[interview] Dialogue with Annamaria Pastore

22 June 2016

The Dialogues allows participants to meet with personalities from the world of business and culture that have achieved excellence in their respective fields. They are an opportunity to learn about their growth path and the challenges they have faced.

 Head, Private Sector Partnerships, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“Hunger is a problem you cannot solve by yourself, but one requiring a multi-stakeholder approach, involving academic institutions, governments, NGO/CSOs and the private sector.”

Management, health care, food policies: these worlds seem very far from each other. Is it really possible to merge them?
This is the purpose of my life. I have worked for many years in the private sector, as Senior Sustainability Manager in a pharmaceutical company. After that, I returned to my first love, the United Nations. I have seen the human side of the business, so I wanted to be the voice of those who did not have one and bring their problems to the attention of those who have the means to solve them. My job is to bring together the human consciousness of the business and the most pressing global issues developing countries are facing. I try to bring in those countries new and different solutions.
I remember when I worked in a war-affected developing country: during an inspection in a refugee camp , an entire village was dying due to lack of water, caused by the absence of an hydraulic component of the commercial value of a euro. It was a lack of political will, not of resources. From that moment, I decided to dedicate my life to being a catalyst to solve these issues. I want to bring people with the means, the conscience and the knowledge in good use of the poor.

What was the most important skill for your career?
A wide and diversified academic background has allowed me to understand many underlying factors of the most important current world challenges. I owe my conscience to the academic world.
Then there is passion, a great idealism and the desire to do a job that transcends yourself.
Finally there is perseverance, and the capacity to believe in goodness within large enterprises. Industries are too often considered development monsters. We must never forget that they are made of people, people who can be passionate about a cause and are able to create synergies towards long-lasting solutions. Many of the successes I managed to achieve were possible thanks to the energy of those people deciding to do something to improve the world. This is the reason why I like to stay here, among the students, gazing across the fire enliving the young students animated by great ideals.

To what extent have the management skills been important to leading your business?
My answer might sound like a joke, but without an Italian passion and a German-American managerial style, my job would not be the same! Moreover, the knowledge of innovative methods is essential to identify solutions where they might not seem immediate. In my case, it consists in bringing the business where a short-term return on investment might not be always possible.
Indeed, we must be persistent in finding solutions and not get discouraged. When I was younger, sometimes I felt sorry for a target not achieved. In FAO, everyone knows that we work in order to give a voice to those who do not have none. We cannot give up and remember that we are doing something that oversteps our egos, and careers. We must be managers with a heart, but managers indeed.


Annamaria Pastore, at MBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses, is is Head of Private Sector Partnerships of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Graduated in Diplomacy at the School of International and Diplomatic Sciences in Trieste, with a Master in International Relations at the Sorbonne in Paris, several courses in management at the London School of Economics, Master in Peacekeeping University Sant’ Anna of Pisa, a teacher at the University of Northwestern for Human Rights, a fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard, where she addressed the relationship between complex emergencies and human rights.




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