Grazia Vittadini (GV) is the Chief Technology Officer at Airbus, an international pioneer in the aerospace industry and a leader in designing, manufacturing and delivering aerospace products, services and solutions to customers on a global scale. On July 1, 2019, Ms. Vittadini was invited to Prysmian Group HQ in Milan as first Side by Side external role model and, before meeting our Top Managers and other key people, she was interviewed by Angela Amodio (AA), Global Diversity & Inclusion Manager of Prysmian Group. Ms. Vittadini talked about her career path at Airbus with a deep focus on diversity and inclusion and the way Airbus is approaching it, at both local and international level.
AA: Grazia, thank you very much for accepting our invitation. As you know, two years ago Prysmian Group started its journey, its diversity and inclusion journey that is called Side by Side. After two years, having the chance to meet role models like you is very important to us, because it allows us to get in touch with different leadership styles and also to understand how to develop our way to being inclusive leaders in the organization. Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself and about your professional path in Airbus?
GV: With a great pleasure and thank you very much for having me. Airbus is a global leader in aerospace with 130 thousand people on more than 180 sites worldwide. Within this company, encompassing helicopters, airplanes, satellites, launchers, and mend air systems on drones, urban air mobility platforms, I am the Chief Technology Officer, meaning I’m responsible to identify, accelerate, develop and inject into the products future technologies of a very wide range in scope. I started at the very bottom of the ladder at Airbus, as design and stress engineer, that was about 20 years ago. I made that my way on the path to more and more managerial roles. I had a plan originally: I wanted to be Chief Engineer of the new super light aircraft. Things didn’t pan out that way, doors were open to me which I didn’t even know existed and so, step by step, every position I took was a position of growth and that’s how I achieved what I have today, being the first woman at Airbus in 50 years of history to be in the Executive Committee. Now there’s two women on the Executive Committee, myself and the Head of Communications, so gender parity has increased. So this is the context where I work.
AA: Do you think that being a woman in a male dominated industry was a plus or a minus? How do you consider this?
GV: It’s a very interesting question because, believe it or not, until a certain point of my career I didn’t even want to consider my gender as part of the equation. I was born this way, some consider it an advantage, some a disadvantage. I never wanted to consider that in any way and found it even discriminating or it did irritate me whenever people would talk about quotas and doing special type of measures, to increase percentage of women in the industry. But then, when I started having positions of a certain relevance, I was becoming more and more visible to women within Airbus but also outside Airbus, and so I started hearing a lot of stories of really dramatic discrimination being experienced by women all across industries and that’s where I realized it can’t go on this way. I have the duty and the responsibility, even if nobody gave me this mission, to make sure that the world becomes a fair place, starting from my very own company.