Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I am an Italian online working mother with two kids, 5 and 16 years old. I have gained my two major Master and PhD degree in the UK, and I work as Online Doctoral Faculty and Faculty Manager for an International Online Professional Doctorate In Education. I am passionate about research dealing with online doctoral supervision, online community of practice, and the development of competencies of online adult students through the use of technology. At the moment, I am also very much focused on Smarthink, which is the Educational Technology Startup company I co-funded in July 2016 and of which I am the CEO.
How would you define your professional mission?
I think that my professional mission is achieving justice in online education. Recent studies highlight how the number of women learning online is higher than that of the male counterpart. In my view, online education looks like a good compromise for better managing a work-life balance. However, online education has been very often identified as less effective or of less value than face-to-face. My professional mission is to support online learners to develop the right competencies needed for the market place, because online learning is not less than face to face.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
One of my most memorable career accomplishment was becoming aware that I was able to build something new (my business) myself, for myself and for others, and that I could be “the authentic me” while doing this with my values and goals. It was the most memorable professional accomplishment for me!
What are some career challenges on your radar?
The main challenges for me now are related to the development of my business, an educational software product. I am currently seeking to build partnerships with international institutions and universities interested in working on this project – please if interested feel free to contact me!
I am also working on collecting feedback on the product from potential users and customers. The second biggest challenge for me is seeking funding for making my business grow as a short-medium term goal. And finally, another challenge on my radar is to find the right employees for my company.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
I am most proud of my company project, because it is on the development of a software that will help online adult students to monitor and measure their competencies while accessing high quality resources for improving/maximizing their skills. I have been working on this project for a couple of years now. While the first year helped me to understand that I was working on the wrong product, the second year helped me to move on in the right direction, and so I learned from my errors.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
In 2001 after having studied in the UK for my master’s, I had my first baby and I was very determined to continue my study there for a Phd degree. In that situation the option of studying remotely suited my needs. Thanks to technology, there was some justice in education for me, too, because the natural life process of giving birth to a child did not stop me to get my PhD, get a new job, and live with my family without the need of leaving my country of residence because of my studies. My online degree was valued as any other face-to-face degree.
Who are your role models?
One of my past work supervisors has been one of my tutors and coaches for my current online work and she is still my role model today. I appreciate the daily care, dedication and help she provided to me whenever I needed it. Another younger colleague of mine is a role model, since I appreciate her assertiveness and the fact that, even though she’s younger than me, she reached a higher professional position than mine. This inspires me. More recently I came to know from the Ellevate Summit about Zainab Salbi, who I liked for her authenticity and just for being how she was with her values, ideas and choices in front of the world. She is now a role model for me.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
The best career advice I ever received was from my husband who really supported me very much in embarking in my entrepreneurship journey. He pushed me to “do something in which I believed and that could be really transformed into my business; to do something for myself while doing something for others.”
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
I know it is quite tough to juggle between childcare, education, work, and family. However, technology can today help very much in this. Ellevate is a good example of a female support network and training accessible remotely, anywhere in the world. So I would push working moms not to give up with their dreams, just to continue to nurture them. Technology has invaded any bit of our life, from choosing a business name to creating a prototype for a product, and it can help us solve some of our daily problems, such as working from home and setting up our own project while talking with people on the other side of the world.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I am a member of Ellevate because I needed to train myself around more "entrepreneurship" topics. However, what really made the difference for me in joining the Elevate Network was the presence of an international network of women who were keen to help each others with good tips, with positive thoughts and brilliant ideas, something that I did not find in any other place. I also decided to join Ellevate after having read Sallie’s book which provided me with lots of positive thoughts, inspiration and ideas.