My name is Andrea and I’m 37 years old. In my mid twenties my life changed because of several studying and working experiences abroad. My life changed because I changed.

Those experiences made me develop skills and talents that I could have never learned in a classroom. I started to wonder what if everybody would have the same opportunities I had to develop him or herself this way…

Today I’m the CEO of Uniser, a cooperative managing Erasmus exchanges for over 300 schools in Europe, giving thousands of students between 16 and 20 the opportunity to live an experience abroad during their studies every year.

What is your idea of happiness?
A cocktail of fulfilment, serendipity and appetite for new experiences.

What does success mean to you?
Making an impact as a business which leads to a change of the sector, and/or the society, for the better.

What are the skills that your colleagues particularly admire in you?
Vision, leadership and optimism.

Why do you think your business idea is successful?
Only time and market will say if it is successful for real. I think it will be in the long term because we are working to make an idea of future come true, and this idea solves a problem to many organisations, bringing benefits to a lot of people.

If you looked back, what would you have done differently?
Easy to say afterwards but I guess I would have done something more in terms of training to speed up my personal and professional development, which has been mostly based just on experiences and mistakes on the field.

What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
Investing in the development of a business with no future, bringing the company on the edge of the canyon. I learnt the importance of business models over business plans.

What was your biggest achievement and what did you learn from it?
I changed our business model and in a couple of years we almost tripled our turnover. I learnt that people matter more than ideas and that today results happened because we built a team who believes in the company and it has the right environment to grow and express their talents.

What motivated you to go through tough times?
The difference we can make if we manage to be successful. See what I mean for successful at question 2 🙂

What advice would you give to someone starting a new business?
When you wake up every morning ask yourself if you are in love with your job. If the answer is no too many days in a row make sure to fail as soon as you can.

How has coaching helped you to reach your goals?
Asking the right questions, which I had never thought about.

How did you manage to turn your passion into your mission?
I fell in love with it and I was able to imagine our future together. I think that if you can do that with any job, there’s not much you have to do to turn your passion into a mission. It just happens.

Andrea Lombardi is the CEO of Uniser, a cooperative founded in 1998, offering learning mobility services. Uniser designs and organizes international mobility programs for VET learners, aiming at turning Erasmus into the future of training systems and business sector. If you have the same vision and passion as Andrea, we can help you turn them into your dream job through our Coaching Programs.

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