I am the deputy CEO of ESTRO, the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology. The mission of ESTRO is to foster radiation oncology as core partner in multidisciplinary cancer care and to guarantee accessible and high-value radiation therapy for all cancer patients who need it. 


To reach this objective I work closely with the Board and I am tasked to translate the Society’s strategy into activities: I oversee ESTRO portfolios in the fields of education, science, governance, and society affairs.  


I make sure that the society is equipped with a stable yet agile organizational structure, and I maintain constant dialogue with all stakeholders, that is crucial to ensure that the association is providing value, and identify the need to adapt if necessary. 

Chiara Gasparotto
Deputy CEO, ESTRO, European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology

What inspired you to work in the international association sector? Would you recommend this career to others? Why/ why not? 

While I did not know much about associations at the beginning when I started to work at ESTRO, now I know that working in the international association sector is tailormade for me. I often find myself advocating for working in this sector, recognizing the value and benefits that associations can provide. 

Working in the association world is fascinating. First of all, personally, it is important for me to serve a purpose with my job, knowing that my little contribution helps to improve the world we live in. In my opinion, associations – with their function of representing communities – are instrumental for developments and improvements that are embracing the needs and interests of many. 

Also, I’ve always liked to understand connections and relationships between people and between groups, to see the dynamics, values and behaviours within organisations. Analysing the “sociological” dynamics of an organisation is of paramount importance to succeed in leveraging the needs of our members as well as the external stakeholders. 

Finally, a major source of inspiration are members’ values and motivation. Their commitment and passion reverberate strongly and provide incredible energy for the society and its quest to achieve great results. 

Can you remember a time when you needed to #BreakTheBias – either your own, or that of someone else? What lessons did you learn from this experience? 

Let’s not be afraid of saying it: we do still live in a world that has been ruled by men for centuries. I like to think that women #BreakTheBias every day, step by step, and with constant passion. And it’s not only for women that we must #BreakTheBias, but for overall inclusiveness. I believe we are creating awareness and paving the way to create an environment where differences are celebrated. We must continue striving for this, all together, as we are still far from an equal world. 

I am pleased to observe that the association world is increasingly open to change, to diversity, to equality. The very nature of associations, which is representing communities and interests makes them a great medium to pursue and implement the needed changes. 

I believe that we have a great opportunity to shift the paradigm and focus on the value that a person can bring, without any type of gender categorization. I have learnt that we must #BreakTheBias with our expertise, with our proficiency, but also by showing our diversity, not being afraid to have different approaches in leadership. As soon as we show our value, there is no more space for bias. 

On a more personal level, I want to continue putting a strong focus on the value of each individual, the contribution everyone can bring and even more on the contributions that only diversity can deliver. 

How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of associations? What have you done to improve DEI? Did it work? Why/ why not? 

They are extremely important to bring value in what we do, and at the same time foster the change and break any bias. The world is complex, and we can understand it only if we have a good insight in the challenges we face and in the communities we serve. To do so, dialogue is a key success factor, and dialogue means ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion. 

If we want to build associations that are time-proof, with both a solid governance structure and brilliant staff that are apt to face future challenges, we must add diversity and inclusion into the equation. It is by lifting everybody up that we succeed in a sustainable growth that brings representations to all stakeholders. 

I would like to mention an initiative of the ESTRO young committee, about DEI, on Establishing a benchmark of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in radiation oncology. I would like to thank them, as this shows that the radiotherapy community is alert on this theme and because such studies provide the knowledge of the current situation, so that tools and policies can be put into place to create equitable work environments.