Caterina Berbenni-Rehm: Hard Work is a Virtue, Smart Work is a Talent

The 10 Revolutionary Female CEOs to Watch out in 2020

When you identify a way of performing a task with intellect over efforts, you have achieved the way of success in this fast-paced business world. Caterina Berbenni-Rehm, Founder and CEO of PROMIS@Service, started her journey with a similar approach and she mastered the smart way of business. She believed in efficiency and quality which forms the foundation of PROMIS@Service, a Cloud and Intranet eco-system of interactive tools. Caterina was positive about her vision and as she kept going, her entrepreneurial journey sped up. Leading the way with an out of the box thought, Caterina’s journey is a true inspiration. In this exclusive read, Caterina shares her success mantras that motivated her to achieve her dreams.

  • What were your dreams and aspirations while growing up?

My aspiration was to do everything I had to do, with minimum effort!

Whenever a task or goal was set before me, at school or, later, at work, I always looked for the streamlined method of achieving it. My mother said I was lazy, but, which of us, these days, can afford to keep throwing time, money and effort at the work in hand? This was the beginning of my dream to offer European businesses a way of getting necessary work done in the most efficient way possible.

  • What led you into this field of work?

My emotional intelligence never squared with technology, but when I met my husband, an informatics engineer working for KPMG, he convinced me that everyone was building mere hardware and machines without considering the ‘soft’ side of technology e.g. human-machine interaction, cognitive science, psychology, cross-cultural aspects, multilingual communication, rules and ethics at work. These non-tangible aspects were precisely what fascinated me most.

  • What were the initial challenges and setbacks that you faced?

Everything we do centres on the question of how to make knowledge a tangible asset, because knowledge is the most valuable individual and human capital.

The challenge at the beginning was to understand the multi-sector, multi-layered, multinational and multilingual requirements of the users, so we could address their problems in the best way. The major challenge here was to simplify all that complexity down to a “bird’s eye view”, which meant we had first to map the overall situation, analysing the status-quo to get a comprehensive understanding of it.

An innovation bringing a paradigm change in the delivery of new services, with high market potential, was never going to develop smoothly! It turned out to be a long and challenging, undertaking, which we would never have managed without a trusted, international team and the support of European institutions.

There were setbacks: it proved difficult, for instance, to demonstrate in practice how these methods and tools could make knowledge a ‘tangible asset’; inventing and integrating the new business models into the digital platform’s eco-system was not easy; and we experienced that where money can be made, certain business ‘sharks’ are sure to gather!

It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.  © Niccolò Machiavelli

  • Tell us in brief about the services of PROMIS@Service

The business-enabling e-Platform PROMIS® is a Cloud and Intranet eco-system of interactive tools that allows organizations and institutions to find their way through the maze of laws, norms and other regulations to which they are subject and, at the same time, to structure their processes and experience in a way that results in improved operations and significant cost reductions. It is a new type of multilingual, knowledge-management system combined with the versatile Integrated Management System framework.  Together, they form a powerful platform for structured process documentation, compliance management, trusted community-building, multilingual communication, smart working and e-Mentoring.

In short, it is a comprehensive ‘all-in-one’ approach in different languages (content included) with fully integrated machine translation technologies with access, also, to human post-editing, translation services.

  • What is the significance of technology in your everyday business operations?

Technology is now an integral part of my life, but I strongly believe it should be an instrument at the service of people, not the other way around. As both a woman and a manager, I am convinced it should be a tool that supports us all as we seek to improve the quality of our work and life.

There is a great need to create a model of society in which man and woman, ‘united without confusion and distinct without separation’, build up a solid civil project of democracy with more and better jobs for all. © CaBeRe

  • How do you define the growth of the company over the past few years?

Recent market data for Governance, Risk and Compliance (eGRC) alone, shows the potential market growth from $31,5 bln in 2019 to $51,5 bln in 2024 at a CAGR of 10,3% for the forecast period. (Research & Markets, July 2019).
Our company has built upon a solid foundation, developing and integrating every aspect of this complex undertaking, so that, with proper resources, it is now mature enough to expand at an international level.

  • What is your vision for the company?

We aim at remaining ahead of the competition, offering interactive multilingual services for eGRC and the Circular Economy of Knowledge on a global scale.

Circular Economy of Knowledge means how to Structure, Protect, Manage, Communicate, Share, Re-purpose and Capitalise on multilingual Knowledge in an Integrated Way
© 2016 CaBeRe

  • Give us a brief of your life before PROMIS@Service

After achieving a PhD degree, I started my career as marketing assistant for the General Director of FERRERO in Germany. After that, I directed a cultural exchange organisation with direct responsibility for 153 people. After nine years, I took a break from my professional career to devote my time to the upbringing of our son.

I re-started as CEO at FUTUREtec GmbH leading an interdisciplinary team of experts in knowledge- and technology-transfer from research to industry, project management of research projects up to deployment.

In 2000 we started the PROMIS® project, co-funded by the European Commission.

  • Tell us about your roles and responsibilities as the CEO of PROMIS@Service and how does it make you feel?

To be the CEO of a truly innovative company requires flexibility, multitasking, a holistic approach, interdisciplinary skills and, most important, discipline and a great sense of responsibility towards employees and clients. It requires collaborative & smart working between different nations and continents, day by day.

  • What are your greatest achievements?

Among the achievements I am proudest of I count:

  • The ability to combine professional and private life harmoniously. There’s nothing easy about it!
  • Winning the loyalty of employees, partners and friends during crises and difficult moments.
  • How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life?

Simple answer: work is one of my hobbies, though I do love cooking!

  • Describe yourself in one word and tell us what inspires you?

Integrity.

I am inspired by nature. There, every powerful or beautiful thing, like a daisy, a storm or Alpine scenery, has behind it a world of complex systems.

  • What keeps you and your employees motivated?

Integrating good people, into better teams, for mutual benefit. © a Benedictine monk

Success cannot be achieved without the trust and commitment that makes for good teamwork. Disruptive innovation is never the result of one person’s work only, but of the input –minor or major- made by everyone involved, whether inside and outside the company. It is like the interaction, say, between different instruments of a symphony orchestra.

All this keeps us highly ambitious, but also down-to-earth, and even a little humble!

  • What does the future of PROMIS@Service look like, globally?

With the right balance between resources and the existing e-Platform, its multilingual services and content, we are ready to go global.

  • How do you plan to widespread the company services?

We are looking for Corporate Venture and synergetic partners who understand the importance of shortening the time to market of innovation with a high socio-economic value, and who are at least as ambitious as we are, maybe more so.

And we are preparing recommendations, guidelines and standards, as relevant, involving international public and private organizations to implement solutions for all in a synergic approach. For the equitable economic and social development of emerging economies worldwide, it is vital to respect their own cultures, traditions and lifestyle.

Caterina is confident about her business know-how and she identifies her potential as an exceptional leader, who can lead her company to greater heights. She is headed towards her future goals with a focused mind and as she steams ahead, she will surely make a difference in the conventional business practices.