Hometown: Yorba Linda
Family: Husband, Dr. Mike Milinkovic
First job: Every Saturday when I was 6 years old, I would go with my mom to visit my dad at his office. While there, I took pride in cleaning the desk of a salesman who worked for my dad, and I would also draw him pictures that he would display on his tack board. Each week, he would reward me by leaving a quarter on his desk for a job well done. After a few weeks, I got my first raise. He left me two quarters and a note that said I received a promotion. I was now a rich woman, so I left that gig and opened a lemonade stand in front of our house the next weekend. I knew it was time to go into business for myself.
Worst job: Thankfully, I can’t say I’ve had a worst job experience.
Biggest break: Working with Academy-Award winner David S. Ward (“The Sting,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Major League,” “Fly Boys”). I spent time with David every week while editing my first film, “Freedom from Despair.” His mentoring was instrumental to my development as a filmmaker.
Secret to your success: Passion mixed with hard work, determination and common sense. My parents had a lot to do with it. My dad was a successful no-nonsense kind of businessman who was never easily impressed, and my mom was a dreamer who constantly told me that I could be anything I wanted.
Advice to other women in business: Conceptualize a successful outcome. I always visualize the final result as something great, and it works every time.
As channel manager for PBS SoCal’s OC Channel, Brkusic has helped rebrand what was KOCE-TV with the creation of thousands of new programs and news-crawl headlines about Orange County. Under her leadership, the OC Channel has been called “The Next Generation of PBS” by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and won its 2010 My Source Education Innovation Award. She also won a local Emmy Award as executive producer of the feature documentary “Bloody Thursday,” about the Pacific waterfront strike of 1934, which is airing nationally on PBS stations. And she’s currently co-producing “Mia: A Dancer’s Odyssey,” a documentary about the life of famous ballerina Mia (Corak) Slavenska.
OC METRO'S 20 WOMEN TO WATCH FOR 2011
Carol A. Taylor | Staci Brillhart | Kay S. Napier | Eve Lowey
Julie Lim | Kate Klimow | Monica Wise | Marcy McKenna
Victoria Wade | India Hynes | Farrah Emami | Lisa Wolter
Mary-Christine “M.C.” Sungaila | Shirley Balarezo
Renee P. McLeod | Laura Khouri | Alyson Noël
Brenda Brkusic | Cathy Thomas | Sue Swenson
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