On the 11th of March 2021, SPII was awarded a prize that is very dear to our heart: the one for the category “women in charge”.
A recognition not only of the success of our business, but also of the leadership style that Paola pursued in the past 6 years.
It’s the prestigious “Father to Son Award“, which every year elects the best Italian companies that were able to succeed through different generations.
This year’s edition saw other 63 worthy rivals as participants,incredible Italian excellences such as winners in other categories: the historical pasta-making company Rummo, established in 1846, and Cantine Ferrari, renowned wine producer from Trento win at ex-aequo for the best generational change. E.Marinella, the famous sartorial ties from Naples, wins in the small family company category. And for the historical company prize, the winner is Marchesi Mazzei, a family company that has produced wine since 1435 (a 24th generation company !)
A jury of experts from the team of FABULA, the Family Business Lab of LIUC – Cattaneo University, was entrusted of the collection and analysis of the data. Their department is active in studies and research on family businesses and historical companies, dedicated to crucial issues such as strategic change, growth, innovation (including and above all open innovation), internationalisation, post-crisis restructuring, and the opening up of capital and governance, with particular attention to the role of the new generations.
It is a pleasure and an honor to be awarded with such an interesting prize – above all because we consider ourselves a “very special” family business.
An international family
Spii is a special company. It is indeed a family business, on some regards: it was founded in 1947 by Angelo Foiadelli, then inherited by his son, Roberto, in the 80s, and it’s now at its third generation, with Paola as the CEO.
But it is also a special family, an international one: because since 2015 we have joined the German group Schaltbau, and we have become the global Centre of Competence of this great, open family.
The success of this company is tightly connected with its ability to open up to the new, to innovate with a proactive approach, and to not allow the past to restrain the future.
This is what led us to join a Private Equity fund, before, and an international group later. This is what allowed us to face changes, challenges, difficulties, and to overcome them stronger than before. This is what gave us the ability to export Technology, Ergonomics and Style Made in Italy to all the countries of the world, not alone but as part of a whole global entity.
And this award is especially important to us because Paola‘s leadership is not “granted. It was not inherited thanks to a privileged position as the grand daughter of the founder, but it emerged from talent, strength and a leadership attitude that was appreciated across the whole company.
It is a true “father to daughter” award that celebrates success through courage, change and innovation.
As Paola commented on LinkedIn, “I like to think that this is not just a gender-related victory, but that it is the right recognition of the good work done by my team (men and women) over the years.
We operate in a traditionally male-dominated sector and yet, looking at the numbers over the last few days, I realized that at SPII S.p.A., between executives, team managers, coordinators and operatives, we are close to 40% female workforce.
The best thing is that this is not part of a strategy, we have never given “pink quota” targets.
What I ask for every day is to choose people who are competent, #passionate, #curious and #brave. Without gender bias“.
The secret to a family business’ success
As the jury explained, the winners were chosen based on their good performance along several dimensions, including turnover growth, profitability and financial strength.
But what made some more successful than others? We can find reasons both on the family side and on the business side. For sure they are families with strong values and a tendency to dialogue, and the companies are characterized by clarity and formalization of strategic choices, continuous innovation and an international orientation.
But it is a third set of characteristics that really matters: the ability to find synergy between family and business, to base the corporate governance on people and true values: “the adoption of efficient governance tools and bodies, careful planning of the generational transition, clarity of roles and openness of capital, board and management”.
We find all of that in SPII, everyday.
As Paola said during the prize-giving celebration: “people make the difference: even in a world full of machines, the difference will be made by the people who interact with them, and that is what we are aiming at.
This is also why we engage with high and middle schools as much as possible: because we want to believe in a great future, but to achieve that we have to start building it now. Investing on young people means exactly this”.
That is why our company’s employees – 160 people today – have an average age of 38 years. “Even counting our President!“, she adds smiling at her dad.
So, thanks to LIUC for this really appreciated and special award: we are proud to be a “woman in charge”, “father to daughter”, international family business.
See you next time,