PWA Talk – Roberto Santori Founder & Managing Director of Challenge Network

A talk with Roberto Santori Founder and Managing Director  of “Challenge Network”
Market Leader in the corporate training and management consulting
PWA Talks: With the interview to Roberto Santori, PWA launches a series of interviews with our strategic partners, intended to highlight the importance of the up-skilling and re-skilling in the current highly competitive and transformative job market, and to remind, at the same time, of the opportunities that the PWA membership offers this year. Challenge Network is a professional development and training institute, leader in corporate training and management consulting, that recently became a PWA partner offering to our members interesting training opportunities.
We would like to learn a little more about Challenge Network, its story, how it was conceived, its founding training and education principles and the personal inspiration of Roberto to work in the education industry?
Challenge Network was born 20 years ago from a great passion and an idea that took me away from what everyone expected I would do. I was studying and working. I had been in the United States for several years. My greatest ambition was to help People and organizations change and innovate by focusing on work agility and their employees’ potential. The year was 2000, and since then, this company has grown a lot. Today it is one of the global leaders in corporate training and management consulting with offices in Italy, Europe and several cities worldwide. We have more than 100 consultants, employees and senior partners – 80% of whom are women!
In Challenge Network, we are thrilled with the partnership with PWA. We strongly believe that we need to support the female world, encouraging and helping women play a more active role in all professional communities. It will be a real pleasure to give all PWA members a 50% discount for enrolling in any of our masterclasses, courses, and events.
We are curious about  the type of courses offered by Challenge Network. What are the main areas of study, the topics, length, facilities, and languages of the courses? Anything expecially suggested for professional women at a turning point of their career, and ready to make the next move or even reshaping their career path? What would you consider at the moment the essential and go-to skills and competences for professional women like PWA members?
Our training proposal, which involves people in and outside the company, is based on the design and implementation of quality and high-value enrichment, change and professional development paths in different thematic areas. We help customers to enhance their competitiveness and foster the growth of their professional and personal skills with enthusiasm and passion.
Challenge Network offers different types of courses and different ways of participating, including “online” (E), “face to face” (IN), and “blended” (FLEX) so that everyone can choose the best solution for them. Many of our masterclasses are cross-company paths focused on functional and transversal contents with a relevant practical value and capable of offering new strategic interpretations.
They are available in Italian and English, allowing us to reach an increasingly wider and international audience.
Not exclusively dedicated to women, Imparare a… is a new all-female format. It is a podcast project designed to help People develop their talents and created in collaboration with Paolo Gallo, who interviews exceptional and at the same time normal, authentic, credible and competent women who tell about their professional and human journey. From breaking down female stereotypes to the courage of change, from a new beginning to enhancing one’s skills, each podcast offers food for thought and motivation to overcome one’s limits, identify one’s strengths, develop new skills and look forward with greater determination.
What are in your opinion the education challenges and changes in the education industry, but even the opportunities… accelerated by the COVID – 19 outbreak?
2020 was a year of unexpected changes, and companies had to face significant challenges. Many companies in difficulty have tried to reorganize and some of those that have had to close will find a way to “change their skin”.
In this context, human capital is the only real wealth of a company, and this pandemic has highlighted it even more strongly. Investing in training has always been the most effective solution, not only in times of crisis. In recent months, many companies have embarked on a Digital Transformation path, enabling smart and agile work. Most entrepreneurs have accelerated the digitization and reorganization processes that previously encountered resistance and have driven internal processes towards activities meant to help employees expand their skills and enhance their talents.
What type of re-skilling or up-skilling in this new post (hopefully) pandemic contest, would be necessary to shape an outstanding career path both when moving across industries or roles, or even when progressing within your current industry or corporate organisation?
In the past years, many companies have understood that training is not a “one-off” event to fill isolated gaps but an opportunity that must be accessible to all, continuous over time and organized according to individual needs. That is because each person’s growth in the company equals to the growth in the company’s competence and professionalism.
In this period of significant changes, our luck was to have, even before this pandemic, a variegated network of teachers, the best trainers in every field. It is a value that allows us to be highly competitive by providing the best skills and adapting them to the different needs of the companies we work with. Communication, innovation, leadership, reskilling, and digital are just some of the faculties that we develop to build valuable projects and allow people to improve their work paths or change them.
From your privileged observation point, what is the direction of the job market in the near future, in particular for professional women? 
Even in today’s advanced societies, it is hard for women to reach top positions and leadership. Despite the overtaking in educational qualifications and the increased presence of women in all fields of knowledge, there continues to be a difference in academic choices, which is followed by a significant difference in career paths.
I believe that in the coming years, the presence of women in all professions will grow enormously. This increase will also be evident in management positions. It will happen thanks to the tenacity and determination women already show in the professional world.
Therefore not so much for particularly favourable conditions as because there will be more and more trust in the women’s professionalism, with companies turning to them with greater propensity.
On a qualitative level, women will take on even more central roles at the decision-making, managerial, and governance level, which until now had been closed to them.
 What are the competencies and skills of the future?
About 10% of today’s workforce does jobs that are likely to increase as a percentage of the total.  About 20%, on the other hand, work in professions that are likely to suffer a contraction.
That means that around seven out of ten people are doing jobs we don’t know for sure what will happen. However, this redefinition of duties, together with retraining the workforce, could promote these occupations’ growth.
In Challenge Network, we believe that Italian managers will increasingly require content dedicated to strategy, change management, digital mindset, and leadership for training and updating. In general, there is a strong need for lifelong learning to inspire, drive and improve performance at a technical and human level, in a logic of individual training that must benefit organizations and teams.
If you want to know more about Challenge Networks partnership with PWA, ask our Parnerships Director!

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