Meet Cristiana Pierotti
Mentorship “changed my life,” said Cristiana Pierotti, who is AlixPartners’ Head of Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding for Italy and Dubai.
Her first mentor at the firm was Diane Whelan, who helped Cristiana look at situations from a very different point of view and helped broaden her perspective as well as her connections.
“I felt comfortable expressing my concerns and sharing my difficulties,” Cristiana said. “Mentorship offered me a safe haven.”
That experience left her strongly wanting to mentor others.
“You feel empowered, inspired to help bring someone else up,” she added.
Throughout her career, mentors have helped Cristiana grow professionally by bringing her into major projects. A few years ago, Piero Masera and Michele Paolo D’Angelo asked her to support a client that needed help with talent acquisition. Working on a client project as a corporate services employee gave Cristiana the opportunity to flex new muscles.
“It was powerful,” she said. “I’m grateful they gave me the opportunity to prove to myself and to others that I could do it, and it helped me think out of the box.”
Cristiana believes that women supporting other women is one critical way to effect change, particularly in societies with less progressive views on gender equality. In Italy, “if you are a mom and you are ambitious, it’s not easy,” said Cristiana. “Many people don’t accept it. And the opposite is also true: it’s not easy being a childless woman and not being judged.”
Advocating for women in the workplace is the most effective way to achieve balance. “If we build a work environment where everyone is free to express themselves, we’ll do the same in our private lives. We pass it on to our partners and spouses, who pass it on to their companies; to our children, who pass it on to their schools. By being inclusive in our company lives, we create a domino effect in society.”
The result, Cristiana believes, is “not just an environment that’s inclusive; but one that’s also energizing.”
In both her role in talent acquisition and as the local Milan champion of AlixPartners’ Women’s Empowerment Matters employee resource group (WE Matters ERG), Cristiana develops initiatives in and promotes the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts to potential job candidates, clients, and other firm employees. In the past year, with the support of other ERG members she has organized several events with external speakers, including a panel on how companies can support those in sensitive situations, such as a transitioning transgender employee or a same-sex couple raising children. Another recent event hosted notable Italian businesswomen, including from firm clients, to discuss the challenges of managing business, travel, and family.
Another benefit of mentoring relationships is seeing different generations working together. “I think Gen Xers and Baby Boomers had to assert their right to work and to be heard,” she said. “What I see in younger job candidates, particularly women, is how they’ve benefited from the earlier waves of female empowerment. As a result, they are more self-aware, more confident about changing things. Women from different generations working side by side creates a good balance between self-awareness and knowing your individual boundaries.”
The efforts of Cristiana and the WE Matters ERG are clearly paying off.
“When I visit business schools for recruitment, over and over students tell me ‘I’d be proud to work in the firm’ and ‘I trust you as an inclusive employer,’” Cristiana said.