For Gioia Molinari, who serves as Head of Marketing of RCF, a company based in Reggio Emilia, Italy, that specializes in high-technology professional and commercial audio products, audio was not necessarily a longstanding passion, although music was part of her life from an early age. "I always liked music and singing," she said. "Since I was five, I was entertaining my family and friends singing Nikka Costa's songs in the sitting room!" Certainly, though, since Molinari's arrival at RCF in March 2005, at which time she was appointed Marketing Manager, her connection to the audio industry has deepened and grown. "I appreciate the people," she remarked. "They are real, easygoing and funny. But, the aspect I like the most is the passion that you can feel whenever you speak to musicians, installers and everyone else!"
But let's start at the beginning. Italy-born Molinari graduated with a degree in marketing and business studies from UWIC (University Wales Institute Cardiff), at which time she began a career in the banking sector. Initially, she worked for two years in London for Deutsche Bank. "I started as Junior Sales Assistant on the credit derivates desk, supporting about 40 people and reporting to the head of the desk," she recalled. In June 2000, Molinari moved to Milan, beginning the next phase of her career. Not long after her arrival, she was offered a position with Deutsche Bank Italy, serving as Marketing Coordinator for Italian clients. A couple of years later, a promotion brought her back to London to work on the marketing desk in the equities department in charge of the Italian, and broader European, market. Finally, after another couple of years, Molinari decided to return to Italy, which brought her to RCF and the original Marketing Manager position.
"When I arrived, I didn't have a clue of what to do and how to approach this new task," Molinari admitted. "Some of the activities were in place, whereas others weren't. And, I didn't know anybody from the industry, the products or have a team ready." However, she said that, luckily, everybody was willing to support her as much as possible. "Fausto Incerti, now General Director of RCF, always believed in me and taught me many different aspects of this job. I also wish to thank David Neale, our devoted PR consultant based in the UK who, unfortunately, recently passed away, as well as Alessandro Manini, Head of R&D, who was always patient and ready to teach me about the products." Finally, she expressed her thanks to Federico Landini and Mattia Toschi. "We are truly a big, happy family," she enthused.
RCF has invested a great deal of trust in her, giving her responsibilities that are essential to the company's success. Asked about day-to-day tasks, Molinari, who supervises three people, said, "I coordinate the activities related to the Web site, trade shows, catalogs, advertising, social events, gadgets, product promotions, PR, and interface with the press, customers and distributors." Her tasks also include compiling reports, establishing budgets and sitting in on meetings with the sales team and the R&D department, which enables her to gain a firmer understanding of the technical aspects of the different product ranges RCF sells. Additionally, Molinari interfaces with Area Managers, helping them to promote the brand, and maintains strong relationships with RCF's distributors and overseas offices. "Recently, I have been appointed Marketing Manager for SGM, a lighting company that RCF has acquired," she added, underscoring the confidence her employers have in her.
Molinari does not dispute the fact that women continue to represent a minority in the audio industry, but societal evolution continues and, clearly, gender has not held her back. "I am often the only woman sitting around a table, but I don't feel this is a problem," she explained. "I feel confident and motivated to gain my space in this man's world and, to be honest, all the people I have met and dealt with have been extremely nice." In fact, according to Molinari, industry demographics notwithstanding, being a female has not affected her career path except, perhaps, to increase her motivation. "Women are certainly more driven in whatever they do," she stated, "because they know they have to prove that they can do the job just as well and can deliver. I know that I'm very motivated and work hard." Exploding old stereotypes, Molinari also mentioned that she does not hesitate to get her hands dirty, such as by moving speakers or setting up the booth for a show—whatever is necessary to help the company.
Molinari could definitely be described as a career-minded individual, especially given all that she has already accomplished and her centrality to the RCF operation, but she manages to strike the right balance and maintain perspective. "I can always find time to have a drink with my girlfriends and spend a bit of time with my family," she said, emphasizing, "I am very close to them." She is eager to credit those who have had a lasting impression on her and helped her become the success she is today, and her parents, especially her stepfather, Alfredo, are right at the top of the list. "One of the most influential people," she continued, "has been James Symington. He was the one who helped me and supported me since the beginning of my career, giving me the confidence and strength to grow up and become the person I am today."
There are many things Molinari still would like to accomplish in her life—she referenced motherhood—but she remains highly motivated to continue to develop her career and serve the company. One thing is for sure, though: Ambition is a laudable trait, and Molinari has it. "Perhaps, one day, I will have the chance to sit on the board of directors," she said. "Too pretentious?" she added with a laugh. "Never say never. There is a quote I like: 'Will is power.' I hope to be lucky enough to get what I wish for." Her confidence and strength having continued to grow as she moved between countries and, eventually, found her way to the audio industry and RCF, it might be unwise to bet against her.
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