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Al Lavoro Empower Young Woman - Intervista a Monica Balocco

Gender equality in post-graduate job placement procedures will be one of the themes of the digital event AL Lavoro Empower Young Women, devised by Almalaurea to support all those companies focused on reducing the gender gap.

Interview with monica Balocco

A recruiting and employer branding event open to all undergraduates and recent graduates, but with a special focus on female employment, in which Casa Optima will take part on November the 30th and the 1st of December with one-to-one interviews.

From Alitalia to Casa Optima: when and how did your professional story take ‘flight’?
I would say Immediately after university. I decided to attend university in England, and when faced with different options after graduating, I was thrilled by the opportunity that Alitalia offered me to travel. After five professionally formative years as Head of Trade Marketing Italy, I felt the need for new stimuli and I began a new journey at Lavazza, initially as Head of Trade Marketing Italy, then Head of International Operations Marketing and Key Account Away From Home, up to the role of Head Marketing Away From Home. Later after moving to Rimini for personal reasons, I chose to become a consultant, becoming a partner in an important communications agency, I joined the Ernst & Young team as senior Marketing & Digital Communications Manager. However, at a certain point I decided it was time to return to a company, and the opportunity to join Casa Optima came up, where I took on the role of Trade Marketing Director. After a short break during which I worked in Real Estate as Marketing and Sales Director, I returned in 2023 to this magnificent group, and today I hold the position of Group PMO, as Beverage Project Manager and other important strategic projects.

Yours is a wonderful testimony of professional growth, but we know, and the statistics confirm it, that it’s not always easy for a woman to occupy top positions. That’s why today we talk a lot about the gender gap, diversity, and inclusion. How important is it for a company to make a concrete commitment to these issues?
It’s an aspect that no company should ignore. Diversity and inclusion represent a value for the growth and competitiveness of companies; the valorisation of all people who generate innovative ideas and solutions, who bring new experiences and skills is the basis of development and a driving force for company growth. It’s essential to start with awareness and then the measurement of the gap, and based on precise data, the actions to be taken can be defined.  

In your role and as a woman on the Board, what activities are you conducting in terms of D&I?
We have set up a dedicated work group, involving members of different business areas, such as HR, Legal, Operations and HSE, and of which I am the representative on the Board, to assess the progress of D&I policies and promote initiatives to support them. Our Diversity and Inclusion policy focuses on six KPIs outlined in the practice UNI PdR 125:2022:  culture and strategy, governance, HR procedures, opportunities, equal pay, and parenting. 

in the process of finalising the Group policy and will provide the necessary resources and training to make all the Group employees and our partners aware of the issues D&I. 

How important do you consider Casa Optima’s participation in the event ‘Al Lavoro Empower Young Women’?
Participation is important, because it creates a moment of confrontation and puts the young female graduates in direct contact with an international organisation that believes in the values of people and their differences, opening them a window on their professional future. 

The webinars and the one-to-ones will give us the opportunity to introduce ourselves and to meet the young women who want to begin a professional development journey in a company that promotes policies and recruitment plans, which appreciates differences and values meritocracy, which believes and invests in training and internal growth, and that promotes inclusive management styles. 

What advice would you give to young graduates entering the world of employment?
Consider yourself as a young person who can contribute with experience, skills, and potential. You are entering the world of employment at a time when companies are focusing on D&I issues, putting in place plans that are bringing and will bring increasingly tangible results. Be your own promoter of this change in your professional path, for an increasingly inclusive and fair environment.