You wouldn’t know from Account Development Manager Ida Sisic’s positive disposition that, years ago, her family faced seemingly impossible odds just to stay safe and together. But perhaps today’s positivity is largely a result of her triumph over those obstacles and the resiliency she accumulated along the way.
Ida’s family is from Bosnia and Herzegovina—and at just 12 years old, she became a child refugee during the Bosnian War. A “refugee” is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or a natural disaster. When her father was captured and held in a concentration camp as an act of genocide due to his Muslim beliefs, her mother—a Catholic—was able to flee with Ida and Ida’s sister to nearby Croatia, where they lived for six months. After applying for asylum in the Netherlands, they reunited with Ida’s father nearly one year after his capture. Upon learning their asylum was denied, the family moved to Germany and lived there for five years. Denied asylum once again, Ida’s parents applied for refugee visas in the United States and moved here in 2000. They all remain in Georgia today.
“The constant traveling from country to country and learning different languages was probably the most difficult part of the journey,” reflects Ida. “And until you’re permanently rooted, the sheer feeling of not knowing your next step was mentally hard…but the experience made me tougher. My parents’ determination taught me to never give up—no matter what!”
Now an American citizen with children of her own, Ida is grateful for the opportunity to let her true self shine through. “The best advice I’ve ever received is to always be myself and embrace my personality,” she says…and that personality is one of the traits her coworkers admire most about her. “I am a people person and love helping others reach a common goal,” she explains.
“We all have different experiences that we classify as trauma and being a refugee was mine,” she says. “But I remind myself daily that anything is possible…and the only person that can stand in your way is you.”