Europe, Interviews

Rosie Fortunello – Co-Founder of Business Sisters and management consultant

We need female role models. Our mindset is formed by our surroundings. If we do not see any successful women in tech… how can we imagine that they are out there? How may young women ever imagine becoming one herself? You believe what you see. If you never see it, it is harder to imagine. 

Rosie Fortunello studied Industrial Engineering with specialization in Electrical Power Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University and has summarized her experiences in a book. She currently works as an independent management consultant in the automotive industry as well as a career coach for women in STEM professions. With her sister Jo, she has founded the Business Sisters, a Community for founders & online-entrepreneurs and for all who want to become one!

In a nutshell, tell us a bit about your job, and what role technology plays in it?

I work as a management consultant in the automotive industry. During the past years, I have been advising German and French OEM’s regarding trending technologies such as autonomous driving, electromobility and connected services. Currently, I work on a project with a focus on digital transformation for an OEM in France.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

My professional journey started as a student in Aachen where I graduated with a Bachelor and Masters in Electrical Engineering. During my studies, I already gained lots of experience as an intern in the automotive sector. Since graduating from university, I work as a self-employed consultant in this sector – mainly in France and Germany. 

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

The automotive industry is changing drastically, moving to a new kind of digitized factory.  This change leads to new demands concerning business models, a wholistic approach for service offerings and needless to say, a new way of working: Developments and the pressure of revealing qualitative and innovative results in shorter periods of time in a more volatile environment are huge challenges OEM’s are currently facing.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

I think of lots of great technology inventions made by women, for instance: the dishwasher. Gosh, what would I do without?!

We always hear there are not enough women working in tech. What needs to happen to change that?

Female role models. Our mindset is formed by our surroundings. If we do not see any successful women in tech… how can we imagine that they are out there? How may young women ever imagine becoming one herself? You believe what you see. If you never see it, it is harder to imagine. 

Every change starts with a decision to change our mindset, which leads to a change in our actions, which may become a routine and a kind of “normal” in our life. So how can we change our mindset? We can change our mindset by questioning what we read, who we are spending time with, what we are watching, which podcasts we are listening to. 

If we do not see any successful women in tech… how can we imagine that they are out there? How may young women ever imagine becoming one herself? You believe what you see.

Books like “Rebel girls” are a great example: These books are changing the way we read fairy tales to our children as they present real and inspiring women. Why should a girl wait 100 years for a prince to kiss and marry her, instead of founding her own tech company and building her own castle? 

Traditional fairy tales present a very passive picture of females in our world. Princesses are quietly suffering and passively waiting until they are rescued instead of building their own ladder to escape their situation and to start their own company to rule their own kingdom. We need more books like “Rebel girls”!  More books, more movies, more visibility of inspirational women in general. They are out there, and they are awesome! 

To show this, to change mindsets and to make these incredibly inspiring and successful businesswomen and female entrepreneurs visible, I have started the YouTube channel “Business Sisters” with my sister. It is amazing to see how our Business Sisters Community is growing bigger and bigger every day. 

Statistically, female-founded companies fail much less than startups from their male counterparts – the likelihood of survival of a female start-up is much higher.

What skills do you need for a career in tech (aside from the actual tech skills)?

Curiosity and a passion to solve problems!

If you had 1 Million € to invest in women, what would you do? 

I would act as a business angel and invest in companies founded by female entrepreneurs I believe in. 

Female startups are very successful. Statistically, female-founded companies fail much less than startups from their male counterparts – the likelihood of survival of a female start-up is much higher. Women are also risk-conscious. Nevertheless, although their share is increasing, the number of female founders continues to be poor. Banks are still looking very critically at business startups with female founders.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self? 

In your 20’s you will work hard and you will have a lot of ups and downs. Don’t worry too much and believe in yourself. The Rosie in her 30’s will thank you for this because your effort and work will bear fruits and she will have the independent life she has always dreamed of!

Rosie Fortunello studied Industrial Engineering with specialization in Electrical Power Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University and has summarized her experiences in a book. She currently works as an independent management consultant in the automotive industry as well as a career coach for women in STEM professions. With her sister Jo, she founded the Business Sisters, a Community for founders & online-entrepreneurs and for all who want to become one!

This interview has been made possible by Natascha Hoffner, founder of herCAREER, who connected us with Rosie Fortunello.

Meet Our Other Gals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *