How much did travelling with TELS influence your personal and professional growth?
Travelling with TELS was a decisive experience in my personal and professional growth. It goes without saying that learning English was one of the keys that opened doors towards various international roles. It has even allowed me to marry a genuine Australian, who speaks just a little Italian.
However, the added value of travelling with TELS, first as a student at Hedge End and then as a Group Leader, was much more than ‘simply’ learning a language. My TELS journey has been an exploration of relationships, the ones that stick around, and of different cultures and environments, learning to adapt to them and appreciate their uniqueness. I loved England so much I decided to live there for a few years! TELS was a decisive seed in developing my leadership qualities – through my experience as Group Leader – and my passion for people and love of travelling.
TELS is also faces: like Maria, Babs and Michael (who hosted me for many years, welcoming me like a granddaughter!), Mariarosa with her volcanic energy, and all the wonderful people I met during the years I spent with this amazing organization.
Would you like to be famous? Or are you famous already? If you could choose, what would you like to be famous for?
I’m sure this interview will make me famous!
If I could choose, I would like to be famous for two things. For writing a book that brings magic into the lives of many, at least as many as the Harry Potter books. And for contributing to making people’s lives better, helping them discover and switch on their ‘positive lights’, to say it “the TELS way”.
If you had five minutes to tell the story of your life, what images and colours would you use?
Out of the TELS colours, I would use green and blue. Green for my preference for planning and structuring everything, my love of dialogue and the strong sense of caution I’ve always had… before letting myself go in the end!
Blue for logic, precision and, if I can add a personal note to TELS Blue, the desire to gaze at the horizon and imagine what worlds are still left to explore.
What images would I use? That of the sea, where the waves rise higher, and break all of a sudden, then form again with even greater strength. That’s the story of my personal growth, and I want it to go on that way: experimenting, often stumbling, always learning, and continuing with new energy.
I would also use the image of chains of hands all linked together, because that is the real strength that has always sustained me: relationships with people who, for one reason or another, have crossed paths with me, and left a mark.
Can you recommend a book and a journey?
A book: The Culture Map. Decoding how People think, lead and get things done across cultures. Erin Meyer. It will teach you a lot about the main differences between cultures, analysed from eight fundamental aspects of life and work, including, for example, communication, giving and receiving feedback, and decision making. It’s a must read, above all for people like TELS students, who are looking for a preparation for life and work in multi-cultural contexts.
A journey: hey, it’s obvious, England! Another journey that’s still in my heart is the one I made to Brazil: the lights, smells, colours, people, life, energy and magical vibrations, wrapped up in such vivid and intense colours that take your breath away.
What advice do you feel you can give the young students who depart for the first time with TELS and can get a feel for the “TELS Method”?
Let me answer this question with a quote I recently read, which I deeply identified with: “Do you know what a ‘foreign accent’ is? It’s a mark of courage.” There, for me this is the real key which will allow you to savour this unique experience, in all its most beautiful and formative aspects. Gird your loins with all the courage you have to experiment, feed your curiosity, and be ever more eager for experiences. Keep your minds open to everything that’s new, and different to yourselves and your habits. And yes, it has to be said, keep your mind open too if you find a cucumber sandwich in your lunchbox, or one with butter and Marmite. And never forget to laugh a whole lot and have fun!
Cinzia Navoni, 45, has a degree in Italian Language and Literature (major in Literary Philology). She comes from Pavia, and after living in her beloved London for a few years, and then Padua, she now lives and works in Zurich, together with Bill, her Aussie husband, and two wild creatures named Luca and Angelica.
Cinzia has worked in various roles in the field of Human Resources, focusing on the areas of Talent Management and Learning and Development. She has also been a Professional Coach for some years now, and is certified by the OCM at Oxford (where else?). “It’s all about people”: the title of our TELS Blog, perfectly defines and summarizes her passion and guiding philosophy in both her working life and personal life: she helps people grow, develop their talents, and become “life-long learners”.