A lioness has recently taken London by storm. Her name is Paula Diana, the author of Saving the World, just published by Quartet Books: The subject of which has mesmerised the capital, and catapulted the dynamic author to a well-deserved position, rarely achieved in such a short time.
An activist and entrepreneur who runs the Diana Group, the UK’s leading concierge service, recognised as one of London’s most influential agency providers for high-net-worth families and corporations around the world, from luxury travel to finding the right sports car, hotel accommodation, unique properties and much more, as her interviewee Tina for the Tripfiction team describes her.
Here is the gist of what appeared on the Internet as I believe this will induce people to buy her book and tell others to do the same. Her message is highly topical and well worth listening to. So don’t linger, join the crowd of admirers for whom she stands supreme.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat with Paola Diana, bestselling author, activist and entrepreneur.
Her new book “Saving the World” was published on 2 May 2018, in which she reveals her ground breaking research, demonstrating how gender parity in politics and business has a hugely positive impact on a variety of factors including national GDP, political empowerment, economic leadership as well as life expectancy, literacy and stability.
We set the scene for our interview – Paola is drinking a mug of green tea in her beautiful office, which she designed herself, imbued with French and Italian influence. It is the former office of Spike Milligan (coming from Italy she had never heard of him, but soon discovered his importance in British society!). She is just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park in London, overlooking Kensington Palace. Her office exudes energy, providing a creative space to think and relax, it’s more like a sitting room than an office.
Her book explores the oppression of women over millennia – past, present and what the future may look like – and she is keen to stress this is not a book written by a woman for women, it is to be read by men also. Since the beginning of time, women have been relegated to the home, and their bodies have been controlled over centuries… but she is clear that she is not encouraging women to emulate men and their ways; she is more focussed about exploring the power of empathy, an asset which many women have and need to bring to the proverbial table.
She herself came from a very patriarchal family in Italy and considers herself a survivor. Her childhood was coloured by male oppression, and from the outside it seemed she had the perfect family. Behind closed doors it was, however, very different. She also considers the Vatican as the most powerful patriarchy in the world, and society has been formed by the ethos of religion and the notion of the fairy tale of life (knights in shining armour), which does a disservice to the cause of women.
I was curious to know more about the path she has taken to get to where she is now. She told me that after her Master’s Degree she worked in politics in Italy for 5 years. Thereafter she became her own boss, went into recruitment and then lifestyle, building up “a luxury boutique” company. She does not value people in terms of their monetary worth but applauds what they do and achieve for themselves. She has, as one might expect, worked hard to find her own work-life balance, and, she stresses, she is not a workaholic. Nor is she wedded to her iPhone, but the temptation to check on issues at work can indeed be seductive. She still personally runs her Social Media accounts but there will come a time when she will pass them on for someone else to manage.
With success comes responsibility, which she relishes, it is very much in her nature, she likes to inspire and lead people. My experience during the interview was that she is an extremely warm and thoughtful person.
Turning to travel, I was curious to find out what kind of holiday she would choose for herself. Being Cancerian she is drawn to the sea and its therapeutic effects – French Polynesia and the Maldives are her ideal choice; she still has the Great Barrier Reef to visit. Her ideal holiday would be a month travelling, by private jet, of course.
As far as reading goes, she loves to read. Currently she is into neuroscience and would ideally like to pick up her studies once again. She is reading books by Yuval Noah Harari but doesn’t really read novels at the moment. She says she is in a phase where she craves knowledge and learning.
We talked about the attributes she feels she has that have underpinned her success, and she is clear that self confidence is key. As a teenager she worked on it and now feels she is at her peak. It is something she encourages in her two children, who are both very independent, happy and making the most of their young lives. In life you are either a predator or prey, she muses.
She is already planning her next book which will focus on domestic violence and abuse, and femicide. The plight for many women is a social emergency and it is imperative that governments across the world really get behind these social issues. Violence against women takes a huge toll on society, across generations, and education is key.
As our chat drew to a close, I asked her which aspects she values in England and in Italy as she is at home in both countries and cultures:
England – here she is in love with the culture and feels it is a great democracy which is reactive and proactive. It has built its civilisation since the Magna Carta. And there is a great respect for rules. She would be honoured to carry a British passport.
Italy – in this country she values the creativity which is evident everywhere. It’s like a spiral, the beauty of the cities inspires the creativity. And first and foremost, the Italians know how to enjoy life!