(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)
Today’s interview is with Paola Bonomo, a tech investor. Paola has been a member of Italian Angels for Growth – the leading group of business angels in her country – since 2009. She is also active as a Non Executive Director at AXA Assicurazioni.
In 2015 and again in 2016, Paola was recognized as one of the Inspiring Fifty, the fifty most inspiring women in European technology.
What makes you do what you do?
How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I had a senior partner I considered a mentor while I was at McKinsey. After that, what I did ended up being too new for experienced mentors to understand, and I really had to start charting my own course.
How did you make a match if you did and how did you end up being mentored by him?
At McKinsey, the match happened quite naturally, based on a string of successful projects together, especially in the telecommunications industry. Several years later, he became a published author and I was behind the scenes of some of his books as an early reader, offering suggestions on working drafts and people for him to contact and interview. If I ever write a book, I’ll get him to read the drafts!
Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Advice for others?
I’d like to see more women with the courage and drive to start a business and get it off the ground. I’m also concerned about the relative lack of women in the STEM education pipeline. In the European Union alone, by 2020 we will have 800,000 tech jobs to fill that don’t exist today: surely we don’t want to leave them all to men?
To learn more about AXA Assicurazioni, please see https://www.axa.it/.
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