Maddalena Pisani founded the studio “Pisani Commercialisti e Associati” of Molfetta, one of the most important professional consulting firms in Puglia.
Why is it almost all women, not an ideological choice?
It is a path that has been created naturally. I think it is the sense of security that the women manage to transmit.
Current affairs often deal with the issue of women who have a certain difficulty in asserting themselves in the world of work. Here in your firm, the world seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
I think that when a woman enters the world of work she always does it with the concern that she may not be able to play also the role of mother and wife at the same time. Here, on the contrary, everyone can express his abilities as he wishes: with us there are mothers who have chosen to work all day long, there are mothers who have chosen to follow the schedules typical of schools because they bring their children to school. For us not the quantity but quality of the work performed is important.
I already know you and I must say that in this choice I think there is your hand, as if to demonstrate that as in this office, also in the professional dimension there must be no perimeters.
Perimeters do not exist. Anyone who enters our office immediately notices that the spaces are wide not so much in terms of size as in terms of transparency. Having chosen to make a major investment in the new location, in 2011, in full economic crisis, in contrast therefore to what the real estate market was experiencing at that time, was a great challenge but at the same time the demonstration that when you believe in your skills and your potential you become an examplefor everyone. The first person who must set an example to the entrepreneur is his consultant. If we cry first, we will never be able to convey a positive message of optimism. Today, it is precisely pessimism that has a profound impact on the economic crisis, there is a lack of enthusiasm for the projects that are being carried out, for the work that is being done and for the human relations that are being built. And instead, these are the things that I care most about.
This is a reality that comes from nothing…
Yes, out of nowhere. My dad was the site manager and my mom is a housewife.
That’s right, what you’re telling looks like a fairy tale with a happy ending: investments results, an exemplary model for the management of the collaborators. What is the secret?
Our strength I believe is basically the sharing, the possibility of imagining that a project should be carried out together because it does not belong to those who do present it as much as anybody who wants to work on it. This makes that same project become a common objective and everyone inside can find a space in it to express his abilities.
The Pisani studio also boasts excellent services such as the management of trademarks and patents also thanks to exclusive partnerships with other professional firms.
These are winning formulas that we have been using for some time now and that we will continue to use. Also in this case at the center of everything there is the sharing of projects: at the moment I realize that the market needs a highly professional figure rather than expecting me to be the one to offer that service, I prefer to look for highly specialized professional skills that can answer to that specific need. For trademarks and patents we work together with a company of Rome: the basic logic is not to gain a direct economic advantage, but to broaden the professional network, building professional networks, building extended synergies and it is not a case that today the Pisani studio has clients in Rome too.
Other professional partnerships to highlight?
We have signed an agreement with Francesco Rotondi’s LabLaw studio in Milan, now a world leader in labour law. This is because everything related to human resources deserves legal attention, but also attention in terms of relationships completely different from those that can be imagined today. Today, employees no longer have to be seen as a cost for the company, but rather as a resource and as that has to be considered. People are resources, not a cost. Maddalena Pisani founded the studio “Pisani Commercialisti e Associati” of Molfetta, one of the most important professional consulting firms in Puglia. I have just finished a teaching session for a master’s degree where I was asked an interesting question: when you identify a person with whom to carry over a project, do you propose him to become an employee or partner? The answer I gave is simple: I ask that person what role do you want to have in that project and on the basis of what he decides to be, an organizational
model is created and it has to be useful to the project, not to me.
How hard is it to think that way? Are you an exception?
I don’t want to consider myself an exception, because if I did, it would be a negative assumption for the entrepreneurial and professional world. Instead, I am convinced that a cultural journey is necessary. To customers who ask me: “how much does it cost me for the tax authorities”, I answer that that should be the last thought. We were educated to imagine what is the result of the next day, not the results in the medium to long term.
In this firm you have an overview of the business reality of our region: what do you see from this point of view?
We have so many opportunities, we have so many excellences, we have so many realities that envy us even beyond national borders, yet there is always a limitation in that way of thinking in terms of costs and never in terms of investment. The first question most entrepreneurs ask themselves is: “How much does it cost me?”. Instead, the right question should be: “How much does it profit me?”.
Is there any positive change that you can see and that gives us hope? In which direction are we heading?
I want to make a strictly local transition and I think about the Entrepreneurs Association of Molfetta born in 2014. The great success of this experience lies not only in the ability to represent the needs of local entrepreneurs or in having created within the industrial area a large sculptural work dedicated to Don Tonino Bello; the real success lies in the promotion of the culture of associationism.
Today it is more common to feel part of a group, a group in which you compare, quarrel, discuss, but in the end you all work together along a common path that consists in making each one feeling important part of a human and entrepreneurial chain. Today this association is a reality that many envy us because putting together more than a hundred souls, making them live together within the same organism, is not simple. When I joined this association most of the entrepreneurs did not like my person because they saw me as a subject who wanted to be the first woman: when I have shown that I wanted to make my knowledge, skills and experience available to everyone, then I conquered the trust that led me to receive the second term as president. If today local entrepreneurs sit at the technical tables of consortium ASI or the municipality of Molfetta is a great value that cannot be neither missing, nor lost, but on the contrary emulated.
Maybe thanks to the example that we have been able to offer, today in Molfetta some other associations that bring together business and commercial realities, have been created.
Is this enough or does the crisis continue to empty the warehouses?
I believe that many times you want to suffer the crisis. I mean, times have changed: if once any entrepreneurial project had a long-term life cycle, today we are called (even in the self-employed) to continually change our skin. If you therefore do not have the right capacity for continuous adaptation and adjustment, you are destined to disappear from the market. And it is not the responsibility of the one who succeeded and replaced you, the responsibility lies in the inability to adapt to modernity. If you are an entrepreneur, the salesperson, the professional or even the cleaner, in short, whatever your job is you have to do it with dedication, passion and competence. Today, unfortunately, we run the risk of witnessing only the search for a job, rather than the cultivation of a job.
In addition to an established professional, you are also a mother, a daughter and a wife? Are you also a superwoman?
No, I don’t think I have superpowers, I think I’m an ordinary person. But I wake up every morning with the desire to go to work. Love for the things that I do is out of all proportion. And it is a love that makes me feel good even when there are moments of preoccupation, moments in which you remember to have on your shoulders the responsibility of many families, not only those of your employees but also those of your clients. I basically think I’ve done in my life everything I wanted, and I’ve done it at the time it was right to do so. And I think anyone else can. The point is to know how to prioritize things right. I also have the good fortune to have a husband who has never tried to clip my wings because he knew it would have meant to make me die. My children have always known that from Monday to Friday mom works, while on Saturday and Sunday mom is with them: I am convinced that in this way I teach my children that work is not only a duty for oneself or one’s family members, but also a social duty.
Tell us something good you’ve done recently in the social field?
In August 2016, I was waiting to celebrate my 50th birthday: for months I had been having prepared a party with friends, a few days earlier however – on August 24 – came the news of the earthquake of Amatrice. At that moment I thought about my children, what I would have done if it had happenedto us to suddenly lose a home or work. I realized that one way to start again was through culture: I called a Civil Protection officer involved in activities in support of the people and asked him what I could do to give a real hand. On the other hand, the idea of making a transfer made me feel sad, so I asked to be able to contribute to the reconstruction of a library. On 29 August, two days before my birthday, I handed over to the Civil Protection several boxes full of new books
together with teaching material for 30 children in a primary school. I preferred that nowhere my donation could appear: this was the gift for my birthday. In that same year I started two scholarships that bear my name, “Maddalena Pisani Parisi”, two scholarships of one thousand euros each: every year I identify a theme that is assigned to the middle schools of Molfetta (where I was born) and Bisceglie (where I live and where my children study) and all the students of the second classes participate by creating a writing, a drawing, an artistic work, a video clip that represents that theme. The money assigned is used for the purchase of educational material, technology or even for school trips.
The theme of the first year was feminicide, the following year it was bullying. The jury is made up of five members, I am not part of it but there is always a member of my family to ensure the continuity of this project over time. I have also included this in my testament: my children will be obliged to keep this scholarship.
And that’s not all: you’re about to become the mother of a child taken into custody and coming from Belarus.
Here, too, it happened by a coincidence. My father passed away in February 2017… it was a terrible emptiness for me. During an event to which I was invited I met Paolo Leovino, president of an association involved in custody projects for children of the Chernobyl drama. I asked him how these projects were developed and how difficult it was to carry them out. A month later I received his phone call asking me for a “yes” or “no” for a 7-year-old Belarusian child takenoff the street. There was a need to host him. And I said “yes” without even knowing the color of the hair or the face of that child. Now, together with my husband, we have started the practice of adoption and we are waiting for eligibility from the Court of Bari. My children love him, for them he is another brother. Now there will be a future for him too, if only he wants it.