How did you start out?
I started working in this industry quite casually, I was working in the export department of a well-known multi-national food company in Milan. Through friends I started working at Linguaviva 20 years ago. I am still very happy with the choice I made.
What helped you get as far as you have?
Loving what I do. I like the language travel industry and I consider it a privilege to be working in this industry. If you like what you do, you can overcome difficult moments. I also learned that working in a team is important - in leading a team I prefer to share knowledge and to be supportive when needed.
Listening to different opinions is always important. With time, I have learned that it is very important to distance yourself from your own point of view - depending on the situation, it can sometimes be limited or biased. Be constructive with criticism - delivering criticism with a smile is always good. An ability to see the funny side of my profession is helpful as it allows me to view situations more objectively. Most importantly - have a clear goal and reach it.
What piece of advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
To always look ahead, if you happen to look back it is only to find ideas or indications which will help you to move forward. Identify what is important to you and for your life. To do things as well as possible and remember that mistakes are great for learning. ‘Panta rei’ - everything flows, life and work never come to a still stand. Thinking is just important as acting.
A low point in your career/life and how you overcame it?
My life changed drastically some years ago with the sudden loss of my husband, I had a 7 year old child to raise on my own and no family nearby. Working full time and travelling whilst raising a child on my own has been, and still is quite a challenge. I found that a network of friends is one of the great assets in anybody’s life, women are great in networking and being supportive. I am lucky that I have friends who have helped me in many ways.
Finally, I have learned that when you are confronted with overwhelming problems, the best thing to do is to take a pause, because the solution will come to you quite naturally. I have given up on the ambition of being a perfect mother/parent - if I can’t bake a cake I will buy it, sometimes I forget things and need my daughter to remind me - however, for the things that matter, I am there when and where my child needs me. It's important for me to acknowledge that work is also a vital part of my life.
One word to describe yourself?
Your first paying job: What and when?
I have always worked, even during my my universities studies and did many jobs, beginning with waitressing before going on to work in the university library. By the time I started my PhD in philology, I was a professor's assistant - before realising that academic life was not for me.
What do you do to keep yourself centered?
Family, friends, reading and enjoying small things. From time to time I practice Yoga.
What’s your favourite quote?
Panta rei (Eraclitus) which means...
Everything flows, nothing can or should stay the same.
What would your superpower be?