April 3, 2007

The family business

Yesterday’s La Repubblica newspaper had its usual Monday Business and Finance supplement, with its usual story about a woman in carriera (a successful businesswoman) on the front page. I think I have heard it before. Yawn. She is smart (only female graduating member of her class in engineering), savvy (papa sent her abroad to study and learn languages), young (31), very driven, determined and capable.

She went to work for the family business just out of university, covering many areas before taking over the company’s marketing, research and development. She does not feel herself to be “the daughter of” and has no complexes of any sort. She never felt the need to rebel, her father had sent her abroad to study and had always trusted her, in fact she had asked him if she could enter into the family firm, not the other way around. She learned the business from the bottom up while always being given every opportunity to do so. In fact, it was the Managing Director who took her out of internal accounting and gave her the task of “reinventing our marketing” although she had no experience or studies in the field. “I started from zero, went to the library and studied.”

Whew. She had certainly been groomed and was up to the challenge. Being figlia di is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. A question of faith and trust and living up to expectations. We Americans have a problem with this -- the self-made man, pulling yourself up from nowhere by your bootstraps are the stuff of Americans. Slipping into the family business is the coward's route that does not show “independence” and “self-reliance.” But, at the same time, she is good, really good and really dedicated. She states, “My only objective is the good of the company.” Now where would you find that sentiment outside of the family?

A domani,

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