Valentina Pinelli, the lady of doors
She is corporate product manager (doors) in Wittur Group, mechanical engineer, married and mother of two, aged 2 and 6. She was born in Veneto region, but lived for a long period in Bologna and studied at Parma university. She still lives in Parma. She describes herself as a citizen of the world: “due to the rhythm of my travels, both for business and leisure. Travelling is one of my favourite hobbies”. She also has another favourite hobby: cooking. “This is the only art I am good at!” she says. In her career, she has been working in different multinational companies and in different sectors: from hydraulics, to rubber and packaging industries. People describe her as a skilled manager, with huge technical knowledge, an open minded and perseverant woman, with a special skill for team work.
Elevatori: Why did you choose the lift industry?
Valentina Pinelli: (Laughs) I have not chosen it. I have been parachuted here.
E: What do you mean?
VP: (Laughs lauder) My first working day in the industry was at Interlift. Can you figure that? Before that, I felt a kind of awe, looking at the lift doors. At that time, to me, lifts were just metal boxes with buttons. Then I learnt to call them pushbuttons. But in the end I am an engineer, and the Interlift full-immersion stimulated my intellectual curiosity: to understand how lift doors work, to handle locks, wheels and contacts, etc. It was the lift to choose me, in the most classical way. I sent my curriculum to various companies, I went for an interview and I was hired and then the … Interlift. Today I might say that the vertical transportation industry, as better I know it, is more and more stimulant for me. I work in this industry with a sincere passion!
E: Is male chauvinism in the lift industry higher or lower with respect to other sectors?
VP: The world in its complex is a little male chauvinist. The lift industry is averagely male chauvinistic, with respect to the engineering sector. The real point is that the world is made of people. I am lucky to work in an international and multinational environment. Here, as elsewhere, I have found both male chauvinist individuals and beautifully open minded persons.
E: Is it better to work with men or women?
VP: Both! As I already told you: the world is made of people. The gender has nothing to do with this. A good work is possible when working with open minded and smart people cooperating to reach a common goal. I love to think that we are first of all persons and professionals with specific characteristics. From this derives that the classification between men and women is meaningless. What really means is the individuality of each single person. Only individuals with their own specific characteristics. In the end, I work well with both.
E: What are you passionate about the world of lifts?
VP: The lift (or better the lift car… as far as I am an engineer) is a small space, forcing people to stay close on to the other, to look one to the other and to talk one to the other. Who does not have a special memory set in a lift car? When doors close, a sudden temporary microcosm is created. I find this fascinating and vaguely poetic. Then my rational mind, my “being an engineer”, is fascinated by the flexibility of technical solutions, by the possibility to innovate and to integrate a functional object into an architectural environment. I think that lifts – in their simple complexity – are technically intriguing machines.
E: Do you think it is possible to be a good professional, have a career and be a good mother?
VP: Sure it is! This is my daily effort. I have two kids aged 2 and 6 and the challenge is to find help to make it, on your own. The key is to find a balance point that provides you with the serenity enabling you to manage all different aspects of your life.
E: Your biggest challenge?
VP: The biggest challenge is to keep a high professional level and to be positive towards changes. The industry and company environments are always running at a faster pace. Such changes are physiological: necessary and due changes. Then my biggest challenge is to be able to use the knowledge I acquired, but most of all, to get better and better every single day, in terms of technical and management capabilities.
E: Which is the best compliment you received in your working life?
VP: (Smiles and has an intent look) Recently, I have received not one but two compliments! The first one was a simple “You’ve done really good!”. The second one was “I am sure you will make it!”. Two different persons in two different situations, both united by their esteem towards me. To me this represents an added value: they gave me the charge to keep going and to further improve my efforts to do better and better.