"I developed an eagerness to meet people"

Meet our alumni: Luca Vavassori

He quit his job at a large consultancy firm to travel in Europe. Meantime, Luca Vavassori is a freelancer host and facilitator, hosting digital nomads retreats for the Nomad Escape and he is building his own workshop consultancy company. The graduated data scientist also is the new board member of the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation. Let’s meet Luca Vavassori.  

The EIT Digital Alumni Foundation established a new board this summer. That is a reason to talk to the new board members about their motivation and their work and to reflect on their education. Vavassori is the third of the seven members. He studied Data Science at the EIT Digital Master School at Politecnico di Milano and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Who is Luca?

“I grew up in a small town near Lago Maggiore, in the North of Italy, before I did my bachelor in computer science engineering in Milan. There, I got in contact with EIT Digital. Here at the EIT Digital Master School Data Science, I discovered a passion to be part of an international environment. In my second year, in Stockholm, I also discovered a passion for travelling. I started to understand what I value the most, and that is making meaningful connections with people and building a solid network of friends and professionals you can rely on. Since then, I try my best to grow my social connections. I also try to discover new places and cultures. Coming from a small village, I grew up in a sort of bubble and develop many believes and stereotypes. Living in different towns, with broader boundaries helped me destroying many of this limiting beliefs, I have learned to never judge someone by the cover, and always go beyond it instead. I developed an eagerness to meet people from other cultures. I have learned that every person has something to give and to learn from. I am now a more open-minded person. The EIT Digital Master School is a milestone in my life, that shaped the way I want to live my life. It sparked in me the drive to make the world a better place.”

After your graduation in 2019, you worked at KPMG for a while. How did you get there?

”I had an internship first to complete my studies and work on my master thesis project. I took the challenge to move to cloudy Amsterdam for my internship at KPMG. Stockholm got too dark and too cold for me, so I decided to go somewhere else. After my internship, KPMG offered me a full-time position as Data Scientist and Consultant. I worked there until March 2021. It has been 2 years in which I learned a lot. I define myself as a technical guy with an entrepreneurial mind. That is what we learn and develop at the EIT Digital Master School. I like having core technical skills and having a strong mind for business. My job at KPMG was mostly focused on the technical part, but I had the desire of being more creative, having more workshops and ideation sessions to complement the development part. Due to the this desire of mine, along with some personal values that were not aligned anymore with the company, I decided to quit and take a leap of faith. I started to travel instead and work as a freelancer for The Nomad Escape, where I host and facilitate digital nomads retreats and workshops.”

How did you get to work at Nomad Escape?

“I found the company via Instagram by chance. The company gathers people who work remotely for networking, professional, and personal growth. Digital nomads can travel and grow their social connections by participating to their events. “That is exactly what I want”, I said to myself!  Thus, I expressed my interest in what they were doing. I also joined one of their retreats as a participant with the aim to understand the concept and work for them. I co-hosted one of their retreats afterwards and now I am hosting events for them. We incorporate mindfulness, personal growth, workout sessions, and mastermind session to help participants with their personal or professional doubts or decisions. Now, we are developing also company retreats, with focus on business and personal growth of the employees.”

You said you wanted to start your own business, what is that business?

“I am setting up my own company Resolut. The business plan is getting in shape now. It is basically a community of professionals to help businesses growing or starting from scratch. I want to facilitate workshops and ideation sessions for business people and guide them through the process of shaping digital products and services. Yes, it is kind of a consultant role that I foresee. It will be a mix of design and technical expertise with a business understanding. I am not going to work on the technical part though, I might delegate that to other freelancers and professioanals in the network. I want to focus on impactful ideas to help society and the environment."

Why would business people come to you?

“I am very good at instructing, I am very organised, and I am also very good at summarising and put down abstract raw ideas into concrete and actionable points. That is my strength. I am also a friendly person. Whenever I meet people, even if they are strangers, I notice that they trust me and are open to me.  I would like to create an informal setting as we do now at Nomad Escape, and always remember that we are dealing with human beings at the end. I don’t want to be too formal in the approach. There are more actors in the market to consult companies. My network is a competitive advantage. I already host workshops for people I know. The network can help me. It is a matter of finding one or two medium/big clients to give me the chance to show what I can do and to start building a portfolio. I already gave workshops for free and I am increasing my customer base and gathering testimonials. I am just beginning. It indeed is challenging.”

What is the status of your startup Resolut?

“I haven’t registered it yet. Travelling makes this difficult. I have no fixed living address, so that is tricky with taxes. I would love to do it in the Netherlands. I love Amsterdam and the taxation is quite low. But I do not like winters in the northern countries of Europe. I thought about Estonia, Italy, or Portugal, where they offer beneficial taxes. Also, in the UK taxes leave me with a bigger slice of the pie than in some other countries. I am trying to find the right balance between paying a fair amount of taxes and costs and contributing to the local economy and having low costs in the beginning. At the end of the year, I want to be settled somewhere. Right now, I try to be efficient and keep travelling doing things that I like.”

Where will you and your company be in five to ten years?

“Hopefully, I would have some employees or have gathered a growing network of facilitators. I want to have a one-stop-shop market for professionals that can help them with everything around their undertaking, product or service, design, taxes, and terms and conditions. The network can also help developing software. It will be around a marketplace for professionals to help to go from ideas to market  and grow the companies.”

What attracted you to the EIT Digital Alumni foundation?

“After graduating, I became a full member of the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation. As such, I could be a mentor in the business challenge in the 2019 Kick-Off in Trento. There, I had the first experience of the alumni foundation members and met alumni of previous cohorts. I enjoyed the vibes of the community. I spoke to Franceso Bonadiman, president at the time, about how I can help the community to grow bigger. Back in the Netherlands, Anna Prudnikova, the current Marketing and Communication Officer, became the local representative of the Foundation, and I supported her. I helped organising events in the Netherlands. Then we both decided to apply as board members in 2021. Being part of the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation board was one of the goals I have had since 2019.”

What is your ambition as an event manager in the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation board?

“My ambition, especially after this pandemic time, is to get attention for the alumni community and to increase the engagement of our members. Having a good annual meeting would be nice this year. Offline events can facilitate better building strong connections. That will not come easy at times like these. But as an event officer, I love challenges. I would like to find a way to increase communication among local realities. We have local groups in different places, and we will help them organising all kinds of things, like talks, speeches, ideation sessions, and hackathons. In short, everything with a social gathering component and a strong focus on creativity. My role is to supervise and coordinate and make sure that whatever they do can be shared with a broader audience. I want to create channels to canalise this energy and to share knowledge and experiences. The network is about learning, moving and knowing people that should be beneficial for all community members. I hope we can find ways to make this exchange happening even better. It is important to have a vision and to engage in creating events and helping people within the alumni community and above all to keep the spirit that everyone holds at the EIT Digital Master School alive.”

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