Elisa Flamini, is an Alumna of Global MBA BBS, track Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses, now Sustainability Consultant, Dyson and Sustainability Manager, Green Media Lab.
«Even those we do not appreciate teach us something, quite simply what we do not want to become. In other words, they teach us to find opportunities for growth and personal enrichment even in the most difficult situations. My motto is: when the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills». Elisa Flamini
What is your career path?
My professional path started in 2015 when, after an internship in Germany, I was selected in Reckitt, a large chemical-pharmaceutical multinational with Italian headquarters in Milan, for a position within the Category Planning team (formerly Trade Marketing). After being promoted as Junior Trade Marketing Manager, I had the chance to join the Dyson Italia team, still in the Trade Marketing team, and to be part of the great transformation of Dyson Italia between 2016 and 2019 that made Dyson the leading Technology Company it is today. After a few months of experience in the Sell Out team, I was promoted as Retail Marketing Manager, both for the indirect and direct channel, and then my responsibility was extended to consumer events, managing a team of 3 people with a budget of 6 million euros.
As much as my career was giving me great satisfaction, I felt that I was not fully realized and that my calling was something else. So, at the end of 2019, I got brave and put myself back into the game, freezing my career in Trade Marketing to start the Global MBA in BBS.
Now, in addition to working with Dyson Italia as a Sustainability Consultant, I’m Sustainability Manager at Green Media Lab, a communication agency and Sustainability Advisory, and I’ve never been happier and more fulfilled.
Why did you decide to continue your education and how did you choose BBS?
At the end of 2019, my area of competence at Dyson had just been expanded; as Retail Marketing Manager, I was also in charge of all consumer events. It was an exciting challenge, but I couldn’t give up my dream of working in sustainability. My passion for CSR had already begun at university when, during my three-year degree in Economics and Marketing in Bologna, I had become fascinated by the idea that a new business model was possible and necessary, a model that could reconcile the quest for profit with respect for the planet and society. And I felt I wanted to actively contribute to this change. At the time, there was no talk of sustainability, so finding a master’s degree in this area had been difficult. So, I moved to Siena and enrolled in the master’s degree course in Economics of the Environment and Development. Years later, I then started looking for an MBA that could redirect my career towards sustainability. After careful research, I identified the GMBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses as the best choice, both for the program and for the international outlook.
So, I froze my career at Dyson and in marketing, to return to my hometown and get back into the swing of things.
What skills did the Master provide you with and how did you apply them in your work?
The MBA has given me a lot, both from a hard skills point of view and – most of all – from soft skills, open-mindedness, and networking point of view. I met amazing and inspiring people, both professors and colleagues, who made me see many things – work and non-work – from a different perspective. I felt that those months were enriching me a lot and would make me start my new career path with a different awareness. In my current job I am applying a lot of what I learned in the MBA, not so much from technical skills, but more from a holistic view of business and sustainability.
I must admit that until the end I was very worried about my professional future. Would I have been able, at the age of 30, to redirect myself into a completely different career path from the one I had been on for the last 6 years? Was the Italian job market ready? Did the job I had in mind really exist? Was there a real demand for “hybrid” figures like my own? At the same time, we had been swept away by the pandemic, and a huge additional element of uncertainty that made me even more afraid.
As we know, the covid has exponentially speeded up the understanding of how the world needs new logics, completely different business models and new professional figures.
I still remember when, during the first week, one of my MBA colleagues from the ‘Supercars, superbikes and motorsport’ track asked me: ‘What is the point of doing a master’s degree in sustainability in Italy? Italy is the country of cars, fashion and food.” At the time I couldn’t find any answer, but I believe he would think differently today.
What are your next professional goals?
I just began my experience in the CSR team at Green Media Lab, one of those companies that is 10 years ahead of its time and is rapidly expanding. Green offices, development of projects with a high social and ecological impact, synergies with the community and organizations, advocacy and awareness activities: the place and the job I was looking for.
Now my goal is to learn as much as possible and maximize the positive impact we can generate as a consultancy, in short my goal now is to do well in my new role as Sustainability Manager. I am surrounded by an incredible and super inspiring team, young but super skilled. I’m really enjoying being in a company where I can create synergies between different players inside and outside the company, and I think there could be some great collaborations with BBS as well.
What is the added value of being part of the BBS Community?
The BBS Community is a big family. I’m still on very close terms with some of my former MBA colleagues and my course directors. Many synergies have been created: I have been hosted in some MBA courses and I have been asked to be a mentor in the Executive Master in Sustainability Transition Management. I’m happy to be able to give a small contribution to growing the community, which I believe is one of the strengths of BBS and something the school should continue to invest in.
What would you advise a BBS student to do?
I believe that building and growing your personal and professional network is one of the most valuable and important things during a Master/MBA, as well as in life. Opportunities do not usually fall from the sky, they are the result of a long and hard work and of some healthy courage (the famous “Audentes fortuna iuvat”).
Another advice I can give is to be a sponge, to listen to and learn from all the people around us, even those who are most different from us. Even those we do not appreciate teach us something, quite simply what we do not want to become. In other words, they teach us to find opportunities for growth and personal enrichment even in the most difficult situations.
My motto is: when the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills»