My Story When people meet me here in Milan and ask “where are you from?” When I respond “Caraibe”, this is almost greeted with celebration, in fact one shoe designer held on to me the other day dancing in celebration of my nationality (no exaggeration). This is then always followed by “Why did you leave the Caribbean to come to Milan?” I am often tempted to answer that destiny brought me here, but then this would trigger to many questions and explanation, and perhaps even some weird stares. So I simply respond, the need to fulfil my dream of working with the world’s best.
I arrived in Milan from the beautiful island of Saint Lucia in the middle of winter, a contrast from my sunny isle, filled with enthusiasm about my future, the prospect of discovering new business opportunities for a marketing consulting firm and luxury island lifestyle magazine www.seashelltraveller.com I had started just a few months after leaving my full-time job at a Financial Holding Company in Saint Lucia.
I love Milan, an extraordinary dichotomy of “small historical town” and “Vibrant commercial city”. For the first few days I could not keep my eyes of the Milanese as both men and women, young and old paraded through the streets in their beautiful fur and well tailored winter coats, designer handbags and Giorgio Armani shopping bags, a far contrast from the international news reports of a recession in Italy. The shiny display windows of the designer boutiques on Montenapoleone, Brera’s historic buildings and chic restaurants, and my afternoon snacks at Milan’s many chic Pasticcerias have all been part of my wonderful experience here. Milan seems to always be bustling with trade fairs, fashion shows, fashionistas, street shows and streams of business people.
While to everyone at home I am in this glamorous city; yes it is a wonderful experience but one I do not take for granted because arriving here had its challenges. I had never been to Italy and did not know anyone who could advise on where to stay and which city to come to. I chose Milan because it seemed more accessible, commercial and associated to fashion and luxury my two interests. A few days before my departure from London to Milan, I began to panic questioning my decision to come. I was arriving in an unknown city, to an apartment I had found online with only one person I met weeks before in Saint Lucia in Perugia. But my purpose seemed greater so I dismissed my fears and came; today with no regrets.
My discovery of the PWA-Milan (Professional Women’s Association) proved invaluable, as this was the place I would meet my first friend, many new connections for business and just sharing experiences. It was through this association that I met a dynamic businesswoman who introduced me to the publisher of this magazine, followed by introductions to potential career opportunities, and now I am writing my story. During my time here in Milan I have had the opportunity of meeting with various people in the fashion industry and executives of renowned Italian companies. I still have many goals I hope to achieve in Italy but I am grateful to all those who have embraced me and provided their assistance however possible. This city inspires me so much as I see so many opportunities for bridges that have yet to be built. I am looking for opportunities to offer my experiences in the Caribbean and North America markets to companies in Europe looking to expand their presence or add a new dimension to their current business. I am very fascinated with the many artisans in Italy and have burning desire to create greater exposure for their works to the world. While it isn’t possible to tell my full story, to surmise: I am a young woman who dared to take a chance on the belief that there is a higher calling to offer something great, a woman who believes in destiny and that once you dare to take a step out of your comfort zone and knock, your call will be answered.
After spending two and a half months in this city it means so much more to me. Understanding the history of the center and the Roman’s use of it as a strategic gateway with “Porta” access doors to various parts of Italy. Perhaps this is why I came here, as a strategic starting point to access other parts of Italy and Europe or even parts of myself I never knew. Whatever the purpose, I am grateful to be here. I come from family that has inspired me so much in life and taught me that your beginning does not have to be your end. My father though having to leave school at age seven to father his two brothers after the death of his grandmother succeeded against the odds. A disciplinarian who lived by the mantra “Forward-ever-backward-never”, in fact people called him that and my mother was a business savvy woman who loved travel and adventure. The courage to be here in Milan, my personality and my values came from my parents and my older sister Cecilia who raised me as her daughter after their death. I have been learning everyday while in this city but discovering me has and continues to be its greatest gift.
My only complaint is that I am speaking way too much English here, but as a lover of history, fine dining, fashion, creativity and lifestyle, Milan is the city to be!