Without checking the list of participants, I am completely convinced that if not all, then surely most of the present and
many of the past RUCOLA members are here today. The members of RUCOLA have just begun a three-year European project on gender
segregation, and this is the second Equal project in which Silvia has participated.
But you are not to think that Silvia stays at home: she also finds time and energy to tour various academic institutions in
many European and non-European countries, presenting her research and her thinking. I should add that my boss, Rolf Solli,
claims that in his entire career, no presentation has ever made an impression on him such as the one Silvia gave at our School.
He even admits that he has a difficult time remembering the main message, so taken was he with Silvias art of presentation.
Her talents are recognized far beyond our School. In September 2005 she received the degree of Doctor honoris causa from the
Department of Social Sciences at Roskilde University. Silvia Gherardi is the first professor in the Faculty of Sociology in
Trento to receive this degree from another university.
And last but not least that is the last accomplishment of Silvia's I'm going to talk about, not the last of her accomplishments
Silvia has been, and is, a talented, dedicated, and effective organizer of international cooperation. She organizes
conferences and workshops in Trento, was active in the creation and maintenance of SCOS, and recently helped to create the
Standing Work Group on Practice-Based Studies of Knowledge and Innovation in the Workplace, which she convened at the EGOS
2007 conference. The group is also organizing doctoral schools, and Silvia is engaged in this activity. What is more, she
was the first female chairperson elected to EGOS in 1997, and held this position until 2000. Now, Arndt Sorge was kind enough
to share with me the backstage of this event. In his words:
"In 1990, I was collecting authors for articles in the International Encyclopedia of Business and Management. I had to organize
the writing, reviewing, and improvement of nearly 30 articles for the Organization Behaviour section of the encyclopedia.
Silvia was the only author who submitted a draft that was acceptable without any correction, even within the time specified.
I was so impressed that I awarded her my personal prize for the best performance in the series, at my own cost, which was
a meal for her and Antonio. That memory stuck with me. [...] The next thing is that in 1997, when we were compiling a proposal
for the composition of the new EGOS Board at Budapest, the following thing happened. We developed a proposal that did not
have any woman on the list. Silvia had heard about this proposal being in the pipeline, and on the riverboat on which the
EGOS festivity took place in Budapest, Silvia said to me that if this was going to happen, there was going to be trouble at
the EGOS assembly. Aghast at our mistake; food plate and beer glass in my hand, I went to the upper deck to find Georg Schreyögg
and tell him about this. He then asked who I proposed to rectify the blunder. I said Silvia should be proposed, because I
had been impressed by her reliable writing performance. The other board members were also briefly consulted, and the proposal
was changed. [...] The lesson for the presence of females in prominent academic jobs is clear. You do need to talk to the
right people at parties, and if things go well, this helps to activate sound comparative judgment of performance even in chauvinist
I am grateful to Arndt for sharing with us his recollections, but let me add that my memory tells me something slightly different
namely, that it was we, the women present at the conference and on the boat, who had suggested Silvia's name after
a meeting that we held. But as you know, stories of the past always differ, and the important point is that we did have our
Silvia in that critical position. EGOS dates back to 1973, but we had first female track conveners only in 1993, and the first
female chair in 1997. As Sigrid Quack became the chair in 2006, perhaps things are getting better, however slowly?
But let us make no mistake; it is not for her gender that Silvia Gherardi is to become an Honorary Member of EGOS. Silvia
is the heart of EGOS: an exemplary scholar, a dedicated community builder, and a role model for young people. She has a passion
for knowledge and learning, which she shares generously with others. I am proud of her accomplishments, proud of her academic
generosity, proud to be her friend. Just as EGOS, I have no doubt, is proud of its new Honorary Member.