Sra. Della Pietra
2 Tomo (empresarios) biografías relevantes

Sra. Antonella Della Pietra – BWA Yachting Spain



Benevento (Italia)


Managing Partner and shareholder of

BWA Yachting Spain





Guaranteeing the very best experience aboard a yacht: such is the mission of this entrepreneur, whose humble beginnings would never have predicted that her professional career would take her on a journey to such a privileged industry and the luxurious world of yachting. Passionate and dedicated at every stage of her career, Antonella now leads the Spanish delegation of a leading company in the nautical sector. She strongly believes that one of the keys to success lies in knowing how to learn from challenges along the way, finding a positive angle, and using it as a springboard to jump even higher.



As a child, I helped my grandmother when she worked as a healer

I was born in the province of Benevento in the Italian region of Campania. I grew up in Castelpoto, a small town with barely a thousand inhabitants, where there weren’t many opportunities beyond the rural economy firmly rooted in agriculture. One of my oldest childhood memories is walking amongst the trees in the forest with my mother, Teresa, when I was just a couple of years old. Sadly, I don’t have many memories of her because she left us when I was three years old. My brother, Constanzo, and I were raised by my father, Carmine, with the help of our paternal grandmother, Anna. Constanzo is just two years younger than me, and we have always been very close. Our nonna Anna, was a formidable woman, endearing and extremely caring but sometimes a little harsh. Grandma Anna was extremely knowledgeable about natural remedies and alternative treatments, and sometimes worked as a healer. Historically, the area of Benevento is famous for its legends about the local stregas dating back to the Roman empire. Stregas were witches with magical powers who could cure a wide range of ailments and problems, from a dislocated arm to an evil eye. As we lived in such a traditional environment, due to her knowledge and skills, Grandma Anna was considered by some to be a “strega”. Neighbours and friends would often come to the house seeking her help and I would take pride in acting as her assistant. The locals would sometimes pay for her services with eggs, cakes, or other products for the remedies provided, which must have been effective, judging by how popular they were.


Studying and reading were a lifesaver

Growing up, there were a few key people who greatly influenced my childhood and life’s trajectory. As well as my father and grandmother, I was fortunate enough to have a few adults in my life that took care of me. Despite not having my own mother around, I had my wonderful Aunty Cristina and neighbour Maria Luisa Verdino, who both acted like surrogate mothers and in many ways, best friends. My zia Cristina was married to my father’s brother and was a constant figure of support and affectionate, and my neighbour Maria Luisa always welcomed me with open arms whenever I needed a break from my family! At school, I was also lucky enough to have some strong adult figures to look up to. In particular, I remember Professor Verdaguer being very influential in my life. He taught Literature and History and was a great source of inspiration, awakening a passion for reading in me. So much so that one day, when I was barely eleven years old, I ran off into the woods carrying a book by Nietzsche… I am convinced that this encouragement to study opened many doors for me, broadening my horizons, as the environment I grew up in was very limiting. My upbringing was very traditional and religious. My grandmother was a devout Catholic and we would go to church three times a week and on Sundays I would assist the priest as an altar girl. Fortunately, studying was my gateway to the wider world. Initially, my plan was to focus on my artistic vocational studies because I dreamt of travelling the world and making a living as a painter. However, my best friend had decided to study for the academic Baccalaureate, and I was torn between following her or going down the artistic route. When I mentioned my dilemma to one of my teachers, she declared that “the academic route wasn’t for me”. As a stubborn, defiant teenager, that was exactly the impulse I needed to make a decision. I decided to prove her wrong and opted for the Baccalaureate after all. Five years later, when I finished those studies with a score of 59 out of 60, I couldn’t help but feel proud.


“You were born for bigger things”

As teenagers, we are often forced to follow a certain path at a very early age, when we are not yet mature enough to know which direction we should go in or what we really want from life. Even so, my experience of the Baccalaureate turned out to be a very enriching experience. I studied a variety of subjects including Latin, German, literature, philosophy… and it opened my mind a lot. It is during that time that I first ventured into the world of work. When my father was almost fifty, he lost his job as a bricklayer due to a serious crisis that had hit the construction sector. As the sole breadwinner, this obviously had a huge impact on our family’s economy. Despite still being at school, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to help, so I decided to find a summer job. In southern Italy the only employment opportunities were in the countryside, so that is how I ended up working on the tobacco plantations. My zia Cristina helped me secure a position working in the fields with her. It was very physically demanding, and we would often start at five in the morning to avoid the unbearable midday heat. I was the youngest of the women working there but was determined to do my best. My efforts did not go unnoticed, and I remember the plantation owner, Salvatore, telling me one day, «You were born for bigger things.» I have great memories of my time working in the fields because it taught me the value of hard work and sacrifice. It also gave me a strong sense of how connected we are to our environment, which instilled in me a love of nature that has never left me.


Thanks to my knowledge of German, my life took a turn

I felt proud to be able to help my father support our family, a man whose actions had always spoken louder than his words. Although he was not always very communicative verbally, he showed his affection through his hardworking spirit and how committed he was to taking care of his family. He had not been lucky enough to study beyond primary school as he had to start working on the family farm at a very young age. Although he wasn’t very academic, my father was very artistic. I remember as a child when he used to take elements from nature and teach me how to craft them into toys or decorative creations. We would find branches in the forest and whittle them into dolls together. Perhaps that is how I discovered my love of art, but I was not aware of my painting and drawing skills until my art teacher pointed them out to me. After finishing the Baccalaureate, I followed in the footsteps of my brother and moved to Como, in the north of Italy in search of opportunities to work and study. I enrolled in Law at the Federico II University of Naples, to do a flexible degree, combining distance learning with face-to-face classes. To cover the expenses, I shared a flat with my brother and had a couple of part-time jobs. In the morning, I packed bags with Avon Cosmetics in a rundown, unheated warehouse, and in the afternoons, I was a cleaner at a transport company. However, my life took an unexpected turn one day when the director of the transport company, Dr. Biraggi, was desperately trying to correct some German invoices and couldn’t find anyone in the office who could help him. Nervously, I raised my hand and offered to take a look, explaining that I had studied German at school. Immediately, he told me that from Monday onwards, I would no longer be on cleaning duties, but helping in the office with the invoices.


I use the challenges that life throws at me as a springboard to jump higher

The following year, still working for the transport company, I was promoted to the position of dispatch manager for Switzerland. Apart from the language skills that I brought to the position; I think that above all else they valued the passion that I invested in my work. I have always believed that whatever you are doing, you should do it to the best of your ability, and that every experience can provide inspiration and skills for the future which will help you achieve your dreams. Even negative experiences and challenges, when faced with courage and positivity, can help propel you forwards. The key to success is finding a creative solution, a positive angle, and using the challenge as a springboard to help you jump higher. At 24 years old, when I was leading a team of 8 people, I decided that it was time to move on. One of the owners, Dr. Zerboni, was so keen to convince me to stay that he even offered me shares in the company, but my mind was made up. I have fond memories of Dr. Zerboni and learnt a lot from him. He had originally started out loading and unloading trucks and despite having managed to rise to the top of the firm, he maintained close contact with the staff. Regularly walking around the office and asking us about the work we were doing, gauging the atmosphere amongst the staff and our level of commitment. He taught me the importance of maintaining a sense of closeness with both customers and employees. A philosophy that is central to my management style today.


Becoming a single mother, reinforced my belief that it is extremely important for women to be financially independent

In 2001, I was at a crossroads in my personal life and decided to move to Barcelona. A city that I felt a very close connection to from the very first moment, as if I had already lived there in another life. When I arrived in the Catalan capital, I immediately enrolled on a Fine Arts course at the Escola Massana and started looking for a job to pay for my studies and personal expenses. An advertisement in a shopping centre caught my attention, a travel agency was looking for a profile similar to mine. However, as fate would have it, although the interview was successful, rather than working for the agency, I ended up marrying the owner and having a son! Sadly, our relationship did not last very long. I had always been a very independent person, but becoming a single mother reinforced my belief that it is extremely important for women to be financially independent so they can make their own decisions without being subject to any conditions. In a bid to secure a steady job, I signed up for a Secretarial course for Senior Management. I excelled on the course and made such a good impression that the centre sent a favourable reference on my behalf to a company looking for staff. It was a relatively new venture based in the port of Barcelona called BCN Yacht Services and had been created with the vision that the world of yachting and sailing would witness a significant expansion in the following years. They were so impressed with my references that they hired me before I had even completed the training. This was the opportunity that first launched me into the yachting sector, changing my life forever.


I became an entrepreneur after applying for a loan to acquire shares in the company

I started off in the billing department, and as always, was completely dedicated to my work, full of enthusiasm to learn and progress. Before long I knew all the ins and outs of the business and had mastered the different areas of the company. There were just three of us in the organization, and one day, one of my colleagues announced that she had decided to leave and embark on a new career path. Given the circumstances, my boss was afraid that I would also decide to leave, as I would have to take on even more responsibilities whilst raising my son. So, she offered me the possibility of acquiring shares in the company as an incentive to stay. I had to think about it carefully because for me it was a huge financial sacrifice and quite a risk to take that step. However, I finally decided to go for it and applied for a loan to buy the shares and become an entrepreneur. As part of my new role, I took over the operations department and the company went from strength to strength. In 2009, our success caught the attention of the international company BWA Yachting, a much bigger yacht agency that already had offices in four international locations and was looking to consolidate their business in Spanish territory. In yachting, Spain is a very important strategic location as it is often the entry and exit point for the Mediterranean. Yachts tend to follow a typical cruising itinerary starting in Gibraltar, continuing along the Levantine coast to Barcelona, ​​then on to France, Monaco, Italy, the Adriatic coast … all the way to Turkey. BWA Yachting already had a notable presence in many of the key destinations and wanted to establish themselves in Spain. Following the recommendations of key industry players, BWA Yachting approached us, and negotiations began. Shortly after, we signed an agreement allowing BWA Yachting to acquire our company on the understanding that my boss and I would stay on as employees and remain as shareholders.


In 2012 I became the Managing Partner of BWA Yachting Spain

In 2012, three years after the acquisition, the Board of Directors officially appointed me as Managing Partner for Spain. Before the acquisition our agency was already present in various locations in Spain, however, with the support of BWA Yachting, we continued to expand and now have offices in Barcelona, Mallorca, Ibiza, Vilanova i la Geltrú, and Tarragona. We also operate across the rest of Spain and Portugal, including the Canary Islands and the Azores. Having the support of a well-established group has given me the freedom to be ambitious and creative in my management style. I strive to lead a company that is innovative and continuously developing and improving, leading the sector. Being part of such a strong, global organization has allowed us to continue to grow and weather the storms. Since taking over the company, I have managed to consistently increase our turnover year after year and our team has grown from just three people to over thirty.










BWA Spain is one of the most powerful delegations of the group, and is recognized as a leader in the yachting sector

As a company that is constantly evolving, we are not afraid of change. We confidently restructure when necessary and seek to close partnership agreements with important players in the sector. We believe in strategic planning and forward thinking, keeping our fingers on the pulse of our industry. I think that one of the reasons that we enjoy such a good reputation is that we are competitive but collaborative. We strive for success, but not at the detriment of others, and we don’t compromise our values. Currently, BWA Yachting Spain is one of the most powerful delegations of the group and thanks to our global presence and reputation for quality and integrity, our group is one of the leading yacht agencies in the industry. Our reputation for excellence has attracted collaborations with some of the most prestigious organizations and events in yachting such as the America’s Cup and SailGP. Our relationship with the America’s Cup dates back to 2013, when we were appointed as the official “Operations Partner” for the AC34 in San Francisco (United States). Then in 2017, we ran the Superyacht Programme for the AC35 in Bermuda. In August this year, it was announced that the next America’s Cup will be coming to Barcelona in 2024. We are delighted to have been chosen to run the Superyacht Programme once again and look forward to honouring the legacy of this incredible event. We are so excited that Barcelona will be hosting the AC37, not only because it is a truly thrilling, world-class sporting event, but also because it will be enormously beneficial for the city. According to some sources, the America’s Cup is considered to be the third most important sporting event in terms of the greatest economic impact for the host country. This is obviously hugely important for the yachting community but also for the local businesses and economy.


People are not aware of the positive impact that yachting can have on the local economy

Yachting is seen by many to be an elitest club that is only accessible to the very wealthiest members of society. In many ways this is true. However, what a lot of people don’t consider is the positive impact that yachting can have on the local economy. Currently, BWA Yachting Spain directly employs a team of over thirty professionals, the vast majority of whom are based in our two head offices in Barcelona, inside Marina Port Vell and the neighbouring shipyard, Marina Barcelona 92. In addition to the jobs created by the sector, many of the services and products that we provide are sourced from local suppliers and contractors. Simply put, the yachts spend a lot of money, and a large proportion of that filters through to local businesses. Whilst it is an exclusive industry, it is also an extremely effective way of distributing wealth. Not only do the yachts spend a lot on maintenance and products and services for the owners and guests, they are also home to professional crew members who spend their salaries when they come ashore. As a company, we strongly believe in benefitting the local community as much as we possibly can, and we encourage the international crew to explore and appreciate the local culture. Our mission is to provide our customers with the very best service possible. Essentially a yacht is like a floating five-star hotel, and the owners, guests, captains, and crew want a seamless, efficient, impeccable service. Our job is to provide whatever they need to make their experience aboard as easy and enjoyable as possible. Therefore, we organize anything and everything, from itinerary planning, concierge services, food, drink, and interior supplies, to products and services for the deck and engineering departments, to essential services such as the berths, fuel, immigration services, logistics etc… We work with vessels ranging from 30 metres to 180 metres in length and aim to treat them all with the same level of professionalism and commitment. I always tell my team that our job sometimes requires the skills of a psychologist because we have to really listen to the clients to understand who they are and what they need. This is especially true considering that we deal with people from all over the world from diverse cultures. In our industry, we have a “high season” and a “low season”. High season tends to be when the yachts have owners and guests aboard, and low season is when the vessels just have the crew aboard and are staying put for the winter or doing a maintenance period. Depending on the season, our focus changes but our mission remains the same, to assist the vessels however we can. This mission took on a whole new meaning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike a lot of industries that shut down, for us the pandemic was extremely busy, but our services changed dramatically. As a yacht agency, we provide provisioning services and arrange medical assistance, therefore we were considered to be an “essential service” and could continue to operate. For the hundreds of captains and crew that were unable to travel home and had to remain on board, we became a lifeline. Providing all the food, drink, and supplies that they needed and arranging medical assistance and essential travel and immigration services. We also kept the captains and crew up-to-date by sending regular mailouts with the latest news, regulations, and translated versions of all the official government bulletins to over 3,500 people at least once a week. At the end of the day, to excel in our industry you have to care about the people you are working for and working with. The main value of our company lies in the human factor, and I am lucky to have a very professional, experienced, and efficient team. We are available for our clients twenty-four-seven, therefore dedication is key. Aside from work, I like to encourage my staff and crew to get involved in initiatives outside of yachting. One of the annual events that I have created is the “BWA Yachting Pentathlon” which despite its name is not actually a serious sporting event. It is a fun day of games and activities where we raise money for the Johan Cruyff Foundation. This foundation supports children with disabilities and encourages them to get involved in sports. We’ve been holding the event for the last ten years (only interrupted by the pandemic) and it is wonderful to see the crew interacting with the local children from the foundation and giving something back to the community.


My son is my most important legacy

Hassan is my most important legacy, my main reason for living. He has faced so many challenges in his life and I am so proud of how he has persevered and triumphed. He has just started the first year of a film production course in London at a very prestigious school and I’m excited to see how he will develop creatively, personally, and professionally. The best advice I could give him is to invest as much passion as possible in whatever he does. I believe that we were all born to leave our own mark and I have every confidence that he will fulfil his dream of working in the film industry and leave his. Now I plan to fulfil a dream that I set for myself, a dream that was rudely interrupted by the pandemic! I plan to visit every country in the world before I turn fifty. So far, I have visited ninety-one of the one hundred and ninety-three officially recognised countries. Which gives me just five years to visit the rest! My next stop is Tanzania and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. ¡Vamos!


English text by Anna Hudd