Equality Impact Award Winner: Gracia Amico
Historically and notoriously unequal, the tech industry has already come a long way in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion. Much of this success has been due to the amazing women and female-identifying people that break glass ceilings everyday.
In honor of these women and in celebration of Women’s Equality Day on August 26, BounceX launched The Equality Impact Awards, awarded to an honorary group of women in the tech, publishing and retail industries, each of whom has broken barriers, changed their companies for the better and fought for equality and gender parity.
Today, we honor one of our 2018 winners, Gracia Amico, the Non-Executive Director at Ruroc. Gracia answered 5 questions about the state of equality in the industry. Take a look!
What strategies do you use to fight for equality in your field?
I believe one has to strive to be the very best one can be, and that excellence ultimately gets rewarded. In addition, women have particular skills – empathy, persistence, listening and stamina, for example – that are invaluable for business success. I also mentor a variety of women in business, from senior to very junior roles, guiding them through any issues they would like to work on.
What was your dream job when you were in college, and how has that evolved?
I always wanted to run my own business. When I was at university, I had a business guiding Italian tourists and doing translations for them and the Ministry of Agriculture. I wanted to do the same for the Chinese. (I studied Mandarin Chinese and business). The latter was a disaster as they simply copied my ideas and did it themselves. In 2000, I received £500K from a venture capital firm to set up my own dotcom company. It was a dream come true, but after 5 years and modest growth I realised I had a lot more to learn; especially what it was like to be part of bigger and more established businesses. After 12 years of running digital and multi channel departments and businesses, I am now advising both small and bigger businesses in this space in the capacity of non executive director and board advisor. It is thrilling to be able to use my experience to be effective and impactful in these roles.
What is the worst decision you ever made? What did you learn from it?
I prefer to use the words “learning experience”. We make decisions based on the best information available at a given time, and inevitably some decisions turn out to be wrong. I allowed myself to be lured into a board position at a leading high street retailer, only to discover that my responsibilites were less than they were in my previous role, as head of e-commerce at one of their rivals. I learned from this that titles are meaningless; it’s the role itself that really matters.
I am currently reading ‘Black Box Thinking’ by Mathew Syed. It’s all about how to create excellence by learning from mistakes. I am always keen to openly share my experiences and challenges with others if that means making it easier for someone else.
What rituals or habits do you have for when you want to have a kick a$$ day?
I often roll straight from my bed onto my yoga mat. It sets me up beautifully for the day. I will follow it with a special brew of tea with added collagen and oils to give me a boost of energy. I walk my dog and draw inspirations from nature and my dog walking friends. I’m also a keen tennis player; it’s a great way to develop resilience and mental fortitude, and it trains you to think flexibly in the face of changing circumstances.
What does female empowerment mean to you?
Every woman should be able to feel and be independent, strong and confident to follow her dream career path.