Equality & Diversity: Y&R Italy's CEO, Simona Maggini

My biggest reward would be not to hear about equality anymore as that would mean equal treatment is established as a given.


How would you describe the culture at your agency, would you say that there is a separate female culture?

Not at all, there is a very equal and diverse culture. It has not been like this since ever, but now we are where we should be.

What do you see as being the biggest change in the adv industry since women have begun to break the “glass ceiling”? 

There have been many changes, but probably not the biggest one: leaving the labels behind. As we heavily work with stereotypes to build and manage our clients’ brands, we tend to be caught in this labeling mindset also when managing our people. And this is especially true for women and their role in business.

What are the challenges that  women still face in the industry?

To be honest the main challenge could be talking about this more than acting. And even worst, championing gender equality because it is a social must more than strongly believe in its core values and appropriateness.

Challanges for women are existing in every industry, adv is not different from others. It relates a lot to the country first and then to the managers and their ability to create the right opportunities and an equal environment for everybody. 

What I see as a real issue is still the difficult combination between job and family and the prejudice about the level of committment expected  from a woman, more than ever if she has family/kids.

What steps do you take to ensure you achieve a healthy work-life balance?

First of all I reflect myself about this. I plan my time in the office efficiently. I prioritize as much as possible. I delegate and I empower my team, also to ensure their growth.

What professional achievements are you most proud of?

I am mostly proud of the positive reputation I built around myself in the industry, both with the staff, with clients and business partners/colleagues.

And I have to acknowledge I am proud of never failing  in the trap of not being myself along the path, even when things got rough.

Tell us about a mentor that helped guide you in your career. What made them so special?

There is one mentor especially, who still is my mentor, who understood my potential and my weaknesses very well. And made it sure I could build on my capabilities and overcome my limits. Sometimes he was very challenging, but now I know it was needed to convince myself I could make it right.

How do you as a successful women plan to inspire the next generation of women? 

I am part of 2 women’s leadership programms with a lot of initiatives and I will keep on creating chances to talk, exchange, reflect and share stories and experiences. I strongly believe in mentoring and role models to strenghten the self confidence. The lack of self confidence  is the worst enemy of every woman in business.

Last but not least in WPP we are running an activity involving girls in school as we need to make sure this topic is not a brainer for the future generations. My biggest reward would be not to hear about equality anymore as that would mean equal treatment is established as a given, and not something to achieve.