BBS Alumni talk about themselves: what was before, what came after and the memories of the student’s life, to offer a personal story and a narration of one’s own professional experience. For a history of our Community. The protagonist of the tenth episode is Linda Carobbi, Corporate Director Fresh Fruit Vertical Market at Savino Del Bene SpA, EMBA XII.
Linda’s soundtrack is Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
“Life runs fast, it feels like yesterday when I was still at Uni. This is the reason why, although very important, work can’t be everything. A serene life is the best advice in order to have a successful professional life.” I’m trav’ling at the speed of light, I wanna make a supersonic man of you, that’s what Freddy Mercury sang. Behind Linda’s words there’s the awareness of a woman who understood the importance of a balance, based on the distinction between time for life and for work. And travelling as well (around the world and not just for professional reasons) at the light of speed, conveying enthusiasm to those around her.
The story so far
Pistoiesism: i.e. when the small town where one’s born, called Pistoia in this case, feels stifling. A neologism Linda coined, which expresses her character perfectly. You may want to call them ambitions. In reality, Linda has been feeling this restlessness since her childhood, fulfilling her dream when, after a degree in economics and a short experience in the field of women apparel, she landed in a “safe haven” when she found a job in one of the Italian leading companies in international freight forwarding.
“It was the President himself who interviewed me, he asked me what I thought of that industry. Candidly, I replied that if it was easy for me to think about how to sell a dress, I found it inconceivable to sell a service. Precisely because of this I was determined to understand how. Clearly my enthusiasm and my frankness were appreciated, as I was hired straight away”. Thus a professional path started, and thanks to her will of giving herself a challenge, she started off at the shipment operations department, to then move to sales and then she gained her position at the helm of one of the company’s strategic sectors. And it’s been going on for 14 peaceful years.
“When I turned forty, many things happened, all together. An important promotion arrived, hand in hand with a renewed desire of learning, growing and improving.” Linda chose a Bologna Business School Executive Master in Business Administration. “I already knew Milan, and it had lost every attractiveness to my eyes. Rome, well of course, a marvellous city, but Bologna… besides the fact that it’s very close to Florence, where I live and work, it has the advantage of being very welcoming.” These reasons were overshadowed when she stepped into Villa Guastavillani. The interview with the people in charge of the master’s course did it. “Then, I as a loyal employee of the same business, for the last fourteen years, found myself in contact with entrepreneurs, dynamic and established managers, with a baggage of thousand experiences.” These differences turned out to be precious in order to exchange different skills and develop unexpected friendly relationships.
Linda has learnt to appreciate those differences in her job too, as she’s travelled extensively, far and wide.
The Amerihani and the Peruvians
Linda the globetrotter. From Pistoia to Florence, then the experience in Milan. Seven intense years. “Milan is the perfect place for those who have the right age and energy to enjoy it. It’s all adrenalin for the young, and chaos for the grown ups”. It’s hard to keep up with that pace when one starts having a more content relationship with time. She was called back to Florence, her basis for her constant business trips. “The company has established Vertical Markets, i.e. sectors that are specifically devoted to individual types of product to be shipped. I manage the Fresh Fruit Vertical Market and it brings me to the remotest corners of the world.”
Linda started also becoming familiar with different working habits, country after country. With some surprises. “For instance, take the amerihani (slang, with the typical Tuscan dropping of the letter c., meaning the Americans, from the US, Editor’s note).
Hong Kong is one of the most exciting cities she has visited, with its breathtaking skyline. Clean, tidy, safe. Nothing though compares to Buenos Aires. There one can find the “right mezcla, as they would say.” So, the best part of Argentina is the Argentinians. “Hot blooded but warm, at times full of themselves but also able of unexpected outbursts of generosity.” Linda is Spanish. Or better, she feels as much. Indeed Barcelona is her ideal city. We Googled her, in order to gather some information. After two very professional, very technical links, we stumbled onto a video in which she dances tango. “It’s part of my Latin nature”.
The fundamental elements of her life are: music, which she listens to as soon as she wakes up, when she turns her radio on, with an already routinely, automatic gesture; then dancing, any type, with a clear preference for whatever has a Latin origin or reference. And then exercise, always very active since her childhood. The secret of Linda’s livelihood is action. Both in her job and in her life, she’s constantly on the move. Then, care for her health, a well-structured diet, no alcohol, no smoking. The importance of small things, like going out with her friends, a pleasant dinner, spending an evening on the sofa reading a book or watching a good film. Cycling around Florence to then board an intercontinental flight could be a perfect sum-up of Linda’s lifestyle.
A piece of advice to a student
“Creating continuous inputs and spurs at work, not waiting for others to provide them. It’s important to believe in the company one works for and behave so that the company believes in you.” And going back to attributing value to an in-depth knowledge of things. “I often see young people who are proud of hit-and run moves from one company to the next. On the contrary, my strategy was to focus, voluntarily, on building up my experience to understand the company dynamics and thus be able to achieve, step by step, and important and pro-active role”. Festina lente (make haste slowly) used to say the ancient Romans. But don’t stop me now, Queen would have added.
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