Meet our Head of FlexLab™ Development, Maria Grazia Pirozzolo
1. What is your role in Inpeco? Why did you choose Inpeco as your employer?
My current role in Inpeco is to drive the Product Development Unit of FlexLab™ Automation, so I work with very high skilled and talented colleagues who manage new development projects with R&D.
Why Inpeco? At the beginning, in the year 2005, a few months after my degree, Inpeco was one of the companies offering an internship in collaboration with Milan Politecnico, the university I graduated from. This was an interesting opportunity for me, because Inpeco was a company playing in a field close to my biomedical engineering studies and also did research & development as well as manufacturing completely based in Italy. For a biomedical engineer starting in a place where new ideas arise and are developed into products was a dream place to be.
Since then, 15 years have passed, almost every day was a discovery, a challenge, an opportunity to see things from a different point of view, always side by side with so wonderful people, in Inpeco but also in each company and lab organization collaborating with us. And Inpeco, my first employer, has become my second family!
2. Tell me about your journey to become a leader in your field. Why did you choose this career?
The long journey, still ongoing, in Inpeco started from fully operative roles with hands-on experience with our products. At the beginning I was a Verification & Validation engineer, testing all new modules before their market launch.
Then I had the opportunity to move to the Service Organization as an Application Specialist, shifting my point of view to the released product, having the responsibility to install, set-up and troubleshoot them. During that period, I was travelling from lab to lab worldwide, I also had the responsibility to train and support customers. My commitment and the experience gained were acknowledged by the company and some years later, I became the manager of a group of customer care specialists who I also selected. I’m really proud to say that they are still in Inpeco and growing as I am.
The experience in the Service Organization gave me the big chance to meet a lot of people with different backgrounds and approaches as well as deepen my understanding of laboratory needs. With my new knowledge gained on the field, I once again was offered a new opportunity: switching my point of view to pre-sales activities, l became the leader of a smart team with the responsibility to understand the needs of possible new clients and develop customized automation solutions for them.
The most recent challenge I’m currently facing is a further change of perspective: driving the development of new products, in close collaboration with our R&D department and the Project Managers, again a super team!
3. What are challenges of managing your team and how do you overcome them?
A team means different individuals, with their own personalities, with different backgrounds and different approaches for the future, but with common goals to reach.
I think that one of the biggest challenges of managing a team is to understand the differences among the members and at the same time help them finding the right synergies and keys to collaborate and help each other.
Find time to listen to their thoughts, give them the right level of responsibility, but also be there to support if issues arise. And, find always a way to share what they are contributing to: the company achievements, (and sometimes also the defeats), are always the result, good (or bad), of each team cooperation. And this communication is not always taken for granted.
4. How would you motivate other women to achieve the same level of success?
I don’t know if there is really a recipe, a list of ingredients you could put together in advance to ensure the success of your cake… (probably this analogy comes from my so bad and unrecoverable experiences in cooking art!)
Your job must feel like a growing journey, and during this journey, you cannot foresee each next step, of course.
But if you find the way to express your ideas, to share your doubts and at same time to help someone else to solve theirs, if each day is a new challenge but also a new gained experience, you are going in the right direction!
5. What are you doing in your free time outside work?
I’m a mum, this is my main role despite any other responsibilities I could have covered in my career.
I have an almost 11 year old girl, Matilda, and, as long as she enjoys it (teenage years are coming…), I like to spend with her the most part of my free time, even if it means staying out in the cold weather watching her ice skating or taking horse riding lessons!
We all are animal lovers and our family is a real multiracial crew, with a dog, a cat and a rabbit… so, after caring for all these puppies, I’ve quite run out of the 25 hours per day I have, as any woman magically has 😉
6. The International Women’s Day 2021 theme is “ChooseToChallenge”, what does it mean to you?
You should always have the opportunity to choose, to decide what to do with your life and your future.
And you should always try to challenge yourself to do better and to improve, step by step.
Choose to challenge to express who you are, with your strengths and your vulnerabilities you can make the difference!
Thank you Maria Grazia!