Why did you choose a career in this sector?
In my life there have been a few events that led me to work in the banking and financial fields. I would quote Steve Jobs who said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”. After graduating in Economics in Rome, I completed a Masters in Economics and Management of Financial and Insurance intermediaries at the LUISS Business School in Rome.
In 1996 I stepped in the Italian Banking Association – Finance Sector – to contribute to the so-called “Euro Project” aiming at the creation of the Single European monetary Union, which came to light in 1999 with the EURO coin. Afterwards, completed this very relevant institutional experience, I took my first challenge joining a Telecom operator start-up, Finance Sector. At that period, from the high-level perspective of institutional project, I learned what was a telco company, how important were infrastructures, technology in the customer experiences in their financial process. I learned so many operational aspects all of that very important to become a bold manager.
In 2001, I took the challenge to come back to ABI to take care of the start-up of the Association for Interbank Corporate Banking (ACBI), aiming at defining the governance of the most important Italian cash management service used today by more than 3 million of Italian corporates. Since that time, much water flew under the bridge.
As of today, in my position of CEO of CBI, the industry utility supporting the Italian financial system, I have been always following innovative projects facilitating the relationship between companies-citizens-Public Administration and Payment Service Providers as well as the projects related to the relationship between incumbent and newcomers. The transactional services sector, which has played a key role in financial innovation in recent years, is certainly stimulating.
For example, under my responsibility with a strong commitment and a strategic vision CBI Globe – a collaborative open banking platform- has been launched, recognized as an international best practice and able to simplify the connection between banks and fintechs within the framework of PSD2. Furthermore, CBI Globe allows Payment Services Providers to develop value-added services and compete in the new international payment scenario.
What does the International Women’s Day slogan, #EachforEqual mean for you in your work life?
This slogan is part of the culture of CBI. As a CEO of the company I have stuck to it over the last years. I have been managing resources promoting inclusive and diverse working environment.
In CBI and outside the company, I’m seriously and personally Committed in taking occasion to promote gender equality by joining, and sometime organising, national and international conferences in support of this topic. Furthermore, in the wake of the Italian Golfo-Mosca Law – which requires public companies to balance gender equality in the recruitment of directors – I also have carried out few researches unveiling the impact of this emerging law in the financial sector. These results have been widely discussed on the occasion of a series of conferences.
Furthermore, in Italy I am member of the jury of the annual R.O.S.A. award (Results Obtained Without Aid), promoted by Canova club to encourage gender equality. The prize celebrates the virtue and is a concrete and tangible example to future generations as it shows that through commitment, earnestness, hard work, you can achieve any goal.
On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Be always curious and open to learn from new and various experiences.
The job barrier for women is not so much at the beginning, but it rises with the advancement of the career and in the period in which the professional path should reach its peak. In fact, between 30 and 40 years old, when the career for men reaches a peak, women too often find themselves forced to make choices between work and family.
Companies need coaching, mentoring and international contamination.
Cultural heritage still contributes to creating penalizing scenarios for tomorrow’s leaders: man is educated as the one who will have to support the family. The woman is not. On the contrary, it would be advisable to teach our daughters to be economically independent. Women must be less afraid of leaving their comfort zone and try to be autonomous, without fear of disappointing others.
Finally, I consider team working crucial to achieve good results. For this reason, it is essential to be surrounded with a trusted team who can help you mould your career.