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Q & A with Business Strategist Chiara Paolinelli

Chiara, four years ago you began a new career in the US working for the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West. You specialize in reporting on technology, innovation, Italian-US market relations, and international business strategies. What has changed?

Not much has changed, from a personal perspective; I am still fascinated by the day-to-day economic phenomenons that directly impact trade and the diverse economic agents’ inputs that seek to promote the exchange of goods and services between Italy and the West Coast of the US market. I have been paying more and more attention though - on a global scale - to the new ways that economic agents are trying to adapt to today’s ever-changing reactionary markets - that being due to global markets uncertainty. Post -pandemic adaptive behavior and the magnitude and impact of the growth of the Internet of Things seems to have changed economic agents’ usual purchasing and selling patterns; such changes seem to have had an impact on commercial relations. Change seems like an organic phenomenon, and can lead to positive outcomes, but I’d advise agents to think long-term, sustainably and consciously about any future commercial expansion plan.

How do you plan projects reflecting the American market and respecting Italian culture?

While global trade growth has slowed in 2023 compared to 2022, the projects I plan to work on for the West Coast US and Italian markets, are aimed at promoting a sustainable economic transition into the future.

Regarding planning specifically, through my work, day in, day out, I try to support and concentrate my efforts on projects that have a long term purpose and that are sustainable and beneficial for both the Italian and the West Coast of the US markets; whether in Italy or in the West Coast of the US, whether one works in trade and commerce or not, whether one works remotely or in person, we should all try to be more conscious of how we impact others, the environment and about the world we’re leaving behind for future generations. To get back to your question, specifically, this year, for the third year in a row, to support sustainable trade and commerce, I have the privilege of working on an Italian project called Stay Export. Via remote mentoring sessions, this project aims to assist Italian companies wanting to expand operations into the US market, while preparing brands (still based in Italy) with ideas, strategies and more, on how to put their best foot forward into the US market while helping them think long-term about their company’s interests and benefiting also US buyers options.

You specialize in reporting technology, innovation, and business strategies. Tell us more about your journey and your working day looks like.

I got into trade and commerce at University and learned more about technology and innovation through work. Moving forward, I ‘d like to learn more and assist further specifically - and if given the chance- Italian or American brands specialized in manufacturing low-carbon construction products/ solutions (for ex. - there are brands specialized in developing beautifully designed energy-efficient buildings made with compostable materials and whose focus is that of reducing carbon footprints), and supporting businesses or investors interested in Green urban areas living solutions and vertical farming, this is only to mention a few examples.

About your query, I often have a regular 8/9 am to almost 5/6 pm business day; I usually start at 8am PST; I often finish around 5pm and sometimes have the chance to network in the Los Angeles area with local investors and entrepreneurs, which is often exciting after the regular workday.

A brief addition, as global trade faces diverse difficulties, such as geopolitical frictions, debt and environmental distress, economies feel directly the weight of these difficulties, and by promoting the conscious use of technology, supporting innovation, incentivizing sustainable creative thinking and inclusiveness- in all sectors- should be critical strategies that should be implemented everywhere to help ease global market strain; and in that respect, I feel so very lucky to be working in the State of California, because year after year, this State leads the way in promoting tangible - and up to date - solutions to easing economic issues.

How many projects are you running annually? What are you working on?

With the Chamber of Commerce, we run about three major projects per year. There is the daily direct services provision/assistance, which is not project-specific, that takes up most of the workday.

As stated, I am working on the Chamber’s Stay Export mentoring project, assisting Italian brands that want to enter the US market remotely. It aims to prepare brands to present themselves to the ever-changing and dynamic West Coast market; it is truly a wonderful and purposeful project. The brands I assist are from all across Italy and operate in diverse fields, from food to beach cleaning machinery to more. I am also involved in preparing the annual Italian Excellence Gala and Awards, a prestigious, yearly event recognizing leading Italian and Italian-American personalities, their distinction and contribution to the Italian community in the US, on the West Coast and globally. In the past, the event has been held at locations like the lovely Houdini Estate in Hollywood and Graystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Past Gala honorees include Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Alessandro Del Piero, former Juventus FC captain, Italian national team legend and widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time; NBA’s Danilo Gallinari; Grey’s Anatomy’s Stefania Spampinato; and Bianca Balti, supermodel, entrepreneur and Dolce & Gabbana’s muse.

How important are international trade relations between Italy and America to you?

They are vital; trade relations and commercial rapport help sustain and satisfy the fundamental needs and wants of the most diverse consumer base in the US, the West Coast and in Italy. Such rapports, though, require work and must be sustained over time. I will say that when trade and commerce relations are working suitability and purposefully, these phenomenons allow more goods or services to be available to more people, therefore creating more job opportunities, and therefore driving costs of goods and services down and therefore creating more healthy and diverse marketplaces (both on the West Coast of the US and Italy).

Are there any projects you dream of leading, and with whom?

I haven’t come across one yet, but I’ll let you know when I do!

You are an author of content working in international affairs. How do you find inspiration? Who or what motivates you in business?

I feel most mentally stimulated when I meet online or in-person creative people working on future conscious ideas, services or products, but don’t have the time or means to develop market entry strategies for themselves. That’s when I am inspired; helping innovators inspires me. From the time I meet them, I do as much research as I can on them, about the market of interest, their competitors, etc., and past successes and failures and then I try to give them my best feedback to help them succeed at what they do, supporting their potential strategies to expand their operations into the West Coast of the US, or in Italy.

After four years in California, what is your coup de coeur in the city of lights?

I am more appreciative then ever of the environment; the pristine weather, the diversity of people, products and languages; the ever-flourishing healthy and conscious living trends, and the endless labor opportunities. All of California is beautiful in every way. My coup de coeur in Los Angeles, as a foodie, may be the food products variety available locally though; LA seems like a giant Michelin Star “cafeteria” for the most culinary creative people in the world; it is very fun to be here and I feel very lucky and blessed to work here.


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