International HR Day celebrates the critical role HR professionals play in fostering positive work environments and driving organizational growth. 

To mark this International HR Day, we sat down with our one and only People Operations Manager, Daniela Červeni, to learn more about her journey, insights, and the impact of HR on organizational success.  

With a background in psychology and a decade of experience in the IT industry, Daniela has been an essential part of our team for almost 6 years. She leads a talented team of women who together shape our inclusive and supportive workplace.  

Let’s dive into Daniela’s journey, her thoughts on the current state of women in the IT industry, and her advice for aspiring HR professionals. 

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came into the HR field? 

I hold a master’s degree in psychology. When I first enrolled in university, I aimed to become a clinical psychologist, perhaps even a psychotherapist. However, during the course of my studies, my interests shifted more and more towards the field of organizational psychology. 

Q: How has your background in psychology influenced your approach to HR and people management? 

Psychology helps me in many ways. Firstly, understanding psychological processes, the manifestation of certain behaviors, and the outcomes of expected behaviors greatly aids in predicting future behavior. This is, after all, the goal of the selection process: to assess future success in a given role and company. 

Another important aspect is statistics and the understanding of the significance of measuring and tracking various organizational parameters. I have a strong affinity for numbers and believe that measurement is the only way to truly determine if we are doing something correctly.  

Additionally, my general love for science and keeping up with scientific research has helped me become better at my job. It allows me to understand the impact of different factors on motivation, behavior, and ultimately, results. 

Although HR might seem from a distance to be solely about people skills, it is management like any other, requiring specific knowledge of human behavior. 

Q: What initially drew you to BrightMarbles, and what has kept you here for almost 6 years? 

When I started working at BrightMarbles, the company had 25 people. I was attracted to the fact that it was a small company with great people. The situation is similar today, except the company is no longer that small. 

I love that working at BrightMarbles involves a lot of autonomy and the opportunity to work with smart, capable, and dedicated people.  

Q: How do you think HR contributes to the success of an organization and the well-being of its employees? Can you provide an example from your experience at BrightMarbles? 

To create and deliver a good product, the team must collaborate in such a way that they share the same common goal, and individual team members must be satisfied. High turnover rates lead to increased organizational costs, and in an organization like ours, which operates in the service industry and works with clients, it can also lead to a decrease in clients’ trust in the company.  

When an open position arises, HR is responsible for leading the selection process to find a new candidate with the highest likelihood of success in the position and the team. 

HR also plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth processes with the aim of achieving the company’s goals. 

If I had to highlight an initiative I particularly enjoyed, it would be implementing a feedback process. Feedback is a significant motivator and is essential for everyone in the company to understand what they are already doing well and where they need to improve. Feedback is always given in the best interest of the person receiving it. 

Q: What’s a typical day like for you as the People Operations Manager at BrightMarbles? 

A: I believe that no two days are ever the same, and it largely depends on the projects we are engaged in that day. We usually start the day with planning and a daily meeting, and then, as a team, we tackle the relevant tasks within the projects we are currently working on.  

Following that, I might be involved in HR coffees with colleagues, which are informal check-ins to understand their needs and gather feedback. 

In the afternoon, I often have strategic meetings with management to discuss long-term goals and HR initiatives. Additionally, I spend time conducting HR interviews with potential colleagues, ensuring we find the right fit for our team. There are also days when I’m deeply involved in brainstorming sessions for new HR initiatives or refining our existing processes. This variety keeps my role exciting and allows me to continuously learn and grow.  

Q: Can you share a memorable experience from your time at our company that had a significant impact on you?  

A: The most significant personal impact on me was the project of expanding the HR team, where I had the opportunity to be the hiring manager for the team members, in addition to leading the process. I believe we did an excellent job because, and this might sound very cliché, but out of several billion people in the world, the four best HR/office team members are in BrightMarbles in Novi Sad. 

Q: What initiatives or projects are you most passionate about within the company? 

There are so many initiatives that I can’t choose just one. I am excited about every new team member, every success in working with clients, every piece of positive feedback directed at individuals in the company, and every socially beneficial initiative in the field of knowledge sharing and community contribution. 

Q: How would you describe the team you lead?  

A: I love that every person on the team works very well with each other. Each team member is dedicated to their personal work and development, learning, and giving their best. 

And if you ever thought that only extroverts can work in HR, you are mistaken. This is predominantly a team of introverts with good communication skills. So, we have a phone number in our email signature, but please don’t call us. Just kidding! Despite the quirks that each team member may have, we remain professional at all times.  

And probably the best part of leading the BrightMarbles’ HR team is seeing our people work on world-changing software solutions. 

Q: With HR being such a dynamic field, how do you stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices? Who or what inspires you in your professional life? 

A: I love psychology as a science and its application in HR. I enjoy reading new research in this field. What mainly drives me is the desire to learn. 

Q: The IT industry is mostly made up of sedentary jobs, and HR is no exception. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? 

In simplest terms, I don’t. But, like every person approaching a midlife crisis, I’m preparing to run a half marathon. 

Q: Can you share your thoughts on current state of women in the IT industry? What progress have you seen, and what challenges remain? 

Women make up one-third of the workforce in the IT industry. And when I say that, I also include women’s participation in non-technical areas. There is still much room for improvement, but I am very proud that girls from the generations now entering university more often choose engineering as a profession.  

Additionally, today’s generations positively contribute to building a more inclusive society as a whole, and such attitudes are reflected in the IT industry as well. 

Although IT is often referred to as a meritocratic field, according to statistical data, women earn less than men for the same performance. This is an area where, in addition to increasing women’s participation in the IT industry, much work needs to be done. I don’t have a specific proposal on how to improve this.  

At BrightMarbles, we strive, by having adequate processes, to prevent such a situation, and I believe that in addition to the changes that the industry needs to make, women should also be empowered to demand more according to their merits. 

Q: BrightMarbles is known for its inclusive culture. Can you tell us about some community initiatives that BrightMarbles is involved in, especially those related to inclusion and mental health awareness? 

BrightMarbles is actively engaged in activities aimed at enhancing our community. 

Last month, we organized our first initiative to help children and young people on the autism spectrum learn programming, in collaboration with a local center. We received an excellent response from participants, and I am extremely proud of my colleagues who assisted them in mastering the basics of programming in Scratch. This is an initiative we plan to continue regularly. 

In previous years, we ran a similar initiative for girls, aiming to increase the inclusion of women in the IT sector. 

Additionally, our cybersecurity team is involved in numerous initiatives, training sessions, and educational activities within their field of expertise. One of the upcoming initiatives we are excited about is educating our senior citizens on internet safety, in collaboration with a local center. 

Besides improving our community, we also focus on enhancing our own team. Recently, we organized workshops on healthy eating, and this month, a specialist will give a lecture on mental health. 

Q: If you could have any superpower to help you in your HR role, what would it be and why? 

Predicting the future. Since the hiring process is about predicting how well someone will perform in the job we’re hiring for, this would be a useful superpower. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in HR, particularly in the IT sector? 

I’ll sum it up in the following few points:  

  • Learn to communicate clearly and precisely. 
  • When you do something, understand why you’re doing it. HR isn’t just people skills and administration; it also requires a deep understanding of human behavior and organizational functioning. 
  • Always deliver as promised. 
  • Improve yourself but choose your sources of knowledge wisely (do not trust people who recommend NLP).  
  • Measure everything.  
  • No matter how much you’re told that colleagues aren’t friends, colleagues are friends, and it will be tough every time they leave. 

Q: Looking to the future, what are your goals for the HR department at BrightMarbles? 

A: Regarding our HR department, our goal is to elevate the planning and measurement of achieved results across all our activities.  

Another objective is to maintain and increase our participation in community initiatives.  

Lastly, our two major projects focus on enhancing our feedback system and organizing a Leadership Academy. 


As we wrap up this insightful conversation with Daniela Červeni, it’s clear that her expertise and passion for HR have significantly contributed to the success and well-being of our team at BrightMarbles. On this International HR Day, we celebrate not just Daniela, but all HR professionals who work tirelessly to create positive and productive work environments. Their dedication ensures that organizations like ours can thrive and grow. We invite you to reach out to us, share your thoughts, and join us in celebrating the incredible impact of HR. 

About Daniela 

Daniela Cerveni is a People Operations Manager at BrightMarbles. During her stint at our company, Daniela has built the HR team from scratch, having helped hire dozens of exquisite engineers and back-office professionals.  

A holder of a master’s degree in psychology and a certified psychotherapist, Daniela is one of the pillars of BrightMarbles Group.