Connecting, inspiring and empowering women to lead the way

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  • 02 Jun 2009 18:46 | Deleted user

    Isabella is an energetic and dedicated entrepreneur. She is currently putting into practice ideas such as JUMP Forum and Women’s Academy that serve to women’s development and contribute to promoting women as leaders in our society.

    How did you get started? What took you to where you are today?

    I started as an entrepreneur when I still was at the University. I launched a monthly magazine and would never have thought that it could become a real business with books, fairs, goodie bags... I sold my first company 7 years later and rebuilt others afterwards. I have many projects and a lot of these become companies. One of it is "JUMP: empowering women, advancing the economy" because I wanted to offer medias and services to career-minded women!

    What did you have to sacrifice to get where you are, if anything?

    I really LOVE to work. I create my own projects and solutions not as an artist but as an entrepreneur. But the feeling and the passion are the same! I have 3 children and ... had two husbands! Do you really think that I sacrifice something important, even if I'm working 80 hours a week? My children are happy because I am happy. Being satisfied and not feeling guilty enables me to give the best of myself to my children. The only thing that I could do more is taking care of my body by sleeping more, going to the hairdresser, beautician and doing sport. But I'll have time to do that when I am older (perhaps!).

    How how has the work environment changed since you first started working?

    The new generations of the labour market are less dedicated. I have a problem by accepting it because my ambition is to change the world thanks to my working force and it is strange to me that not everybody has the same ambition. I have to work a lot on myself!

    How do you define being successful?

    Success is doing the right thing for me at the right moment. This gives a marvelous sensation. Everybody has a "mission" and to fulfill it is the key to happiness.

    How do you balance work and life?

    Am I balanced? Certainly not according to the majority of women. Balance has absolutely no importance when you do the right job because you will always have enough energy to give to the others.

    What advice would you give to someone else starting up her career?

    Dare!! Whatever you do, do it totally. Do the right thing to you ... only to you! And remember that what is right now, can change several times.

    And finally, what do you do in your spare time?

    Which spare time? ;-))

  • 30 May 2009 18:48 | Deleted user

    Pinnuccia was born in Catania, Italy, in 1967 and graduated with a degree in international politics in 1990. She joined the European Commission one year later.

    At the end of 2004 Pinuccia joined the cabinet of Commissioner for Education and Culture JanFigel where she was in charge of covers lifelong learning policy and all issues concerning universities, including the Bologna process, the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the Erasmus program.

    Since May 2009, Pinuccia has been Head of Unit Multilingualism and translation studies in the Directorate-General for Translation. Her mission is to develop an active approach to multilingualism and translation all over the Commission.

    How do you define being successful?

    Being successful to me means being able to realise one's calling in all the aspects of life: a "complete" and balanced person, who has built enriching and sustainable relationships, has a fulfilling professional life and ... has some dreams left till the end of his/her life!

    Do you have a mentor? If so what role did they play?

    After my parents, my mentors were some great writers (for instance Proust, Dante and Shakespeare). Since I started my career, I realised how much it was important to have a senior mentor, even though in my case I could count more on a kind of network of wise people than on one or two mentors. That's why I have volunteered as a mentor in the WILT initiative: I believe it can be very useful to young women who are at a turning point in their life and/or career.

    How did you get started? What took you to where you are today?

    I started with my "European calling" a long time ago. I was still at school when I came across the (then so-called) "Common Market". I felt attracted by this concept, which involved replacing war and violence with openness, cooperation and mutual understanding. From there on, my strategic (cultural and educational) choices were highly influenced by this perspective. Of course, I also needed determination, hard work and self-confidence - I am not too bad at those ;-). The result was that just after graduating I started working in the Commission - and I have not changed my mind since!

    What did you have to sacrifice to get where you are, if anything?

    The only thing I had to sacrifice was the possibility to live in Italy. When I say that I am Italian, I generally receive a sympathetic look from my interlocutor, who inevitably adds: "Oh, it must be so tough for you here, without sunshine...". I reply that I travel a lot and work so hard that I do not have the time to realise how much sunshine I lack here. So after all it is not such a big sacrifice!

    How have you changed/ or how has the work environment changed since you first started working?

    I started working in the Commission in 1991, clearly a lot has changed since. Europe has become more Europe - in the sense that history has put back together the two pieces of the continent. Working in a European Union of 27 Member States is of course more complex than in a Community of 12, as it was the case in 1991 when I started, but at the same time is very challenging. Many will say that the more you get experienced, the less you become enthousiastic: I can tell you that it is not necessarily so, I continue to believe in Europe and I know plenty of excellent colleagues who do the same.

    How do you balance work and life?

    I balance work and private life (I have three children) very well, thanks to 1) a wonderful man, my husband, who has no gender bias whatsoever ; 2) a professional climate which has evolved a lot since 1991 and has become more and more sensitive to equal opportunities in the Commission, and 3) my determination to comply fully with my responsibilities both at work and at home. I believe that it is possible. Of course, this means that sometimes you have to make difficult choices, but if your priorities are clear and you have the courage to take (sometimes) tough decisions and stick to them, there is no problem. On the contrary, this will gain you appreciation and respect from the others.

    And finally, what do you do in your spare time?

    Actually I do not have much spare time... The positive side is that I am never bored; on the other side, sometimes I would like a bit more time to read, my favourite treat. I also love cinema and theatre; I never watch TV, but I like good films. Moreover I like travelling, cultural events, sport and restaurants (I love good food, wherever it comes from).

  • 30 Apr 2009 18:51 | Deleted user

    “Under my management, I changed the way my team is looking at a chairman; I changed the way a company is managed, introducing a team goal more than individual goals.”

    Viviane Chaine-Ribeiro is President of Lefebvre Software company and a leading woman in the area of IT development, being one of the founders of AFDEL, the French Association of Software Editors.

    How did you get started? What took you to where you are today?

    When I was 35 years old, I just realized that I deeply wanted to become more involved in my professional life. I moved from staff positions in accounting to consulting and then sales report positions and indeed, my life changed quite rapidly. The chairman of the company I was working for gave me my first management position. From that point, things have come to me one after the other, without asking. Nominated, successful, so nominated to another and more important position and so on...

    What did you have to sacrifice to get where you are, if anything?

    I do not want to cry and anything, but I am really convinced that you can't be successful in every domain. It is really difficult to be a wife, a mother and a good professional. Not sure we can succeed on the 3 parts of the day to day components of a woman’s life. My kids and my jobs were the 2 focus of my life up to the days my kids became independent and now I can enjoy my relationship with them without sacrificing my professional part.

    How have you changed or how has the work environment changed since you first started working?

    Pressure, speed, communications.... too many things changed in the last 20 years. Under my management, I changed the way my team is looking at a chairman; I changed the way a company is managed by introducing a team goal more than individual goals.How do you define being successful?

    When your staff, not only your direct reports, recognize you as the manager they're happy to work with, feel being part of a team, are able to explain the company’s strategy (means there is one!!!)... call you for your birthday, are proud to promote their company and colleagues... and at the end of the day, the numbers come and the shareholders are happy... It is simple, isn’t it?

    How do you balance work and life?

    Better now than I did in the past. The more you feel yourself comfortable, the best you can manage you lifetime and share.

    The secret? To have a good management team.

    What advice would you give to someone else starting up/ working in this career?

    Work hard, stay pragmatic, listen to the technicians but decide with your logic. Give consideration to your customer and be tough but right.

    With your staff be tough at work but close to them if anything happened in their life to help them if it is possible.Consider the high level management not as a position but as a mean to achieve goals by applying your ideas.

    And finally, what do you do in your spare time?

    My grand daughter, my husband, my golf and all the list I have got and will never get enough time for.

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