Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Riverstone and Interpret the Future team up again with OpenKnowledge at the Social Business Forum 2016

06 Jul


Now in its ninth year, the Social Business Forum, Europe’s premier speaker and networking event dedicated to social business, will take place in Milan on the 6-7 July 2016. Organised by OpenKnowledge, the management consulting company focused on social and digital transformation, and held once again at the Marriott Hotel in the capital city of fashion and design, SBF16 will bring together features a unique offer of visionary keynote speeches, success stories and discussion panels organized in a Free and Premium Conference. The Free Conference includes the keynote speeches in the mornings of July 6th and 7th delivered by outstanding and internationally-known experts.

The theme of this year’s Social Business Forum is the Platfirm Age: Plug your Business – Play your Future. The focus of many of the keynote presentations will be on how platform-companies, such as Airbnb, Facebook and LinkedIn, have revolutionised traditional business models and developed continuously-evolving structures where value is co-created with users / customers.

All the keynotes will be simultaneously translated by Interpret the Future, the Social Business Forum’s longstanding specialist interpreting partners. This year, the team includes ItF founder members Loredana Nano and Alice Bertinotti. Daniela Negru will also be in the booths helping the team to provide a highly professional conference interpreting service. The project is managed by Robert Dennis, director of Riverstone Language & Communications.

Find out more…

by Robert Dennis

Robert has created an online Business English course on WiziQ. Sign up for the free edition!

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Sustainability Matters

09 Jun

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In the first of a series of articles about sustainability for, freelance writer and translator Sonia Trubia examines the increased awareness of environmental sustainability in Italy, the UK and other countries. She looks at some global data about energy use as well as the European situation. Although Italy has one of the best records in terms of renewables, among businesses in the country there is still some catching up to do with other European countries. Sonia also highlights a project in Italy which seeks to reduce the impact of cultural events on the environment, and a WWF report proposing a zero emissions model of development for the Italian region of Liguria.

Edited by Robert Dennis.

Does Sustainability leave you cold?

Many readers will grumble as soon as they read the title of this post and guess that this is just another article about renewable energy and “going green”, because, let’s face it, it’s not a very entertaining or even interesting topic for most people. Whenever someone admits that they’re not really interested in environmental issues, there is always another person who reacts in the most predictable way and asks “How can you not care about the planet we live on?”

Well, indifference is often the natural consequence of ignorance. In 2013, Ucilia Wang, a contributor to the American magazine Forbes, wrote a brief article which opened with an apparently elementary question: “Is the centre of the Earth hot or cold?” The question was asked to all those who cared to stop by the booth of a geothermal energy industry group during Earth Day, in Washington D.C., a couple of years earlier. As it turned out, most of them thought that the Earth’s inner core is cold. This answer, besides being indicative of a disturbing level of ignorance in basic scientific principles, points to a bigger issue: the general public don’t know enough to be able to really care about sustainability. Wang writes that one effective strategy to bridge such a gap is to make things more personal, for example by informing people that solar panels are an effective way for them to save money on their utility bills. But of course, that is just the beginning. Raising the public’s awareness is not easy, especially where complex numbers, graphs and technical jargon are involved. So, I have tried to summarise the most important developments in the field of clean energy, which have taken place over the past two years (numbers and percentages are a necessary evil, I’m afraid), with a particular focus on Italy and the United Kingdom.



Who gets gold in the “Green Olympics”?

In 2014, the Handelsblatt Research Institute, in Germany, published a comparative analysis of the energy policy of 24 countries, 19 of which belong to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), plus the five major global emerging economies, commonly known as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The research, entitled “New Impulses For The Energy Revolution” ranked the countries according to two main goals: the avoidance of CO2 emissions (the major cause of global warming and ocean acidification) and the increased use of renewable energy sources. Unsurprisingly, two Scandinavian countries, Sweden and Norway, won both top spots, followed by Switzerland, Denmark and Austria in third place. And while the UK ranked 14th, Italy made the top 10, coming 9th. As the report states, the Bel Paese owes this result to the exploitation of its many natural resources, especially “wind power and solar energy. The country also has modern gas power stations at its disposal,” though electricity costs remain high because of Italy’s reliance on imports. In spite of this, Italy ranked third, behind Denmark and the US, in the “Dynamics” category, which takes into account and compares the progress made over the previous five years in the development of sustainable solutions and renewable energies. In particular, solar energy has gained more and more importance in Italy and today, together with hydroelectric power, is the most prominent clean energy source. Furthermore, Italy was praised in the report for being the first industrial country to abandon nuclear energy after the disaster of Chernobyl (through a referendum in 1987) and the country is thought to be likely to improve even more in the field of sustainability, thanks to an ideal climate for the development of solar and wind power. The United Kingdom ranks 11th: even though it’s considered the best location for wind power in Europe and one of the most important in the world, the rate of CO2 emissions is still very high compared to other countries, and although the research suggests that progress is being made, points were deducted during the evaluation mainly because of rising energy costs.

O sole mio: solar power in Italy

A year later, in 2015, it was reported that in Italy clean forms of energy had increased to cover the whole country, with 800,000 structures contributing 38.2% of total electricity consumption. In addition, Italy is currently the country in which most solar energy is used in proportion to its electricity production. The United Kingdom, as predicted, saw wind power triumph – a source of energy which is gradually replacing gas and coal (the use of the former, in particular, dropped by a fifth in 7 years, from 2005 to 2012). While in 2013, only 15% of the nation’s electricity was produced by renewable means, in 2015 this figure had increased by 10 percentage points, meaning that a quarter of Britain’s electrical energy originated from clean sources. This implies that Great Britain will probably be able to reach the target set by the EU, demanding that by 2020, 15% of overall energy consumption be derived from renewable sources. (Although of course, this commitment to this could subsequently change depending on the result of the forthcoming referendum on EU membership).

Italian companies: could do better

Unfortunately, Italian corporations are not up to speed when it comes to environmental sustainability. In January, Corporate Knights, a media and investment advisory company based in Toronto, published its annual Global 100 Index for the year 2016, a list of the hundred most sustainable corporations in the world. According to the report, the company which managed to reduce its environmental impact the most is BMW (somewhat ironically for the German car sector, given the ongoing concerns over emissions testing). The two countries which boast the greatest number of companies listed in the Index are the United States and France, with 19 and 11 respectively. In third place comes the UK with 9 companies (from the Reckitt Benckiser Group in 9th place to Pearson in 82nd), whilst only one Italian company was included in the list: Eni, the oil, gas and consumable fuels company, which ranked 29th.

Sources for this section: and the Report on Renewable Energies by the GSE (December 2015).


Sustainable Italy

It will take time and effort not only to raise public awareness on a global scale, but also to convince people that the problems of waste and pollution are not going to disappear unless genuine solutions are found. Much is yet to be done, but all over the world there are groups of people, companies and organisations which are trying to make a difference. In the final section of this report we present some of the projects that have been established in Italy which are helping to make he country more sustainable…

ZEN and the art of environmental sustainability

In the past two years, though, both the Italian Government and local associations have made efforts to promote sustainability and the use of green energy. An example of the latter is the so-called Zen Project (Zero Impact Cultural Heritage Event Network), an international plan developed by the region of Umbria and supported by other 12 European organisations, which was presented on September 11th 2015 at the International EXPO in Milan. The project aims at analysing the environmental impact of public events, such as concerts, music and theatre festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., and at developing a methodology to reduce emissions and to minimise food and water waste. Chiara Dell’Aglio, the Umbrian delegate, points out that music festivals are by far the most polluting events of all, but that also artistic and literary festivals consume a high quantity of environmental resources. The Hay Literary Festival, in Wales, “consumes on average 260 tonnes of CO2″, without even taking into account the impact produced by the hundreds of visitors attending the event,” she declared. Those who are sceptical of how useful or relevant such an initiative may need to think again: according to an article published in Italian newspaper “La Repubblica”, a recent European survey conducted among public event-goers showed that 50% of them would be prepared to pay more for their entrance ticket if this contributed to reducing the environmental impact; 71% would accept reaching the venue of an event by public transport if the cost were included in the price of the ticket; and 86% would gladly recycle more during public events if there were additional green bins on site.

Zen_project 2

Putting sustainability to work in Liguria

On January 28, 2016, another study was presented in Rome: “Liguria: proposals for a zero emissions model of development.” It was commissioned by WWF Italy from ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, and its objective is to analyse a series of technological options and proposals for energy storage and transportation as well as to develop proposals for innovative sustainable solutions based on renewable energies. Though the research was conducted in a single Italian region, the model it proposes can be extended to other regions and its main goal is to show that by putting these proposals into practice thousands of new jobs could be created. In Liguria, steering the region towards a low-carbon and green economy would require an annual investment of about 391 million euro, but it could generate up to 4,500 new jobs. From an environmental point of view, this shift would involve cutting 6 million tons of CO2 annually. Half of these potential jobs are connected to the development of electrical and thermal renewable energies, while the other sector with great potential is making existing buildings more green. (The intervention would involve around ten thousand apartments to reduce waste by 60%). Donatella Bianchi, President of WWF’s Italian branch, said: “This study demonstrates clearly that it is possible to transition to a low carbon economy, fight climate change and at the same time generate long-term and sustainable employment.”

You can read and download the complete report here (In Italian).

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Delivering on its promise: e-commerce in Italy is growing – and now even comes with free coffee

10 Sep


Report by Sonia Trubia and Robert Dennis

“E-talia” bucks the downward trend

At their annual “E-commerce in Italia” conference, held earlier this year at the Milan Chamber of Commerce, Casaleggio Associati, presented their regular snapshot of the state of the mouse-driven marketplace in Italy (pdf available here, in Italian). It certainly makes for interesting reading; despite the continuing economic crisis and generally disappointing growth in the economy, e-commerce in the Bel Paese is growing, with the market for online sales in 2014 showing an 8% rise on the previous year. However, when set against the bigger picture of the global e-commerce market, with growth worldwide expected to reach just over 20% this year, it is clear that there is still room for improvement.

Growth 2014

The fact remains that online shoppers play an increasingly significant role in the Italian economy (with total turnover for e-commerce worth just over 24bn euros last year) and this is being driven progressively by mobile, which now accounts for 13% of online sales (up from only 5% three years ago).

The two online behemoths, eBay and Amazon, with their vast and ever-expanding range of products to tempt the consumer, their competitive pricing and above all their reputation for reliability – essential for wary purchasers flexing their plastic or using online payment services such as PayPal – continue to dominate the Italian e-commerce market. (63% of Italian online shoppers use Amazon while 57% of customers use eBay.) Despite their relatively much smaller presence, other players, such as the French Pixmania (PixPlace) and (part of the Mail Boxes Etc. group) are making themselves felt. Additionally, China-based Alibaba and Etsy (which focuses on handmade and vintage items) are gaining a toe-hold.



We called while you were out…

Overall then, the proportion of consumers using e-commerce in Italy is up and the trend is set to continue. But making purchases online is actually only half the story. The really tricky part is getting those products into the hands of the consumer after they have pored over the screen selecting from all the desirable goods on offer and clicked on the final “PAY NOW” button. Completing orders and delivering the merchandise should be straightforward, but this is often where the real frustration begins – both for the vendor as well as the consumer. Most couriers, for example, only deliver parcels during working hours, which, obviously, is inconvenient for most people, especially workers who won’t be at home to take the delivery. If no one picks up the parcels after several visits, then the courier the has to return it to the closest post-office or the delivery centre where it was dispatched from – and the hapless online buyer will have to go and pick it up themselves.

What’s Indabox?

logo_IndaBoxThis was exactly the dilemma that two friends from Turin, Giovanni Riviera and Michele Calvo, wrestled with – and came up with a uniquely Italian solution to the problem. At the end of 2014, they launched an app called Indabox, which allows users to look for a convenient delivery spot in their area and have the parcel delivered there, without having to worry about anything else. Indabox now has a steadily expanding network comprising more than 2400 drop-off points, including bars, supermarkets (they are in a partnership with Carrefour) and tobacconists. These business were chosen as drop-off spots because they can be found throughout the country, thus giving users a much greater chance to find a convenient place to have their purchases delivered. Bars are the most popular option, because, unlike other shops or supermarkets, they often close at 10pm, if not later. RelaisColis, the French equivalent of Indabox, is a very successful enterprise, and has a huge network of drop-off  and pick-up points (over 4000).


The service offered by Indabox is also affordable. The first Indabox pick-up is free, but from the second time onwards you have to pay a €3 fee (€1,50 goes to the business and €1,50 to the startup itself) each time you pick up your parcel. It’s a price users are willing to pay for the added convenience.

Of course, Indabox is not the only option e-commerce customers have. A less personal alternative is that of using a “locker”, similar to the luggage lockers that used to be a feature of every central station and airport. In Italy, the most active network of lockers is operated by Inpost. Inpost is a “click-and-collect” service allowing online buyers to have deliveries made at specific locations with automated lockers, where they can collect them 24/7. However, while in other countries the locker system works very well, in Italy it hasn’t proved that popular or practical. Inpost, for example, only works with one courier and its network is not as extensive as that of Indabox.


Moreover, Indabox and RelaisColis have a twofold advantage over other apps such as Inpost.  On the one hand, they have an interesting social angle, which is not only a key component in disruptive technology startups but also a critical factor in this highly socialized country. Popping in to your local bar to pick up a package naturally enough leads to personal contact, however short or shallow, with shopkeepers, bartenders and other customers. But most importantly for the drop-off points themselves, they can have a knock-on effect in terms of sales. As one of the Indabox founders recently told Wired Italy:  “Maybe someone decides to pick up their parcel, which was dropped off at a bar, during their lunch break, and then perhaps they decide to eat a sandwich there or to have a coffee, hence boosting the bartender’s turnover and making a contribution to the domestic market.”

Thanks to startups like Indabox, gaps in the online shopping experience are being filled and the whole process of buying and receiving goods is becoming that much more comfortable and convenient – it certainly avoids the need of staying at home in case you miss the courier or making an unnecessary to pick up your products from an out-of-the way warehouse or post office. And if collecting your online deliveries is also an excuse to enjoy a drink and chat, then so much the better. (Indabox even has an “IndaCoffee Card” which allows you to get every fifth coffee free from participating bars in the network.)

(c) Milan Business English Network, 2015



About the authors:

Sonia Trubia is a freelance writer and translator based in Genoa. She speaks Italain, French and English and is currently completing an MA about the British novelist A.S.Byatt.

Robert Dennis is the founder of the Milan Business English Network and Director of Riverstone Language & Communications, which provides English language training and translations.


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INTERVIEW: How Suzanne Beveridge, executive coach and leadership strategist, is helping people to “Get Ready to Lead”

25 Oct

Suzanne Beveridge is  a former international business executive who left her corporate career to help others succeed in work they love. She speaks, writes and coaches about how to be a better leader. She is an executive coach and life-leadership strategist, founder of the Get Ready To Lead Institute and author of the Confident Leader Curriculum. 

Here, she talks to Robert Dennis of Network Milan, the online news magazine of the Milan Business English Network, about her life, work and the passion she brings to her unique coaching and leadership workshops and programmes.

Suzanne Beveridge, Executive and Leadership Coach

Network Milan: Suzanne, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Tell us a bit about yourself: where are you from and how did you end up in Italy?

Suzanne Beveridge: Thanks for the invite! Well, I’m Australian by nationality. But with all the moves I’ve made, I guess I fit the cliché “Citizen of the World”. I came to Italy 10 years ago – at first on a student visa to study  Italian and design when I took a sabbatical year from my work in the United States.

My husband Earle and I planned to return to Australia at the end of the sabbatical year – our household goods had already been shipped there from San Francisco! But then the Italian dream got to us. And we found an old farmhouse on the rolling hills of the Marche region. Correction – I call it an Italian country garden that just happens to have a house in it!

I’m the eldest of four. My Dad is a master builder and he and my Mum ran our family home construction business. I was (I think) the first in many/several (ever?) generations to leave school and go to university where I studied science. That was my first career but my heart really wasn’t in it. My business instincts eventually came to the fore and I left to work in the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

Like many Australians I had a deep yearning to see distant places and experience their cultures. As my income grew, so did my trips abroad. At first in nearby Asia and then Europe and America.

NM: What is your professional background? How did you get into coaching?

SB: I think both my love of travel and my sales and marketing business passions influenced my International marketing major in my MBA. As soon as I completed it, I was offered the chance to run the business development efforts in Latin America for the global company I was working with at that time. It was a dream come true.

My husband and I packed up and moved to the Los Angeles area where the company headquarters was located. After a couple of years, it turned out I was good at telling the story of the business and I was offered a job in investor relations. From there I was recruited to a small biotech company in the San Francisco bay area to run their corporate communications department.

I left following a corporate buyout. And that was when my sabbatical year began.

After buying our house in Marche, I set up a business as a freelance public relations professional and worked in the Milan area for a couple of years. In 2007, I was offered the chance to head up public relations for an international organization in Germany. It was a fabulous opportunity to build on what was already there and expand the function. What made it so great were the people.

After 4 years, I realised that my life balance was out of kilter. And I sadly decided not to renew my contract. It was a major wrench to leave the fabulous team I worked with. As I worked up the courage to tell them that I was leaving, I searched for what it was I would be doing after I left.

It truly was like a bolt of lightning that jolted me into finding the passion that had been underlining all my career moves: I loved seeing other people become great at what they do. And I had worked out early in my management and leadership career that ‘telling’ people what to do did not inspire action. When I included them in the project from the beginning and made them equal partners in our success, that’s when they could find the confidence to let their own brilliance shine.

The very day I worked that out, I enrolled in my coach certification course and started planning my business.

NM: What exactly is coaching? What does it involve?

SB: More and more people are aware of how partnering with a professional coach can help them achieve what they really want, both at work and in life. It’s no longer something reserved for executives from large corporations! In my own coaching business, I work with both corporate clients and with people who choose to partner with me privately.

When you enter into a coaching partnership, you begin an inspiring and empowering journey that helps you connect your deepest internal passions and desires with external strategies and behaviours so that you achieve the success you are meant to have in life.

The reason coaching works so well is due to the powerful synergy that happens in the relationship with your coach. Your coach has only your interests at heart and stays true to what you want to achieve in each session and for the entire length of your partnership.

Coaches don’t give advice – they help you find the answers. Your coach helps you work out how you will achieve what you choose to do; helps you develop plans to do it; and holds you accountable for what you say you will do. Your coach is your biggest champion, cheering you on to success. And your coach is there to celebrate every small achievement with you. 

Network Milan: Who are the sorts of people who benefit from coaching?

Suzanne Beveridge: Professional coaching can help in many situations that people struggle with at work and in life.

It is important to note here that coaching is completely different from therapy or counselling. Coaches are trained to recognize behaviours of people who are best served by psychiatric therapy and counselling. Following treatment, some of these people can and do begin coaching partnerships.

Most coaches specialize in helping people who struggle with specific issues in their life or work. There are divorce coaches, time management coaches and parenting coaches, for example.

I am an executive and leadership coach, which means that I help people who are taking on increased responsibility in more senior roles at work or people who are choosing to step up and expand into bigger roles than they have previously had in their life work.

NM: How do you prepare for a coaching session?

SB: I’m glad you asked this question. Because it’s key to a truly powerful coaching session. I choose to be 100% present for my client in each session, so before each session I take time to put everything else out of my mind. I use practices that focus me completely on the present moment. I think deeply about the person I will be speaking with in a few moments and try to see myself in their position, their situation.

As I begin each call I am then able to ‘listen’ with all my senses to what my client has to tell me and what they want to achieve in our time together. Most people feel no-one hears them properly. Many of my clients tell me that for the first time in their lives they feel they are talking to someone who is really listening, who really gets them.

Staying present with the client and their agenda is a key competency for a coach. My own experience and knowledge are not relevant. If, during my time with a client, I notice my own ideas bubbling up I have a little mantra ‘it’s not about me’ that I repeat in my head to bring me back to my client’s agenda.

NM: What happens in a coaching sessions?

SB: When I partner with a client, I help them understand how every thought they have affects their emotions which, in turn, determines the actions they take. Together we build a roadmap for them to choose a higher level of conscious thought that is constructive instead of destructive. Thoughts drive our energy. So if our thoughts are focused on building, then we are directing most of our energy to creating new possibilities.

And those thoughts can be conscious – we are aware of them – or unconscious. Both drive emotions and actions. I help people get super-aware of both types of thoughts and how they are influencing their actions and the results they may or may not be seeing in their lives and work. Together in the safe space of our partnership, we explore how those thoughts are really serving them and what life would be like if they were to have a different thought.

This is where the magic starts to happen in a coaching session – when you realize what has been holding you back, see another way forward and the commit to action with life-changing and amazing results.

NM: What can people expect to come away with after the session(s)?

SB: Most coaching sessions are 60 minutes duration. We work towards what I call ‘moving the action forward’. Whatever my clients agenda is for the session, I am always looking to raise their energy which means shift them to a higher level of conscious thought so that they leave the session inspired and empowered with an action plan to make the step or steps they choose to make while we are together.

NM: Tell us about leadership: what is it? Why is it so important?

SB: Leadership happens in any interaction where influence occurs. Of course, it can be positive or negative. And we lead both consciously and unconsciously. And our leadership impact can range from minimal to optimal depending on our level of conscious intention for what we want to happen as a result of the interaction.

So, a leader is the person in the interaction who knowingly or unknowingly has the greater influence on the other person.

This leads to my favourite leadership quote from John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, become more – then you are a leader.”

Going back to what happens in a coaching session, you can probably now understand how coaching helps people step up and take responsibility for their lives and lead themselves to achieve the success the truly are meant to have.

And this is important because if we are to create a world that works, then each of us has a role to play in some way. By raising our consciousness, leadership that is ineffective or has a negative influence will be replaced. Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Let’s make sure that change is better!

NM: Are leaders born or can they be made?

SB: We all lead – many people are surprised to hear that. They think of leaders as being public figures or their bosses at work, perhaps their parents. But we do all lead in some way, in some situations rather than others, for a certain period etc.

Sometimes we lead by default, meaning we take on the role when no-one else is available. For example, when your boss leaves and you need to step up to run your department.

The most significant leadership role each of us plays is self-leadership.

Trusting in our intuition is key to leadership. I call your intuitive self your ‘leader inside’. Many external situations in life, at work and in business divert our attention from what our leader inside is telling us. I help people find and get in touch with their leader inside, to trust it like they did when they were children, and allow it to guide them.

Network Milan: Are there any inspirational business leaders or leaders in other fields that you admire?

Suzanne Beveridge: I honour every single person as the leader they are. Wherever, however they lead. And I admire each of them for specific actions that highlight their greatness.

NM: How do you help people develop their capacity for leadership and leadership skills?

SB: I help people step up and lead by raising their awareness of the thoughts that are driving their actions and how they can change to get the results they want. The key way I do that is with the Accelerated Leadership Roadmap – an online assessment that tells you how likely you are to accelerate out of short-term distraction, reactivity and overwhelm & gives you a roadmap to steer your course so that you lead in your full and true potential.

During the personal debrief of your results, you can build your own personal roadmap to help you develop in the areas you choose in order to lead yourself and others like you want to.

It’s an incredibly powerful tool. I use it everyday. My clients get amazing shifts in consciousness just from taking the assessment. And when they choose to continue on with a coaching program over a number of weeks or months, their transformation is inevitable!

NM: What is the Get Ready to Lead Institute and how does it help people develop their leadership skills?

SB: The Get Ready To Lead Institute is at the centre of how I help people be better leaders. You will find loads of free resources and tips about leadership, especially for people who are new to leadership at work, in their communities or simply want to get better at leading themselves and their lives. My weekly blog articles are there.

The Confident Leader Curriculum is my key and **FREE** resource for people getting started on leadership and also for people to understand a little more how I work with them.

When you register for the Confident Leader Curriculum, you get instant access to a workbook to help navigate your leader’s journey – there’s a Star Wars theme going on, so be ready for it!You will also start to receive the Institute News each week and 12 **FREE** tutorials to help bring out your leader inside and transform in the perfect time and place for you.

NM: Tell us more about the workshops you are organising in Milan.

SB: I speak, write and coach about how to be a better leader – which really means I help people get out of their own way so that they live their calling and succeed in the work they love. They share their gifts to live and lead a life that is more connected, more fulfilled, more meaningful… more loving.

A brand new programme that I have to help people to take the lead and expand into bigger, more wonderful roles in life and work is called re-WIRE-ment: The Start of Something That’s All About You!

It’s two live workshops + 21 days of inspired connection. The workshops will be at the fabulous co-working space piano C in Milan (not far from Porta Romana) on Saturday 26 October and Saturday 9 November.

Here’s where to find out more and sign up:

Network Milan: Suzanne, it’s been great talking to you! We wish you all the best with your coaching and leadership programmes.

Suzanne Beveridge: Thanks! I’ve enjoyed talking to you too – and I’m looking forward to meeting members of your network at our workshops and your events soon.

Interview by Robert Dennis, CEO and Head of Innovation at Riverstone Language & Communications and founder of the Milan Business English Network.


You can find out more about Suzanne Beveridge and the Get Ready to Lead Institute here:

For more information about the Accelerated Leadership Roadmap click here.

There are still a few places available for the Re-WIRE-ment workshops in Milan on the 26th October and 9th November. Find out about the workshops in Milan and book your place here!

The Get Ready to Lead Institute is also on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.





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Blended learning maestro Pete Sharma set to make an impact on Milan at the PSA Symposium

31 Aug

Pete Sharma, one of the world’s leading experts on integrating technology into learning, will be “in the shadow of the Madonnina” this autumn as part of the PSA (Pete Sharma Associates) Symposium. The event on October 4th 2012 in Milan is being hosted by the British Consulate-General and sponsored by SMART Technologies, Richmond ELT and Little Bridge. UK Trade & Investment are also supporting the Symposium.

The title of the Symposium is “L’impatto delle nuove tecnologie sull’insegnamento delle lingue straniere” (“The impact of new technology on foreign language teaching”). This symposium builds on the success of similar events in Spain.

The speakers will include Pete and representatives from the sponsors. The exact topics and content are still to be confirmed, but here is a preview of the programme:

Keynote Presentation

Pete Sharma, Pete Sharma Associates Ltd
“New developments in Language Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age”

Pete speaking at a recent ICT Conference
(Photo: British Council)

Technology has changed the teaching and learning of languages. However, technology changes quickly and it is sometimes difficult for teachers to follow new developments. It is not always easy to use new  technology well inside and beyond the classroom. In his talk, Pete Sharma will describe some of the most important recent advances in new technology including m-learning, commercially produced digital materials, the interactive whiteboard and the virtual learning environment in the 21st century

Pete started his EFL career as a business English teacher in Madrid, moving to Finland before returning to the UK. He worked as teacher trainer, Director of Studies and school manager before becoming the Group teacher training and development manager for Linguarama, a business English organisation which is now part of the Marcus Evans group. In his capacity as a member of the Group Pedagogical Unit he inspected schools, taught writing seminars in the Middle and Far East, and helped create and run trainer training courses. He has written extensively about technology in language teaching. Pete recently changed from ESP to EAP, and currently divides his time between lecturing at Oxford Brookes University and on the Warwick University pre-sessional courses, and writing. He keeps a blog on using technology in ELT with co-author Barney Barrett. See:


Luke Baxter & Cathy Smith
Richmond ELT

This is a term that encompasses many of the most important trends in the “digital world” today. Important examples include how tools, entertainment and work have converged onto a single device, so a person can have, say, a compass, a radio and a spreadsheet on their iPad. Another example and one which is very much at the forefront of digital predictions is “the cloud”, where content and computing converge and become accessible “anytime, anywhere and on any device”.

Using examples from Richmond’s Digital Books and Learning Platforms, this presentation will aim to show how convergence is already affecting ELT publishing. Luke and Cathy will show how many of the traditional components of a publisher’s course offering have already converged in a Digital Book that includes the Student’s Book, Teacher’s Book, Workbook and Class Audio. They will also look at how students can access the Learning Platforms to play games, comment on blogs and communicate with their teacher, who in turn can assign trackable tests and homework activities.

Finally, they will attempt to look forward and hazard some guesses as to how convergence will continue to affect ELT publishing. Can every course component converge onto a single device? Will the divide between paper and digital make any sense in the future? Will this mean the end of the printed book? Should ELT publishers view themselves solely as content providers and thus endeavour to provide this content in whatever way best suits the needs and situations of each individual customer?


Valeria Mordenti
Marketing Manager Italy & South East Europe at SMART Technologies
The Interactive Whiteboard and Language Teaching”

SMART created the world’s first interactive whiteboard in 1991 and they remain the world’s leading provider of interactive whiteboards. Incorporated in 1987, SMART has been committed to innovation and excellence for more than 25 years and has provided solutions for the education, higher education, business, government and military communities. More than two million SMART Board interactive whiteboards are used by over 40 million students and their teachers, and SMART products are used in more than 175 countries.


Paul Rogers
Little Bridge
“Making English Irresistible to Young Learners!”

Paul is an award-winning author of over forty books for children, as well as of many well-known materials for the teaching of languages, including for teaching English. He’s an experienced linguist and has been both a primary and secondary teacher, as well as a lecturer in Education (at Goldsmiths College, University of London). Taking examples from Little Bridge, Paul will show how an innovative digital resource can:

1.       build a bridge between the learner and the English speaking world, setting the language in context through 3D animations and virtual reality

2.       build a bridge between traditional teaching methods and the latest computer technology, dealing with grammar, for example, in a painless, natural way.

3.       bridge the gap between work and play by making learning fun through a wide variety of motivating games, songs and activity types.

4.       build a bridge between home and school by providing activities that children will do for pleasure, whilst allowing the school to keep track of everyone’s progress.


Registration and Contact Details

Entry to the Symposium will be free but by invitation only. Delegates will also need to register with the British Consulate-General. If you would like to attend this event, please contact Byron Russell at PSA:

[email protected]

Check the Events page on the PSA website for further details and updates about the Symposium:

You can find out more about Pete Sharma and PSA on their website:


About PSA

Pete Sharma Associates Ltd was founded in October 2008. PSA is an educational consultancy and training organisation for language teachers. PSA runs courses worldwide for teachers of English as a Foreign Language, teacher trainers and academic managers on how to successfully integrate educational technology into their language courses. PSA also advises institutions on hardware and software for language teaching.

PSA has a core team of four directors who are responsible for ensuring that all PSA courses meet the highest standards of quality. The directors keep abreast of educational technology and liaise with the major hardware and software manufacturers and publishers. They use a number of associate trainers, specialised in integrating technology into language courses. Their activities are supported by many associate organisations including The Pyramid Group.


Interested in blended learning? Robert Dennis attended the recent “Digital Transformation in the English Teaching World” event co-hosted by Pearson Longman and the British Council. Read the full  report on the Milan English blog:

The perfect blend? Pearson and the British Council team up for “Digital Transformation in the English Teaching World” 





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