WOMEN IN EA - INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINA ANAGNOSTOPOULOU
Our Women in Europ Assistance series focuses on women in senior positions, exploring their careers and sharing their advice for female corporate leadership
Christina Anagnostopoulou, Group Chief Human Resources and Internal Communication joined Europ Assistance in 2017 as HR and Organization Director for Europ Assistance Italy. Previously, she was Head of Group Talent Management in Generali Group’s Head Office in Milan
WHAT DOES GENDER DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?
First and foremost, Gender Diversity means fairness and meritocracy. It means representing the organization in a balanced manner. In Europ Assistance we want to offer equal opportunities to all our employees and leverage the significant value of gender diversity in our decision-making processes. We believe this will have a positive impact on both our business and our sustainable growth.True diversity lies in the way we think, in our different personalities, our backgrounds, our skills and individual values. The more diverse your team is, the richer your end results. Diversity gives us a chance to learn from one another. It’s something I’m truly passionate about.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS CONCERNING WOMEN IN TODAY’S WORKPLACE?
I think women should be less afraid of owning and exercising influence in the workplace. That’s why role modelling is so important. When junior women see more experienced women working hard and wielding power, they realize they can do the same.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN ON A MORE PRACTICAL LEVEL FOR EUROP ASSISTANCE?
Consider that today, one third of our CEO’s direct reports are women and most of these women are business leaders. This is a tangible result of our company focusing on gender diversity. We have already demonstrated that our commitment is more than words, but actual facts.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE ISSUE OF BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY?
Personally, I think the whole work/family balance is in our own hands. It is up to women to establish the equilibrium between these two worlds and influence those around us in order to make it work. The increased flexibility we’re seeing now in the workplace will surely help. The Covid-19 crisis is also an opportunity to reset some home dynamics and make it possible for women to emerge more. Educating the people around us and asking for our ‘rights’ in terms of support is fundamental.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG WOMAN STRUGGLING IN TODAY’S WORKPLACE?
I would tell her to be courageous and speak up. We need to push to make things happen. Change doesn’t just come along on its own. I would also say: be responsible. Set your own balance. Don’t give in to the bias that everything is automatically more difficult because we’re women. Change starts with you, inside your heart.Remember that gender-free thinking can have a powerful spill-over effect. We need to choose our role models on a gender-free basis, striving to become the best professionals and leaders we can be. If you need to speak out, now is the time and our work environment in EA and Generali is ready to listen.We need to rid ourselves of the idea that because we’re female, everything is automatically more complex. If you act like you’re less than others, you’ve already lost the battle. Defend your own identity and behave like a leader you admire regardless the gender.Authenticity is a successful strategy, one we can all use to build trust.