BlackRock’s annual Hackathon is a great way for employees all over the world to lean into their passions and advance remarkable ideas that help serve those around them. At an innovative company like BlackRock, winning the Hackathon is no small feat, with thousands across the firm participating each year. This year’s Hackathon theme was sustainability – and the winning team from our Belgrade, Serbia, office was up to the challenge.
Bee BlackRock was created by Tanja Babic, Dimitrije Veljkovic, Filip Cordas, Gordana Pejic, Kristina Stanojevic and Nenad Nikolic. The Hackathon-winning mobile platform uses gamification to encourage colleagues across the firm to achieve sustainable goals together. According to Gordana, “We thought we could make something all of us could use.” Bee BlackRock inspires users to adopt a variety of lifestyle hacks that can help make a significant impact on both the environment and society – decreasing individual carbon footprints and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in our everyday lives.
Belgrade is one of BlackRock’s most important tech hubs and a center for the development of eFront and Aladdin, the foundation for the firm’s technology platform. With ~550 colleagues – two-thirds of whom are women – the Belgrade office is our fourth largest office in Europe. Hundreds of Belgrade-based engineers, data analysts, project and relationship managers and more support our Aladdin clients around the world.
“This office is critical for our alternatives and Aladdin strategies,” notes Benoit Doumas, Head of the Belgrade office and a senior leader on the Aladdin Product Group team.
With such important work happening, our Belgrade office has seen tremendous growth, going from 80 people seven years ago to more than 500 today – and it’s only continuing to expand, particularly as a key piece of BlackRock’s global technology strategy.
“Everyone in the office really wants to participate in the life of BlackRock,” says Marina Jeremic, who leads HR in Belgrade. The Bee BlackRock team is just one example, spurring innovation that brings together employees across the firm toward a common purpose. And BlackRock isn’t wasting any time getting the team’s idea up and running, as Bee BlackRock and the firm’s SustainaBLK network are partnering to implement a Net Zero challenge app for all employees.
“The 2021 Hackathon experience, with all of the amazing Belgrade hackers and supporters involved, was energizing, creative, fun, emotional and memorable,” remarks Ana Zaric, Global Head of Customer Support for the eFront product suite and one of this year’s Hackathon leads from Belgrade.
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