When llaria di Bartolomeo, 34, with a bunch of wavy hair, talks about the love of her life, her eyes light up. “I am besotted,” she smiles. The object of her adoration is Matteo, one and half year’s worth of cuteness with cheeks you could munch on, her son. “He loves books with sound effects and sweet things… and I pamper him by baking cakes and biscuits. Besides, cooking is my passion,” she says.
A natural inclination for logistics
Ilaria is one of those women who pull off the magic trick of reconciling it all: professional ambition, family and home-made cakes. Her position as Operations Manager at Amazon’s sorting centre in Casirate (Bergamo) comes with a lot of responsibility in a tough world like logistics – a field that has always fascinated her: “I am very meticulous by nature; I organise everything. Logistics was the natural outlet for this predisposition.” Ilaria heads a large team. “Our task is to process and address the packages with the orders that arrive from the various Amazon warehouses, which will then be picked up by the couriers and delivered to the end customer. It might seem simple, but in reality it is a very challenging process!”
It is a job that has given her great satisfaction: “I was hired in the months leading up to the opening of the centre. It was a period in which we all felt an adrenaline rush: we felt part of an adventure, everything had to be invented and planned. I have always had the inclination to work for Amazon: as an engineer and a customer, I could not help asking myself how could the logistics of a company be so efficient. Once I was inside, I found my answers, along with a dynamic environment: if you have an idea that works, you can be sure that it will be put into practice rapidly. This facilitates innovation.”
Hungry for challenges
Ilaria is from Sulmona (“the home of sugar-coated almonds,” she says). After earning her degree in Engineering, she began her career in a large multinational, where she also met Marco – the man who would become her husband. Soon after their wedding, Ilaria was given an important assignment that took the young couple to Poland, an enriching experience of coming in contact with another culture. But destiny had something else in store: a few years later it was Marco who received a job offer in Milan. “We looked into each other’s eyes and packed our bags again.”
Once back in Italy, Ilaria discovered she was expecting a baby. During the months of maternity leave, between changing nappies and breastfeeding, she took advantage of the special energy motherhood brings to refocus her goals: “For me, being a contented mother means that I can also be fulfilled at work. I wanted to learn new things. I read about a vacancy at Amazon: that was what I was looking for,” she says. The job description specified that it involved shift work. “I weighed everything and discussed it with my husband. We realised that the shifts could be a good compromise for us, because they would allow me to spend more time with little Matteo, and I decided to give it a try.”
Ilaria's shifts are spread over three time slots: morning, afternoon and night. It’s a demanding arrangement, but one that also offers flexibility to the family: “When I start early in the morning, Matteo goes to the crèche with his dad, but in the afternoon he finds me at the exit, ready to give him a hug and take him to the park. If I work in the afternoon, I have the luxury of having breakfast with him, taking him to crèche and maybe having a coffee with the other mothers, and the rest of the time is for me. When it's a night shift, it means I have a good part of the day for us.” Ilaria is contented: “With traditional office hours, I'd only see my son early in the morning and at night. Of course, shift work isn’t for everyone, but for me it's better this way.”
Marco's support is invaluable: We both support each other, in a concrete way. “He knows my ambition well and encourages me all the way.” Her team is also very supportive: “I have shown everyone photos of Matteo... he has become something of a mascot for us!" And how can you blame them, with those cheeks of his.