Clara Paganini

Life is a succession of events and emotions that bind the past and the present and build the future, so I am mentioning an event from my life, because it was the origin of my training and my life choices.

In March 1956 I had just enrolled in the Faculty of Letters in Genoa, when my father prematurely died.

Two days after his funeral, my mother had a surgery on her breast and Prof. Agrifoglio, at the clinic Villa Serena in Genoa, diagnosed her two years of life.

Fortunately, she lived thirty-three more years.

The strength and the commitment that I had on that occasion made me understand a lot of things.

I worked 41 years at Rinascente Group. I started in 1958 and I was Personal Manager for ten years and then Branch Manager in La Spezia, Lucca, Parma and Milan.

In Milan I knew and attended the Association Women in Career founded and chaired by Federica Olivares.

Since then, with the contribution of new forces at European level, in a short time, the group has consolidated and transformed into an EWMD International Network, based in Brussels and with clear objectives to be achieved and fixed points to work on:

  1. to promote personal and professional women training,
  2. to encourage women to take up leadership roles at work and in society,
  3. to balance the presence of men and women in leadership roles, improving the quality of management.

These new ideas made me reflect and understand that something had to be changed.

I had been working for years in a modern company, active in training, but inside women Branch Managers were 3 or 4 in Italy and in each office the administrative part was led by an accountant Office Manager and Promoters were mainly men.

So I thought about spreading new ideas and bringing this Network to my City, La Spezia.

I organized the first meetings at the Industrial Association, convening a first group of established women who could pass on their experience to the others.

Thus an article appeared in La Spezia News of the Secolo XIX on Sunday 22 June 1986.

The Title was The Association of Successful Women was born. They prefer credit cards to mimosas.

It highlighted the spirit of resourcefulness and innovation of a group that distinguished itself and forcefully became visible to an entire Province, with effort, commitment and professionalism, willing to count in this society like men.

Even today, after over 30 years, we are members of Confindustria La Spezia, and in all these years we have carried out a continuous activity through meetings, conferences, training courses.

Every year it is assigned the Women Leader La Spezia Award, which I conceived in a sleepless night and which has been carried out since 2001.

From that date over 70 women from La Spezia have been recognized for their commitment to study, work, family, society.

All this is visible in the publication made for 30 years of presence in the La Spezia, entitled 30 Years of Social, Cultural and Professional Growth of a Female Network.

For the experiences I lived on a personal and work level, I conclude by sharing what Gary Becher, the Nobel Prize winner for Economics, says. He believes that the 21st century will be the century of women, because it is not oil and natural resources that make the Nations’ Wealth but Human Capital or intelligence, preparation and ability to raise future generations.

Women, in these fields, are a guarantee.

Clara Paganini


former Manager at Rinascente Group

former President of EWMD La Spezia, Italy