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Never lose faith in yourself, don’t be afraid to take risks or to make mistakes, and finally always find time for your family, for your friends and for yourself.


For this month's interview, we're delighted to have Eva Rekettyei, Programming Director, Yelmo Cines/Cinépolis, Spain. Eva was a mentor in the VI edition of the UNIC Women's Cinema Leadership programme.

Here she shares her thoughts on her leadership journey and gives some advice to her younger self.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAILY HABITS THAT KEEP YOU INSPIRED AND MOTIVATED. 

Besides sports, reading is my favourite habit. It is a source of knowledge, information, inspiration, happiness, and culture that is essential in my life.

LOOKING BACK AT YOUR CAREER JOURNEY, WHAT ARE YOU THE PROUDEST OF?

I don’t know if being proud is the word I would use, I would rather think of the things that make me happy.
Coming to Spain for my first job instead of staying in Paris was not an easy decision but it has been a good one.
Starting in a shopping centre development company has been a good training and opportunity to grow, and then switching to exhibition has been another good decision.
Not being afraid of becoming a mother while still wanting to lead a team and be part of a small exhibition company that has become key in the Spanish market.
And nowadays, I would say that I really enjoy supporting my team and seeing it grow and become great professionals within the company or outside.

WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU ENCOUNTERED THROUGHOUT YOUR LEADERSHIP JOURNEY?

To be considered a valued professional in a men’s environment and to prove that I could take the lead and be a mother at the same time.

HAVING A DEMANDING ROLE, HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE?

At the beginning, for many years, I dedicated a lot of time to my professional life, should I say more time to work than to my family, thanks to my husband who has always been supportive and still is. But as years went by, I realised that the time you let go by will never come back and that children grow too fast. I did things that I would never do again if I were a young mother now. However, I think that nowadays companies have become more aware of the need to balance work and personal life, as well as of the importance of mental health or mental wellbeing. Our personal life is as important as our professional career. Now that the kids are older, I have learned that I need time for myself to keep me on track. I practice padel tennis and go to the gym twice a week, I enjoy my singing lessons, I look after my mother and spend time with family and friends. We need to make space and find time for all the important things in life.

FROM YOUR CAREER OF OVER 25 YEARS IN CINEMA, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS HOLDING WOMEN BACK? WHY DO THEY STILL REMAIN UNDERREPRESENTED IN SENIOR POSITIONS IN THE CINEMA INDUSTRY?

Women’s representation in the total workforce in the industry in Spain, and mainly in exhibition and distribution, could be considered as high. However, I would say that women’s representation is good in entry level jobs, but it drops with seniority. This is in part because exhibition is mainly a family and men thing, although some companies go for professional teams as they become bigger.

BlackRock, asset manager and one of the world's leading providers of investment, advisory, and risk management solutions, has just published a very interesting study on “Lifting financial performance by investing in women”. It shows that this trend in women’s representation is unfortunately common in many sectors.

Women sometimes, or maybe most of the time, have to choose between being a mother or growing in their professional life, and this shows that our society evolves very slowly, and must go through many changes until we see a man also take care of the family and give his wife the chance to enjoy a higher professional career.

Corporations also have a responsibility, since the drivers’ seats should foster women’s representation in higher levels by encouraging young women to take the lead, helping them grow, supporting them when they fail on the way and relying on them. 

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT CHALLENGES FOR COMPANIES WHEN IT COMES TO ENSURING AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE AND AN INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP?

I think that one of the current challenges for companies is to become aware of the gap between their actual culture and an inclusive culture. It requires willingness, transparency and self-awareness from all levels in organizations, but mainly from the leaders, in order to identify the inclusiveness issues and to take action. I also think that governments and laws are key elements that can really help build a more inclusive society and environment.

AS AN EXPERIENCED MENTOR, WHY DO YOU THINK MENTORING IS IMPORTANT? DID YOU HAVE MENTORS ALONG THE WAY?

I have had the opportunity to be part of an internal mentoring programme, and when UNIC offered me the opportunity to be part of its Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme, I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to share my experience and knowledge with a colleague from the industry, to support women’s leadership and growth, to give guidance?, to be part of a network and to learn from the experience and from my mentee. I see mentoring as an act of generosity and a way to give back what you have received in your career.

As a mentee, I have had the chance to have a mentor at Yelmo to whom I have always been grateful. He was the Head of Programming when I started. He believed in me from the beginning, he taught me, but he also let me make mistakes and find solutions, which is a very appropriate way to learn and grow. He was always there and we have been very close since he retired.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

Don’t be afraid to be yourself and to do what you believe you should do. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do, or what you can be or cannot be, or make you small. Never lose faith in yourself, don’t be afraid to take risks or to make mistakes, and finally always find time for your family, for your friends and for yourself.


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