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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with ELENA SACCO

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with ELENA SACCO



Current organisation: IED - ISTITUTO EUROPEO DI DESIGN

Elena has worked for years in Milan, Paris, London and Geneva for important international branding and communication agencies (Publicis group, Young & Rubicam brands, Landor, Wunderman) signing international branding projects for companies such as P&G, Marazzi Group, Azimut Yachts, Jacuzzi, Barilla, Giorgio Armani, Natuzzi, Atkinsons, Wella among others. In 2009 she chose to become a consultant by founding the marcomm consultancy division of Studio Sacco in Milan and, among other experiences, she was the Communications Director of Boscolo Hotels. She is the founder and scientific coordinator of MASTERBRAND, the International Master in Brand Management, in its 22nd edition, which to date has created more than 500 professionals operating in the world of Branding and Strategic Marketing located in 5 continents. Juror in various contests and awards such as UNICOM, RE.Start, she is the author of BRANDREVOLUTION and THE INSIGHT Lupetti Editions and is today President of the Advisory Board of DUDE as well as Board Advisor of FANDANGO CLUB. Since 2015 she has been directing the school of Communication and Advisory Board member at IED - the European Institute of Design; in the last years the school gained the title of BEST ITALIAN CREATIVE SCHOOL and students have been awarded several times by international contests and prizes. Since 2020 she is also Global ALUMNI Director for IED.

7 Questions with ELENA SACCO


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

Being an executive in a complex/large enterprise is a matter of organization, time management, relationship, leadership. As per my personality, the most challenging part of my job is definitively negotiation among different company levels to achieve goals.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I have been a professional for a while and, given the fact my company is a leading education institute based on professionals (and not academic teams), I was asked to take the Director role because people working within the organization asked to have me in the top management. So it happened that I became their leader because they wanted me to.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

My calendar is my boss. Everything is in there, including my private life. I organize everything very well in advance , even while developing projects I already set up calendars and meetings for months ahead, to always give the key steps to my team and myself. In a nutshell my calendar is about: weekly/bi-weekly-monthly-quarterly progress meetings with different teams but also companies meetings for relationships and always keeping an eye on the market outside.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

In covid-remote working many many lessons are learned. In my opinion the biggest lesson is that we cannot skip human touch ever and need to solve issues, always to talk and meet even virtually BUT avoid only messaging.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I am a fan of REAL life and quite against books. The most meaningful lessons that impacted my life are great entrepreneurs or managers I had the privilege to work with and for: Paolo Vitelli (Azimut yachts), Barilla family (Barilla), Pasquale Natuzzi (Natuzzi), Filippo Marazzi (Marazzi group), Paul Heart (VP P&G), Marco d'Alimonte (Tesla) , IED Group CEO Massimo Rosi and many many others everyday. You learn more by spending 30 minutes with them rather than reading a book.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

I believe it is all about choosing the right team, setting up a strong organization with a clear agreed vision.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

A story that is repeating everyday:
when someone says "it is NOT possible, because we have always done like this' ' is the first fire that turns me on. When someone said: it is not possible for and italian school to win international contests, it is not possible to gain 100% job placement of your students, it is not possible to involve global leaders in your Advisory Board and among the teachers team, it is not possible at school to develop REAL company projects and so on...well step by step we achieved that . Not because someone calls me Wonder Woman BUT because if you have a meaningful scope and a large amount of commitment and passion , every challenge can be achieved.

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