A passionate marketeer, sustainability ambassador, role model for women leaders, yoga enthusiast and outdoor adventurist – there are so many sides of (and things to learn about) our Head of Marketing for BA Food Europe.
Fascinated by the art of marketing from an early age, Cristina began her Electrolux Professional Group career in a junior role that saw her move from her native Italy to Spain for a few months.
On her return home, she knew she had found her calling and – 18 years on – has grown her career with the company, ever fascinated with the changing face of marketing in the digital era.
And tell us a bit about your career to date
Since starting at Professional in 2005, I’ve covered almost everything in marketing – product, branding, exhibitions, partnerships and digital in both local and central roles. I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to work in an international and multicultural company.
I studied humanities and languages at university but was always intrigued by marketing – even as a child before I really knew what it was. I recall watching TV adverts in Italy for Brooklyn chewing gum and was really intrigued by them – that’s really where it all started.
And when you’re not working?
Outside of work, I love travelling, to be out in nature hiking and I’m a keen skier too. I also practice yoga as much as possible as the mental and physical benefits are enormous. Although it’s work-related, visiting restaurants, hotels, museums, and art galleries give me ideas and inspiration to think about new trends and needs.
What gives you energy and keeps you passionate in your job?
The company has evolved positively since I joined and the passion of our colleagues is contagious.
At the same time, marketing has transformed dramatically and digital has changed the way we work. It’s about creating a smooth path in our digital ecosystem and we are going in this direction – from the website experience, to buying products online to apps developed especially for them.
What hasn’t changed is the personal experience – an essential customer touchpoint. When we bring people to our Centers of Excellence and factories or Ecole Ducasse in Paris, for example, we can truly demonstrate who we are and what we do.
Still, digital has a huge impact here too, following the full process from welcoming the customer to monitoring how effective the event is as well as automatizing all the ‘hidden’ internal processes, like the participant list sent to the entrance and booking the chefs’ agenda automatically.
What are you most proud of?
Being flexible and evolving as a person as well as in my career. I have learned that trying to do it all and expecting that everything can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is not the best ally.
What’s your advice for young managers?
Be focused and take risks. When you want to change things, you can’t please everyone. And don’t underestimate the power of soft skills. A proper and empathic attitude can cover a lack of hard skills that can be built up along the way.
I also have some advice for young female managers. Women need to shift from thinking: “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking: “I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it.”
You can be a great leader without being aggressive and instead share your emotions to build deeper relationships. Leadership is the expectation that you can use your voice for good.
Out of the company’s four Guiding Principles, which is your favorite?
I particularly like the most ambitious of them – Act Sustainably. Easy to say, but hard to live by.
Sustainability is a big ticket to play across our industry; it can change the way of doing business, heavily influence employee behaviors, and gifts us excellent and strong selling arguments.
But beside pure numbers, you need consistent behaviour to build trust. Can we only use reusable cups at our sites, can we avoid using meat in cooking demos, for example?
Personally, I have a strong green credo and I try to be consistent. I don’t have a car, which isn’t always easy, but a conscious choice that I made. Things like finding alternatives to plastic to keep food fresh – small examples that won’t change the world but you can’t think sustainably at work and not practice it at home too.