Ilaria Biancacci is an Italian journalist with extensive experience writing on gender issues, human rights, and geopolitics.
Her move to the UK as a journalist was not an easy one because of the language and networking barriers she had to overcome. Due to this arduous transition, Ilaria is passionate about providing tools and opportunuties for younger journalists experiencing similar hardships.
Her mission is empowering women through increased representation in the news world, on both sides of the microphone.
“If you don’t see yourself represented, you don’t think you can achieve that position. But if you see yourself represented, whether it’s the interviewer or interviewee, then obviously you feel there are more opportunities for you.”
In 2011, Ilaria came up with the idea of Wempower due to the lack of representation of women’s voices in the newsroom, especially in leadership roles.
“It really upset me the way women were portrayed in the news when I was working as a journalist. Everywhere you look women are not represented, at least from my point of view, from a very positive, inclusive and powerful point of view and perspective. And the narrative is always quite masculine.”
As the “mirror of society”, Ilaria believes that representation is especially important in the news environment, as it reflects how people relate to facts, and to the world.
Due to this gap of representation in the world of news, Ilaria decided to create a platform that could transform news into a more powerful and inspiring place for women by uplifting the voices of underrepresented women, both in telling their own stories, and in telling others’.
THE EMPOWERED TRIBE
Along with a platform to uplift a variety of different underrepresented voices, Ilaria is passionate about creating a space for intergenerational learning with The Empowered Tribe.
This hub is for women journalists and creatives to come together, share their experiences and learn from each other. The core idea for this hub is to provide a safe space for journalists and storytellers to ask questions without judgement, empowering each generation of creatives to learn from eachother.
"Go to networking events" "Establish a connection" "Make it personal"
Ilaria’s top tip for all the budding journalists out there is to network as soon, and as much, as possible.
As a foreigner, Ilaria initially found it difficult to navigate in the new cultural environment and effectively communicate her experience due to different structures in the UK.
It was when she started establishing connections with people in the field that she found people recognizing her expertise, and it was through these connections that she could find opportunities.
She also advises to use these networking opportunities to pitch your story to editors as soon as possible, both in person and online (especially LinkedIn).
ILARIA AT HATCH
“My empowerment came from the network that I was able to establish on Wempower, and the opportunities I had with Hatch on the Incubator and the connections I established after that. Knowing that there’s a support network around me and I’m not completely alone.”
“Being a solo founder (and in my case, a full-time employee as well) can be quite daunting. So being a part of a cohort of people that were doing the same thing made me feel stronger and more grounded.”
“I just found myself more and more aligned with my mission.”