Testimony MIND THE GUM – Matteo Gasparetto, vice president Volvo group

Hello, my name is Matteo Gasparetto, I am 40 years old, two small children and I have been Vice-president of the Volvo Group for 2 years. Having offices in 10 countries, I take 140 flies per year, more than a friend of mine who works as a pilot for Lufthansa and that’s the reason why a good physical and mental fitness is necessary.

Everything started when I was 27 years: I accepted the contract as general manager in China on behalf of an Italian company met in India taking me to leave in Shanghai for 5 years. Thinking back, I realize that getting out of my “comfort zone” was the turning point, to put a bit of foolishness, which I would have never done now. When you’re young you have to do it or you risk not growing up as you could.

When I arrived in Shanghai with my suitcase in 2005, all the commercial network

had to be built yet, it was necessary to address the cultural and linguistic differences, to develop adaptability, to be flexible in moving to several countries in case of need and to be able to reinvent yourself both at work and on a personal level. 

Which aspects of your character do you think more important at work and which have you helped more and why?

I think there are 3 essential points: positivity, empathy, and rigor

I am, they say, an extremely positive person because I find good in any situation. This has always helped me to sustain high-stress levels coming from the position I performed.

Then you also need to be empathetic when dealing with a team of 62 people from 14 different nationalities, from the coldest Finnish to the Spanish and the Greek. We have to try to create empathy with the people we deal with.

What are the main difficulties you faced during your career and how did you react?

 As soon as we came back from China, during the 2008 crisis, all our business and all our markets took a hard knock and we had to reinvent most of our strategies. Seeing things from the positive side allowed us to react to the crisis and obtaining incredible results today. Without a crisis, we would have not implemented some essential choices dictated by the need to survive.

And then, we don’t have to forget that staying positive it’s not enough since you spread the same energy among all the company employees.

Where do I find all my motivation not to quit? I surely find it in my family and in the will to do something for them

If you say “no” you seem unpleasant, but I don’t remember any particular occasion where I wanted to abandon, I never give up by nature! The secret is to give yourself audacious goals, very high but always achievable ones.

It’s not a marathon to be done in 2 hours, but you must not give up.

Ten years ago, my goal was to go further and achieve something that for many people was out of my reach; I come from a small village in Monferrato where I am the only one graduated of all of my friends, where there was not the culture of studying and doing a career in the past. However, I have always set myself the goal of doing something different from the people around me.

 

Have you ever thought about giving up on a particular occasion?

If you answer “no” you seem unpleasant, but I can’t think of a particular occasion where I wanted to quit, I never give up by nature! The secret here is to set audacious, high but always attainable goals. It’s not a marathon to do in 2 hours but you must not give up.

Where do I find all this motivation not to quit? Surely, I find it in family and willingness to do something for them.

10 years ago, my goal was to go on and achieve something that for many was out of my reach; I come from a small town in Monferrato where I am the only graduate of all my friends, in the past, there was no culture to study and make a career. However, I have always set myself the goal of doing something different from the people around me.

 

What advice would you give to young ambitious workers who have just started their career path?

 The world of work has become global. One should not lock oneself in one’s city, but rather evaluate positions outside as well. In this way, you can grow professionally as well as humanely. It is also important to remember that the competitors are no longer just the Italian people in that city, but you also have to deal with foreigners. When we open a position in a country, CVs arrive from every country. Even MIND THE GUM in Italy is just the beginning! Look for agents outside and resell also abroad, you can win the difficulties.

 

Tell us your maxim, your mantra at work

This maxim has been suggested by a colleague “I can be pleased but never satisfied.”

This expression can be applied in any presentation and delivery: being never satisfied always leads you to raise the bar. I always say it to my team, motivate them to do more. I’m never personally satisfied.

What do you think about mind the gum concept?

When I work, I need to stay focused as much as possible, then time is never enough time for doing everything. For this reason, despite initial skepticism, I tried a couple of packs, with good results; the product has the convenience of being pocket-sized, has an acceptable taste and gives an effect of greater concentration.

 

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