Forbes Italia selected 100 female professionals who, in 2022, contributed to the growth of the country and added value to key sectors of society with their commitment and leadership skills. Our Institutional Relations Manager, Marica Nobile, is among them.
Congratulations Marica! Institutional Relations Manager might not be the first role that comes to mind when thinking of a life sciences institute. Give us some insight into what your job is about.
It is true: when people talk about science, they often don’t think that to enable researchers to do their job, you also need a team of people with very different professional backgrounds to create the right conditions. In addition, in a public research institute such as HT, it is crucial that a direct line is created with policy makers and non-scientific stakeholders to make them understand the importance of the work being done by researchers.
My job is to act as a link between the Foundation and these stakeholders who do not belong directly to the world of scientific research. I like to think of myself as an interpreter: on the one hand, I tell the outside world what we do so that its importance can be perceived and, in the case of policymakers, to ensure that our point of view can be taken into account in decisions that might have an impact on HT research. On the other hand, I put my understanding of the ecosystem in which we operate in at the service of the Foundation so that stakeholders’ expectations are also taken into account when defining internal strategies.
So what does your typical day at Human Technopole look like?
The thing I love most about my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day. People who do my job are problem solvers by definition: one day you organise the visit of the Minister for Research to our laboratories, the next day you write the annual report to the Houses of Parliament, the third day you speak on a panel to present HT to a wide variety of stakeholders, all this while trying to facilitate the issue of a visa to Italy for a researcher stuck in his/her country, writing a speech for the President, or monitoring parliamentary activity to check whether the latest legislation has an impact on our activities. Never a dull moment!
What do you think is the most important quality/skill for someone in your position?
Curiosity and empathy, the rest is training on the job. To be an ‘interpreter’, as I said before, you have to understand the point of view of the person in front of you and you can only do this if you have the desire to discover, to investigate, to study and above all to ‘relate’ to the other person: without being curious and empathetic, this is really difficult.
What is your academic and professional background? What were you doing before joining HT?
I graduated in Political Sciences and I have a PhD in Political Philosophy. Shortly before defending my PhD thesis (on Islam and human rights) I was offered an internship at Confindustria to deal with relations with Arab countries. I accepted thinking that I would benefit from the opportunity to better understand the culture of countries whose philosophical background and religion I was studying, and I became passionate about international relations. So I stayed for almost ten years in charge of promoting internationalization of Italian companies, first in the MENA region and then also throughout Africa. Then I had an experience in Brussels, where I defined the Italian business system’s approach to the new EU development cooperation. I then moved on to lead the institutional and international relations of an Italian multinational in the construction sector and then arrived at Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, where I was in charge of relations with stakeholders and associations. Then Covid came and I realised that my skills could serve something big and important like life sciences… and here I am.
What is the most important lesson you have learned at Human Technopole?
That science has no borders and is everyone’s legacy. I find that there is no message more beautiful and powerful right now.
Being included in the list of 100 Forbes Women is a big achievement. What next?
“The sky is the limit”…just kidding! Everyone likes formal recognition, and the one from Forbes particularly touches me because of the motivation. To think that my commitment has added value and contributed to the growth of my country is really flattering and motivates me to do even more and better, perhaps inspiring young women to do a complex but never boring job like mine. And perhaps at the service of science!