Archive for the ‘PWA Milan events summary’ Category

Emotional Intelligence Presentation

mercoledì, dicembre 18th, 2013

At our November 27 Speaker Meeting, Mariella Bisaccia, Senior Executive Coach, presented: “Emotional Intelligence @ Work”

Thank you Mariella for the informative and interactive presentation!

For those who were unable to make it, please find the presentation here available to download.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

mercoledì, ottobre 16th, 2013

Mikkel Draebye, PhD, BA, MSc and MBA, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Sports Management at SDA Bocconi School of Management, revisited PWA Milan as he led an interactive discussion about the psychology and decision-making process of entrepreneurs.

What we hear about and read about is the “corporate” or “Kotler approach” to starting a business, the structured and rather inflexible process that includes creating and sticking to a business plan. However, is that really how 99% of entrepreneurs operate? Reading some case stories of start-ups we discovered a very different kind of thinking, one that includes great flexibility as opposed to stickling to plans that may not work, risk-sharing with partners and collaborators, and often the attitude “sales before production” to ensure that the product or service will be desired, and more importantly paid for. Remember the Pet Rock? Often an element of trial and luck can lead to great successes.

Prof. Draebye referred us to Saras Sarasvathy, who compared the decision-making mindset of entrepreneurs versus that of  business students’ and developed “The Principles of entrepreneurial management” based on her research.  Going over these principles, we talked about how they can be applied not only to aspiring entrepreneurs but also within corporate culture.

The presentation can be find here. Some pictures from the event are on our facebook page.


Tips for reinvention

giovedì, giugno 27th, 2013

PWA’s “Reinventing Yourself” panel speakers, Roberta Mell, Catriona Wallis, Francesca Mastrogiacomi and Beatrice Vozzi shared their stories with us in a lively event on June 19 2013.  From Hollywood to tomato farming, teaching to a tech start-up, academics to Google, and IT to Logistics to HR, each of these women had a few lessons they learned through their transformations.  Below are some of the common themes that we took away from  these remarkable women who have found new and exciting paths:

Stay positive. Being happy takes practice.

Don’t be afraid to innovate. Itàs ok to be different.

Everyone has a talent waiting to be discovered.

Do what is you. Follow your gut instinct.

Find opportunities in change. You don’t always have to look elsewhere. Examine what you are doing here and now.

Fear is part of life. Accept it and keep moving.

And…it’s ok to be afraid, but take risks anyway.


Change through political action: Women in politics

giovedì, giugno 27th, 2013

By Elodie Denieul

Marina Calloni Women in Politics PWA Milan

Marina Calloni

On May 22, 2013, PWA Milan organised a well-attended panel discussion on women in politics in Italy, more precisely on what could and should be a female leadership in politics.
Four women, with diverse and striking backgrounds shared their points of view with us:
-    Chiara Bisconti, member of the city council of Milan in charge of quality of life, sport, spare time, human resources, animal welfare, park and town planning, after having been Human Resources director of Sanpellegrino and leader of the Nestlé Gender Balance Project until 2011;
-    Marina Calloni, expert in politics and professor at the Milan-Bicocca University in the department of sociology and social research;
-    Lucia Castellano, Director of different penitential institutions, among them the Bollate prison until 2011, when she joined the city council of Milan, before being elected at the regional assembly of Lombardia;
-    Gabriella Danza, E.U senior expert consultant in charge of technical and financial assessment of the projects under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean on good governance, decentralisation, youth and women advocacy / public policy, after having been in charge of international programs on gender equality and women’s empowerment and rights in the Balkans, the Middle-East, North Africa and Yemen.
- Laura La Posta, journalist at Sole 24 Ore and editor-in-chief of Rapporti 24, acted as mediator.

La Posta, started with the joke: “Had it been Lehman Sisters, it wouldn’t have resulted into this mess,”and introduced the debate with a question: how can women change politics in a positive way?

Calloni made two observations: first, over the past decades, women have obtained participation and representation; however, what about leadership? Second, the female voting abstention rate is much higher than the male one. Hence, this question: what is the relation between formal (numeric) representation and substantial (quality) representation? In this respect, the 2013 election campaign was the worst since a long time: even though women have never been as numerous in the Parliament as today, their presence in the media during the campaign was one of the poorest ever. Calloni also noted that all the progress in female representation in politics has been obtained thanks to incentives, such as the law “pari opportunità” dated 23 November 2012. She insisted on the importance of proposing and sponsoring political education aimed at women, as well as maintaining close contact with the constituency.

Danza, who worked in the Middle-East and in the Balkans, underlined how difficult it was to introduce the North-European experience in those regions, where religions have a strong influence on family life, which explains why women are more reserved in politics than in other regions of the world but how despite the struggle were the ones healing their countries. In Italy, she sees sexism and ageism as the main obstacles to a meaningful female presence in politics. Danza underlined that the social fabric in the Balkans was reconstructed by the women: they were the ones who dared to take challenges. She regretted that in Italy, due to materialism, eagerness for challenges and vision have declined.

According to Bisconti, the difficult times we have been going through since 2008 should not be considered only as a crisis, as they are more about a true change of society. She added that diversity of experiences should be valued – e.g. in the public sector, experience of one who has worked in the private sector and thus has a pragmatic approach; likewise, a woman has to maintain her way of seeing things in order to affect change, at the same time, to be conscious that men have their own different ways of thinking. She thus reminded how the “Legge Golfo-Mosca” was passed: known under the names of the two women members of parliament who sponsored it, it is the perfect example of a bipartisan law. She then announced that the city council is working on a project of exchange between the public and the private sectors. She further encouraged women to get involved in “consigli di zona”, which are, according to her, a really good way to become educated about politics.

In this respect, Calloni underlined the interest of the “liste civiche”. She regretted that the dignity of public work has been declining and insisted on the importance of teaching the fundamental civic principles and the institutions to the young.

Everyone agreed on the need to “mettere al mondo la politica di nuovo” as  Monica Pesce, PWA president, concluded the meeting inviting everyone of us to get involved, declaring that in these times of discontinuity, women can and must make the difference.

Fourth edition of PWA Mentoring Program officially started!

lunedì, maggio 20th, 2013

by Gini Dupasquier,  PWA Professional Development Director & Mentoring Program Leader 

PWA Milan Mentoring 2013

 The 2013 edition of the PWA mentoring Program is now up and running. The Program received huge interest and this year it will involve a record number of 106 women divided into 53 mentor-mentee pairs.

On May 6th we held a special evening dedicated to our Mentors, with the goal of sharing best practices and useful hints on how to manage the mentoring relationship. With the help of Valerie Ryder, an experienced professional, we discussed what the most important skills a Mentor should have. We then learned from the direct experience of three Mentors from last year and how they helped their Mentees define and break down their goals. Many thanks to the excellent contribution of Annarosa Borzacchiello, Liana Dugaro and Andrea Cairella.

On May 15th, we held the official kickoff workshop involving all participants. That was the occasion for the pairs to meet for the first time, break the ice and start their relationships. Over the next 6 months, from May to December, they will meet to work on professional development objectives defined during the workshop.

Are you wondering how the pairs were matched?
The job of matching was long and carefully thought out. In March each applicant sent us her CV and the application form, indicating the specific areas in which she desired the support of a mentor: the more details provided, the more likely we were to find a good match with a mentor with the competencies and / or professional background particularly suitable to that specific mentee. Similarly, mentors sent us their experience and their strong areas in which they felt they could contribute.

We read and re-read all the CVs, forms and information and slowly the individual pairs came to light.  When we were undecided between two mentees with similar requests, the mentee with seniority in PWA membership had priority.

When mentee requests were a bit vague, if possible we asked for more details in person, in other cases we applied a little common sense and creativity. At the end of this process, we are satisfied with the matches; the ball is now in the participants’ court.
In addition to compatibility “on paper”, chemistry and openness will now make a huge difference…

Good luck to all Mentors and Mentees!

For any query please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at the Mentoring Team: myself or Karolina Wrobel or Valeria Cardillo Piccolino at the usual address: professional@pwa-milan-org


Rita Polarolo Big Time: Attracting the Means to Get There

domenica, maggio 12th, 2013

By Jiska van der Kooij, Speaker Event Director PWA

On the 17th of April we had Rita Polarolo, Venture Capital Fund Manager of Principia SGR as our speaker. Rita worked with the most important players in the Seed & Early Stage Investment in Italy, from Innogest to Piemontech and TTVenture. She was an Investment Analyst and Project Manager at Innogest and Piemontech, funds active in seed and early-stage investments in ICT, Cleantech and Biotech. Today she is a Fund Manager of Principia SGR: she runs and selects the dealflow, she takes care of the investment process, from structuring the analysis of the business plan and the company valuation, to the negotiation and preparation of investment contracts. Rita sits on the board of 4 startups. She has a master degree in Business Administration.

‘The elusive dream of entrepreneurs, both aspiring and established: investment by a venture capitalist.’

Venture capitalists look at thousands of potential investment opportunities every year – how do you become part of the tiny percentage that succeeds? What are your first steps? How do you create a convincing presentation? How do you set yourself apart from the pack?

Rita told us about:

• key elements for a persuasive proposition
• the difference the right attitude makes
• components of a winning team
• traits of success stories
• opportunities and challenges unique to women

For those who couldn’t join the event  you can read the presentation of Rita Polarolo here.

Thank you so much Rita for your inspiring and stimulating talk!

Mentoring is like looking at a Van Gogh Painting

mercoledì, aprile 17th, 2013
By Valeria Cardillo Piccolino
PWA Milan Mentoring Program
An elegant hotel room bursting with women.
Business cards in their pockets, a flute of prosecco in their hands, and open to opportunities to share and exchange experiences.
Words such as “role modeling”, “goals”, “development” and  “work life balance”.
The women take a seat in front of a screen, silence and darkness fall in the room, then a video starts: it is the account of a year, a bit colored and set to music, of the mutual support between the participants in the Mentoring Program of PWA Milan, the branch of the European  Professional Women’s Association.
I am talking about the the Mentoring Program Launch, 20th of March 2013, starting after some networking. The video records the accomplishments of the previous year, a gift for the participants to be able to see themselves in the images and interviews granted at the close of the 2012 programme, but it is also, and above all, a stimulus for those who hope to be among participants of the 2013 edition.
The Mentoring Program, explains Gini Dupasquier, the project leader, was initiated back in 2010 by Valerie Ryder, with the goal to develop a partnership between two women professionals, a Mentor and a Mentee. The first one is more experienced and will support the second along a  path leading towards the accomplishment of certain career goals. The knowledge and skills of the Mentor (always Senior, both in terms of professional experience and age) is one of the ingredients matching the wish of the Mentee to overcome the transition phase (21% of the participants need to plan a career path and 13% of them are undergoing a change in her job), to reach a professional or business objective, or even simply to enhance soft skills – among them assertiveness, leadership, and public speaking .
The recipe is simple: the Mentor listens and provides her own experience, enthusiasm and support; the Mentee has clear objectives and a handful of commitments.  The PWA Mentoring programme, different from those promoted in  companies. It is particular since it involves women coming from diverse professional areas. This greatly differentiates the concept of mentoring: in inter-company programmes, mentoring becomes a tool to sponsor the Mentee who could find it difficult to be completely  transparent with someone who, after all, could be her boss.  In the PWA Mentoring Program, to state our own weaknesses is what helps to find solutions, therefore the strength lies in an external approach.
All of it is totally free of charge for the members of the association.
The evening brightens with the arrival of the 8 testimonials: four pairs of Mentor-Mentee who take the stage to show how, thanks to their experience and the empathy between them,  the 6 months Mentoring relationship overseen by the programme was effective. Each of them adds a piece and the picture starts taking shape. The “Dos aPWA Milan Mentoring Programnd dont’s” are discussed to reach a better understanding of which attitude would be more profitable to the relationship and to the achievement of the Mentee’s goals. In discussing these issues  the Mentor can also understand that her role gives her the possibility to enhance her professional situation with new perspectives and improve her leadership skills. Then, the evening ends  in style with the last couple speaking  about the birth of an agreement- an entrepreneurial idea developed by the Mentor and Mentee.
And here’s a thought taking shape in the participants’ mind seated around the stage. Most of them have considered taking a risk, changing something in their job, launching into some entrepreneurial idea. Many of them probably have already taken that path many years ago and now are considering how great it would have been to have  a supporting shoulder to lean on, giving them the necessary advice to open their minds. They are most likely asking themselves if they can be the ones now giving their shoulder to someone there in the room.
After all, the whole issue turns around perspectives: as a beautiful picture of Van Gogh shows only confused strokes when looked at closely, real life sometimes appears difficult to decode. But if we walk away and our perspective becomes more objective, we then realize that we are before a wonderful work of art.This is what a good Mentor does: she helps us see how to make our path extraordinary and how to find the colour inside us.

Finding your Financial Confidence

venerdì, aprile 12th, 2013

By Jiska van der Kooij, Speaker Event Director PWA

Should I buy a house now or wait? Will I be able to survive on my pension or should I be investing for my retirement? What challenges and opportunities does the current economic crisis present? How do I find professional advice that I can trust?

Making financial decisions can be stressful and scary. Many of us don’t even know where to begin to gather information, and the consequences of making mistakes can be huge. On the 30th of January 2013 Tiziana Bocus, Director at Deutsche Bank Italy, Head of DPM & Advisory and Claudia Moggia, Vice President at Deutsche Bank Groups’ Finanza & Futuro Banca talked about all this.

First Tiziana Bocus told us about where the crisis comes from: from housing and the private credit boom to the sovereign debt crisis. She explained  where we stand now, the scenario for 2013 and how important financial planning is.
Claudia Moggia went more in depth about the differences between men and women, society, behaviors and outcomes and finally the value and opportunity of financial planning for women.

You can (re)read the power-point presentation of this interesting and informative evening here.
Thank you so much Tiziana and Claudia!

The Entreprenur Club 2013 is officially launched

lunedì, febbraio 11th, 2013

Wednesday the 6th Feb was the official launch of the 2013 edition of the PWA Milan Entrepreneur Club – The E Club.
Thanks to all the women who attended the evening, it was a great success and we have already begun receiving applications. Please remember applications for the E Club close on Friday the 22nd Feb 2013.

We kicked off the night in usual style with an aperitif in hand. Laura Gaillard took the stage and presented this year’s program. Most importantly we highlighted what the E Club s:  Inside the E Club, you can expect to: SHARE, BRAINSTORM, TUTOR, INTERACT, LEARN and CONTRIBUTE. What the E Club isn’t: The E club is not a school; we are not delivering a course on entrepreneurship.

This year we will focus on four main steps:
Step 1:  GOALS. Where am I? Where do I want to go? Are my current goals well defined?
We will assist budding and confirmed entrepreneurs to work on Personal aspirations, expectations, values, vision.
Step 2: STRATEGY. How will I get where I want to go? Do I have the right strategy?
We will work on your Business model.
Step 3: CAPABILITIES/ASSETS. Can I do it?  Am I Executing my strategy correctly?
We will help you reach your goals by analyzing your situation, establishing priorities among the opportunities and problems you may be facing, evaluating solutions and planning for action.
We will work on how to PITCH your business opportunity to different audiences.
As well as presenting the E Club’s four main steps, we carried out a brainstorming session. The results are extremely valuable, and will be used to assist those women who join the E Club in getting closer to their objectives. As Laura stated, seeking answers to our questions is one of the most evident hurdles for an Entrepreneur. Thanks again to all the women who contributed: your contribution will make the difference.
You answered:

  • How was your project born?
  • Are you ready to manage risk and pressure?
  • Why do you want to be an entrepreneur and what are your targets?
  • How much of your time do you devote to your project?
  • Have you worked on a business plan?
  • Do you know your competitors/customer(s)?
  • Do you have financial resources?
  • What is your knowledge around “running a business” (budgeting, financing, biz structure)
  • What is special about your project? In which way is it different/new?
  • Are you able to take leadership and manage a team?
  • What is your source of motivation?
  • Do you know your business; have you done the necessary research?
  • How much time have you spent understanding the market, competitors, etc.(swot analysis)
  • What would you like your activity to be in 5 years’ time?
  • Are you good at self-promotion? How do you do that?
  • What is your ability to acquire clients? What’s your strategy?
  • How do you plan to make use of your network?
  • Do you perceive yourself as a creative, energetic, and flexible person?
  • How do you react to obstacles and failure?

The first E Club event will take place at the end of March. We look forward to receiving your application, should you have further questions please contact me on  Applications close on February 22nd 2013.

2012 PWA Mentoring Program Conclusion

martedì, dicembre 18th, 2012

We just finished the sixth and last month of the 2012 Edition of PWA Mentoring Program.

The 66 participants are now in the process of responding to an on-line feedback survey, in which they will tell us about their experience and satisfaction with the Program. All comments will help us to develop and improve the Program for next year. The main outcomes of the survey will be shared with the PWA Community early in 2013.

We have some organizational changes in the Mentoring Team: after two years of extremely valuable support, Lee Smith is stepping down from her role. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Lee for her commitment in the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Program. We’ll miss you, Lee!

At the same time we are very pleased to announce that a new entry in our Team is Valeria Cardillo Piccolino, a 2012 mentoring participant, who will bring her enthusiasm and ideas in the 2013 edition. Welcome Valeria! Valeria will support Karolina Wrobel and I, who you already know from last year’s edition.

The new edition of the PWA Mentoring Program is scheduled for March 2013. We will keep you updated as the new application deadlines and other relevant details firm up.

For any query please don’t hesitate to contact the PWA Mentoring Team at the email address: professional@pwa-milan-org
Gini Dupasquier
PWA Professional Development Director & Mentoring Program Leader