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InspiringFifty Italy: What Our Judges Told Us

Blog Post | Paola Bonomo | 12 Novemeber 2018

Over the summer of 2018, InspiringFifty nominations were coming in thick and fast!

Over the summer of 2018, as the nominations were coming in, we conducted a series of interviews with some of our judges. Why had they agreed to volunteer their time? Why was it important? What do they expect? Here are a few of the insights they shared with us:

Where are we on diversity in the tech world in Italy?

"There's no denying it, the tech world is still perceived as male. We must put in place pragmatic solutions, starting from schools, to change the idea that ‘STEM is man’." - Gianmario Verona, Dean, Bocconi University

"In Italy we are unfortunately quite slow on gender equality, diversity, and empowerment; and there's a lot of work to do. Universities have a fundamental role to play in pushing innovation throughout the country." - Cristina Messa, Dean, University of Milano-Bicocca

"Among entrepreneurs, especially with high tech companies and those that are VC-backed, there are still too few women in leadership positions such as CEO." - Raffaele Mauro, Managing Director, Endeavor Italy

What happens without enough diversity and inclusion in the tech world?

"If we do not include a diversity of viewpoints we will not be able to achieve the full potential of our technologies." - Elizabeth Robinson, Vice Chairman, Indaco Ventures

"We lose opportunities. In order to find innovative solutions to complex problems, we need multidisciplinary teams with many different skills. An environment that is not inclusive cannot emerge and cannot attract enough talents." - Ferruccio Resta, Dean of the Politecnico di Milano

"Damaging stereotypes get reinforced. For example, I don't want to live in a world where most algorithms are written only by men, especially when it comes to AI." - Diego Piacentini, Government Commissioner for the Digital Agenda

What are the main actions that have been put in practice to increase diversity in the Italian tech world? 

"I think training for very young people is the best way. Some of these summer camps about coding, etc. are fantastic. I wish they had scholarships for girls that can’t afford it; and for now it is only a day camp based in Milano, so if you live already in Milano ( a privileged place in terms of opportunities) you can go to coding camp, but if you live in the Appennines outside Bologna you are doubly excluded." - Elizabeth Robinson

"The most effective companies are those who have set themselves measurable quantitative targets, and who communicate their progress and results." - Laura Cioli, CEO, GEDI 

"For example, in recruiting, having candidates who are women, or from different ethnicities, or unusual educational backgrounds, requires more work at finding them, but you only get a result if you give yourself a target." - Barbara Poggiali, Independent Board Member and Senior Executive, Transformation Expert, Diversity Advocate

"At Microsoft, we are stong believers in the opportunity to inspire other Italian companies - clients and partners - to follow our example in getting the best out of diversity." - Barbara Cominelli, COO, Microsoft Italia

Who do you expect will emerge from the Italian edition of InspiringFifty?

"I expect to see a variety of personal and professional paths, showing diversity in terms of sector, geography, age and educational backgrounds." - Raffaele Mauro

"Leaders who can look far ahead into the future, who are not afraid to dream and to dare, but who can deliver a concrete plan of action. Dream and pragmatism: this is what I expect." - Ferruccio Resta

"Girls/women who are bold, passionate, willing to risk and to have skin in the game, able to lead and to be examples for many others." - Laura Cioli

InspiringFifty is part of the organization EQL:HER, which seeks to improve diversity in tech by making female role models more visible.

The InspiringFifty program (worldwide) was established in 2013. Today, the organization operates in Belgium, Canada, DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), France, Italy, Netherlands, Scandinavia, United Kingdom and South Africa.