Susanna Di Feliciantonio, Head of European Affairs, ICAEW (www.icaew.com/europe)
Susanna is Head of European Affairs at ICAEW, a leading global professional body. With over twenty years’ experience of international regulatory affairs, her role combines strategic advocacy, original public policy research and a broad communications function. She has a strong track record of creating new collaborative platforms and building partnerships with pan-European stakeholders.
Susanna set up the Women in EU Finance Network in 2018, bringing together professionals interested in gender equality in the EU financial services and investment policy arena to share success stories, discuss persistent challenges and help drive change.
Susanna is a member of the finance committee of the British School in Brussels and former President, Treasurer and board member of the Society of European Affairs Professionals (SEAP). She was also actively involved with the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, including as Council member.
An Italian and British citizen, Susanna holds a PhD and an MPhil in International Relations from Cambridge University and a BA Hons in European Studies from the University of Kent at Canterbury.
Why do you invest your time & efforts in association work?
My professional life has been underpinned by my commitment to values of integrity and diversity. I feel extremely fortunate to be working for a body with a strong public interest role, sharing insights and knowledge on key reporting issues which underpin the way our economies work today and will need to transform to respond to the challenges of tomorrow.
In my role I am constantly learning from the experiences and expertise of our global members, who so freely contribute their time and knowledge, while also benefitting from the opportunities to engage and partner with our counterpart bodies across Europe.
What are the top three success factors of impactful association work?
- Collaborate. Understand the needs of both members and stakeholders, appreciate that there is strength in finding compromise.
- Innovate. Value new ideas and insights while remaining open to incrementally and continuously building knowledge and skills.
- Agility. Develop an openness to anticipate change and an ability to adapt quickly.
What should we #ChooseToChallenge when it comes to association work?
I would like to see us all challenge ourselves to reflect on this past tumultuous year and to work professionally and personally to build back better, post-pandemic.
I am inspired that diversity and inclusion have been placed at the heart of our new strategy, combined with such a strong drive and energy at staff level to build a better world of work, post COVID-19.
In these times, it is incumbent on us all to #payitforward. There is a strengthened willingness between networks and associations to exchange practical advice on how to help effect change, what has worked, and what has not. I see this in my interactions with other associations and stakeholders, including through the Women in EU Finance Network.
How is the association sector dealing with diversity and inclusion? Has it changed?
The awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion has shifted considerably in recent years, particularly when it comes to gender equality.
There is openness to talk about the challenges – and increasingly to start addressing some of the issues. But there is still a long way to go. Recent years have also shown us just how fragile some of the ‘gains’ made are: progress cannot be taken for granted.