Meet our Experts: Donatella Cuocci

Donatella Cuocci, Head of Commodity Corporate Sales, EMEA, finds the physical, real aspect of working in commodities to be fascinating.

The ‘Meet our Experts’ series feature experts across BNP Paribas Global Markets, giving you a snapshot of the faces who have been offering clients with innovative solutions and supporting them in navigating through challenges.

In this interview, Donatella tells us how her career evolved over the years, why she loves the role and gives some sound advice to those keen on advancing their career.

What do you love most about your role?

Commodities is something you choose to work in; it’s something you love, something you are passionate about…

For Donatella it is the physical, ‘real’ aspect of working in commodities and being able to visualise the product that she is most excited about – “you can see commodities everywhere from foods you eat, utility bills to the products you buy”. The physicality of the commodities market makes the role more impactful and relevant. It’s a dynamic and fast-changing market so there’s always new things to adapt to and it’s never static.

How did your career evolve over the years?

Donatella cites a combination of “academic interest and luck” as bringing her into a career in commodities. She began her career in Milan as a Credit Risk Analyst at JP Morgan and soon developed a strong interest in commodities because it was to her, an interesting and disruptive sector. After networking with people she met within the energy sector, she made the decision to move from credit risk to commodities, moving to London to join the Commodity Sales team.

What advice would you give for navigating the challenging times on the markets/in your job?

Do not despair and be resilient

Donatella notes that there will always be setbacks in the job but rather than let the situation get you down, she advises focusing your energy in other things by identifying new opportunities and where necessary learning new things.

What advice would you give to those who want to advance their career?

You are your best when you are in an environment that you are passionate about

Donatella has the following four pieces of advice:

  • Express your career goals – be vocal about what you want to do and where you want to go.
  • Network – start with those you work with and share your goals. Be proactive.
  • Work hard – acquire and develop skills as you go on. Differentiate yourself.
  • Accept criticism as something positive – it’s hard but very important. Accepting criticism enables you to change what needs to be changed.

Donatella also encourages people, especially those early in their careers, to be “internationally mobile” and to take opportunities to work in different countries, “as learning new languages enriches you culturally”. But most importantly she advises to focus on your passion and what inspires you.