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January 2019

Monthly Newsletter of the Professional Women’s Association of Rome

Vukosava Nikolic

The Professor

PWA is an international hub in the heart of Rome where ideas and values, tradition and innovation, diversity, culture and professionalism meet and intersect. On our journey into the future our travel companions are respect, ethics, and a sense of social responsibility.

Dear Members and Friends, Representing PWA is a prestigious role that I take into great consideration. One of the PWA goals is to support professional women in breaking the famous glass ceiling. Together with other members of the board I participate in several women's forums that have been recently constituted by cooptation. These forums have called together some of the most important Italian and international women's associations, such as ValoreD, PWN, Soroptimist, Minerva, FIDAPA, just to mention some of them. The forums are discussing and acting on the latest Italian political initiatives that are damaging gender parity and not promoting women's presence in the main institutions. They are also proposing actions in response to the problems of equal opportunities, pay and career gap between men and women and designing proposal to support early parental duties. In the upcoming months, these forums will present their instances in different ways. We at PWA will support the communication activities and the events that will be organized to raise awareness and actions both in political community, civil society and the business world. The PWA Communication team will keep you updated through our website and social media platforms, so make sure to follow us. I think this will be one of the best initiatives to start 2019 in our Grow, Go and Glow theme of the year.

Valentina Ferretti President


Hanna Suni editor and layout designer www.hamedesign.com marketing@pwarome.org

in this issue

4 January Conference: Space for Women 6 8 10 12

Women in Space Member Spotlight: Vukosava Nicolic — The Professor PWA Red Christmas Passion photo recap Mind Over Matter: STEM for Women

14 Welcome New PWA Members

8 4


10 12


PWA January Conference

16 January at 19.30 at Grand Hotel Palace

Space for Women Investigating Challenges & Opportunities in a Space Environment

Space is a place of infinite possibilities, greatly impacting our daily lives in many ways. In this lively and hands-on talk, the European Space Agency’s Susanne Mecklenburg will expand our view on space. Based on her expansive experience as a satellite mission manager, she will speak about how she made it to her current position at ESA and the tasks and satisfactions of supervising two major satellite missions. This may sound somewhat technical. In reality, the data collected by these satellites is providing us with invaluable information in our every day ventures. One important example is how our climate changes, affecting us all. Space really is everywhere. For more women to reach similar positions, role models may be indispensable. Susanne will expand on this question, investigating the particular challenges and opportunities women face working in a space-oriented environment. Parts of her presentation will be based on her own, personal experience. Other parts were culled from feedback from the next generation of women in space, thus sheding some light into how the experience has changed over recent years. It is a talk that will leave you with inspiration and insight – regardless of whether you’re looking for a career in space or not.

About Our Speaker Susanne Mecklenburg After a first notable employment at the British National Space Centre, Susanne Mecklenburg secured a position at ESA, where she today supervises the SMOS and Sentinel-3 satellite missions. The main goal of these missions is to collect a plethora of data on the Earth's land surface, oceans and ice, from their temperature and salinity to the composition and health of their vegetation. It is Mecklenburg's responsibility to ensure the satellites' full functionality, co-ordinate the team, make the data available to those who need it and encourage its use, Simultaneously, as a classically trained singer, she started curating music programs weaving tales around pieces from many different styles and periods. Her current program revolves around the moon, accentuating the overlaps between her different interests: "In my work at ESA, we're sending satellites into space to look back at Earth. Through music, I am now looking out into space – but only to tell the story of how we on earth reflect on it.“

PWA is supported by

Hanna Suni Marketing Consultant www.hamedesign.com

Women of many nationalities have worked in space. The first woman in space, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, flew in 1963. Space flight programs were slow to employ women, and only began to include them from the 1980s. Most women in space have been United States citizens, with missions on the Space Shuttle and on the International Space Station. Three countries maintain active space programs that include women: China, Russia, and the United States of America. In addition, a number of other countries — Canada, France, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom — have sent women into orbit or space on Russian or US missions. (photos from Wikipedia)

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, 1969


Samantha Cristoforetti is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer. She holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours), and until June 2017 held the record for the longest single space flight by a woman until this was broken by Peggy Whitson. She is also the first Italian woman in space and the first person who brewed an espresso in space.

Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space

Tracy Caldwell Dyson viewing Earth from the ISS Cupola, 2010

Mae Jemison in Spacelab on STS-47, 1992 If you are interested in reading the stories of women in space, check out this book!

Astronaut Catherine Coleman playing a flute aboard ISS, 2011


Vukosava Nikolic

the Professor By Valerie Baxter Newsletter Consultant


ave you ever met a lady “born with a silver spoon in her mouth� ? In England this term is used by the working classes to describe the privileged; based on envy, jealousy, or just stating a class diversity, in a sentence it categorizes those who’ve never had to rough it. Professor Vukosava Nikolic Poto is one of these! Vuki, as she calls herself, was born in a plain filled with horses and Tocai vineyards in what the baby-boomer generation calls ex-Yugoslavia. From aristocratic parents; Serbian father, born north of the Dubrovnik area and Austrian mother,


by Valerie Baxter Newsletter Consultant

her ancestors of noble descent were large wine producing landowners. They were neighbours to the historic Italian Odescalchi family and Vuki grew up in a strong monarchist mentality. Before World War II, major tensions arose from the first, monarchist Yugoslavia's multi-ethnic make-up and relative political and demographic domination of the Serbs. Fundamental to the tensions were the different concepts of the new state. The Croats and Slovenes envisaged a federal model where they would enjoy greater autonomy than they had as a separate crown land under Austria-Hungary. Under AustriaHungary, both Slovenes and Croats enjoyed

An all women's race

autonomy with free hands only in education, law, religion, and 45% of taxes.The Serbs tended to view the territories as a just reward for their support of the allies in World War I and the new state as an extension of the Kingdom of Serbia. (Wikipedia), Vuki learned from her father how the churches were where the country’s archives were held until bombed and documents destroyed in 1912 by the socialist movement during the revolution. Hence rich lands were confiscated and under the socialist regime of Tito free circulation became a way of life, although many had to start again from zero. Vuki’s mother, who worked in the financial sector, taught her a lot, and was of the opinion that Vuki, an only child, should believe in herself and make her own future. At only 10 years Vuki was sent off all by herself to college in Dorset, England. Vuki had learnt English since nursery school, so it wasn’t such a hardship to bear as her pronunciation was perfect. She had also been spoilt by her aunt, a princess, so Vuki held her own from elementary school right through to university until she passed over to Italian. Vuki had spent every summer at Perugia University, and gained her degree at Belgrade in Italian language and literature with flying colours. Well versed in philology, she became an interpreter for Italian and Serbo-Croatian, in both industrial and governmental sectors, going on to work for Gianni Letta, an Italian journalist and politician who advised ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi. Again, Vuki recalls her ‘fantastic’ mother’s words when taught to do her own grocery shopping and cook: “If you’re rich, you’ll know how to lead, if you’re poor, life won’t frighten you”. She spent the early part of her career in Brescia and after four years in Torino, met her husband and in 1980, moved to Rome. During those years, Vuki let herself be convinced to stop working, following her sports journalist husband around the world. As some Italians would say, working for hobby, continuing a life of privilege.

With Serbian gold medalists

However, Vuki used this time to endear young people to the world of sport. She became part of a huge sports project involving over 200 schools, organizing events. One of these, of which she is particularly proud, is the race starting at 10.45hrs from Ponte della Musica to the Olympic Stadium on 20th January. She also enjoyed being part of the press office of FISE, (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestre) following the prestigious annual show-jumping event at Piazza di Siena. Once her long marriage floundered, Vuki found herself at a crossroads, obliged to get back into the swing of the working world. Undaunted, she continues working in various press offices as the occasion arises. Having lived through significant socio-political changes, her advice to today’s women is “noblesse oblige: so once married, keep yourself informed: continue studying or working. Believe in yourself and don’t expect anything from anyone”. Vuki has other hidden talents. She played the piano in childhood and sings well. A few years back, she joined the choir of the Royal Rowing Club Tevere Remo, fulfilling a passion for music. Vuki also has a passion for aromatherapy and likes to evoke Christmas in the house of her roots through the perfume of cannella, essence of home and identity. She loves turquoise blue and the elegant effect silver cutlery has on a pearl grey damask tablecloth. Through a friend at Piazza Navona, Vuki came into contact with PWA by a business card exchange with Webmistress Veronica Penzo. She became a member immediately she’d savoured one of PWA’s conferences, in an environment which she deemed professional, welcoming and well-educated. These give her a power surge as she exchanges views with others in a new comfort zone. Vuki’s life experience can teach us a lot, not lightly named “the Professor”. Meet her in PWA…


Valeria Parisi, PWA Rome's Social Director, organi enchanting surroundings of VOI Donna Camilla Sa 15th. The evening was filled with beautiful ladies handsome men in their dark suits - delicious foods

Our exclusive sponsors

Photos by Chatzigiannis Photography

ized a magic Christmas Party in the avelli Hotel in Trastevere on December dressed in passionate red - and s and bubbly drinks.

Winter Queen Valeria Parisi was crowned by President Valentina Ferretti.

Stefano Pizzolato, President of the Board of Negozi Storici di Eccellenza di Roma, together with a group of exquisite Roman stores sponsored the lottery prizes and members and guests were beyond awe to receive such exclusive gifts. PWA members and guests were ecstatic to receive such fantastic prizes.

Valeria's daughter Stefania assisted with the exclusive Lottery and handed the lucky winners their fabulous prizes.

Mind over Matter: STEM for Women By Valerie Baxter Newsletter Consultant

Since the Age of Enlightenment (16851815), Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics, commonly known as STEM fields have remained predominantly male realms. These are highly compensated, high status professions with universal career appeal and exponential job opportunities. Whilst there are few differences in girls' and boys' attitudes towards science in the early secondary school years, it soon becomes difficult for girls to receive encouragement from parents, to have interactions with mathematics and science teachers, curriculum content, handson laboratory experiences, high school achievement in mathematics and science. Twenty years ago it was suggested that girls begin to lose self-confidence in middle school because they believe that men possess more intelligence in technological fields. The fact that men outperform women in spatial analysis, a skillset many engineering professionals deem vital, generates this misconception. Feminist scholars postulate that boys are more likely to gain spatial skills outside the classroom because they are culturally encouraged to build and work with their hands. Research shows that


girls can develop these same skills with the same form of training. The bottom line is that women lack self-confidence, It’s common knowledge that a large number of women now graduate in STEM subjects but fail to move onto a STEM career compared to men (42% average in U.S.). Among recent science and engineering bachelor's degree recipients, women were less likely than men to be employed in science and engineering occupations. There also remains a wage gap between men and women in comparable scientific positions.When faculty members of top research institutions in America were asked to recruit student applicants for a laboratory manager position, both men and women faculty members rated the male applicants as more hireable and competent for the position, as opposed to the female applicants who shared an identical resume with the male applicants. Sadly, faculty members were willing to give the male applicants a higher starting salary and career mentoring opportunities. To contrast this kind of result, women must stand up for themselves.

A fact sheet published by UNESCO in March 2015 presented worldwide statistics of women in the STEM fields, with a focus on Asia and the Pacific region. However, it is argued that it is not possible to use the same indicators to determine the situation in every country. The significant statistic might be the percentage of women teaching at the university level. But it might also be the proportion of women at research institutes and academies of sciences at different levels, or the percentage of women who publish in foreign as opposed to domestic journals.Then there is the proportion of women who go abroad for conferences, post-graduate study etc, or the percentage of women awarded grants by national and international funding agencies. Indices can have different meanings in different countries, and the prestige of various positions and honours can vary considerably. Basically, we can interpret data to suit our ourselves - or rather, men can. So, what are the barriers to female representation and how can these be overcome? Forbes Magazine in October 2018 tries to answer this question with the following analysis: Implicit BIAS. There are disparities in how many women enter the STEM field and implicit bias that occurs during the schooling process. More training and workshops must take place on countering bias in this industry. The first steps toward positive changes is an awareness of the problem and our contributing role to the existence of the problem. Representation Matters. Women who are in the STEM industry must be highlighted and talked about in addition to men. Textbooks discuss Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin but students are less familiar with women who made important contributions to the STEM field. Highlighting impactful women in STEM such as Gertrude B. Elion and Maria GoeppertMayer can be an effective strategy for inclusion. Women are also underrepresented on the boards in the STEM industry. Only 16% of women were on corporate boards in 2016. Companies must make a concerted effort to have more female leadership and board members represented in the organization. Mentorship Matters. There is a need for more groups that encourage women to go into the STEM fields. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that provide support and direction for women

already in the field can be an effective tool to help retain women. Research indicates that in the SET (science, engineering, and technology) field, women report feelings of isolation, hostile male-dominated work environments, and lack of effective sponsors as factors that cause them to leave the industry. In the United States, 32% of women who enter the SET field leave their job within a year. Organizations should provide mentoring opportunities for female STEM employees to connect with other successful women in their organization and industry. Despite all, women have been among the most innovative pioneers in science and technology. “Hidden Figures” (2016) is a film based on the unbelievably true life stories of three women, known as "human computers", as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. These women crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes. But it needed a stroke of man’s genius to break taboos, turn the tables and offer an opportunity for women in space: “With better design and safety provided by shuttles, astronauts were no longer required to be jet pilots and could instead qualify as mission specialists (researchers and physicians for example). In 1977, for the first time in a decade, NASA put out an advertisement for a new recruitment drive, adding: “Astronauts wanted: Women, minorities are urged to apply.” White women and people of colour did not apply because they’d been excluded for so long, which is why NASA recruited Star Trek icon Nichelle Nichols to help make their message of inclusion clear.” Does the inference exist to today’s society that women in STEM is still science-fiction? Draw your own conclusions. Further reading http://www.certustg.com/8-female-pioneersworld-technology/ https://www.stemwomen.net/womentrailblazers-in-science/ https://www.stemwomen.net/women-in-space/



I am Doaa Abdel-Motaal, an Advisor at the Guarini Institute of Public Affairs in Rome, Italy. I am the former Executive Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, the former Chief of Staff of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and former Deputy Chief of Staff of the World Trade Organization (WTO). I am also a writer. My latest book Antarctica, the Battle for the Seventh Continent, was released in September 2016 and has been nominated for the 2018 Mountbatten Best Book Award.  I have a Masters and Doctoral degree in environment and development studies from the University of Cambridge and the University of Geneva.


I am Raffaella Di Primio, born in Rome, where I graduated from the university La Sapienza and in 1997 started my practice as a lawyer. My main fields of occupation are M&A, corporate, energy, project finance and commercial transactions. I am passionate about international humanitarian work and no profit organisations. Since I feel strongly about capacity development and personal and professional renewal, I am currently following a specialization course in Web and Multimedia Comunication at the IED institute in Rome.

My name is Gaia Nina Marano and in 2010 I graduated with honors in Law from Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome, where I also received my master’s in Tax Law in 2013. After spending a semester at the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law (Sweden) I began my career in Rome as a legal practitioner at a prestigious international law firm. Later I moved to a niche law firm, where I primarily focused on labor and employment law. Through my work as legal advisor for multinational companies, I developed my passion for International Business, Global Management and Human Resources. I am currently pursuing a Master of Business and Administration from Luiss Business School in Rome, while I am working for my family business. I am an Italian-qualified lawyer since 2014, I'm fluent in Italian and English, and have a basic knowledge of French. I'm currently looking for opportunities to transition into HR roles.

PWA continues to attract both women and men with its vibrant activities. Since September 2018, 22 women and men have joined the association and it is our pleasure to present 12 of them as they tell their personal story in their own words.

Hi, my name is Anna Nicoletti. I am a manager at Rai, the Italian Public Service broadcaster, where I am responsible for the “Planning, Budget and Administration” and I am Deputy of the Secretary General of Prix Italia, the media festival, organised by Rai. The passion for my work has led to my professional success in Rai, where I have been working on different positions in the Production and in the Administration Department since 1993.

My name is Elena Palloni, I am a new member but I also had the pleasure to be a speaker in the May 2018 Conference “Beati Pacifici”. I’m originally from Rimini, but I’ve been living in Rome since 2001, when I started my job at the Ministry of Defence.

Greetings – I am Heather Ramsey and being here in Rome these last 3 years has been an amazing roller coaster ride. As an Executive Coach and Leadership Development Specialist I am able to help people have more impact in their work and in their communities.

I’m a people-person, a negotiator/facilitator and I’ve a keen interest in matters such as Leadership, Ethics and Cross-cultural competences, on which I collaborate with different Universities. You can find out more about my work on my Linkedin profile. I’ve lived in many different countries and met many interesting people, and that’s the reason that drew me to PWA.

I love to dance, go on spontaneous adventures and learn about history. Always happy to help mentor and be mentored by others - you can reach me via heather@ sojournpartners.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/ heatherramsey1/

Born in the eternal city, incredible optimist and lover of fine arts, elegance and harmony that daily support and inspire my profession, my name is Simona Rinaldi. I am a Physician, Specialist in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Owner and Director of the Medical Centre Simona Rinaldi MD, which offers its patients high performances  in Cosmetic Surgery, Aesthetic Medicine  and complete healthcare.  My web page is www.simonarinaldimd.com, best regards!!!

My name is Sabina Santovetti, I am a 60 years old woman, italian, architect ,designer and artist. Among my many Masters degrees because I always liked to study art and design, Master in Architecture at Washington University, St. Louis, Mo, U.S.A.. Today I run a Boutique Architecture & Design Firm in Rome, that gives exclusive attention to Eco-design and sustainability issues. In the last 20 years I have been committed in designing new and old residential buildings, with all respect to their contest and life quality. My main focus is to use energy saving principles and ecological certified construction materials. I have also been involved in designing textiles, products, furniture, interiors, theater and cinema sets as part of a personal vocational formation." www.santovettistudiolab.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/ santovettistudiolab/

My name is Krisztina Szaraz. I moved to Rome 12 years ago from Hungary when I get engaged and was offered an exciting professional opportunity. I work for a multinational market research agency as an HR professional, specialized on reward, compensation and HR project management. I spend my free time with my children, trekking, horse riding, discovering new places and enjoying good food and wine.  You can visit my profile on LinkedIn https://www. linkedin.com/in/krisztinaszaraz-3269623/ or meet me on one of the monthly PWA Conferences.

Hi, my name is Melissa Thomas and I’ve lived in Rome for eight years. I originally moved here for work with the U.S. government and worked at the American Embassy until my retirement in 2014. I now do consulting work for the Freeh Group International Solutions, an independent global risk management firm and also consult in the victim services field. My LinkedIn page is http://linkedin.com/in/ melissa-thomas-9842683.

Hello, I’m Paul Vanderbroeck and I commute between Geneva and Rome. My clients say that my years of real-world business experience combined with my academic study of woman leaders and my pragmatic approach make me a powerful executive coach for women. You can find me at vanderbroeckp@gmail.com or on my LinkedIn page http:/www.linkedin.com/in/ paulvanderbroeck .

Hi everyone, I’m Dr. Trystanna Williams and I’m an American Chiropractor practicing here in Rome. I focus on pain management and general wellness. I’m passionate about traveling, fitness and personal development. You can find me at www. studiowilliams.it or on most social social media websites @romachiro.

Membership news Make sure to take advantage of all that PWA has to offer, from our monthly events to scholarships and Expert Resources, from the Mentoring programs to TimeOut Professional TimeBank. If you’d like to join, visit our website and contact MembershipDirector@pwarome.org .



2018-2019 PWA Board and Team members President Valentina Ferretti President@pwarome.org Vice President&Treasurer Lisa Rosen VicePresident@pwarome.org Secretary Raffaella Di Primio Secretary@pwarome.org Programming Director Sabine Schuh Programming@pwarome.org Membership Director Florencia Barbieri MembershipDirector@pwarome.org Social Director Valeria Parisi SocialDirector@pwarome.org Asst. Coord.Social Events Rossella Castaldo SocialDirector@pwarome.org Sponsorship Director Cecilia Bersani Sponsorship@pwarome.org PR Director Gerlie Saura PR@pwarome.org Newsletter Editor NewsletterEditor@pwarome.org Webmistress Veronica Penzo Webmistress@pwarome.org Community Director Veronica Penzo Media@pwarome.org Newsletter Consultant Valerie Baxter Newsletterconsultant@pwarome.org Marketing Consultant Hanna Suni Marketing@pwarome.org Special Projects Director Angela Carfa Specialprojects@pwarome.org Legal Advisor Adriana Tempesta Legaladvisor@pwarome.org


Our In-Kind Donor

PWA Professional Women’s Association is a recipient of a Google Grants award. The Google Grants program supports registered nonprofit organizations that share Google’s philosophy of community service to help the world in areas such as science and technology, education, global public health, the environment, youth advocacy and the arts. Google Grants is an in-kind advertising program that awards free online advertising to nonprofits via Google AdWords.

Our partners and sponsors

Profile for Professional Women's Association of Rome

The People We Are January 2019  

The monthly online magazine of The Professional Women's Association

The People We Are January 2019  

The monthly online magazine of The Professional Women's Association


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