Strong Voices Interview #19: Patrizia Laeri - CEO of elleXX
"The world belongs to the brave. Whatever you are burning for, recognize it and use this fire as a drive. That will take you far." - Patrizia Laeri
You are a passionate media creator, were awarded Business Journalist of the Year, and are also one of LinkedIn's Top Voices GSA. How would you describe your path to this success? What brought you to where you are today?
Content, content, content. And interestingly enough, it wasn't video content, but text. I've been writing my #aufbruch column relentlessly every two weeks for three years in addition to my main job, even at Christmas or during the vacations. I wrote about environmentally harmful, misogynistic mechanisms in the economy and business world, but always presented a solution, a use case or a start-up that wanted to solve this problem. It's called "constructive journalism." This has particularly hit home on LinkedIn. At this point, perhaps a consolation for those who are not yet as widely noticed: I got into the social media world relatively late, so late that it was way too late for Facebook anyway. So I was a dinosaur. But anyone with experience, knowledge, creativity or humor can build reach and make an impact.
You say about elleXX, your startup, that it's "a life's work." For those who don't know elleXX - what exactly do you do - in your words? And what makes it so special for you?
56 percent of women in Switzerland can't keep themselves afloat financially. This figure drives me out of bed every morning. This number keeps women down and up. elleXX wants to erase this number, wants no woman to be economically dependent anymore. elleXX is a financial platform that empowers women throughout their financial lives, with courses, coaching, hacks, tutorials and financial products. There are so many gaps to fill in a woman's money life! That said, 92 percent of women find sustainable investing important. When women have money, they invest it more wisely and sustainably. That's why it's so important to have equal amounts of money in the hands of women as men.
You do a lot to promote equality in the world of media and work. What personal experiences have you already had with this topic? What development would you like to see in the future and what can we all contribute?
The media industry is still very male dominated and led. Especially in business journalism. I have worked almost exclusively with men throughout my life. Men, in turn, write about men. When I initiated the SRF data project Chance50:50, we found that in our business broadcasts, only 12 percent of the people explaining the world were women. That changed and moved a lot of things. You have to measure something before you can change it. I had one of the most interesting jobs in the world, which took me to Iran and North Korea on reports. But unfortunately, I've also experienced the whole negative spectrum that young female journalists of my generation have almost all experienced: Sexism, harassment, belittling, even pay inequity by a factor of five. I had to do a job within one day a week, whereas my male colleague did the same job full time.
Do you have a personal "mantra"? Or more generally: what is it that motivates you?
The world belongs to the brave. Female biographies are a great driving force and source of inspiration for me. I co-founded the "More Women for Wikipedia" writing marathon. It's about closing the GenderContentGap on the Internet, too. 82 percent of the biographies on Wikipedia are male. When I then write extraordinary female quantum physicists or nursing specialists on the platform, it fills me with joy and courage.
With your commitment, as a founder and as a mother - where is there time for you or what helps you for a balance?
I still belong to Generation Y or Generation Golf, which are probably still the workaholics ;-). I am either there for the family or the company, I don't know and don't miss Me Time and Selfcare. I live for everything I do.
In your position, you are a great role model for many young people, especially women. What would you like to share with them on their way - in terms of their career, but also in general?
Ask yourself what problem is really bothering you, or even making you angry. Then solve it! With all your energy and a lot of commitment. Whatever you are burning for, recognize it and use this fire as a drive. That will take you far.