There’s a sense of belonging in the words of the person at the helm of a company where women are at the forefront. Cristina De Giusti is the CEO of Manuel Caffè: a manufacturer with a strong family history that “has seen significant growth in recent years” thanks to the leadership of siblings Cristina, Emanuela and Mauro, who all share a passion for coffee.
Men continue to play a predominant role at the top of the coffee industry, so the place occupied by women in the field is a hotly debated topic in many spheres. With this in mind, we asked Cristina De Giusti a number of questions and she answered with passion in her eyes and the healthy sense of pragmatism that often prevails among women.
What led you to take the reins of the family business?
It was actually a spontaneous decision and it wasn’t necessary for a lot of thought to go into it because it naturally stemmed from business lessons that I’ve been taught since I was a child. I grew up surrounded by sacks of coffee and my whole life has been shaped by its stirring fragrance. However, I only started drinking and appreciating coffee as an adult. I’m the youngest of three siblings but I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility towards the whole family. My studies definitely helped me on this front, but the real meaning behind it all lies in continuing to nurture a passion for work not in the form of taking action but in the shape of Italian, family-based know-how, because I feel very close ties with my homeland.
What part did your mother play in your decision?
My mother was a good teacher because she dedicated her whole life to her family and the company, indulging and aiding my father in his dedication to what was always his calling: work. I can never remember her complaining and she always said that you need to put up with problems patiently because “everything comes and goes in its own time”!
What part did your father play in your decision?
My father was another figure who had a big impact on my personality. Although he wasn’t around much because he was always busy at work, he was always there for me. He let me get on with things and most importantly he let me make mistakes, because he always believed that you learn more from your failings than from your achievements. And luck doesn’t just turn up by itself: you need to seek it out.
What is the contribution made and part played by your “female perspective”?
To be honest I don’t see much difference between female and male approaches to work. The real difference lies in personal capabilities, skills and aptitude. The majority of our company’s workforce is made up of women, but perhaps that’s just a coincidence.
Which factors guide your decision making?
I follow my instinct. Decisions must come first from the heart and then from the head. If you manage to join them both together, the decision is definitely the right one.
How do you handle a leadership role in a male-dominated market?
I just do it. I always show a little imagination, take a light-hearted approach and place no importance on the fact that I’m a woman.
Available in more than 50 countries on five different continents, Manuel Caffè has established a reputation for itself as a leading name in delicious Italian coffee worldwide. Every product embodies its specific calling: to provide connoisseurs and enthusiasts with the ideal coffee, based on a combination of impeccable production, endless passion, constant innovation, and refined blends that encapsulate long-standing traditions. A key part is also played by the sensitiveness that is required to transform good products into exceptional ones. It should make everyone think about the fact that “doing a good job” very often helps people to push beyond all boundaries, including gender-based ones.
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