This month, we got an insight into one of our Board Members’ personal and professional life. In this interview, Emanuela Palazzani, Founder & CEO of Atman Advisory, shares ways in which she prioritizes family time and reveals what she does as a daily routine to achieve a better work life balance. Additionally, an indispensable piece of advice, on what to do to ensure you progress up the career ladder, and a message for her younger self, are shared! Further discussion surrounding gender equality and on what the importance is of female networks take place! Interested to know more? Read the interview below to access further information
After graduating with a bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Milan, you joined Rubinetterie Teorema SpA as marketing & strategic lead. After 10 years, you were assigned the position of CEO. In your opinion, what qualities does an individual require if they want to move up the career ladder?
I started my career by working for 25 years in a family owned business, later moving into the corporate world. Although the qualities required to move up the career ladder hugely differ between a multinational cooperation and a family business, something which can apply to both, is to ensure that you make time to listen to all employees’ perspectives and thoughts. This is done best by being present in the “C-Suite”.
Professional development doesn’t come from pursuing your own agenda. On the contrary, you must be open to different inputs as this allows you to evaluate your own ideas and potentially offers a new way of looking at situations, which in turn allows you to flourish as an individual and a professional.
You are presently the founder and CEO of Atman Advisory, a consulting firm focused primarily on strategic, financial and marketing advisory to Italian SMEs. Since 2013, you have collaborated with Softlab S.p.A., an ICT company based in Rome. What has this collaboration entailed?
I advise Softlab on the strategic, financial and marketing side of things in a full 360 degrees and coming from an industrial background, I felt I could really utilize my expertise through this collaboration. I don’t like to advise firms from the “side-lines”, I like to be at the “front-line” and immerse myself within the company, so much so, that I feel as if it is my own company that I am advising.
I like to advise firms from the “front-line”.
Whilst leading your own consultancy firm, being on the board of numerous organizations, contributing to prominent publications and speaking at different international conferences, how do you balance personal and professional life and is there a daily routine to which you stick to?
The work that I do requires a lot of travelling, therefore my daily routine often includes packing and unpacking! However, being a mother has always been my main priority and I therefore always ensure I secure time for my family. My daughter is now 27 years old; this means I have more time for social engagements and have undevoured upon new activities.
For example, I do breathing techniques and meditations every morning. These are skills I learnt whilst I was in India and which have taught me that being aware and embracing the different emotions you are faced with will allow you to assess what areas in life you need to prioritize.
Although I am still trying to master work life balance, I have also come to realize that trust and clarity are essential in securing a stable work and family balance. This is why communicating with my friends and family via Facetime or WhatsApp is something I also do every day!
Routine is good in all aspects, specifically so for one’s health!
Being aware and embracing the different emotions you are faced with, will allow you to assess what areas in life you need to prioritize.
You are the only Italian to have been admitted to the second edition of the "Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director" Executive Course, held at Harvard Business School. What were the main pointers you took away from this course.
Till now, I am still the first Italian to have been admitted. Although it was really demanding, it was an incredible experience! This course has equipped me with the necessary skills needed for being a leader of the future! For example, I was taught how best to fire and hire CEOs and how to encourage and advise management.
I have tried to implement these new skills in my role different roles, including as Board Member at WIL Europe.
I have also become aware of the importance of life-long learning and therefore, my one advice to you would be to never stop studying.
You are currently a Board Member at WIL Europe and were previously a National Deputy Chairperson of AIDDA (Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Company Executives). Why do you feel female networks are important?
Female networks are very important but only a few selective ones are really influential! WIL Europe is among them, as a high-level association full of women with advanced careers and motivated personalities.
I am particularly proud to be a Board Member of WIL Europe because it is a very selective network, thus enabling a community of like-minded women across Europe to meet, exchange and learn from each other! In addition, WIL Europe organizes diverse and unique events on relevant and pressing matters, therefore offers insights and knowledge for the future!
WIL Europe organizes diverse and unique events on relevant and pressing matters.
You are a strong advocate of female development. Throughout your years in business, what changes have you seen with regards to enhanced gender equality and what do you feel are the hurdles that still need to be overcome?
To achieve the top positions in politics, finance, insurance companies and so forth, we still have a lingering way to go if we are to reach total gender equality. Although there is a lot to do, I strongly encourage women to continue to bring gender discrimination to light and to not stop fighting against the bias we face.
The motto I live by is “the ones who dare succeed.” If you dare, it means you have the competencies to fight the discrimination that still pertains throughout society. You must have self-confidence and believe that you are capable of achieving any position possible!
We always end our interviews with a question from Proust’s questionnaire, therefore: if there is one thing you could say to your younger self, what would it be?
I will refer to Pablo Picasso who once stated that the past is something which occupies too much space in your brain. Therefore, I would have said to my younger self to be more focused on the present and not to worry so much about the past. Alongside being focused on the present, we must look into the future as this is the only place we are going to live, the past is done and cannot be undone.
I would have said to my younger self to be more focused on the present and not worry about the past.