Updated: May 15
A couple of years ago, following an Italian networking event in San Francisco, I was chatting with a friend and colleague, with a glass of prosecco in hand to dissolve the usual hesitations. “The usual all-man panel” we commented. "Of course, they never manage to find a senior professional to put on the panel." It is as if we were invisible as if no one at the right time remembered the names of the experts in the various sectors. The few times we have been contacted to participate in a panel, it has almost always dealt with topics that we barely knew, while other more competent professionals than us have remained anonymous.
Two years ago, as if it were twenty years ago, or two centuries ago.
We looked at each other, and a light bulb went on. The idea of a female network was born to support us and make us known. They say that personal experience is always the best motivator...
After a couple of years of incubation, Rete Rosa is finally a reality.
What does it offer?
First of all, it aims to create a forum where we can share our experiences and discuss topics related to the theme "Female leadership between Italy and the USA". I strongly believe that all participants have a lot to learn by sharing their work stories, both with other members of Rete Rosa and perhaps also with Italy.
In addition to informal networking moments, we intend to organize targeted discussions at each meeting. We will try to identify other topics of general interest by involving all of you and by calling experts from outside the group. Although the main theme of these meetings will be "Female leadership between Italy and the United States", we plan to address other similar topics as well, such as Negotiation Skills specifically targeted towards women, Finding Your Voice, etc.
Secondly, Rete Rosa proposes to provide visibility to Italian professionals. Although all the Italian organizations already existing in the Bay Area are obviously open to anyone, regardless of sex, they have also made explicit efforts to recruit a greater number of women, in reality, they are mainly populated by men. As a result, very often, all too often, panels at professional events in the Bay Area are dominated by male experts.
In the wake of the experience of highly successful female American networks - such as ellevatenetwork, the expatwoman, American Business Women Association, the Guild - our hope is that Rete Rosa favors the integration and recognition of Italian professionals. If successful, this experience can easily be extended to other areas of the consular district, and beyond - Let's go digital!
Finally, in my most ambitious dreams, Rete Rosa intends to start a project that "photographs" and documents the professional reality of women in the Bay Area, in order to understand the sectoral distribution of the Italian female presence, the presence in managerial positions, as well as the difficulties and advantages related to being an Italian manager in the USA.
Since it is not a scientific survey, the hope is to draft a summary booklet of the issues that emerged after the first year of meetings.
It is useless to deny that the ambitions are many, while the energies available are never enough. As if that weren't enough, when a network is launched, it is impossible to meet in person! Solution: the first meetings will be virtual.
The Italian professionals have already waited a long time before meeting in a forum dedicated exclusively to them. We do not intend to wait any longer. Now is the time!
I thank Consul General Lorenzo Ortona for having believed in the project and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for having granted an initial concession.
See you soon!