Martedì 4 Giugno presso il Campus CIMBA di Paderno del Grappa abbiamo parlato di diversità che valorizza la leadership con una relatrice d’eccezione: Tanya Kopps, CEO di Metro Italia dal luglio 2018 (prima donna a ricoprire tale carica in Italia) e membro di LEAD, l’organizzazione internazionale che guida i Top Manager in Europa a potenziare la Diversity.
Le abbiamo fatto qualche domanda, ecco cosa ci ha raccontato.
Diversity is not only about gender, age, or religion. What else created diversity?
I think diversity is about diversity of opinion. And that can come from different type of backgrounds like gender, citizenship, and nationality but I think it’s really about reflecting society in all parts of your business and every aspect of decision-making.
Can leadership and diversity always coexist?
Yes, I think so. I think it’s just a facet of people and diversity for me is about different types of people and how you interact. We always have to interact and deal with different types of people. So I think from that aspect it’s just part of leadership, in terms of what we are doing. I think it’s something that, if leaders take to the next level, can actually help improve the teams, improve business and improve relationships.
You have had important positions throughout Europe. Does the role of women change according the country?
In some things yes, in some things no, but I think it has a lot to do with development. What I have seen is, at least from my experiences with Metro, in eastern European countries there tend to be more women in management positions in comparison to western European countries and I think It has also a lot to do with culture, what the background in the culture is that shapes even traditional ways of thinking, how people look to challenge those norms, and how they are developing over time. For me a lot of this is about family and how you manage the family. Between people, is it something that is taken forward through generations or is it something that is seen as a traditional role for the women? Is it something that is shared?
How are you in Italy?
I love Italy. I almost say this from the standpoint of our business because it’s all about food, so Italy is a great place to be when it’s all about food. I’ve really had the opportunity to learn more than most Americans or other nationalities things about Italian food, because Italian food exist everywhere but they have adapted to the market. Something I really appreciate is the diversity of local products and things that I never knew. For instance, we have a store in Pozzuoli and we have a store in Salerno and I learned that the type of mozzarella that each area sells is totally different and they wouldn’t even consider buying the other one. And I mean, they’re not that far apart! There are such strong preferences in terms of local products and having the knowledge of where it comes from is something that’s very specific for Italy. It exists in other countries too there I have been in but never as strong as I’ve seen it here. It’s really the ingredients that matter and the cooking.
When you were a child, have you ever experienced diversity? Was good or not?
I am half Korean so my mother is Korean and my dad is “normal” American, that mix of a bit of everything. I’m from Iowa originally and I was one of the most unique people in my class so I was always a little bit different. I think from that standpoint I grew up with diversity from day one. You have the good side and the bad side of that because in my house we had Korean food and we had my grandmother living with us for some time. So you are exposed to different aspects of life, different languages, different cultures, and I think that’s something that makes you appreciative and open to those type of things. Where I grew up in a small town in Iowa there weren’t many other people who were different so there were some negative aspects of that tooI think that helps you grow and understand who you are as a person and where you want to be so I think that also has something to do with why I’ve lived in 7 different countries and why I’m able to deal with a lot of different types of people and have fun well doing it.
About LEAD. What does it mean for you be part of this organization?
LEAD stands for Leading Executives Advancing Diversity and it’s an organization specifically for retail, wholesale and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) in Europe. Its primary goal is to advance diversity and it gives a great opportunity for big players in this industry to exchange practices and relate in a business environment. We have a yearly networking event. We also have various committees that help the organization in providing different types of education and things like a diversity scorecard with which we are able to measure the maturity matrix for various types of things. I think it’s important for me to be involved because, as a role model, it’s important to use every opportunity to have an influence within and outside my organization I think it gives you a chance to work with other fabulous people that can be both male, female, and different countries. I think that is something that is really useful from a business perspective – to have this outside perspective on what you’re doing but also to help bring good practices into your own company.