I come from a place where being a woman means that you belong to the weaker sex and, having a Master’s degree in Literature means that your future professional career will be as a front-line guardian of the “unemployed professional club”.

I could work on my educational path so I went for an MA, then I also took an M.Sc and an MBA. Right now, I am even thinking of starting a PhD program. I’ll make my final decision in a couple of months. Nothing I could do about my roots. I come from Southern Italy, the so-called Basilicata region also known as “the Invisible Land” so I had to leave and went to Milan, the beautiful, tough, immense Milan.

It was a brave decision and the beginning of a strenuous period of my life, but it was worth it. From that year on, it has been an escalation within my professional career: from junior product manager to business product manager, senior product manager and director of operations for the US subsidiary of an Italian Pharmaceutical company. Then Vice President and now? Now it is time to keep on moving because movement generates changes and changing is the only way to evolve bringing along the two different aspects of my personality, my strengths and weaknesses, for the rest of my life. Oh how much I know them. They take after my mother and my father: the bright side and the dark side. All things I say, all things I do, I can tell where they come from. Sometimes it is my mother, some other times it is my father’s way of being that erupts out.

When I look at the mirror, I see her, my mother. I have her same eyes, her ears, and her nose. I have her energy, her warmth towards others, and a gift I got from her, I immediately understand the person I have in front of me, her energy and her feelings. I wish my mother had the time to teach me the acceptance of others for who they are. “People don’t have blemishes, they have peculiarities that make them unique and different.” Wouldn’t this be an amazing soft skill for a manager, a leader?  She wanted to be surrounded by peace and harmony. “Do you really believe it is worth it to destroy the harmony of this amazing sunny day? Let it go, Love and forgiveness are the most important things for you and the others. Please contribute to the harmony of cosmos”.

How could you disappoint her request, how could you say no to her desire of love, quietness and peace? I am not sure she was aware of the valuable lessons she taught me: the ability to go beyond appearances and limits with love.

This is my bright side.

My dark side is all from my father: the adaptive pragmatism which is almost cynicism, the professional impatience, the ambition, so demanding with myself and the others, so much goal oriented, so little diplomatic, independent, self thinker, free and revolutionary. “Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth with a lever.”  Sometimes a lack of patience with others who do not meet the self imposed standards can be manifest.

My strengths and my weaknesses complement each other. I continue to grow in self confidence and in belief in my own capabilities to perform and function independently and as a member of this beautiful and challenging humanity.