Luisella Altare, Head of Region North-East Italy, tells us how we need to have courage and pursue our goals with tenacity and gives us a unique insight in her role as manager where she encourages female colleagues to take on their professional challenges, supporting them on their journey.
We continue our series called Women in Leadership to highlight the roles, expertise and commitments of some of our female executives working in the different countries and areas of the business in which the bank operates.
Our fifth interviewee is Luisella Altare, Head of Region North East Italy, who tells us about her career in the financial sector, gives us insights on the current situation in Italy and how the bank is supporting businesses and customers in its ongoing commitment to be part of the solution in these difficult times.
What is the current economic situation in Italy and how are companies reacting to the crisis?
The situation varies greatly among the different economic sectors. Some sectors have been more impacted by the pandemic and its consequences, others have not only withstood the difficult economic situation but have also reactivated growth paths. A feature that cuts across all production segments and all different sized companies has been the reactivity to adapt to an unprecedented situation which had never been experienced before.
The pandemic has certainly triggered a process of unparalleled digital acceleration, from the reconfiguration of production chains, to the organisation of work and sustainability. These are challenges that all companies are facing, also with the increasingly widespread awareness of the need to take a broader look at companies, the people who work in them and the communities with which they interact.
The signs of the economic recovery are encouraging, we’ve seen a gradual increase of the GDP in the second half of the year, with the launch of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and it is not just a recovery concept, it is a matter of grasping the profound changes and strong accelerations triggered in order to equip our businesses and the country’s system.
Our role as a Bank and as the people of the Bank is to support our companies, to understand their needs and to be able to accompany them on their development path.
What are the main lessons you've learned from the pandemic? What initiatives are you most proud of?
The pandemic has further highlighted the centrality of people and the importance of relationships.
We have had to find new ways to maintain the bond with our teams by valuing cohesion and listening. Today more than ever, beyond our role, we need to be considered as people and to be welcomed for that extra something we can bring.
Empathy is fundamental in terms of the ability to connect with emotions, passion which is competence and commitment knowing also how to give up immediate gratification, courage, and a strong heart.
I'm so proud of the generosity and of having had the privilege of working, for over a year here at North East, with people who have collaborated and shared solutions during the most complex moments.
As a woman in a leadership role in Italy, what advice would you give to women working in the financial sector?
Never feel inadequate. Work on enriching your skills (today, an ever-growing repertoire of colours is needed). Have courage and pursue your goals with tenacity.
My job as a Manager is to encourage female colleagues to take on their professional challenges and to accompany and support them on their journey.
Can you tell us more about your career path and your current role?
I have been in this Group for many years and have experienced many phases with many changes that have taken place not only in our Group but in our industry in general.
I started with the more traditional branch, then I had a more articulated path in the corporate world until I embraced the managerial challenges of the last 10 years, first as Head of Corporate Areas, then Commercial Areas with coverage of both Retail and Corporate Business, then Head of the Corporate Network of a Region and lastly, I have the privilege, for just over a year, of leading the North East Region.
Passion, ambition, willingness to discover, trust in others have always accompanied me and I am pleased to say that observing my journey to date between experiences and choices I have always had the opportunity to "connect the dots".
What are your expectations for the future?
Starting over is also an opportunity to face the future with an open mind. We need great flexibility. We should treasure the positives of this period that has pervasively changed our habits and confronted us with so many weaknesses, often in a system that we have had to question. We learned the value of caring, of teaming up (some say more "And" and less "Or), and the need for more inclusive communication.
People who can anticipate change, be flexible, know how to question themselves, even rethink their professional development plan, I'm sure, will have great opportunities with the highest expectations.