCN MontenegroOn the day of the match, I had arranged to meet Marko, our regional coordinator in Montenegro. Marko picked me up from Sutomore, and we had an hour-long drive ahead of us to the capital city, Podgorica. Any potential barriers between us disappeared instantly. Marko’s friendly demeanour and my fluency in the Balkan languages, having lived in Montenegro previously, made for a seamless connection. The picturesque journey, winding through mountains and along Lake Skadar, was filled with engaging conversations about football, life, and our perspectives on the world. Time flew by, and before I knew it, we had arrived at our destination.

The atmosphere around the stadium was electric, with fans and the vibrant pre-match ambience setting the tone. Marko’s children and friends who accompanied us, added to the warmth of the experience. The match itself was thrilling, ending in a 2-2 draw, but the camaraderie and shared excitement were what made it truly memorable.

Montenegro football stadiumThroughout the match, Marko shared fascinating insights and anecdotes about Montenegrin football. One particularly interesting story was about Vasilije Adzić, a player who has captured the nation’s attention and is on the verge of a groundbreaking move to Juventus. This transfer would make him the first Montenegrin to join such a top-tier team.

Although this trip was personal, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to observe our Data Collectors in action. During the match, I met Vuka, one of our diligent Data Collectors. His surprise and delight at my ability to speak Montenegrin was a priceless moment. It was also wonderful to meet another Data Collector, Ivan, after the match. Our brief conversation outside the stadium highlighted the dedication and passion our team brings to their work.

Faced with a choice between heading back to my hotel or enjoying a perfectly chilled beer with my Montenegrin friends, I chose the latter. Ivan and his family’s hospitality was boundless, and I was particularly touched by his daughter’s efforts to learn Polish words.

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my Montenegrin brothers for making this day unforgettable. I had an amazing time and look forward to visiting again.

This experience reinforced my admiration for the work our Data Collectors do and the vibrant football culture in Montenegro. It’s these personal connections and shared experiences that enrich our understanding and appreciation of the global sports community.

Thank you, Montenegro, for an incredible day of football, friendship, and unforgettable memories!

 


 

Interested in becoming a data collector like how Marko Dragovic started? Click here to read more about our ODCN team, or view our current vacancies.

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