Assia Grazioli Venier
Posted on February 22 2017
This week's Wednesday Woman is the incredible Assia Grazioli Venier, co-founder of Muse Capital. Assia has also been a senior advisor to Spotify for over six years, where she was involved in global strategic initiatives, and is the first woman to be appointed to the board of directors at Italy's Juventus Football Club. She also is on the board of advisors of Northzone.
When we reached out to Assia last year, it was just before she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. A huge inspiration to us in so many ways, here's her story:
Natalie Bardega: Can you tell us a bit about your background, what were you like growing up and how you went on to found your first consultancy business Flypaper ?
Assia Grazioli-Venier: I wanted to be a painter and my parents nicknamed me Picassia. I was brought up in a creative and well-educated home. My family has always fully supported whatever I have done or thought I wanted to do. From being an artist to a documentary filmmaker to studying Environmental Microbiology to founding my own company and pursuing my career in music and the digital industry.
I had built my consultancy business to a healthy place with the intention of eventually venturing out to develop my own product or startup business. It took me some time to get to that place. In the meantime, I spent many years supporting entrepreneurs and consulting for international companies. Now, I am back on my own with my business partner! We recently launched Muse Capital, an early stage strategic angel investment fund. Muse focuses on consumer-facing entrepreneurs and technologies that are creating next-generation products from fin-tech to healthcare to entertainment.
Bardega: You are the first women on the board of directors of Juventus Football Club - how have you found working in what is perceived as a male dominated environment? What challenges, if any, have you encountered?
Grazioli-Venier: The challenge has been the same challenge anyone would have in an important position – regardless of my gender. Juggling a seasonal business, like a football/soccer team for example, with its twists and turns all the while keeping the company running soundly financially.
Also dyslexia. On the one hand it's the biggest obstacle I've overcome because I've had to navigate and manoeuvre my career despite of it. But it's also one of my greatest assets as I see things differently from other people.
Bardega: As a business woman - What advice would you give other women looking to build their career?
Grazioli-Venier: Remuneration is important. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Know your worth, defend your value and have the strength and confidence to ask for what you deserve.
Do not apologize for what you have accomplished! Unfortunately, too many of us take on the responsibility but don’t expect, much less demand, the credit. Somehow women have been led to believe that if the work is personally rewarding, it is okay to settle for less reward monetarily. Wrong. If you love the work, you do it well. If you do it well, you help companies do better. If they do better, they pay you more.
I would also say aim high and JUST DO IT! Settle for nothing. Be true to who you are and honest about your core skills. Understand your value and find a place where you are valued.
Bardega: Finally what advice would you give a younger Assia?
Grazioli-Venier: You have to have conviction over yourself and your skill set. Be very clear with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.