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Deborah Compagnoni

4 Famous Italian and Italian American Women in History

During Women’s History Month we honor all Italian and Italian American women for the richness they added to thousands of communities across Italy and our country and for the love and lessons they passed down to the generations that came after them. This is the last week that we feature a selection of women who left their mark on society in a variety of fields.

Catia Bastioli – Inventor

Catia Bastioli was born October 3, 1957 in Forligno, in the region of Umbria, Italy. She began her research into creating plastics as a reusable resource while employed at the Montedison Company, one of the largest industrial holding companies in Italy. She went on to earn her Doctorate in chemistry from the University of Perugia in 1981.  She went on to receive another doctoral degree in 2008 from the University of Genova and is currently the holder of more than 90 patents.

In 1993, Catia began her career with Novamont, a new company created as a spinoff of Fertec (Polo Ferruzzi Research and Technology). Since May 2014, she has been Chairwoman of Terna S.p.A. During the 1990s she led a team of Italian scientists who researched and developed different types of bio-degradable plastics. The author of significant scientific contributions in the form of both publications and international patents, she has received numerous awards and recognitions and has been given the title of merit Cavaliere Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by the Italian State. In 2013, she received the “Eureka Prize” for technological innovation and in 2007 the “European Inventor of the Year.”

Bastioli stated, “My aim is not only to manufacture and sell goods, but to promote a new model of highly integrated products and a recycling system that will make our region a better and cleaner place to live.”

Silvia Ziche – Comic Book Creator

Silvia Ziche was born July 5, 1967, in the town of Thiene, about 25 miles northwest of Venice, Italy. Her passion for comic books started in her youth, with a strong leaning toward Disney publications. At an early age she decided that she wanted a career as a comic book writer and artist.

After early stints assisting several leading comic book writers, her first story was published in the Italian comic book, Linus. The character is best known to American comic fans as Charlie Brown’s friend and confidante. However, it was her contributions to the Topolino (Mickey Mouse) comics that truly launched her fame in the comic book industry. In Italy, the Disney Company offered her a top position in their comic book division. Today, Silvia Ziche is mainly associated with her work on the Italian Donald Duck comics.

As a writer, she is popular because she often creates long stories that are published in special large editions of Disney’s Italian comic books. Silvia has won several prizes for her art, among them is “Papernovella” (Duck Soap Opera) entitled Il Papero del Mistero, which was a Disney parody on soap opera television.

Consuelo Cali – CEO Cosmetics Company

Consuelo Cali, born 1967 in Catania, Sicily, is a visionary and passionate woman who personifies classic Italian beauty. When she was five years old, she moved with her parents to the Cali Beauty Farm, a spa in Rome, owned and operated for generations by her family. It was in this atmosphere that Ms. Cali grew up, among spa patrons, nobility and neighbors as she learned the ancient traditions of Italian beauty secrets – passed down from generation to generation.

In 1996, she established Cali Cosmetics, Inc. to spread Italian beauty secrets throughout the world. Her idea was to use the recipes from the Cali Beauty Farm products and formulate them into products for both home and personal luxury. She has since developed over 100 products, ranging from skin care, bath, body and hair care, all paying strict attention to maintaining the integrity of her family’s original recipes.

Deborah Compagnoni – 3 Time Olympic Gold Medalist

Deborah Compagnoni was born on June 4, 1970, in Bormio, a town in the province of Sondrio in the Lombardy region of Italy, the daughter of a ski instructor. At the age of seventeen she took gold in the giant slalom at the 1987 World Junior Championships. Her career was always marked by major successes, but also by serious accidents. After her first major victory, the World Junior title in Giant slalom and her first podium in World Cup, she broke her right knee in the Val d’Isére downhill.

Her fragile knees hindered her practice activity and limited the number of victories in the World Cup, but she always showed strength in the great championships and confirmed herself as one of the best Giant Slalom specialists. In 1994, at the Lillehammer Olympics, she won a gold medal in the Giant Slalom, a feat she repeated four years later during the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. In 1998, she also won a silver medal in the Slalom.

Compagnoni won the World Championship in Giant Slalom in 1996 and in the following year’s World Championship she confirmed this title, coupling it with the Slalom, a deed never accomplished by any Italian female skier. She is the first Italian woman Alpine skier to win gold medals at three different Olympic Games.