Interview with Mario Brazzoli

"I find my role In Human Resources meaningful and it aligns with my personal purpose to support others to become the best version of themselves."

Mario Brazzoli
Transformation Manager
Oikocredit International

Integrated DBA (IDBA) Batch 2021


Please tell us about yourself, your family and your interests.

My name is Mario Brazzoli, an Italian born in sunny South Africa. In early 2019, my wife and I moved to the Netherlands where we are blessed to live in a beautiful neighborhood in Amersfoort with our two dogs. We love travelling and experiencing new cultures and the Netherlands has become a great home to travel from.

What drew you to the program you are studying at Athena? Is it living up to your expectations?

I am the youngest of three brothers and all of us are generally very competitive, and always looking for new opportunities to pursue personal development. My brother started his journey with Athena earlier in 2021 and after listening to his experiences, I couldn’t resist enrolling here. It’s still early in my two and half year journey with Athena, but so far I am enjoying the freedom and flexibility.

What would you like to do after completing this course  from Athena?

My background is in Human Resources and I have a deep passion for enabling people to adapt to the changing world we live in. Therefore, I see this development opportunity as a stepping stone towards being a coach or even a lecturer someday. Personal growth is about preparing for future opportunities, and potential opportunities that may not yet have revealed themselves.

What do you think makes a great teacher?

In the television programme “The West Wing”, the writer Peter Shankman shares a story about a man who fell into a hole. The moral of his story is that when you are stuck in a hole,  you should look for someone who knows the way out. I feel that universities started on the principles that students invited scholars to share their knowledge, so this still holds true for me. I want to learn from those who have fallen in the hole before me.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job would probably be to remain a life-long student. Since I have not figured out how to make a living out of studying, Human Resources is and has always been my dream career. I find my role meaningful and it aligns with my personal purpose to support others to become the best version of themselves.

What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

By far, the journey my wife and I undertook by packing up our lives in South Africa and moving to the Netherlands has been the most courageous, frightening and intimidating. Yet it is also the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done.

What is your best childhood memory?

I have been blessed with two amazing brothers who helped mold me as a human being. So my best childhood memories come from the many moments the three of us got up to mischief. 

What is your idea of a perfect vacation?

My wife and I really enjoy travelling, seeing new places and experiencing different cultures other than our own. It doesn’t matter where in the world, we just love to wander and discover new cities.

Which fictional character (character from a film, book, TV series, play) would you like to be friends with?

Forrest Gump, from the movie with the same name written by Eric Roth and based on a 1986 novel by Winston Groom. I find Forrest’s story inspiring as he unwittingly lives an incredible life. It’s insightful to have friends around you who live at the moment, and reminding you of who you are, and not what you are.

Mention one important lesson you have learned in life that made you what you are today.

“Walk your own path” has probably been the most important lesson I learnt throughout my lifetime. For me, it’s not just about being your own person, or avoiding the urge to compare my life with others. It’s about understanding that you are only racing against yourself. So focus on being a better person each day. It’s about finding your own purpose, and crafting your own life. We spend the first part of our years trying to fit in and the second half defining our uniqueness. The sooner you understand yourself, the sooner life will feel meaningful.

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