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Think! Global initiative has been launched in Milan!

Updated: Sep 28, 2019

On the 23 of September a new educational experience was presented by Leaders First in the modern and sophisticated DO7 Eco Club House, located in the heart of Milan Brera. Renowned experts, inspiring entrepreneurs and top managers shared their valuable knowledge and unique stories of global expansion processes and how to Think Global.

Presented for the first time to Milan community, the initiative Think Global proved to be a successful topic for discussions, bringing together global-minded members and guests to learn and to share global experiences.


The evening started with opening remarks by Fabrizio Nicolosi, who thanked partners of the event The Blue Penguin Company and Cedea water. The founder of Leaders First gave an overview on initiatives which took place since launching the organisation in June 2018, including over 25 events hosted on 3 continents. Reflecting on the topic of evening, Fabrizio quoted Harvard Business Review, which described the Global Mindset as:


“the set of individual qualities that are critical for the leaders of tomorrow. Those qualities include for example cosmopolitan outlook, passion for diversity, quest for adventure, intercultural empathy and diplomacy”.




The first invited expert of the evening was Carlo Salvato, Professor of strategic management, entrepreneurship, and family business strategy at Bocconi University, who presented an engaging talk on global market trends. He shared information on strategies for developing businesses abroad and major global trends affecting company strategies, the role of social and political trends as well as technological innovations and value chains.



The next speaker, Monica Menozzi, COO of Cedea, shared her experience of growing her luxury mineral water business, started in 2017 after years of preparation. Monica spoke the role sustainability, marketing and brand uniqueness play in their journey to reach international markets. As Monica said, developing an internationally recognised luxury water brand is crucial for her company growth, and this is something required for expanding from a small company to a larger enterprise for such a niche business. The company from the beginning focused on positioning their brand as a unique high-quality product from famous Italian region Dolomites, their bottle design won multiple awards, including a very prestigious Red Dot Award.

Monica’s curiosity, observation and passion for their product opened opportunities in many countries and helped to developed distribution channels in Thailand, China and in many countries in Gulf region. Also, Cedea’s partnership with such strong brands as Lamborghini, Technogym and private jet companies supported the recognition of Cedea brand within the international luxury industry.


The following speaker, Emanuele Preve, Managing Director at Risogallo International SA, comes from the 6th generation family business, where he oversees the Swiss office that follows the group's foreign operations. Riso Gallo, founded in 1856, is distributed in 80 different countries and the brand is recognised for its Risotto product, with 50% of sales coming from outside of Italy.

When describing his family business strategies, Emanuele highlighted his firm’s decision of developing competencies outside their own business before joining the firm, which is the rule applied to all members of the family. The firm also value previous work experience abroad, which helps current company managers to run their international business successfully. Their unique approach to business helped to grow the company first in Europe through own branches, instead of through distribution companies. Speaking about the company’s current growth strategies, Emanuele highlighted the role of innovation and sustainability which they use for their current and future projects.

Continuing on the food business topic, the next expert Giuliano Lotto, an experienced restaurateur, shared his story of starting in banking in London in 1983, and eventually moving on to investing in opening the first restaurant in Chelsea in 1991. After running a number of first-class restaurants with Michelin-starred chefs like Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay all over the world, nowadays Giuliano’s focus is on high quality food home to customers. His new project GODO is something which is based on sustainability, by delivering food in glass jars, and also an easy access to quality fresh food. When asked about 3 key elements for thinking globally, Giuliano described local partners, experts which can arrive to the international spot and bring value and also perfect finance management. Our guests were also pleased to hear that Giuliano, apart from London, considers Milan as an interesting market for developing business due to perfect geographical location and recent international recognition development.

One of the final speakers was Tom Noad, the president of British Chamber of Commerce for Italy. Tom, who has been in Milan for last 10 years and also an experienced lawyer, presented fascinating trade data between UK and Italy which showed an increase in trade, goods and services - UK exports to Italy £19.7BN (up 2.4%) and UK imports from Italy £24.8BN (up 4.3%). Following discussions of the top sectors of the trade between countries, Tom continued his talk on why doing business in UK can be crucial for global expansion of Italian based businesses. One of the top criteria is UK being ranked 9th in the World Bank rankings in 2018 in terms of the ease of doing business. Tom explained:


“Such high ease of doing business ranking of UK means that it is the easiest place to set up and run a business in Europe due to the regulatory environment. The index accounts for: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and most importantly getting credit.”

The next unique benefit UK offers to businesses which are planning an international reach is an ease of trade between UK and Commonwealth countries, which are 53 sovereign states, nearly all of which are former British colonies. All members of the Commonwealth have long-established trading systems dating back to colonial rule, same English language, similar or virtually identical legal systems.

To continue the conversation about the importance of the language for business development on a global level we invited our final speaker Leigh Otterson-Walter, Founder and Managing Director at The Blue Penguin Company. Located on the beautiful South Coast of England, their mission is simple - to change the way people learn English. The company has been providing high-quality, bespoke English Language programmes to Business Professionals since 2012.


Leigh shared details of their English for professionals and inter-cultural training programs. The company also specialises in internship programmes for young professionals, summer courses in English for younger learners, which are crucial for developing talents and future leaders. With many happy clients and bespoke approach to clients’ needs, Leigh is helping Business Professionals achieve their English Language learning goals and overcome challenges that they have faced during their global business expansion.


Speakers of Think Global event in Milan

A delightful dinner and networking followed inspiring talks, bringing our community of members and guests of Leaders First together. We are very grateful to all our speakers, Leaders First members and ambassadors, and their guests for valuable contribution to this initiative.


We are very thankful to The Blue Penguin Company, UK Educational Travel Specialists, and to Cedea luxury mineral water from Dolomites, for their support which made this evening special and truly enjoyable.




Dates to put in your diary for our next events:


· 7th October: Think Global, London

· 11/13th October: Leadership retreat, Puglia

· 18th November: Women First, Rome

· 28th November: Christmas event, London

· 5th December: Entrepreneurs First, Moscow

· 8th December: Inspiring Future Leaders, Dubai

· 16th December: Christmas event, Milan


To see and book our events visit https://www.leadersfirst.org.


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