“My generation is often considered too demanding and unsatisfied, but I think it’s right not to settle.”
They’re the children of our time, and of our new approaches to communication: the generation of entrepreneurs under 30, the ones who decided to bet everything on the web. Digital natives have a different relationship with the world of work, especially if they can use new technologies on the job. Today we’re sharing the story of Stefania Casciari, an under-30 entrepreneur who started her career at Pulse in Hamburg. Co-founded in 2014 by Lara Daniel and Christoph Kastenholz in Hamburg, Germany, Pulse Group deals with 360-degree influencer marketing. In recent years they’ve not only opened offices in Milan, but also London and New York and are planning even more in 2019. Previously the Country Manager, Stefania is now the CEO of the Italian branch and coordinates a team of 12 people with an average age of 25.
Where and how did your career path start?
I worked in Milan for a year after finishing at Bocconi, first for Mattel and then as support for a coworking space, where I managed social marketing activity. I graduated in April and went to Germany in July. I started an internship at Pulse 3 years ago because I’d done my thesis on influencer marketing because I was passionate about the subject, but also because I liked the idea of talking about something new. I did a sort of experiment (actually, it was a real experiment because it was a fairly analytical thesis), and from there I was called by Pulse in Germany, which at the time was a team of 4. At the beginning I had a sales role, but then that changed. When I arrived in Italy they asked me if I wanted to become the director of the company and I accepted the challenge. It wasn’t easy. Without entrepreneurial experience and not being able to refer to what they did in Germany because they had a different bureaucratic system, I basically started from scratch. Even today my role is made of continuous discovery—from accounting to administration to managing people, I’m always being put to the test.
How is it managing 12 people around your own age? How do you handle the authority of your role?
Being young and not having many years of experience creates prejudice. But it’s also true that I wasn’t just made head of a company overnight. The company put me to the test, and in just 3 years I had to grow quickly. And I believe that respect is based mainly on results. As for running a young team, on the one hand it helps for communication and interaction, but on the other it’s hard when you try to impose a hierarchy. But in any case, my work is a constant source of stimulation and learning, especially when managing resources.
Was it hard to come back to Italy after the experience in Hamburg?
In Germany, everything works really well. There’s great respect for authority, maybe in part because there’s faith in the system. There’s a different approach to work—Saturday and Sunday are dedicated to the family, you work a certain number of hours and not beyond. Everything’s perfect, but it lacks the interaction and socialization common to Mediterranean countries. I’m very happy to be back in Italy. I’m especially proud to have created a business in Germany that I then brought back to Italy and now I’m creating value in my country. This gives me huge satisfaction.
How much prejudice do you think there is against your generation?
One of the big problems is definitely that people in Italy don’t accept change in the world of work, or in the needs and expectations of the current generation as a consequence. Our country still values experience and age, but unfortunately not results. My expectations are totally different from my father’s generation, who dreamed of a stable job and salary, whereas I’m focused on my career and professional growth. That’s why my generation is often considered too demanding and unsatisfied, but I think it’s right not to settle, and to try to do something truly innovative, as many young entrepreneurs are doing today in our country.
Based on your experience, how will influencer marketing change in the near future?
Since it’s a sector in constant expansion and evolution, I predict that in a few years there won’t be this defined phenomenon that we call macro or micro influencers. We all have the capacity to influence and have our own spheres of influence, or a community where we share our voice. I think that one day the so-called ‘peer to peer community’ will grow and everyone will become a ‘citizen influencer.’ In a similar vein, I also think that influencer marketing will be reinforced as something that supports communication strategies and will start to get its own allocation in the social and digital budget.
What would you like to tell young female entrepreneurs in Italy today?
I would say first of all that you don’t need to be perfect at everything. We have to consider the difficulties for women who want a career and to reconcile that with their 150 other roles. If a man is a good businessman and also a father, he’s a genius, while for women it’s just normal. I’m not in that situation yet, but i believe women are under a lot of pressure: we have to be beautiful, intelligent and super prepared. But I would also want to tell female entrepreneurs that our gender by nature is powerful, and we have determination and resilience that we’re often unaware of but that help us excel.
« Se scrivo ciò che sento è perché così facendo abbasso la febbre di sentire». - Fernando Pessoa Giornalista e co-founder, vivo il digital come imprenditrice e appassionata. Percepisco il cambiamento come un'opportunitá mai una minaccia. Occhi spalancati e orecchie aperte, sempre pronta alla condivisione, la chiave di ogni evoluzione.