Priscilla Zanardi

Location Van Leeuwen Italy
Position Regional Human Resources Manager (South Europe)
Employed by Van Leeuwen since March 2022
Age 39

‘What Italy, Romania and Turkey have in common is that we are fairly passionate people,' Priscilla Zanardi explains. ‘Employees feel highly committed to their work and they care about their customers, which is why we like to go the extra mile.’ In March 2022, she became Human Resources Manager at Van Leeuwen for the Southeast Europe region.

‘When I conduct a job application interview, I always ask candidates about the company values that appeal to them most,’ Priscilla says. ‘For me, the values respect, responsibility, customer focus and entrepreneurship are the most important. In my experience people truly live these values at Van Leeuwen.’

Passionate people

‘When I started as HR Manager Southeast Europe one year ago, I was initially surprised that the countries Italy, Romania and Turkey together form a region at Van Leeuwen. This has been the case since 2021. The three branches intensively work together to optimize the services provided to their customers and to increase market share, particularly in the Mechanical Engineering, Automotive, Hydraulics and Process & Power segments. But what do these three countries have in common culturally? I quickly noticed that there is a common thread: we all are fairly passionate people. Employees in all three countries seem to express their feelings more vigorously than people in, for example, central and northern regions; perhaps because of the cultural values in the Mediterranean region. Work meetings therefore can get quite lively. For me, this simply shows that employees are very driven and productive, and feel highly committed to their work.’

Female leadership

‘Of course, there also are mutual differences. The business climate differs from country to country. People in Turkey and Romania generally address their manager rather formally as a sign of respect for higher positions. Of course you are expected to respect the hierarchy in Italy, but the communication style is different and more direct in a certain sense. Something that is special in our Romania branch is that the business here is managed by two women. This tends to be rare in our sector and in Romania. Aside from her role as Managing Director, Irina Beltermann also is Regional Operational Excellence Director. Her Deputy Managing Director is Adriana Dogaru, who also is Head of Operations in Romania. I am proud of this and it is consistent with Van Leeuwen’s mission to demonstrate more female leadership. Through means of our HR strategy we will further enhance our focus on diversity, inclusion and gender equality over the coming years.’

Regional HR policy

Priscilla Zanardi has been HR Manager for Southeast Europe since March 2022. ‘In 2022, I especially worked hard on developing a regional HR policy on the basis of Van Leeuwen’s international HR strategy,’ she says. The priority for 2022 and 2023 is the personal development of employees, including learning and career paths, and coaching.’ In addition, Priscilla is a sparring partner for managers, and for example, makes suggestions about the best composition of teams in the Southeast Europe region and what is needed for this. ‘To acquire effective insight into where employees stand and what they need, performance evaluation meetings (dialogues) are held twice a year between employees and managers. To ensure these dialogues run smoothly, in 2022, I organized various workshops for managers in which we shared best practices, and tips and tricks,’ she says. ‘I also organized practical sessions for all employees about how to best prepare themselves for such discussions. The key principle is that these are reciprocal discussions. It involves giving and receiving feedback and as employee, you also give your manager feedback.’

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