Growing up, she dreamed of being a marine biologist — like one of her idols, Sylvia Earle. But in college, she said, she took "the practical approach" and studied biometrics systems and electrical engineering, going on to work in Washington, DC, in a niche security-technology role.

Still, she continued to question her career.

"I think there's a sad part of growing up that convinces us that we have this set of things that we have to do or that we're supposed to do," Pavlovic said. So she asked herself: If I have 40 to 50 years in my career to make an impact, where can I help the most?

Pavlovic found her answer in the sustainability industry, specifically in farming and agriculture, where she's built her second career. Today, Pavlovic is the chief operating officer of Agoro Carbon Alliance, a company aiming to reverse the effects of climate change by decarbonizing farming. Agoro launched last June and has since grown to a nearly 80-person team.

The green-tech and sustainability industry is expected to grow by about 20% each year until 2028. And the number of high-paying climate-tech and sustainability jobs is expected to increase substantially over the next decade. Pavlovic's career represents just one of the many paths that people looking to fight the climate crisis can take.

Pavlovic shared with Insider what her typical workday looks like.

6 a.m.

Between 6 and 7 a.m. Pavlovic wakes up and has some personal time before diving into work. She says this routine involves coffee, possibly a workout, and spending time with her "little joy": her dachshund, Schatzi.

8 a.m.

Pavlovic says that when she logs on for work she's pulled into a "reactive mindset" and tends to immediately check Slack or her to-do list, but this doesn't help her see Agoro's full picture.

"When you're working on climate and sustainability, the time horizon is so long for what we're thinking about," she said. "In the climate work that we're doing, there are things that we're starting today that will persist minimum 10, 15, 20 years, but more likely 50 to 100 years."

Ana Pavlovic
Pavlovic and her dachshund. 
Agoro Carbon Alliance

This is why Pavlovic starts her day with what she calls a "work meditation."

"Even if it's just half an hour, I invite our portfolio manager to just sit on long, long, long-term topics with me," she said. "So sometimes we say five years, sometimes we say two years, sometimes we say way longer, and it helps me to connect a lot more to what we're ultimately trying to do and not just the day-to-day tactics."

8:30 a.m.

The next part of Pavlovic's workday is hectic. She balances workers across nine time zones, so she has to be prepared to switch gears and focus on different topics.

For example, one morning she may start by discussing the pricing strategy for corn and soy farmers in the US, then two hours later she's discussing partnerships with pilots in Brazil to fertilize pastureland, then after that, she's pulled into talks on commercial strategy around orchards and tree crops in Europe, and then her team is planning community outreach to small farms in India.

"For me, it's a dream scenario, because I'm usually looking at all of those things in one day," she said. "But I definitely have to be able to switch quickly, one meeting to the next."

Ana Pavlovic
Pavlovic at one of the farms Agoro works with. 
Agoro Carbon Alliance

1 p.m.

Much of Pavlovic's afternoon is taken up by meetings. Prior to the pandemic, she was working remotely and spent the bulk of her working time traveling to visit farmlands or colleagues in different parts of the world.

While traveling had to be put on hold during the pandemic, Pavlovic says the team now tries to have in-person management meetings in the US, and global management meetings in Europe, every one to two months.

5 p.m.

At 5 p.m. Pavlovic checks in with her grandparents, whom she talks to almost every day, and messages or video calls her mother, who lives in Australia and is just waking up for the day.

6 p.m.

Pavlovic tries to sustain her energy and take only a few breaks throughout the day. She says she opts to take a longer "true break" between 6 and 9 p.m., cooking dinner and taking Schatzi for a walk.

When it comes to work-life balance, Pavlovic believes there are two types of people: The first, a minority, claim they've found it, and the second know it's always a struggle.

"One of the most impactful pieces of advice is no one actually does it all — they're just really good at making it look like they do," she said. "Sometimes when I'm on the plane, I feel guilty if I'm not working on my computer. It's innate, no one tells me that, it's just how I feel."

During her break, Pavlovic focuses on activities that keep her mind busy, such as reading, gardening, and restoring her historic home. She says she also makes sure to exercise and to eat healthy foods throughout the day.

Ana Pavlovic
Pavlovic and her partner, Aaron. 
Agoro Carbon Alliance

10 p.m.

At the end of the day, Pavlovic logs back on for 15 minutes to create a list of action items and updates she can send to the teams in the time zones that will be signing on as the US team logs off.

Then she switches back to personal time, reading, and texting friends before going to bed.

Despite the long workdays, Pavlovic says that she loves what she does and that her passion for addressing climate change keeps her motivated.

"I have to remember that's why I love what I do because I'm excited about it," she said. "And sometimes it's overwhelming, but all the best things are."