Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

Ornella Desirée Bellia: Head of Professional Football, FIFA

Ornella Desirée Bellia is an accomplished professional in the football industry, currently serving as the Head of Professional Football at FIFA. With an impressive academic background, extensive experience in Sports Law, and proficiency in multiple languages, Ornella’s dedication, passion, and expertise have propelled her on an impressive career trajectory.

In a recent Jobs in Football interview, Ornella shared insights into her experiences working in the football industry. From navigating a male-dominated environment to balancing her full-time position with teaching aspiring students, Ornella provides a valuable glimpse into the world of professional football at its highest level.

How did Ornella start her career in the football industry?

Ornella’s journey in the football industry began with a job at Calcio Catania, her hometown football club, 11 years ago. Despite being hired as a lawyer, Ornella quickly found herself involved in various areas of the club’s operations, including marketing, communications, and player transfers. Due to the relatively small size of the industry back then, Ornella often found herself taking on multiple responsibilities, going beyond her official role as the Head of Legal Affairs.

Ornella’s career interests beyond sports law

Although Ornella initially pursued a career in sports law to avoid dealing with numbers, her passion and interest expanded over time. After studying for an MBA in finance at Real Madrid University, she developed a deep appreciation for numbers and a keen interest in finance and economics within the football industry.

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Ornella’s role in education and its impact

In addition to her position at FIFA, Ornella serves as a lecturer/professor at LaLiga Business School. She finds joy in sharing her knowledge and experiences with aspiring professionals, providing practical advice on pursuing a career in football. Ornella emphasizes the importance of thinking big, believing in oneself, and persevering through challenges. She believes in empowering others and encourages her students to learn from failures, work hard, and remain persistent in pursuit of their goals.

Ornella’s current role at FIFA and the challenges she faces

As the Head of Professional Football at FIFA, Ornella is responsible for managing relationships between stakeholders and developing projects that aim to professionalize football worldwide. She finds great satisfaction in working on projects that make a positive impact on the football industry. However, she acknowledges that being a woman in a male-dominated environment presents unique challenges. Negotiating with various stakeholders and getting everyone to agree can be difficult, especially when there is resistance to a woman’s perspective. Ornella has faced resistance and skepticism in the past, but she believes that the industry is slowly recognizing the value women bring and the need for more diversity in leadership positions.

Ornella’s commitment to promoting women in football

As a woman in a leadership role, Ornella understands the importance of promoting and championing other women in the football industry. She encourages female students and aspiring professionals to pursue their dreams, highlighting the need for creativity and different perspectives in football. However, she acknowledges the challenges of finding women who are willing to step forward in a male-dominated environment. Ornella believes that women often underestimate their capabilities and advises them to have confidence in their abilities and pursue opportunities without hesitation.

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Personal challenges and overcoming adversity

Ornella has faced numerous personal and professional challenges throughout her career. When confronted with an uncomfortable work environment and the “old mentality” of Italian football, she quit her job at Calcio Catania and temporarily left the football industry. However, she realized that she couldn’t let other people dictate her career and overcame these challenges by pursuing her dream once again. Ornella’s resilience has been further tested when she was diagnosed with cancer. Despite the setbacks, she found solace in her professional life, working harder and using it as a source of strength. Ornella has learned to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthier work-life balance.

Ornella’s achievements and future aspirations

Of all her professional accomplishments, Ornella considers her current role as the Head of Professional Football at FIFA to be a significant highlight. She cherishes the opportunity to make a positive impact in an industry that often presents challenges. Looking ahead, Ornella envisions herself eventually returning to a football club, where she can experience the team spirit, adrenaline, and weekly challenges that come with working in a club environment.

Ornella Desirée Bellia’s journey in the football industry is a testament to her resilience, expertise, and commitment to making a difference. Her story inspires aspiring professionals to pursue their dreams, believe in themselves, and embrace empathy and diversity in the pursuit of a successful career in football.