Interview with Marta Bertolai, Country Director of Enactus Italy
Conducted by JCU’s Business club
After the success of JCU’s Business Club team at both the Enactus National and World Championship, interviewed in this article is Marta Bertolai, Country Director of Enactus Italy.
Can you tell us a bit about Enactus?
Enactus is an international organization spanning across 37 countries. Ultimately, it aims to form relationships between university students and the business world through the creation of sustainable business projects. We have had a long history of over 40 years, which allows us to be recognized as the main global experiential platform.
The three key words for achieving great impact here are: 1= ENtrepreneurial, 2= ACtion, 3= US. The final keyword refers to the ideal that if an entrepreneurial action is implemented for others (the beneficiaries), then it helps us all create a better world! I believe that we couldn’t have a better name. We consider ourselves a world movement for change.
Before becoming Enactus Italy’s Country Director, you were a successful Marketer for KPMG (a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services). How did you get involved with Enactus and what made you interested in pursuing it full time?
My life in the previous 20 years was in KPMG! It was and it continues to be my “safe haven”. They were 20 amazing years, full of different and intense experiences. KPMG has been the main sponsor of Enactus for years, so when it chose to start the Enactus Italian practice, we were all very excited to start this collaboration.
Maybe I got carried away more than most. I let my enthusiasm and passion guide me to take the most important step in my professional and personal life.
It would be reductive to call it passion, as it is so much more than just passion alone. There is a willingness to be an active part in a change that is possible, and above all collaborative.
What are your proudest achievements working as a part of Enactus?
My major achievements? It’s a difficult question, as it is hard to pick. Surely, it is getting to see such a growth [in Enactus Italy] in just two years of history. We started with three universities and we now have 12; and in two years we would like to reach 20. We have 150 students who are working to change the world continuously generating social impact, but these 150 students have joined another 72,000 worldwide. Do you understand why I keep talking about the world movement? Because of the talented young people who are committed to changing things! What greater achievement than being able to involve Italy in this wonderful and ambitious project?
How has Enactus influenced the way you look at the world?
Enactus has not "influenced" my vision, it has simply made me more aware of how together we can convey an important message: “Developing students to make a social impact”.
Regarding the investment in talents, there is a particular testimony that I often read again and again, which pushes me to offer my personal contribution:
"In the end, our value is in what will remain when we are no longer there. It depends on what we will leave behind us from the things that we will be able to change for the better. Our value lives in the people we have helped grow.
This is the message of hope, along with the invitation, which I would like to leave you today.
Whatever you decide to do with your future, always do it with this simple goal in mind: make a difference every day. “Be like the gardeners, invest your energies and talents in such a way that everything you do will last a lifetime ... or even more," as Sergio Marchionne said.
What would you say are the reasons why students would benefit from being a part of the Enactus Team of their University?
It is an incredible opportunity for learning, dialogue, exposure, and contribution. This world movement does not only include students and academics, but representatives of the business world who have decided to lay the foundations of our future by investing in young talents. Three simple steps: education, knowledge, and experience.
One of my favorite quotes is: "Learning is the process whereby the knowledge is created through the transformation of experience," by David Kolb.
I sometimes sit at a table with the students and forget I am on "the other side" now, and see myself as a student who is not just learning, but through learning, creating! Enactus is the experience that I missed as a young girl, and I am proud to be able to live now by being its representative.
How can people get involved in Enactus?
There are endless ways to get in touch with Enactus: apply as a member of an already active team; promote the creation of a new team in a new university; join the Alumni group that continues to be part of the family once they have graduated; but also you can decide to carry out mentorship and coaching activities, and continue talking about it.
Our dream is to spread the project throughout Italy and make it the flagship project within the universities.
Lastly, what’s in store for Enactus Italy? What are some future projects and events to look forward to?
We have many important and interesting projects in store: training workshops, networking opportunities, preparation for competition events, and the National Championship that will take place this year in Verona on June 6.
Then, in July, the 2019 National Champion will be engaged in a final round of tests before "challenging" the other 36 national champions in the World Championship in Silicon Valley from Sept. 16-18.
The competition certainly has a role in the path of Enactus, but I always like to emphasize how the role of competition is just one element of our experiential platform.
Enactus is so much more than a competition!