February 24, 2021

Laura De Chiara: “When change comes the only thing, we can do is accept it"

Entrepreneur, Executive Coach, Business Angel, engaged in the promotion of issues related to supporting female professional development. In this interview with Laura De Chiara, we will talk about her experience in IAG as member of the Screening Committee and Champion of Hypersurfaces, and how far there is still to go to enhance the talent of women, penalized by health emergency that amplified the gap of the employment structure in Italy.

Can you tell us more about your background?

Originally from Foggia, Neapolitan by adoption, I have always been passionate about Organizations and Markets. I graduated in Naples in Economics and Commerce and I continued my studies in Milan by attending a master’s in Marketing and Business Communication, thanks to a scholarship. I have worked for more than 20 years in Strategic Marketing in different companies where I was lucky enough to follow the development of new markets, deepen consumer logic and get to know the different distribution channels. I became a very young manager and I immediately learned that there are no big companies but big teams. So passionate about the development of human capital, that I decided to leave the company to study further and take different certifications to give a method to my experience with people management.

Entrepreneur, Executive Coach, Business Angel and Consultant in Business and Marketing Strategies. How do you handle growing complexities?

I do not manage them! I think that there are no formulas for managing complexities. If you mean how I follow different activities: on the one hand I follow my passions, ideas, and market changes, on the other people and their professional growth. If you are referring to the growing difficulties of economic scenarios, I take up challenges with great curiosity and never try to resist. When change comes, the only thing we can do is accept it and the sooner we make friends, the sooner we learn to manage it by developing new skills.

You are member of IAG Screening Committee, a body of 7 senior members in charge of the selection of the start-ups to bring to the following steps. Are there things in common among successful start-ups? What are their main weaknesses?

Passion, Vision, Team, Luck. About weaknesses ... It is easy to evaluate in retrospect, but I would say the Ego of some entrepreneurs, impatience and sometimes confusion between a good market test with a strategic vision.

You are Champion of Hypersurfaces, a pioneer start-up in advanced sensor technology. Can you tell us about this experience and the main challenges?

Hypersurfaces has changed its skin several times over the years. It is a wonderful experience; it is like following different start-ups over the years. Being there at the right moments was important and the right moments were often not only the meetings with possible investors for hypothetical exits but on the phone to support the inevitable moments of temporary despondency.

The challenges today are to have a visionary technology that continues to develop new areas of application. The founder and his team are now working on context awareness and possible
technological integrations… it is really fascinating, and the results are already very promising. The team could go on indefinitely. The challenge is to be able to identify the famous killer application, but it also takes the luck of being on the right path of the right interlocutor to close the next step.

Of the 444,000 fewer workers recorded in Italy in all of 2020, 70% are women. You work supporting the promotion of female professional development, what do you think are the obstacles, prejudices, and stereotypes still to be overcome in our country to protect women?

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has amplified the great gap that characterizes the employment structure in Italy: women are mainly employed in the service sector, which has experienced the most important collapse; they have more precarious and unstable contracts, and as if that were not enough, they did not withstand the enormous increase in the family burden during the pandemic. The overexposure of women in domestic and parental care is a cultural theme that has shown all its danger, a real bomb that has exploded in our hands.

The greatest sacrifice was demanded of women. When the support systems that made work for women, school, nannies, and grandparents possible, failed due to the lockdown, the veil was torn on the real achievements of equal role that we believed we had achieved. Equality must start with the family unit ... and continue with government policies.

The last two years will also be remembered for the extraordinary relevance acquired by some women, who today hold top positions in the world. What are the main tips you would give to women to enhance their talent?

Do not pursue male role models but develop your own. Talent must be cultivated exactly like an athletic body: train yourself to compete, create connections, do not stop growing and learning, do not look around ... but only ahead and above all do not believe those who make you think you cannot do it!