5 Minutes with… Flavia Spena, ICCNZ Councilor

As owner and director of Viavio Cheese in sunny Nelson, Flavia Spena has been involved with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand (ICCNZ) for seven years. Recently re-elected to the ICCNZ Council, she has focused on bringing the Nelson region into the limelight and creating a robust network between Italy and New Zealand.

What motivated you to join the ICCNZ and be part of the Council?

“Ever since I joined, my main goal has been to broaden the Chamber’s reach in the Nelson region. Being far from Auckland, having local representation is vital to ensure connection to the overall operations of the Chamber. I believe every area has unique potential and needs to have equal opportunities for growth.”

Do you have any projects in the pipeline for your mandate as Councillor?

“My main goal is to support and help the Nelson Italian Festival flourish and grow each year. We are working on a celebration of Italian culture and products ‘made by Italians’, providing a platform for local Italian businesses and artisans to showcase their products and talents. We had a good start last year, and we are now exploring additional elements that could make the festival bigger and better. I am quite excited about what lies ahead and can’t wait to share more updates as we progress.”

How do your unique background, skills, and expertise contribute to the success of the ICCNZ and its members?

“Before migrating to New Zealand in 2014 and starting Viavio Cheese with my husband Flavio, I worked 25 years for Bulgari, an international jewellery and perfume company, being responsible for Human Resources, Finance and IT. My experience in the corporate world honed my skills in networking and organisation, which are integral to my role at the Chamber. I aim to build stronger connections among members, stimulate engagement and provide opportunities for mutual growth and success.”

What message would you like to convey to the Chamber’s existing and prospective members?

“I firmly believe in the power of community. Creating a larger business network centred on the Italy-New Zealand link can bring benefits to all members: the group is always stronger than the sum of its parts.”

What do you see as the most significant challenges and opportunities in the coming years?

“Creating a group where every member reaps tangible benefits from their association is both a challenge and an opportunity. If we succeed, we not only strengthen the ICCNZ but also enhance the mutual success of all our members.”