Alessandra Montanari - Senior Legal Counsel Alfa Wassermann S.p.A.
How long have you been working for your current company?
1 year and half
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
Probably, the factor which led to my current position is due to my professional experience as an outside and in-house lawyer, which implied a combination of an high tech training and experience in international business, a strong understanding of the industry I serve, and transactional legal experience. As a lawyer, I was partner of an independent law firm CAMOZZI BONISSONI VARRENTI (formerly Varrenti Avvocati Associati). Practice focused on counselling private companies on M&A, and LBO transactions.
Previously, as a senior associate at KStudio Associato (Tax&Legal affiliated firm to KPMG International) I followed several transactions in the areas of security law, merger and acquisitions, and general corporate law. I served as outside counsel for many private middle-size companies. Co-managed a department of 20 attorneys.
As a General Counsel at ALSTOM Transport S.p.A., whose registered office and Italian headquarters were located in Bologna (company of ALSTOM group operating in the TRANSPORT business Sector) counseled the executive team on corporate, governance, and regulatory matters. Provided legal support the management in all legal and contractual areas. Negotiated and prepared contracts and licenses. Revised the work of outside legal and IP counsels. Developed, implemented, and managed national compliance policies and programs.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
To have successfully managed the acquisition of an important high tech company within an import business expansion of Alstom in Italy.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
To win an important litigation which could materially affect the business of our company.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
Personally, I have invested my resources more on work than private life, and I am not happy about this.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
I studying law because I was interested to become lawyer, and exactly a commercial lawyer.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
Fortunately, the company I currently served has an high percentage of woman employees. However, the management positions are covered by a majority of men.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
I have noted only the disadvantage, in the sense that it is more difficult to be heard, specially when I was younger. Now, a stronger professional experience compensates for being a woman.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
I think that a stronger presence of woman in legal practice allowed to decrease the diffidence towards a woman lawyer.