The passionate genius of women

 By Giancarlo Strocchia

When their two apparently distant paths crossed, they found that they shared similar traits of personality, style, tenacity, and the desire for success, tempered by sensitivity and competence. Stella (Brandolese), a home-grown Eni talent, and Marinella (Levi), whose life is devoted to chemical engineering and an obvious passion for red color, met on the road to Verona during Oil for Brain, where their life experience has become the viral archetype of reasoned sympathy and passion…

A true celebration of vitality. Stella and Marinella probably never thought that their paths would cross, thereby discovering an intellectual, spiritual and chromatic (red, without any ifs, ands, or buts) affinity.

Inarguably they are leaders in their chosen fields. Stella Brandolese became a geologist out of conviction and persistence, qualities seasoned by hint of romanticism. A worthy recipient of the MEDEA Master degree sponsored by Eni Corporate University, she is now a key company  Exploration Project Manager in charge of one of the most important and profitable discoveries of recent decades: the supergiant gas field of Zohr, in Egypt.

Stella Brandolese, geologist, Exploration Project Manager for Eni at the Cairo office

“I put passion and energy into everything I do. Leaving and going first to Norway, now to Egypt, are opportunities that the company has provided me with in order to grow.”

Stella is physically slim and slender, although rock-like in her choices and awareness of the opportunity that life, thanks to her effective ability, has offered her. Her life in Cairo, after that in northern Europe, seems to have made her naturally social personality even more outgoing.

“Being an almost blonde, fairly pretty woman is not easy when you’re in Cairo. It is mainly women who look at me with curiosity. The key word for living in a society with rules and cultural traditions different from ours is respect.”

Currently, the young geologist not only paves the way for her profession, but also for family life. Having been married for almost a year and a half, now she has found a balance between work and private life. “My husband is a collegue and currently he is working with me in Cairo. But I can not deny that the past several years were made of sacrifices because we are both ambitious and we have always accepted the proposals for work abroad that Eni has offered. After 2 years and a half that I have been in Norway, he left for China and has been there a year and a half! These opportunities that we have decided to take, although difficult, allowed us to share unique life experiences, that otherwise we would never have done. Energy comes from all that surrounds us”, she explains “but it is not enough for it to remain around us, we must be ready to acknowledge it and force it out in the best possible way”.

Greeting from Egypt

Marinella Levi is a chemistry genius, a skill that she also uses to personally mix her flamboyant hair color. Indeed, before embarking on a career studying plastics, she wanted to be a hairdresser.

Marinella Levi is a professor at the “G. Natta” Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan and runs the +Lab

“I am red, inside and out. I have an energy that was given to me by nature and this is what I consider to be my main talent, even ahead of studying and teaching, which deeply reflects me”.

“Three out of 200” could be the title of the first chapter of her adult life. She and her two female student colleagues formed a tiny contingent of girls who, in the early eighties, attended the Faculty of Chemical Engineering in Milan, the city where Marinella’s father had moved years earlier from Sicily. “When one of my very beautiful friends/colleagues who had just graduated went in search of work, she was, for some reason, offered a place in the packaging sector. The other sectors did not seem to welcome to female contribution.

Currently, Marinella is a professor at the “G. Natta” Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan and runs the +Lab, an innovative reference point to decipher the world of 3D printing. “A patent that, incredibly, dates back to over 30 years ago, but that has only recently regained attention and even commercial interest.” Her attitude towards the prospects for the development and use of this technology borders on the features of the mission. “I want to use my talent by directing it at those people who are not reached by technology and politics.” When she speaks her eyes sparkle, thinking about what goals can be reached in this field. 3D printing, she says, allows you to do what you need to do, when you need to. As she observes, the universe of the Internet, in some ways, has distanced us a little from the world of doing. I believe that digital production technologies can reconnect us and our children with doing.

“We women are fortunate to have to face greater difficulties than our male friends, because this makes us stronger, wiser and more determined.”

Stella and Marinella, each in their own way, are proof that strength, talent and commitment neutralize every possible temptation towards gender discrimination, even if, in reality, the path to be taken to achieve fair treatment, from all points of view, is still very long. Hurray for girls with red shoes!

about the author
Giancarlo Strocchia
Journalist, started his career first at radio stations headlines; after that he worked with TV stations and daily media press (La Voce di Montanelli, Euronews, Rai Format). He has been working for over a year with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations in New York and he has been involved in corporate communications and CSR. Today collaborates with the headline Oil Magazine and the web portal