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leading by being: the essential guide to authentic leadership

“My loved ones would describe me as deeply human, an open book, always available, full of energy, and deeply empathic - my colleagues would likely say similar things” - Meet Luciana D'Abramo, Chief Development Officer & Board Member at FOUR PAWS, who truly embodies authenticity, resilience, and empathy as pillars of her success in her leadership journey. Read everything about Luciana’s 'behind the scenes’ journey and how you can learn to bring your whole self into the decision-making room.


birgit rechberger-krammer

"I believe in breaking down the barrier between personal and professional lives. It's about creating spaces where individuals can comfortably embrace their entire selves." - Luciana D'Abramo, Chief Development Officer & Board Member at FOUR PAWS

building an authentic leadership style


Luciana's leadership journey has been profoundly influenced by her early start in the professional world. Beginning her career at a young age provided her with the unique opportunity to lead teams without formal authority. Reflecting on this period, Luciana shares, "Starting my career at a young age was a blessing; it gave me the chance to lead teams without formal authority, an experience that profoundly shaped my leadership style."


In these formative roles, Luciana learned the art of influence and engagement, realising that true leadership isn't about wielding power but empowering others to excel. "I learned the importance of consensus-building, trust, and collaboration," Luciana recalls. These invaluable lessons became the cornerstone of her leadership philosophy as she transitioned into more formal leadership roles.


As Luciana assumed greater responsibilities, she remained committed to leading with empathy, humility, and inclusivity. "I became hyper-aware of the nuances of leadership – the delicate balance between authority and influence, the power of empathy, and the importance of bringing people together," Luciana explains. Now, with every decision she makes, Luciana is mindful of its impact on others, striving to create an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered.


finding strength in gratitude


In a world that often glorifies the pursuit of future success, Luciana finds strength in embracing the present moment. Her belief that "the best is already here" serves as a guiding principle in both her personal and professional life. "It's about recognizing the abundance in our lives and using that foundation to envision an even brighter future," Luciana explains. This perspective fosters a sense of fulfilment and gratitude, driving Luciana to manifest greater success and fulfilment in the future.



the power of continuous self-reflection


Despite her achievements, Luciana remains committed to ongoing reflection and growth. One surprising aspect of her leadership approach is her habit of revisiting past emails and interactions, seeking opportunities for learning and improvement. "It's not about second-guessing myself," Luciana clarifies. "It's about tracking my growth and development." This commitment to self-reflection underscores Luciana's dedication to continuous improvement, inspiring those around her to embrace a similar mindset.



authentic communication as key


"Don't say 'I'm sorry' unless you truly mean it," is one of Luciana’s guiding principles, stemming from a profound moment with her then female boss and mentor. "Since then, I've been mindful of using apologies genuinely, ensuring they carry weight and sincerity and understanding their impact on perception and self-assurance," she continues. This lesson resonates deeply with Luciana, shaping how she leads and mentors others, passing on this advice to the teams and colleagues she supports, encouraging them to value their work and speak with conviction.



creating a culture of empathy and inclusion


“My loved ones would describe me as deeply human, an open book, always available, full of energy, and deeply empathic," Luciana reflects. "They'd probably mention my determination to face life's challenges with mindfulness. When it comes to my daughter, she sees me as this superhero who can make the world spin. She cherishes my imperfections, which keeps me humble and grounded.” Luciana emphasises the significance of authenticity, stating, “My leadership style is deeply rooted in authenticity."


"I believe in breaking down the barrier between personal and professional lives," Luciana's leadership style is a reflection of her genuine and unapologetic self. Whether at home with her family or in the boardroom with her colleagues, Luciana brings her whole self to every interaction.. "It's about creating spaces where individuals can comfortably embrace their entire selves." This seamless integration of personal and professional identities fosters a culture of authenticity and trust, empowering others to do the same.



the impact of authentic leadership


In a world where leadership is often equated with command and control, Luciana D'Abramo exemplifies a different paradigm—authentic leadership. Her journey underscores the profound impact that authenticity can have not just on individual success, but on the cultivation of a workplace where trust, respect, and empathy are paramount. In embracing our own journeys of authentic leadership, we are reminded that the most significant influence occurs not in the limelight, but in the quiet moments of connection and growth. Let Luciana’s narrative inspire us to cultivate environments where authenticity flourishes, and leadership is a reflection of our truest selves.



about Luciana:

Luciana D'Abramo, Chief Development Officer & Board Member at FOUR PAWS, blends her passion for the planet with her expertise in leadership development and organisational transformation. With over 15 years in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors, Luciana is dedicated to enhancing global alignment and consistency within FOUR PAWS, an organisation at the forefront of animal welfare for over 35 years. Based in Vienna, she focuses on the importance of methodological execution alongside visionary goals to drive impactful change in animal welfare worldwide. Her personal journey of self-discovery deepened with the arrival of her daughter, Oceana, enriching her understanding of love and motivating her to confront personal biases to become her best self. Luciana believes true fulfilment comes from aiding others, a principle that guides her both professionally and personally.




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