Pasqua Pezzolla: tenacity, flexibility and teamwork, always aiming for innovation

09 October 2020

Meet Pasqua Pezzolla, a Management engineer and Responsible of the Boeing 767 assembly line at Leonardo’s Pomigliano d'Arco site. A formidable individual and woman at the top of her field, Pasqua is incredibly proud of being a Leonardo employee and working in a challenging yet fulfilling job. Strong, tied to her roots and always keen to embrace innovation – having previously worked on the Boeing 787 programme in Grottaglie – she talks about openly in this interview. Learn how Pasqua cultivates her team’s support and how she reciprocates with the utmost attention. Her ground is the workshop, a place of production but also of intense human relationships. Pasqua Pezzolla faces it with skill, grit and determination. Let’s get to know her better.
What is your most distinctive characteristic?
One word – tenacity – always and in any case.

And the main flaw?
Definitely impulsiveness, which I have been working on to improve since I was in school. I must say that being impulsive in a production environment does not help and for this reason I always try, before speaking, to count to 10. Sometimes, unfortunately, I stop at 5.
Who are your heroes?
No historical figure. My real heroes are my parents – simple, humble people, who have made great sacrifices to allow their three children to go to university and to fulfil their potential. True heroes.
What is your favourite pastime?
I love to travel, but it’s complicated during this period. So I travel with imagination, because my other great passion are books; I love reading, even different genres. I am also a lover of good wine and in the evening I really like a little conviviality with friends while sipping a good wine.

What upsets you most?
Undoubtedly falsehood, perhaps mixed with cunning. Although being smart can help to get out of some difficult circumstances, when cunning becomes a lie, then it is unbearable for me, and all my impulsiveness comes out...
What motto or phrase accompanies?
I coined my own, combining two other phrases, so I would say “do not postpone what you can do today until tomorrow, because what you can do today can improve all your tomorrows”. And I really think that this phrase define my way of life.
We come to your scientific soul. Why did you choose STEM studies and why you would recommend them?
It is a choice that matured during orientation visits to universities while I was at high school. They told me that I could have studied anything, but, cynically, I looked for the professions that within 5 years could lead me to find work immediately. And Management Engineering was the choice! It is a course that I also recommend in hindsight; as well as being a scientific discipline, it is a field that helps you develop your flexibility. I am an engineer, I work in the production field, and the great flexibility developed in my studies allows me to adapt the scientific approach to my profession.
You are in charge of the assembly line for the Boeing 767 programme, for delivering the product (assembly of slat, flap and drift) in compliance with the quality, time and cost requirements requested by the customer. How does it feel to be a woman in charge?
I don’t feel it’s relevant that I’m a woman in this role. I’m a person, a Leonardo employee. I really feel this sense of belonging and the responsibility that comes with it for the company I work for. It’s not an easy role, but I have never regretted the choice. In fact, I’m proud of it.


One more innovation project on which you have worked or are working on, representative of Leonardo and of which we feel equally proud:
I come, indeed I belong, to Grottaglie’s site, where we produce the Boeing 787, which is innovative for the use of carbon fibre and the manufacturing of fuselage sections in a single piece. I arrived at this plant during its early days, at the time of the production of the third aircraft. It’s a programme I followed from the beginning and that I feel is mine, having worked in various sectors – from planning to department head and then area manager, always in the assembly field. In short, I have always felt part of a real challenge in the aeronautical field.
Diversity as a business value, gender as an opportunity. We tell your story. In what parts of the working path being a woman you gave a plus and a minus as if there was a minus?
Personally, I have never thought of gender diversity as a minus or a plus. In fact, I consider that it’s all a question of character attitude, and I consider myself a strong character. I think this is what has allowed me to face even difficult situations, emergencies and last minute problems. Obviously this strength of character helps me in a predominantly male environment. However, if I have to think of a plus, I believe that female sensitivity is a very important factor in the management of human relationships.
What impact does your professional life have in relation to private life, as well as on the quality of the working environment?
Working in manufacturing is very time-consuming. But I'm lucky; I sleep little, so this doesn't affect the management of my private life. As for the working environment, I have been in Pomigliano for less than a year and I have had no difficulty in entering a workshop where people are more experienced than in Grottaglie. I found tremendous respect. Of course, I'm from Puglia and I miss my family. But we are not far away and on weekends I often catch up with them.

In your opinion, in which areas of Leonardo (culture, welfare, economic) are there room for improvement?
I am familiar with the Inclusion and Diversity programmes, thanks to Leonardo training. I believe their implementation needs to be accelerated. In fact, history teaches us that companies that have invested in this direction have also had clear economic advantages.
In conclusion, what message would you give to young people in particular and to the employees of Leonardo?
Never feel like you've arrived and therefore always have curiosity about your work every day.