Director of the Zavod Vitae+ programme

Laura Smrekar

I have over 15 years of experience in the job market and in recruitment. My career path started at the world's leading recruitment consultancy, where I learned about the labour market and employment challenges. In 2010, with two other partners, we founded our own consulting company, Competo, which deals with the search and selection of personnel and HR consulting. I am a partner in the firm and I deal with the communication, marketing and project management side of recruitment and selection. I have been involved in the Financial Education for Teachers project for many years as a lecturer and co-author of a textbook for teachers.

I believe that each of us can make the greatest contribution to society by helping with our knowledge and experience. Helping people on their journey is more than just work to me. It is my mission. For many years, I have been helping candidates find new career opportunities and shape their career goals. Our joint project Zavod Vitae+ further bundles our knowledge and experience. The challenges and struggles of top sportsmen and women transitioning to a new path are great.
Over the course of my career, I have had conversations with a number of elite athletes, so I have witnessed their hardship first-hand. Immediately after deciding to start a foundation with my husband to support elite athletes transitioning to a new path, I dove into researching the topic. The fact that almost half of the retired sportsmen and women around the world have mental health issues after their sporting careers have ended shows that they continue to need extra support and help.
The thought that top sportspeople are "the only people who die twice" touched me deeply. The loss after the end of an athlete's career represents a strong pain, which is reflected in the loss of identity. The stage of life they are in requires them to rediscover life. This is the time when they begin to relearn how to live. I believe that the programme of Zavod Vitae+ will help many top athletes at the end of their careers find their identity more easily and with less pain, and face the challenges on a new path.