CIMBA Newsletter
                                                WAKE UP THE
                                    LEADER IN YOU!

June 2009
In This Issue
CIMBA MBA: Ciao Tess
Goodbye Adam and Julie
Executive Programs
Al's Book Club
Meet the Alumni

Roberto Graziani

        Roberto  Graziani

What year were you at CIMBA? Where have you gone since then, professionally?
I have participated to its first edition in 1991/1992. Now that I had to remember that, I realized I'm getting old! The main campus was in Pordenone and the summer class was at Clemson University (South Carolina). After my graduation I started working with Gruppo Pam, a 3- billion-euro company that operates in the food retail business. At Pam, I grew from the lower rank of the organization to the top. It was a very exciting professional experience. Among other things, I learned how important it is to have a great mentor who is able to coach you about the principles you must follow in your business life: honesty, integrity and fairness.
In 2002, Gruppo Pam, together with Stefanel SpA, acquired Nuance, which was one of the world leaders in travel retail from the former SwissAir. In 2004, I was offered the seat of President & CEO of Nuance, and since then I've been working in the fascinating travel retail business, based in Zurich. 
How has CIMBA affected your life, professionally and personally?
CIMBA gave me the opportunity to meet, study and work with people with completely different cultures, behaviors and lifestyles. This completely opened up my mind and helped me tremendously in doing business in Asia, North America and Eastern Europe, where people behave differently than in Western Europe. If you are not able to be consistent with their cultural values and behaviors, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to do business effectively with them. Also, CIMBA has also given me a strong sense of self confidence that has helped me in making important business, as well as personal, decisions.
What was the most challenging time in your career so far?

I have no doubt on that: my most challenging period was the 18 months that followed my departure from Pam to take my current position in Nuance. First of all, it was the first time I was running a business with full responsibility (Nuance is a global company with a presence in 21 countries, four regions with more than 450 shops, 5,500 employees and 2 billion CHF turnover); secondly, the business was in a very difficult shape with challenges in every part of the organization. In those first 18 months I thought more than once that it would have been better to stay in Pam. However, after 5 years, I'm still running the company and I'm really satisfied about the journey both from a professional and a personal points of view. Even though the current economic situation is impacting our business and, of course, our profitability, Nuance has become a reasonably profitable Company with an interesting future in front of it.
As President and CEO of The Nuance Group, what's the most challenging aspect of your role?

To run effectively a global retail company you must acknowledge that you need senior professionals who you can rely on. Then you need to make sure you build a "culture" and that everyone who enters the organization behaves consistently with that culture. In a short summary the most challenging aspect of my job was, and still is, the team and the culture building. Without a strong team and a strong and consistent "culture" a retail company cannot be successful in the long run.
How do you keep a work/life balance? Any tips?

I'm not sure I'm able to keep a work/life balance (you should probably ask my wife!). I'm travelling a lot and therefore I spend a lot of time away from my family. However what I have really imposed on myself is to avoid working when at home. In this way I can dedicate qualitative time to my wife and my three sons. The "deal" is that they are accepting my "departures" from home in exchange for my full "availability" when back. 
What advice can you give current CIMBA students?

It's difficult for me to give general advice. However they should try to take advantage fof the very exciting international experience they are going through and to build self confidence. Last, but not least, they should also try to have fun!
Anything else?
Good luck to everybody and congratulation to Dr. Al for what he has been able to build: from a CEO's perspective I know it has not been easy!

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Class of 1994 is holding their 15 year reunion in Asolo on June 27. Join us in congratulating them all for keeping up with their reunion traditions! One of the few classes that did not miss the 5,10 and 15 year reunion..Good job to Daniela and Paola, and all the others that helped in the organization!

CIMBA Calendar - Looking ahead to..
July 17/18 Graduation in Iowa City
September 7, Fall students arrival
August 21,22,23 LIFE - Ledership Development workshop,Princeton NJ 
August 27, 5 pm. 
Open Workshop on "Come identificare i tuoi punti di forza ed esprimerli meglio" Asolo 
Past Issues

More Neuroleadership.. 
Journal cover
As many of you asked to know  more about neuroleadership, we invite you to download the introduction paper that was published in the Neuroleadership Journal by clicking
Additionally you can visit .
The next Neuroleadership summit will be in on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on October 28 and 29 2009. Dr. Ringleb is a featured speaker.
Summer is finally here! And as every summer, we got to witness the invasion of expectant students, "old" and new faculty and their families. 
Once again, it is this "invasion" that makes us realize that another year has gone by. It feels like the current MBA class arrived only last week. Instead, it is time for them to move on to Iowa, to spend the last month together before moving to new and separate lives.  It is a hard time for everyone -- students, faculty and administration -- to say goodbye. The CIMBA team this year is saying a special goodbye to 3 of its members: Tess Montano - until now the person responsible for this newsletter; Adam Brahl, Campus Life Coordinator in the Undergraduate program; and Julie Ariens, Leadership Development coach and Instructor at the Graduate and Undergraduate Campuses. We know that anyone that had a chance to work with them will be joining us in saying a big GRAZIE to all three!
We also want to spend a few words on the faculty families and in particular on those kids that in the last ten years have spent their summer or better their "month of Sundays" with us. We simply want to let you know that your very presence brings smiles and joy to the entire CIMBA campus! Thank you!

As our newsletter will come back in September, we wish you all a Great Summer!
Tess Montano
With this column we would like to thank Tess Montana for her hard work as MBA Campus Life Program Coordinator. We wish you great sucess with your new entrepreneurial adventure and encourage everyone to eat at the Pepperhead!

All CIMBA students were welcomed in Iowa last Sunday. The Italians had a thrilling moment as they experienced their very first tornado warning!
Congratulations to all MBA students for making it to this final step. We look forward to joining you in the final well-deserved celebrations. The graduation and the consequent group separation is certainly going to bring mixed emotions to all.
We invite all of the Alumni in the area to contact the Iowa office if they are interested in participating to the graduation events on July 17and 18. For info email

Provincia di Treviso Scholarships
As in the previous years, the Provincia di Treviso will offer Full scholarships to qualified Province of Treviso citizens to attend the Full-time or Part-time MBA. The deadline for the application is July 18. Please help us by informing your friends.
CIMBA Undergraduate

Adam Brahl and Julie Ariens are leaving our undergraduate campus to return to their lives in the US. We are confident that our paths will meet again but we wish them both happiness and success in their future endevours. Here are their messages to you:
From Adam: 

When I studied at CIMBA Undergraduate four years ago, I met some great people that inspired me beyond anything I had experienced.  As a result, I made the decision to come to CIMBA two years ago.  I saw so much in them that I wanted to be, so much that I wanted to exude to others, and I felt that maybe CIMBA would help me develop those character traits.  Initially I was excited at the opportunity for such a great challenge, but was also incredibly scared and unsure that I would be able to lead people the way that I knew the program wanted.  Along the way, I ran into a quote..."Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure." 

Over my two years here, I slowly began to realize that many of the traits I valued so much in other people were characteristics that I already had in me.  I simply needed to take a step back and reflect on how I interact with others and where my basic behaviors take root.  This has been my greatest insight while at CIMBA, and I will definitely miss the nurturing environment that is provided for us out here.  In my return to the US, I am extremely excited to see friends and family, but will also be incredibly sad to leave the friends and family I have made out here.  Grazie mille to all the incredible people that have helped me along the way and put up with all of my nonsense.  I wish you all and CIMBA the best of luck in the future and hope that I can continue to be a small part of it.

From Julie: 
My past four years at CIMBA have been amazing, and my departure this month for the US is bittersweet.  When I arrived in Asolo in September 2005 as an MBA candidate, my goal was to find a new career direction. The MBA coaching program changed my perspective on life, and as a result, I realized that I wanted to become a coach to assist people in unlocking their potential.  During my three years as a CIMBA coach, I have had the honor of individually coaching more than 170 Undergraduate and MBA students; I have facilitated CIMBA's core coursework in Basic Beliefs and personal strategy for more than 700 students and business professionals.  I thank the students for being open to my ideas and for trusting the process; I acknowledge and appreciate the staff for challenging me on a daily basis; and I am grateful to Dr. Ringleb for granting me the unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people.  The truth is that I have learned the most from all of you, and in doing so, it's you who have made the difference in my life.
CIMBA Executive Programs
Participants of  the Executive Certificate in International Management and Strategy  just completed the Operations and Supply Chain course, their last program module in Italy. Next month they will attend their final module, Strategic Management, at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, USA. This group of managers and entrepreneurs will have to apply everything they learned in Italy in a final and exciting project! On Saturday July 18, participants will receive their final certificate from the University of Iowa, during the CIMBA MBA graduation cerimony.
The next edition of the program will start in November 2009. For more info please send an e-mail to
Leadership program
We are proud to announce that due to the success of past editions, we will start to offer LIFE in other countries. 
The next editions (in English!) of the Program will be: 
- 21,22,23 August 2009 - Princeton, USA.
- 9,10,11 October 2009 - Asolo, Italy.
- 20,21,22 November 2009 -  Ljubljana, Slovenia.
We will soon offer the LIFE Program also in Italian! For information, email  Seats are very limited!
In company training
Several companies are getting tangible benefits thanks to CIMBA in-company leadership development training and coaching. If you are interested give us a call and we will show you what could be your ROI.
A-B-C: Al's Book Club 

Mens sana in corpore sano ("a sound mind in a sound body") is a quote often attributed to the Roman poet, Juvenal, who lived during the latter part of the 1st century. It is summer time and I am sure many of you are thinking of taking advantage of the weather to go swimming, trekking, biking, play tennis or find some other way to put the "sound" back into the body. More recent graduates will quickly assert that they are already sound, having spent a year walking up the hill every day from the center of Asolo to the CIMBA campus. From the early writings of Kenneth Cooper who decades ago established the connection between exercise and the heart (particularly his Aerobics, published in 1968), the need for exercise has found its place at the center of virtually every health improvement program in existence. Interestingly, the vast majority of studies on exercise have placed greater emphasis on the physical health effects. Given the recent developments in brain imaging technologies and the resulting advances in our understanding of the human brain, it should come as no surprise that research is now also establishing very positive relationships between exercise and mental health - the sound mind. Spark: The revolutionary New Science of ExerciseTo gain a better understanding of the relationship between exercise and learning, memory and emotional regulation I strongly recommend John J. Ratey's book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (New York, Little, Brown and Company, 2008). In Ratey's own words: "The point [of the book] - that exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function - is based on evidence I have gathered from hundreds and hundreds of research papers, most of them published only within the past decade."
Most of you will recognize the author. His first book, A User's Guide to the Brain (2002), is a book I still recommend to those interested in building an understanding of neuroscience and social psychology and their relationship to leadership and leadership development. Like his User's Guide, Dr. Ratey's Spark can get a little too "clinical" but the information he provides and the research to support it will certainly motivate you to take advantage of the summer weather. One of the first questions posed to those to whom I have recommended the book often relates to its applicability to the non-elderly. From the studies that have been done (and understand that the relationship between exercise and mental health as a research topic is in its early stages but the number of studies being conducted is increasing at exponential rates), it is clear that the mental impacts resulting from low levels of physical activity -- that is, a sedentary lifestyle -- show up most prominently in a person's "fluid intelligence" regardless of age (In fact, some of the more persuasive studies involve children of grade school age). By fluid intelligence, neuroscientist and social psychologists refer to that type of intelligence that requires improvisatory problem-solving skills. In the words of author and molecular biologist John Medina, "Physical activity is cognitive candy."
A fellow student to whom I had recommended the book (and who suggested I recommend it to you here in the ABC column) related to me that: "After the first three chapters, my core question became: How much exercise do I need to be able to receive these benefits?" So how much exercise? Perhaps the biggest surprise is that a little goes a long way (If that is the good news, the bad news is that the vast majority of the population does not get sufficient exercise to even get close to achieving the "little" category). The research seems to point to aerobic exercise as being the key -- with significant benefits coming when we undertake some form of aerobic exercise just twice a week (In reality, and in fairness to the true fitness buffs among us, there is very little research into how non-aerobic exercise affects the brain in large measure due to the fact that is difficult to get rats to pump iron or do yoga). In addition to the obvious mental health benefits (reductions in general dementia, Alzheimer's disease, depression and anxiety), there is a growing body of literature demonstrating positive impacts on attention, working memory, and processing speed regardless of age. Dr. Ratey's advice, based on the "ancient rhythms of activity engrained in our DNA: walk or jog every day, run a couple of times a week, and then go for the kill (referring to our "ancestors' routine") every now and then by sprinting. ... The process of getting fit is all about building up your aerobic base. The more you work your heart and lungs, the more efficient they become at delivering oxygen to your body and brain. With increased blood flow ... comes the chemical cascades that produce serotonin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and other brain-nourishing molecules. "
Of course, this ABC would not be complete if I did not tie this all back to leadership and leadership development. As former students and friends of CIMBA, I encourage you to build exercise into your daily regiment (From my review of the research, I would suggest at least 20 minutes a day of an aerobic exercise such as walking). The research is very clear that exercise will spike up your brain activity. Clearly, better thinkers make better leaders. But I would like to go one step further. Many of you now have children or have friends with children and many of those children will be entering their high school years. As all of you know, I am a great skeptic about the ability to teach biologically primary knowledge such as leadership in the classroom. Dr. Ratey's book makes reference to a young person who had an "exercise catharsis" during a high school leadership course in which students learned to rock climb along with other outdoor exercise adventures delivered with a "leadership" theme. To the extent that high school students find themselves motivated to exercise, the exercise will make them better thinkers, and being better thinkers will make them better leaders. That sounds like a leadership development recipe from which we all could benefit. Have an active summer (and I hope to see you in Iowa City for the MBA graduation the weekend of July 17th)!