“I spent every summer of my life making resolutions for September. Not anymore. Now I spend every summer remembering resolutions that I made and have vanished, a little from laziness, a little from forgetfulness. What do you have against nostalgia? It is the only distraction left for those who are wary of the future.”
(From the movie La grande bellezza by Paolo Sorrentino)
I have a confession to make. It isn’t always easy for us journalists to get a positive response to our interview requests—even when it is for a good cause. Above all, it is not easy to find a person with willingness, courtesy, a professional manner, and interest, not to mention the courage to get into the game. I found each of these qualities however, while interviewing Nathalie Dompé, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Dompé , an Italian pharmaceutical company that has always been committed to the front line in the battle against terrible illnesses such as breast tumors, as well in scientific research which would improve, for example, the results of liver transplants.
Between her many commitments and meetings, she manages to find time for Familyandmedia. I explain our project to her, along with how we began, and what we want to do. She listens to me, gives her impressions, and tells me about her work and social initiatives. It is immediately apparent that she and the Familyandmedia team have something strongly in common: great faith, and passion for what we do. Her drive for her work is spontaneous and sincere. I hope to transmit this positivity in my summary of the interview. Happy reading!
For your institution you work in the sector of Social Corporate Responsibility, an ever more strategic asset for a modern business that wants to be in harmony with the society it lives within. What is SCR for Dompé? Can you tell us about a few initiatives?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with a new public. I will happily try to explain what it is that Dompé does for society. I would say that social responsibility projects in Dompé go forward developing at the same rate as the company’s commitment to scientific research, and in particular, its focus on rare diseases. A business cannot remove itself from its context. On the contrary, it should form an active part of it and become a promoter of change. In complex years like we are living, this approach is even more necessary—I would say urgent. From our point of view, what we wanted to do was focus on the world of biotechnology not only as a field of scientific research, but also—and above all—as a field with possible solutions to health problems that are still unsolved, such as ophthalmology or diabetes. All while trying to create opportunities for visibility and support to the younger generations, who perhaps need greater help than those in the past. “Support Superheroes” is certainly a symbol for this approach: it is a competition dedicated to young screenwriters which has already been promoted with success in 2014. Its goal is to have them describe the world of research through a new and innovative lens.
It is very common in today’s business world to talk about “ethically sustainable and socially responsible work.” These aren’t just convenient labels for looking good in public opinion, but real strategic choices upon which a business can build and redefine its reputation. What is your idea of sustainability?
For a pharmaceutical company, sustainability is an essential concept, in as much as any project that researches and develops new medicines requires long term investment. Being sustainable therefore means being capable of looking ahead and devising strategies that are able to make people participate in projects that take years to complete. That is why communication, involvement, and talent retention strategies are particularly important to us. At the same time, sustainability means maintaining an ethical relationship with our stakeholders and with public opinion. We must know how to communicate in a knowledgeable and, precisely, responsible way, the steps that carry us towards future therapeutic solutions. In Dompé, social responsibility has the function of witnessing to the business’ commitment to continuity and balance in order to maintain a channel of communication with society that is always open.
How much and in what way can culture, social research, and the diffusion of positive messages contribute to improving the quality of peoples’ lives? For a business like Dompé how important is it to help the surrounding society, and how do you seek to create benefits for the social community?
The highest purpose of a pharmaceutical company is to answer healthcare needs that remain unsatisfied. This is a mission that by definition has a social end. In this perspective, for Dompé, Corporate Social Responsibility has the job of accompanying this fundamental mission. Our goal is to create an environment that is closer to the research world and the reality of the patients. In my opinion, Italy in particular suffers from a lack of scientific knowledge among the general public, which in some way our actions hope to remedy. Towards this end, I am happy to cite the GENIale project —about to begin its second edition—in which we wanted to contribute to spreading a scientific culture among the younger generations. We give them useful instruments to know biotechnology, therefore allowing them the possibility of choosing it as a future field of study. We believe that Corporate Social Responsibility should no longer be an end in itself, nor merely a helpful side agenda, but should help to form, above all in the new generations, an awareness of how interconnected we are with the world.
When I say these three words: “culture of life,” what comes immediately
I think of my work! Of the fact that I am fortunate to do excellent work in the pharmaceutical sector, a sector that has the culture of life as the basis for any choice it makes.
For some time, there has been talk of “internet-pathy,” that is, a real, new pathology that consists in “dependence” on the internet and new media (smartphone, social networks, videogames, and the like). Could this be of interest to your research? What relationship do you have with social media?
In this moment, Dompé’s presence on social media is focused on the business’ official YouTube channel, as well as on LinkedIn. These two social networks allow us to communicate the culture of our business in an international and intercultural way. I think one of the ways to fight internet dependence, whether by individuals or companies, is to understand that it is not always necessary to maintain every type of media available, but rather choose to have a presence on the media that will truly make it possible to offer quality content. We should also adopt the same logic towards private social networks: they are instruments to use with maturity and a sense of respect towards ourselves and others.
In conclusion: We began this interview with a brief citation about good resolutions, taken from an Italian movie called La grande bellezza, which won an Oscar in 2014. Recently, in our own small way, we also placed online a joking article (though with a serious meaning) about “good digital resolutions” for this year. Between avalanches of daily emails, WhatsApp messages, and Facebook notifications, perhaps it is worth stopping a moment to think about what is truly necessary and what is not. What are your own good resolutions?
Typically, my good resolutions already fail on January first every new year! What I mean to say is that the idea of “wanting to do” something is not enough to really do it. Commitment, planning, and team work are necessary. From my point of view, my resolution is to continue to work on myself, that I may never get used to the simplest solution. In this sense, my family’s story and the example of researchers are valuable. It is a perspective that helps challenge one’s own capacity to produce innovative results, knowing how to rely on a culture of work open to exchange. This is perhaps the basis for designing and creating what we define “good resolutions.”