Margherita Fontana

Margherita Fontana
Global Procurement Director
Dow

Margherita Fontana
Global Procurement Director
Dow

I have always been attracted by the less travelled roads. From Palermo, I went to Leiden, and I was the only Italian student there – but had I not done that, I would not have met the professor who invited me to come to ETH Zurich. And if it was not for ETH, I would not be here today.

I believe in the power of giving back. The best way to do that is to engage as an alumni – this is a really powerful network that can amplify the reputation of the institution. The ETH alumni network is not so visible, especially compared to some other academic institutions I am familiar with, hence my interest in the ETH Circle.

I see myself as an ambassador for ETH. Can we make kids more interested in science? Can we get more women into STEM fields? During my studies at ETH, I was among the 3 women ever doing a PhD in my group. When you miss out on diversity and inclusion, you cannot excel in a global context. To drive excellence one should be able to sometimes challenge the status quo.

The vision of the ETH Circle should be spelled out clearly: what is our ambition, and our strategy to get there, so we can monitor our progress. I would like the group to look at opportunities for lifelong learning and engagement, and how we can have a dialogue that helps us be better aware of the latest science and research relevant to us individually. I am also interested in getting to know the best talent in order to recruit them. It is difficult to access talent at ETH, unless it is in a specific field, so we might consider this more broadly, and explore the possibilities for mentoring students.