A married businesswoman, married with two children, Simona Rizzi is president of a consortium of Il Gruppo Tassano, Italy which operates according to the Economy of Communion.
published in Focolare.org on 14/05/2018
She lives and works in the province of Genoa, in a city of the North West, a very pleasant area between the sea and the mountains. Her role as president of one of the consortia of the social enterprise network with about seven hundred employees in the social service sector, welfare and job placement for disadvantaged people and regional representative of AIPEC (Italian Association of Entrepreneurs for an Economy of Communion) have in no way diminished her spontaneity and simplicity. Her testimony was closely listened to during a conference at the Italian Embassy in the Vatican, on May 3, 2018.
The title of her talk was “Chiara Lubich and the Economy of Communion": “I wanted to do a job that would be useful to others. As soon as I graduated, I won a public competition as an educator for the social integration of disabled children. I felt useful, but the job was paid by the hour and the contract was temporary. There were other girls in the same predicament as me, who had the same desire to develop themselves in the field of social service. One of them told the rest of us about some people who had been working in a cooperative for several years caring for disabled people. Meeting with them was definitive. They gave us a work space where we could work, dedicated time to us and offered their experience. That’s how our cooperative began, from a gift, from a gracious gesture that we embraced and then replicated. We later learned that that gesture was rooted in the Economy of Communion. This way of living that comes before the work, has marked and characterized the style of our own company.”
Thus, in 1996, “Il Sentiero di Arianna”, was begun as a cooperative formed initially by nine young women who pooled the resources earned and reinvested them in training and the development of the company. From that initial group, today the company has more than 130 members, 85 percent of them women. “The more we followed the values of the Economy of Communion, the more our cooperatives developed and gave value to the entire community. The more we filled our minds with words like work, innate dignity of the human person, reciprocity, formation, mutual assistance, the more we managed to overcome the inevitable critical moments. The strength of female entrepreneurialism has been crucial. Chiara Lubich set us on a clear path that generates possibilities for change. Her vision of a fairer world and her idea of economy fascinated us “.
With this spirit, the Gruppo Tassano has helped support the development of other businesses. “The strongest enterprises are the ones begun as an expression of a given territory. Through the national networks to which we belong as cooperators, we are working on themes of development based on ethical values, respectful of human beings and the environment. Through AIPEC we meet companies and entrepreneurs who belong to different sectors but share the same sense of social responsibility. Together we are committed to present a new economic model which is inclusive, supportive and based on sustainable development “.
What does it mean to Simona to be an Economy of Communion businesswoman? “ It means to always be oneself: welcoming, respectful, coherent, protective of natural resources, connected to the others and, at the same time, free. A person is still herself in different times and places, and the same is true of a business.”