Originally from Italy, Novella Burioli is Global Rrelationship Manager for international corporate customers at the New York Branch of Intesa Sanpaolo. She will shortly be overseeing a portfolio of American and Latin American multinational corporations.. She began travelling at 15 and studied in England, the US, Japan, France and China. Since joining Intesa Sanpaolo, Burioli has worked in Hong Kong and Singapore, and was posted to the US in November 2015.
How has international experience helped you to grow professionally and personally?
Honestly, I don’t think I would be the same person today if I had not lived and worked internationally. You continually have to adapt and be flexible. You have to keep up your skills to work in whatever context you are in.
When I was in Hong Kong, I had the opportunity to learn about foreign direct investments in China; when I was in Singapore I learnt about South-East Asian operations, giving me the opportunity to learn about foreign direct investments into Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Despite the geographical proximity, these countries are intrinsically different. You cannot fully understand what it really means by studying or reading the newspapers, you have to be based there to grasp it. That allowed me to grow professionally – and growing really means to enlarge your knowledge and increase your capability to liaise effectively with different people from different places.
Photo: on the right Novella Burioli, Global Relationship Manager for international corporate customers at the New York Branch of Intesa Sanpaolo.
What do you enjoy about working internationally?
Being exposed to the cultural differences that you inevitably find in different countries forces you
to think without prejudice, to be inclusive, to expose and adapt yourself in a different way in order to communicate successfully.
Communicating properly is the key to share plans and objectives, to stimulate constructive discussions that clear uncertainty and allow everyone to work together looking in the same direction, towards the same goals. You learn and that’s really what I think it is all about.
What are the characteristics of Intesa Sanpaolo and its people?
To me, Intesa Sanpaolo is comparable to a small world within which you can find many countries because we have so many different departments working on completely different aspects of the (same) organization and (literally) speaking different languages. In this context, I appreciate that Intesa Sanpaolo is a very diverse place where communicating properly becomes essential.
We understand and embrace the need to start changing.
This is a key attitude to remain relevant in the world nowadays, especially as the world of banking is changing so quickly.
I trained as a lawyer and was working for a law firm in Hong Kong when I was approached to join Intesa Sanpaolo. I think that shows how Intesa Sanpaolo tries to embrace diversity because I didn’t have a banking background, but the experience and knowledge that I could bring was recognised.
Where would you like to be in your career in five years?
It is a tricky question as things change so fast, but I think in five years’ time I’d probably want to be in a different place, where I can keep learning and adapting to different environments.
This includes taking my knowledge to work back in Italy, as I believe it is important to bring back experiences from abroad to share this culture internally. This is what Intesa Sanpaolo is trying to do.
We are an Italian bank and we are proud of our origins and history, but we want to become “glocal”
having capabilities and resources to manage both local and global considerations. Sharing international experience with our colleagues is one of the ways to stimulate change, discussion, new ideas thus achieving growth at different levels.
What is your best experience to date?
With regard to my experience within Intesa Sanpaolo, I have to say it is the relationships that I enjoy with colleagues and customers from the countries where I have worked. I’m still in touch today, on a personal level, with people I worked with in Hong Kong and Singapore. Effectively we have a network across borders. As well as being professionally beneficial, it is also a personal matter.
What have you learned from this international experience in Intesa Sanpaolo you might have missed otherwise?
Intesa Sanpaolo is one of the largest and most solid European banks, not by chance. Being part of its engines – in my case being part of its international network development – is a unique opportunity of being exposed to a complex organization while actively supporting its expansion (thus its transformation). I believe here we recognize that by empowering people, we effectively set the machine in motion… towards the future.
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