Elena joined LafargeHolcim in 2004, over the years she worked in different areas and positions but always within the IT and business transformation programs. In 2019, she became the Head of Business Transformation at LafargeHolcim IT EMEA to drive transformation across the company.
What do you think are the current challenges in the IT Industry these days?
Today more than ever, with the COVID-19 situation, Technology has proved to be a cornerstone for the business sustainability in any circumstances, and a key enabler for business to become flexible and dynamic to answer quickly to the changes. In this line I would say that the main challenges as a tech company we have are: give the fastest response without compromising security and reliability; accompany the digital business transformation through building digital applications, tools, and platforms; and to change organizations and culture to rely less on individual performance and more on team collaboration, agility, and flexibility to solve business problems.
Do you think that diversity and gender equality are already a reality? If not, what do you think should be changed?
I think we still have progress to be made. Women are often the minority in the room, especially in Senior Management positions. Women are rarely being considered as a strategic and visionary leader. We still have strong societal expectations, such as men are the breadwinners and women take on most of the family and household tasks and many prejudices. We are on the right path but with a long way in front of us. We can think of many actions as accelerators to close this gap at all level: management commitment to increase the female labor force in leadership positions; same measures for working balance to all the employees independently of the gender, performance based on efficiency, objectives to evaluate with parity, eliminate barriers in the hiring process for women and age; and also building parity in the schools, in the education and emerging high demand skills and jobs. It's important to understand that diversity and inclusion are not only ethical imperatives; they are essential practices for business success.
When you face challenges, what encourages you?
When I face challenges, the question I make myself is: "How can I deal with this challenge? What encourages me?" Think about how I can overcome it. When something goes wrong or something unexpected happens, first I try to assume the situation quickly - This is what we have now, instead of fighting with the reality that I can not change. So, I think that there are new rules in the game and I start immediately thinking about how we can play in the best way with our cards. Sometimes that's required to be creative, to think out of the box, and to take into account other similar experiences and How we shorten out. The best of challenging situations is that you make yourself stronger and get better confidence.
Who is your role model? Who inspires you?
I can not think only about one person when we talk about inspiration. I have met many great people in my life that inspire me in different aspects or different situations. Starting from my parents that for me are my reference of integrity, hard work, overcoming; few teachers in the school and university that opened to me the appetite to learn and keep always the curiosity on; supervisors and colleagues who taught me the good practices that are now my guide... So I do not have a unique role, but many inspiring people.