Changemaker Interview: Network Leader Giuliana Salmaso

Giuliana Salmaso, Network Leader for Six Seconds in Italy, is an architect, mother, and EQ educator. She is the Founder of Megas Mind. She has been visiting professor at the Politecnico University in Milan for 5 academic years. Awarded with the Citta’ Impresa 2012 prize, a prestigious recognition to innovative Italian talents, Six Seconds interviewed Giuliana about her most recent EQ Café in Padua.

Giuliana: The reason why I applied to be the network leader is that I shared the values of Six Seconds and I believe it is a well-designed organization and it has strong tools and knowledge and has consistency. I would not have joined if not for the mission, the values and the consistency. At a personal level it was a challenge. I was coming back after 18 years in London, and I was coming back to Padua, Italy. It was an opportunity to take back something that I learned; the SEI and the experience in the work. None of the people who came to the EQ café knew anything about emotional intelligence, not even the word.

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Six Seconds: When you invited them, what was the appeal?

The topic of “Change” was appealing. First I invited my friends, and they invited others, and it was word of mouth. The strong point was the topic. The people that came are all around forties to fifties it is in an age group that there is a lot of crisis. Most of them, especially women, were very unsatisfied with their work.

Six Seconds: Did they give you some feedback?

Yes! They loved the EQ café. It was supposed to be 1.5 hours and it went three hours as we are Italian and we love to talk so next time we will schedule it for longer. They loved the feedback from the Brain Discovery Profile. It is something tangible. They had a piece of paper. They all saw themselves in the results. They all said that it made them think. Everybody wished I had time with each of them to go through their own Brain Profile.

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Six Seconds: Talk about the cultural translation from English to Italian?

The advantage is that Ilaria Boffa and Six Seconds Italia translated a lot of materials into Italian over the years. In terms of culturally, here it is not about “super power” or “the dream” that is really American, it’s not even British. I found during the evening that for them it was a bit too much. It is more about my intimate things, my talents, more down to earth wording. That is a part of the problem of the nation. Few people have a strong “dream” at the personal level or the big vision of your life’s goal. It’s not part of the culture.

Six Seconds: How does EQ fit into the picture of how your participants examine how they might make change?

“From wherever you are to your noble goal, you can take some steps. I found this very powerful”

Six Seconds is very logical. It is a very practical approach. It drives you in a process. The process is really proven. . It can really be translated for Italian people. The EQ Café Q1 was about change. EQ Café Q2 is about communication. It would be great to do one about the noble goal. That would be relevant. Here they don’t teach you in school that your life has a purpose or that you have to find a purpose. It is not part of the culture. It’s understandable to have a crisis at some point.

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Six Seconds: That age is when you’re young enough to think about a second career...

Here, the idea of a second career, it’s very scary. It’s another cultural barrier. They’re all unsatisfied, but it’s really scary to jump. The noble goal EQ café it would be really great in addressing that.

Six Seconds: As far as your other work that connects with Six Seconds, you work with children…

I’m an architect; that is my living. Since I had my first son, I started to be interested in development in the early years, and because of that I recognized that creativity and EQ are missing in the curriculum of the first years and they are key for success in life. So I designed some activities for children of that age.

Six Seconds: Are they being used in local schools?

We are working now with a person here and she would like to adopt it in the primary schools.

Six Seconds: What is one story of one person who is an example of how people are using Six Seconds?

There is a person that was extremely unsatisfied with her job. She is a lawyer in a company. And this work is really ruining her health. She wasn’t able to quit. Now she is starting to consider the idea to move to something different. It’s all a process, not just the EQ Café, but she is taking a week off from work to have some space and she was feeling much better and looking for new opportunities. It’s obviously a process of many years. Maybe the fact of coming was an infusion of inspiration. At some point your values and the values of the company aren’t matching anymore.

Six Seconds: What is next for you?

After I launched the EQ Café, we launched a group. It’s called EQ Italia in EQ.org. I launched a project because I was thinking how I could encourage people to participate as a follow up. Everybody’s probably too busy to read lots of articles, so I proposed an exercise in emotional literacy. The people who agree to share would post in the group daily how they are feeling. They are practicing and become familiar with the vocabulary. It will be in Italian. From my own experience it is very helpful for yourself, to understand where you are, and think about what you want to do to make your life better. Getting practice using words is one way to do that. From tomorrow, April 1, for thirty days, we will share our feelings. Hopefully, there will be participants.

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