Value your team: It seems obvious, but your team is essential to the success of your business and endeavors. Treat each team member like a partner and you’ll find favorable collaboration on all fronts.
As a part of my series about “Lessons From Inspirational Women in STEM and Tech”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katia Bassi. Bassi is the Chief Marketing Officer of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., where she is responsible for the global strategic direction of the brand, marketing, and communications. She is also the first woman to join the board of the Italian super sportscar manufacturer. Before joining Lamborghini in 2017, she was Vice President of Aston Martin Lagonda and Managing Director of AM Brands. She’s also held positions at the National Basketball Association (NBA) in Italy, the Italian soccer club Inter Milan, as well as Ferrari and the Swatch Group.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I studied political science and law in Milan, with the objective of becoming a judge in the juvenile court. But my career followed a very different path than one in the courthouse, as I had previously anticipated.
I’ve had the privilege to work with prestigious automotive, sports and jewelry brands, all of which have found a common denominator as it pertains to their marketing approach to attract a global audience. Throughout my career, I’ve found the most important objective is approaching the project at hand. What is needed for a brand to exercise its potential and reach a wider audience while remaining true to its DNA? This has been the engine to all of my career choices.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
When I first joined Lamborghini in 2017, only five percent of Lamborghini owners were women. As the first woman to join the brand’s board, I had an innate responsibility to alter this statistic.
Lamborghini is a brand that is constantly transforming, achieving new levels of ground-breaking technologies, innovation and success. With this inherently in my mind, I created the Female Advisory Board (FAB), which includes more than 20 female leaders and influencers from various fields, including business, technology, luxury and sports. This group of successful women all have the shared desire to make a difference not only within their fields, but also help shape the future and empowerment of women.
Since its foundation in 2018, more than 100 influential women have attended a series of FAB meetings, workshops and events. And now, we’re reaching a global audience with the creation of the FABTalks podcast series, featuring some of our very own FAB members and their career transformations.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Lamborghini is not only defined by its super sports cars, but by also by its people. They’re the visionaries that push the boundaries for the brand with innovative and technological feats.
We don’t stick with the status quo. We experiment with new technologies and ways of communication that steer away from the traditional realms of the automotive industry. Whether it be the creation of an all-female board, hosting a product reveal via virtual reality, being the first car manufacturer to use super capacitors to create hybrid technology, or experimenting with carbon fiber in space, Lamborghini is always finding ways for improvement.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Following the successes of FABTalks, a podcast series featuring eight FAB members and their career transformations, we’ve decided to create FABClasses. This new video series will feature female leaders and executives from the aerospace, aviation, and science industries, and delve into their ambitions, achievements and how they’ve made an impact on our world.
Although I’m unable to announce whom the FABClasses will feature just yet, you can be certain they are quite inspirational and have dared to push boundaries in their specific fields.
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in STEM? What specific changes do you think are needed to change the status quo?
I don’t believe you can look at the industry as a whole when it comes to the status quo of women in STEM and Tech. Although the topic of gender has become a more prominent discussion in the last decade, institutions and companies must still find ways to promote women, whether they hold a leadership role or not. This can be done via the creation of womens’ programs or groups in which women can support one another and provide mentorship for the next generation of women who’ve only started dreaming of what they want to be or do.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women in STEM or Tech that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts? What would you suggest to address this?
There’s a lack of support or understanding for women in the field. There seems to be an inherent cultural bias as it pertains to the role of men and women in STEM and Tech, and this is something we need to undo.
We need to encourage women to pursue technology careers. They’ll bring a unique perspective from that of any male counterpart.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a woman in STEM or Tech. Can you explain what you mean?
I would like to dispel the myth that women don’t have the necessary mindset or skills for STEM and Tech. In fact, women in both sectors have paved the path for others to achieve their ambitions and push the world’s engineering and science efforts forward.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience as a Woman in STEM or Tech” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Value your team: It seems obvious, but your team is essential to the success of your business and endeavors. Treat each team member like a partner and you’ll find favorable collaboration on all fronts.
- Innovate: Encourage your team to push boundaries and their limitations.
- Coach versus lead: Of course, you need to serve as a leader, but most important is coaching along the way. By providing support and mentorship, you’ll encourage and educate those around you.
- Take risks: Don’t follow the status quo. Instead, think outside of your traditional realm. You’ll never progress forward if you don’t try. Even if you fail, you’ll have learned an essential lesson leading to your success.
- Encourage diversity: The ability to work with different people and cultures garners inclusiveness. Every voice counts within your team.
What advice would you give to other women leaders to help their team to thrive?
Determine what your value is to your team and how you can lead them to success. Listen and challenge them in the best way possible. And most of all, be collaborative — share your ideas and visions.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Marie Curie is someone I’ve admired ever since I was in primary school. She was the emblem of the woman I aspired to become. She was resilient in her field of work, especially during a time when women were not considered equal to men
Her perseverance is a trait I commend and try to emulate. Whenever there’s a moment of frustration, I think of her — if she was able to endure and achieve what she had set out to do in a time period that wasn’t necessarily accommodating for professional women, then I can, as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Throughout my career, I’ve found myself in male-dominated environments. Having worked for renowned automotive and sporting brands like Lamborghini and the NBA in Italy has only helped steer my purpose, and that is to bring authority and compassion as I influence those around me.
Following the creation of Lamborghini’s Female Advisory Board, I’ve been able to witness how successful women leaders have transformed their lives and achieved their highest goals. And best of all, they continue to break the mold.
I want to help recognize and tell their stories so we can help inspire the next generation of female leaders.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Education is the key to the world’s advancements and creations. It’s what helps create who we are and what we do as human beings to benefit this world and those around us. I would inspire a movement to bring education to all.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“May you never forget how far you have come and the miles it took just to get to this place,” as said by Morgan Harper Nichols. Each step taken in your life will lead you to something great. There will always be hurdles, but this will only strengthen your perseverance to achieve your goals and ambitions.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Michelle Obama would be at the top of my list for a private lunch. Similar to my admiration for Marie Curie, Michelle is an inspiration and a role model for empowering women, from her education to her career, and ultimately her services as the First Lady of the United States. She’s also a signification contributor to her husband’s influence as a world leader.