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Meet Mile Milisavljevic. Based in Houston, Texas, Mile is a Principal in Deals Strategy, where he helps energy companies discover and execute deal opportunities. He’s also a parent and has a passion for learning, teaching and volunteering.
In addition to facilitating learning and development for his team at PwC, Mile is a mentor at Minds Matter, a nonprofit dedicated to coaching underprivileged kids to get into college. “I believe that the best way to influence people is directly and on an individual basis. Creating a meaningful personal experience for one person will have a network effect as that person does the same for another person and so on. I have a real passion for enabling learning and helping people reach their full potential.”
Mile attended the esteemed Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for his MBA. “Being at Wharton was a transformational time in my life. I was proud and humbled to be in that program. There was always someone more knowledgeable than I, which was humbling. But I felt pride in knowing that I reciprocated that for others in the program. I was way out of my comfort zone at Wharton – in a good way – and it pushed me to become even more.”
Mile grew up in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, and moved to the US for college. “Serbs tend to be resilient people. The country has been caught between big forces of power and has had to figure out how to stay independent and maintain its cultural integrity. Resilience, flexibility and grit seem to be part of our DNA, along with straightforward directness that can be disarming, yet welcome. I appreciate these Serbian traits within myself and I think my employees and my clients have come to appreciate them as well.”
Mile feels most inspired when he’s put in unfamiliar situations. “To find my creativity, I need to be 10% out of my comfort zone. That enables me to be present in the moment and that’s a trigger of energy generation in me. Innovation is an output of that energy.”
Mile accessed that innovation and was awarded three patents during his years as an electrical engineer. “I do this even more at PwC. We’re innovating on a daily basis – innovating deal support for our clients, innovating leadership and development for our employees… we’re finding new ways to go beyond the known boundaries.”
When working with his employees, Mile plays the long game. “Our people are top notch – it’s a differentiating factor for PwC. It is essential to develop and retain our employees and one of the key ways I help them do this is by teaching them to manage their energy. I’m a firm believer in PwC’s Energy Audit. This program is designed to help employees manage their energy and stay healthy. It also helps them find ways to increase and renew their energy so they don’t get depleted and burned out. I love this approach and help my team make this a priority.”
A common thread through Mile’s life is his problem-solving skills, which he honed during his previous career as an electrical engineer and in grad school. When looking for his next career move, Mile wanted to focus on problems affecting society on a large scale. “Through my research, I determined the biggest problems facing the U.S. today are around healthcare, education and energy. I was drawn to work in the energy field because of my background and also because accessibility to energy has an enormous impact on our daily lives and on our potential. Accessibility to energy enables us to be massively productive and ultimately creates freedom for our entire society.”
When Hurricane Harvey brought devastation to Houston in August 2017, Mile jumped into action to help with the rebuilding efforts. “At a time like this, every pair of hands helps. Since the hurricane, I’ve been spending my free time going from house to house to help with the demolition effort. My team and I have volunteered at local charities to help with critical needs like providing food for people who were displaced from shelters. This has been an incredibly difficult time for our city. I feel a deep sense of pride in being part of a community that can come together with care and compassion and make a difference for each other.”
Mile maintains a constant focus on his 13-year old son, ensuring that family comes first no matter what else is happening in his life. “My son means the world to me. He jokes that he’s 50% Serbian from me, 50% Peruvian from his mother, and 100% Texan. And it’s true. He embodies characteristics of all three countries and is a true citizen of the world. We make it a point to travel to a new country every year. While we’re there, we really immerse ourselves in the local history and culture. I can see the impact it has by the way he absorbs and questions what’s happening in the world. And, he’s also a teenager. Right now, he’s into 80s music (think Iron Maiden and Duran Duran) and anything that has to do with an Xbox. And because he’s on the cusp, he’s still very much into his Legos.”
Living in a large city and traveling often for work and pleasure, Mile looks to nature to get grounded. “I try to get to the mountains 20 to 30 days a year – either skiing, climbing or hiking. Being in nature helps me remember my place in the greater scheme of things. I feel humble when I look up at the trees and the mountains and I get an important reality check of where I fit into all of it. It brings me a great deal of peace to be out there in the wild.”