Treating people with honesty and respect is at the forefront of Nela Lazetic's mind every time she handles a dispute. These values were embedded in Nela, a Dispute Officer, from an early age.
"One thing I apply to all disputes is treating the applicant and the financial services provider as I like to be treated," Nela said.
“I definitely think my background has made me more flexible to people’s needs, and not just with language – I think it also comes down to values and beliefs and being mindful of people’s emotions. These things might not sound like much for people who haven’t been through as much,’’ Nela explained.
Nela’s family arrived in Melbourne in 1998 – six years after fleeing the war in their homeland of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We were forced to leave everything behind and go so we ended up moving to Slovakia. We were refugees.”
Her family spent six years in “beautiful’’ Slovakia before deciding to move to Australia.
“My parents thought that seeing as we couldn’t go home, it would be best to go to a developed country and we got a visa to Australia rather than the USA.”
When she arrived at Tullamarine Airport, the then-14 year old Nela knew three words of English – coffee, tea and chicken – thanks to the in-flight menu.
Despite the many challenges, Nela only sees herself as lucky: none of her family or friends were lost in the war and she never witnessed any atrocities. This positive outlook flows into Nela’s professional life.
“I motivate myself and I actually want to work. I enjoy coming into work. I’m a Capricorn and Capricorns always want to achieve and do more,’’ Nela said.
It’s an approach her colleagues appreciate. Nela recently won a FOS Service Excellence Award and her nominees described her as someone who sets a high standard for the rest of the team and who takes on extra tasks without being asked.
Nela says she is thankful to have found her niche at FOS. Although she studied law, she never necessarily wanted to practice it, and she loves being able to use her expertise at FOS to help people experiencing difficult times.
“It’s not only about resolving disputes materially via money – I think that if the dispute officer does their job properly, you will have a satisfied applicant no matter what the dispute outcome is,’’ Nela said.