Gordana Petković Laković was born in Belgrade in 1960. Along with her family, she moved to Toronto (Canada) in 1994, where she still lives and works. She has been a member of the Association of Serbian Writers since 2015 and Secretary of the ‘Desanka Maksimović’ Association of Serbian Writers in Canada since 2016.
She began her career in IT, working as a quality controller for computer programs, and later became a project manager for many different organisations, receiving multiple awards for her successes. She is the co-owner of a family-run business, ESS Corporation, which manufactures industrial filtration systems, and works there as the Director of Procurement and Marketing.
Gordana Petković Laković is an exceptional mother and wife, the pillar of the family, and remarkably still finds time to support the cultural and humanitarian life of the Serbian community in Canada. She has initiated and organized many events, not only for the Serbian community, but for all Canadians: fashion shows, recitals, exhibitions of paintings and books, theatrical performances and film screenings (at one point she herself was a member of the Serbian Theatre in Toronto), a series of classical music concerts (Clarinet and Piano Duo, Spring Concert, Winter Chamber Music Concert), and a concert given by a Serbian-Canadian contemporary music group. She was a sponsor of the 9th annual concert of the Kir Stefan the Serb choir and of Minstrelle, an album by Kristina Bijelić and Filipe Téllez; a patron of Vojin Vasović for the animated short film Twice Upon a Time; and a sponsor for the programme Biography of the Diaspora. She has collaborated with some of Toronto’s most renowned cultural organisations (Glenn Gould Studio, Isabel Bader Theatre, Opera House, etc.).
With the support of the Serbian Consulate General in Toronto, she succeeded in increasing the popularity of the Serbian tennis tournament and thanks to her it gained widespread acceptance. Through direct collaboration in the form of writing or sponsorship, she actively helped in the running of Serbian Television Toronto (STVT) until the death of its founder, Blagoje Ristić. However, she continues supporting the network in various ways even today. She also writes for the Novine Toronto, the newspaper of the Serbian diaspora.
She has been a co-organizer for many humanitarian causes, most notably For Vanja’s Heart and Put Tesla on the Map. She joined the Tesla campaign and had a definitive and notable impact in exceeding all fundraising expectations. Through her hard work and contacts, at two major fundraisers, hundreds of guest joined in on the festivities and donated. As the newest NTEC Director, she became very active, instrumental and driving force, playing a key role in NTEC’s achievement to rename Burlington Street, Hamilton Ontario to Nikola Tesla Blvd. She proudly participated, as one of the dignitaries in the ribbon cutting celebrations. Thanks to her initiative, as the Serbian flags flew on 10th July 2016 and to the strains of the Serbian national anthem and ‘Tamo daleko’ (‘There, Far Away’), the song played at Tesla’s funeral, the street was given the name of one of the all-time greats. The excess funds have permitted NTEC to introduce the Nikola Tesla Scholarship at McMaster University and offer over 100 additional awards in the name of Nikola Tesla. Gordana now has turned her attention to NTEC’s next initiative to name new school, in Hamilton, Nikola Tesla Secondary School. She has taken the initiative to reach out to people around the world in seeking their support on a petition to demonstrate how important Tesla truly is. Thousand, if not hundreds of thousands of children will learn about Tesla, thanks to Gordana’s effort and dedication to the cause.
Realizing the power of the written word when it comes to saving the Serbian language and traditions, Gordana has come up with an original idea. As part of the ‘Books instead of flowers’ campaign, she buys up a part of the print run of works by both local authors and those who visit from her native land. In nobly giving them as gifts to her friends, Gordana Laković has initiated the idea of private patronage and encouraged benefactors from among the Serbian diaspora.
Within Gordana, there was a growing desire, in fact a need, to put the harsh side of life down on paper, a life darkened by wars and poverty, but also illuminated by the belief that one should always believe and hope. The writers Katarina Kostić and Labud Dragić were the ones who motivated her to write her first book, based on notes of true stories and events that she herself was a part of or a witness to.
Gordana Laković has dedicated this first collection of stories, Dance of Life, to her children Goran and Marija, with the message never to forget their native language or their roots and always to preserve the memory of their homeland; to relay wise stories to future generations; and to show them that the Lord works in mysterious ways, but always for a reason, emphasizing, ‘We cannot change the reason for our arrival in this world, but we are the ones who decide how we will walk these earthly paths – with pride or with shame, with our heads held high or bowed low.