Patrizia Cortese, Product and Development Manager at Ceramic Industries Limited, shares some great knowledge & advice.

Patrizia Cortese, Product and Development Manager at Ceramic Industries Limited (CIL), came to South Africa by chance wanting to add to her international working experience. It was then that she discovered CIL which, with its strong culture, she believed would align with her personal values, namely courage, integrity, fairness and continuous improvement.

“Courage is essential to explore untouched avenues and try new concepts that may not prove to be commercially successful,” she says. “Market failures are as important as successes in order to learn what is right. This leads to ongoing improvement. In a highly competitive market, you are required to work smarter and change your ways to improve and survive more efficiently.”

With regards to her management style, she is an advocate of leading by example. “I am also hands-on; most of my time is spent at the factory where you can find me on my knees checking the quality of the tile design and the finish of the glazes,” Patrizia explains. “I feel that it is important to make a difference and leave a legacy. I dedicate time to explain the bigger picture, share my experiences and teach what I have learned. I want my team to become independent thinkers and professionals.”

She goes on to say that the role one has in a working environment shouldn’t be dictated by gender as it isn’t fair to reinforce stereotypical traits based on gender. “Each person’s role is different based on his or her personal character, values and individual strengths and weaknesses,” she concludes. “In fact, anyone, regardless of sex, can accomplish whatever they set their mind to as long as they believe in themselves.”