5 Minutes with a Leader – Roberto Di Stefano

For our series of interviews with inspiring leaders, we are proud to present to you Roberto Di Stefano, accomplished Milan-based Interior Architect with more than 15 years’ experience in his field, and Premium Member at Leaders First.

Roberto’s deep-rooted values of ethical transparency, quality and teamwork are centred in every aspect of his work.

He is a keen communicator and believes strongly in a ‘shared vision’ approach to project management where every member of the team works towards a common client goal.

Roberto personally oversees the day-to-day management of each of his accounts, closely supervising the technical aspects and drawings that are undertaken by his team.

As part of his commitment to education and the next generation of designers, Roberto continues to teach product design to the students of Istituto Marangoni in Milan as a visiting professor.

It was a great pleasure for us to interview Roberto and get inspiration from his experience.

Roberto, please briefly describe your company:

Roberto Di Stefano Design Studio is based in Milan and Rome with Clients in Italy and abroad. Projects span the whole gamut from Interior to Product Design, supporting either company and private clients for office renovations, exhibit design and art direction, as well as residential projects.

Tell us the story of how you built your company

Everything started around 2010, with my first personal private villa project in south Sicily, then I supported several architecture studios as an external resource, including the site management of a hip hotel in Milano. I understood that my desire was to provide services that were tailor-made for a mid-high range of Clients, with an ethical and holistic approach.

Why did you choose to set up your business in this sector?

In my business, Milano is “the place to be” and here the number of resources is almost endless: the contamination with foreign designers and foreign companies makes this sector very interesting and in a continuous evolution, every day starts with new challenges and new opportunities. Now, after 20yrs of activity in the design field, I can assure you that I was born to be an architect.

If you could do something differently about learning skills in your earlier career what would it be?

I praise myself for an early career based on either study and practice with some studios; being in Milano wasn’t so difficult but it has been very hard. If I could add something to my early career, I would certainly say that a wider artistic contamination, throughout art exhibitions and more travels, could be a perfect mix to approach this sector.

Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years’ time?

At the age of 50, I see myself on a constant move between Milan and Rome, growing my business with the support of 2 small local based studios that provide bespoke and customized services to all my Clients. Certainly, I would love to be a good “producer” for all the young talents that need to be enlightened and encouraged in their future career; I do like the idea to transfer skills and grow my vision with “a win-win exchange”.

What does success look like to you?

Finding success is for me the fuel for constant and daily efforts to a continuous evolution and improvement. I see success not as an arrival point but as a motivation for being tomorrow a better man, skilled and more motivated than yesterday.

How important is it for you to have a trusted business network and access to continuous learning?

Certainly, in my business as for many others, is crucial to be “trusted” and especially for us Italian designers, with such important and heavy heritage and deep roots, it’s necessary to establish also a trusted network that give you the opportunity to manage a wide spectrum of opportunities and provide the best service to all the Clients.

Why did you decide to join Leaders First?

I decided to join Leaders First because I saw a Client of mine who was in the network and I saw from the outside the potential of a constant and transdisciplinary opportunity. After one year of meeting and seminaries, I have finally understood that a Premium membership is what a professional like me needs.

What advice do you have for any young entrepreneur looking to start their own business?

Be humble, never stop questioning yourself and set new limits to be reached that give you the opportunity to reach further multiple goals, establishing trusted and long-lasting connections, that can promote you.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I love travelling and sport: without any doubt, all my business and leisure travels gave me the chance to “see the world with curious eyes”; actually, in this pandemic situation I’m greedy for new travels. Sports (golf, running and swimming), give me the opportunity to reset and recharge my batteries, for restarting from me and to keep in a good balance my mindset.