We got together with Nada Serafini, who for the last thirty years has been the mainstay of Pershing, a brand of the Ferretti Group
by Carla Pagani
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE THEIR MARK DUE TO THEIR DETERMINATION AND STUBBORNNESS. Due to their tenacity and obstinacy, their courage to look ahead without ever saying something can’t be done. Their ability to always find a solution, without giving up, even if there are clouds on the horizon. Nada Serafini is one of these people. Determined, optimistic. Head of sales at one of Italy’s leading boat manufacturers, Pershing.
Nada started working when she was very young. «I’d just graduated when my Dad lost his job, and I decided it was my turn to put myself to the test. I knocked on the doors of all the boatyards in the area of Bellocchi», a few kilometres from Fano, in the Pesaro district. «Nobody was needing a girl who had just graduated in languages until I got to Mondolfo, where Cantiere Navale dell’Adriatico was located. I’d no idea what to expect. I thought I’d have a job interview when in actual fact they tried me out for 3 hours, and called me the next day to take me on».
This was in May 1991. The company founded by Tilli Antonelli, Fausto Filippetti and Giuliano Onori was set up ten years previously. The first Pershing was launched in 1985 with a design by Fulvio De Simoni. This was the start of a glorious story that is still continuing, and makes Pershing, which is now a brand of the Ferretti Group, a unique company on the world’s stage.
«The founders of the company taught me the importance of always striving for excellence. To do things extremely well in order to do fairly well. To keep on going in the face of adversity».
For Nada this was the beginning of a journey that would enable her to continually develop until she achieved roles with maximum responsibility. The founders of Pershing are among her main mentors. «They taught me all about the world of boats and luxury, and how to keep the most difficult situations under control without ever giving up», in the self same way that a Pershing yacht tackles the most treacherous waters at full speed.
«And the things you learn at twenty years old stay with you your entire life». Especially if you already have a good dose of stubbornness in your blood, as is the case with Nada. Thirty years at the company without ever having the time to get bored. «At Pershing you’re always looking ahead, being bold». Just as bold as John Pershing, one of the greatest American generals in the First World War, who was the inspiration for the company name. «Diverse markets, new customers and new challenges», says Nada enthusiastically.
«Pershing has always looked ahead and been bold. We took our first boat to the USA in ‘91. Three years later we were in Dubai. And we were among the first to look at the Asian markets».
«Our boat owners want constant innovation and almost understand boats better than we do», she jokes, hitting the nail on the head though. Pershing customers are dynamic, they know the thrill of speed, but also love luxury and comfort.
«The boat business can’t be dry and sterile, there’s a human relationship that must also consider the level of irrationality hidden behind the purchase of every boat».
«Our boat owners are adrenaline-filled and enterprising. Their mantra is What’s next?». And that’s the same for Nada. After all you don’t drive a Pershing – you pilot it, like a fighter aircraft or a sports car. And anyone who’s felt that famous Pershing thrill knows what you’re talking about.
«We were among the first to introduce technological innovation that radically changed how boats were built», in conjunction with Fulvio De Simoni, one of the best in Italy, explains Nada. Just think about the use of surface drives on all models, which ensure the right balance between performance and consumption in all conditions.
Or the gas turbines with hydro-jet propulsion, and over 5,100 horse power. Not to mention the concealed glass door solution. And let’s not forget the use of carbon fibre for increased strength, which has the advantage of being lightweight.
«De Simoni has always had an essential role», says Nada. He’s a reserved man who doesn’t like being in the spotlight, «Pershing is to some extent his alter ego. De Simoni has that classic style that creates futuristic designs that will never age, not even after twenty years».
What’s next? is the order of the day for Nada Serafini, Pershing and their designer Fulvio De Simoni. And for their customers.
De Simoni has also made What’s next? his trademark, with his thirst for creativity and ability to innovate, looking to the future. «Not only is he a designer, he’s also an excellent hull designer, and is much more than just an architect. His is a global vision that can create extraordinary boats». Just think about the last 7X, «the perfect blend of all innovative features we’ve gradually introduced in the X generation. We obtained an ultra-light boat, both outside with a mix of carbon and GRP, and inside». And the result? Complete comfort, even at 51 knots.
Nada Serafini also looks after Itama, which became part of the Ferretti Group in 2004. «Itama boats are timeless classics that never age, and Itama customers are extremely loyal and wouldn’t dream of leaving the brand».
What’s more, the relationship that Nada establishes with her customers is an essential ingredient in this chemistry. «At Pershing complete dedication is given to customers, from planning the boat layout through to the celebratory handover and the day it takes to the seas». And looking to the future? «We’ve got big plans that are still top secret. A range that will forego a bit of performance to prioritise space, volume and life in the open air», Nada states succinctly. We’ll have to imagine the rest. Just step on the gas.
(Nada Serafini, never give up! – Barchemagazine.com – September 2020)