This week I have the pleasure of introducing another wonderful woman in Tech. She’s located in Leiderdorp, Netherlands another country I would like to include in our global reach and mix. Fiorenza Mella is the CEO and founder Xpresso Communications. She’s been on my top 5 to go to for consulting work when dealing with Dutch, French or Italian localization. She’s fluent in at least three languages that I’m aware of, but more importantly she’s approachable, super smart and a huge ally when it comes to collaborations globally. You can find out more about her on Linkedin, Google+ or Twitter.
1. What are some of your “rules” for effective leaders?
- Being and feeling like a leader instead of being a boss (this is only good for animals)
- Provide your colleagues with the wings to fly (I compare leadership with the best mothering)
- You are followed without asking for
- Humble and inspiring. Trustful and loyal. Respectful and understanding.
- You need to hire people who are smarter and stronger than you
- You need to be clear, transparent and create a team of individuals who feel important and appreciated
- You need to give room to creativity
2. Are you doing what you love and getting better at it? How? What skills allowed you to start?
In 2006 I decided to combine a few passions of mine with my strongest skills and started working in Public Relations for an American company.
In 2012 I founded my own PR agency specialized in creating and distributing content for manufacturers in the Broadcast, Satellite, TV Connect and related technology-driven industries. I enjoy the combination of deadlines with unplanned projects. I enjoy interacting with people and I am always curious to learn and interpret people’s feelings.
My international reputation in the industry, the experience in the broadcast business, the passion for technologies, my studies in communication sciences and linguistics, the knowledge of several languages, the sales experience and the media relationships made me feel comfortable enough to start my own business. Furthermore it is crucial to be punctual, perfectionist, accurate, social, patient, kind, perseverant and curious about social media and any changes in tech-driven industries.
3. How do you empower your team?
By making everybody feel responsible and therefore giving trust.
4. What will I do today that will matter one year from now?
I will deliver (outstanding content) what the customer and the Press expect from us. I will keep on researching and will brainstorm about new ways of providing the best services for these fast-changing industries.
5. Delegating is not an easy task… what do you delegate? Is it something you need to go back over…just in case.
I usually delegate copywriting but I handle the final editing. I delegate the administration and it always goes smoothly.
6. How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
By organising brainstorming sessions with no agenda and by allowing to have flexible working hours. You need time for abstraction in order to be creative.
7. Where do the great ideas come from in your organization?
From brainstorming and from analysing some market trends.
8. You have two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
It’s usually a feeling but it would be the one matching the team from a personality point of view.
9. Your number one advice to someone in a new leadership position?
Listen and learn before talking.
10. If you could have lunch with 3 great women in history alive or dead, who would they be and what would you eat?
- The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1986: Rita Levi-Montalcini. I would have vegetarian lasagne
- Mother Theresa: I would cook for her risotto with mushrooms and a rich fruit salad
- Angela Merkel: I would eat grilled meat with vegetables and finally a tiramisu.
11. Are you doing what you love, would you do things differently to get there?
Yes, I am happy with my daily work. No, I would not but I would become an entrepreneur at a younger age.
12. Your favorite story about a success or a failure you have learned from. Could be a stalker, could be a failed client… we want to know about your process.
In the 80s I was the managing director of a Post-Production House. We were looking for a colleague who would take care of the daily planning of our facilities (editing suites, editors, etc.). After interviewing ten candidates I made my choice: a guy who stroke me for being open, social, polite and who had a curriculum in a very stressful business. The owner of the company disagreed with my choice because according to him the guy did not have the right education and how on earth could I think that somebody with a study in bakery could handle his hi-tech facilities ? Eventually he gave me carte blanche even if he felt that that was the wrong choice. This guy outperformed with both our clients and colleagues. His amiable personality, his eagerness to learn and his accurate way of working contributed to a successful operation.
13. You are well known in your niche, how are you helping other women (if you are) and giving it forward.
I give referrals whenever I cannot take on a company competing with one of my customers and I friendly brainstorm with a few of them whenever there is the need for.
14. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I would like them to discover…
15. How can we as women make the world a better place?
We need to treat women with solidarity and stop perceiving them as rivals. We need to sustain those who are fighting for a good cause. We need to ally with men, at least with those who appreciate and sustain women’s talents.