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Careers at McKesson Europe: From Warehouse to Head Office

With a series of employee portraits, we shine a spotlight on different colleagues from different functional areas and locations. This time, Janko Kozamernik talked with us about his career at Kemofarmacija in Slovenia.

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Janko Kozamernik, Head of Finance and Controlling at Kemofarmacija

Janko, what’s your position at Kemofarmacija?
I am the Head of Finance and Controlling, and I run everything related to operational finance on a daily basis, including real estate and the controlling function, too. I directly supervise four people.

Can you describe your career path so far and what motivated you to take the steps you did?
I joined Kemofarmacija 27 years ago. After finishing high school with a technical education, I started working in the warehouse as a picker. During this time I also finished a university degree in economics, focused on banking and finance.

When a colleague in the finance department retired, the finance director invited me to join his team. Computers were just being introduced into the company at the time, and I had some experience with them. I started by handling invoices; then my managers saw that I had strong analytical capabilities and invited me to become a financial planner.

In 2009, I took over the controlling department. Two years later, the head of finance retired, and the board decided to merge the two departments. I was made head of both.

What have been the major decision criteria for your career steps?
I never planned career steps. I planned my education and worked hard. Others came to me and asked: ”Janko, would you want to do this job?”

Any surprising change moments in your career?
When they took me out of the warehouse! I was already planning to look around for another job once I finished my degree and if there were no opportunities at Kemofarmacija. But luckily the company looked internally and promoted me.

What is most interesting if you look back at your own career?
It was very interesting to take part in McKesson Europe’s GROW and DRIVE leadership programmes. When you are in a small country like Slovenia, you have a different perspective. When I travel to one of Kemofarmacija’s properties, it takes an hour, and I’m already at the edge of the country!

The leadership programmes really added value to my language skills, my ability to deal with people from other countries and with cultural communications. I also became familiar with different kinds of leadership approaches. It was good for me.

In your opinion, what are the criteria for a successful career?
First, to work on yourself. Get a good education, be patient, be respectful to others. Learning to communicate well is also one of the most important things. You have to choose the right way and right time to communicate with others. For example, if you are too pushy, you can threaten those above you. But if you don’t speak up at all and show interest, they will think you have nothing to give. I have learned that strategy over time.

Did you plan your career path or did you follow opportunity?
It always happened that people picked me for promotions. I didn’t plan it.

To what extent do you think a career can be planned?
You can plan a career, but there is no guarantee that it will be achieved. I think it’s good to plan how you want your future to be but not how you’ll get there. It usually takes longer than you expect.

What’s next for you professionally?
I am very satisfied with my career, and I’ve been satisfied with every job. There is only one step further to go in my company – Finance Director – and I would be happy to be selected for this. On the other hand, I would not be disappointed to stay in this job. If an opportunity came to go abroad, I would be open to it.

What one piece of advice would you give someone who is starting a career at McKesson Europe? 

Be patient. Do the best work you can. Don’t be pushy but let people know you exist. Do all that, and you’ll be chosen.

What did you dream about becoming when you were a child?
A professional skier. I love to ski, but when I was growing up in Yugoslavia, very few people had the chance to get that level of training. And you had to live near the mountains - I grew up in Ljubljana.

It's Sunday afternoon. Where would we find you?
Usually outside. In winter, on the slopes. Other times of the year, I would be taking a walk with our beagle.