Added 12 Sep 2022
Last updated 12 Sep 2022

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In 2022, IPAF President Karin Nars launched the 'Women in Powered Access' initiative, inviting women of all ages and different professional roles to share their stories of inclusivity. The initiative includes a number of key actions, including providing a platform to tell the stories of women in powered access in both the media and at industry events. IPAF will also use its own print, web and social media platforms to share these inspirational case studies and will also continue to invite prominent women speakers to present at IPAF events. IPAF will share a series of case studies at  www.ipaf.org/casestudy to communicate the opportunities our industry offers women. 

Manuela Vender
Sales & Marketing Director, Easy Lift, Italy

What is your role in powered access? I have been in the industry for 20 years, working as Sales and Marketing Director at Easy Lift since 2012, supporting our Managing Director in the management of the family-owned company. During these years, I have focused on creating a dealer network worldwide. Long-term relations have been established with some well-known rental companies in Europe. Now the focus is on the rental market outside Europe.

How did you come into this industry, and what attracted you to it? Honestly, it was not a choice based on “attraction”…..it was more an opportunity that I decided not to miss. In 2002 I was living in Milan, where I was born, working for GE Capital (the financial division of General Electric), when I decided to move to Reggio Emilia for love.

Reggio Emilia was not – and is not – Milan and is called “hydraulic valley” due to the high concentration of companies producing cranes, platforms and components for cranes and platforms. It was easier to find a job in this field rather than in a financial company, so when I was offered an appealing job position as MD in a start-up company selling truck-mounted platforms, I accepted because it was an exciting change and challenge, not because I particularly liked the industry. I had no idea what a platform was then, but after a while, I fell in love with the product and the access industry in general.   

What do you find inspiring about your role? More than what, I would say who: my mum. She worked as CFO in a General Electric company. She was great in her job but what impressed me more was the friendly deep relations she had with the team working for her as well as the CEO of the company, who was always asking for her advice. When I was a student, I often went to her office, and I could feel the respect, trust, and the “love” people felt for her. She was a “kind” leader.

At the same time, she was a careful mum, wife and daughter, so she has been and still is for me an example to follow, trying to have a successful career while caring for others and being a reference point and presence in the lives of those I love.

Where do you see yourself in five years, and what do you want to achieve? When I joined Easy Lift, the company was pretty small and mainly focused on the Italian market. Now it’s a medium-sized company, exporting 90% of its production worldwide, but there’s still a lot to do to stand on the podium of the largest manufacturers of spider lifts in the world, and this is my ambitious but not impossible mission.

What one piece of advice would you give to other women in/thinking of entering the industry? The most important advice is to be yourself, taking advantage of some typically feminine characteristics such as empathy and the ability to listen, which are fundamental to understanding the needs of a potential customer, winning him over and retaining him but also creating a good relationship with colleagues and collaborators, because teamwork is always winning.