Angela Buonocore has always had a way with words, speaking fluent Italian before English and writing short stories at age 5. Largely influenced by her Italian-born mother, she says, “If you have a command of language and an ability to use that to influence people, it’s a very powerful thing.”
Buonocore’s inherent skills helped propel her career in communications at numerous Fortune 200 companies, from IBM to the Pepsi Bottling Group before joining ITT Corp., a White Plains, N.Y.–based high-tech engineering and manufacturing company, three years ago.
“Big corporate experience can translate into other big corporate experience because there are a lot of skills that you develop in the structure,” she says. “The two biggest reasons people fail [are] they don’t fit in with the culture and they don’t know how to build alignment.”
Today, as ITT’s senior vice president and chief communications officer, Buonocore has formed alliances to strengthen the defense contractor’s brand, engage its 40,000 employees in 60 countries and provide much-needed resources and aid to people in need. In 2008, Buonocore helped launch the company’s signature corporate-responsibility project, ITT Watermark. This $4-million financial and employee-volunteer commitment delivers life-saving water, sanitation, hygiene and emergency aid to families worldwide, from Honduras and Haiti to China and the Congo.
“In India, many girls were dropping out of school because they didn’t have latrines,” explains Buonocore. “So we had the girls design their own bathrooms.”
Recently, Buonocore was recognized by the National Organization for Women’s New York City chapter. She sits on the Public Relations Advisory Council at the University of Florida, her alma mater, and is a member of the Rome-based Accademia Europea per le Relazioni Econimiche e Culturali, an organization of Italians and Italian Americans dedicated to developing economic, cultural and humanitarian projects globally.