Annalisa Menin has been living and working in New York for 11 years and has always believed in the American Dream.
After graduating at 22 in International Trade at Ca’ Foscari, Annalisa left Italy to do an internship at Valentino in the headquarters of New York. She is now a US citizen, writes a very successful blog written in Italian, Il Mio Ultimo Anno a NewYork, and will soon publish her first novel based on it. Her charity organization, Remembering Marco, was created in 2013 after the loss of her husband Marco to provide other young people with the opportunity of making their American Dream true with an internship in New York.
How did you arrive in New York?
I arrived in New York thanks to an internship with Ca’ Foscari. My degree programme COMES - International Trade included an internship abroad to graduate. I remember that when I was choosing which university and programme to attend I was stricken by the fact that this was mandatory and not just suggested. In all honesty I think that it should be compulsory in all the fields. Traveling opens your mind and enable you to come into contact with new cultures and challenge your heart and mind. Above all it enables you to learn to live with compromises, which will be crucial in your personal and professional life.
I also remember very well when all of us students were specifically interested in one destination: New York City. For many of us it was a dream, including myself. That is when how I found myself deciding which destinations to select my decision was NYC and a company that became very important in my life for professional reasons and not only: Valentino. When the Placement Desk called me to tell me that I had been selected for New York and for Valentino I was walking on air. It was without a doubt one of the defining moments of my professional life and, even if I had no idea at the time, of my personal life as well.
Which events have most affected you in your years in New York?
Where should I start? After my internship at Valentino I understood that New York was the city for me and, against my parents’ will, I came back for a second internship which lead me to finding a job. The company’s Controller was looking for applicants for an acquaintance’s company and I was the perfect candidate according to her. That’s how I got my first real opportunity. I worked for this Wall Street company for 6 years. Then it was time for a change and the Real Estate adventure begun - a job I loved and keep on doing “on the side”. Finally “the call” occurred: my manager at Valentino whom I met 8 years before was looking for a new team member and asked me to come for an interview. And you cannot say no to Valentino! In the meanwhile the blog started and I am now a fulltime writer/blogger/copywriter thanks to my skills in English and Spanish. I have been working for a few months now for a consulting company in New York and I focus on re-branding strategies. Recently I have been in Colombia to visit a client. I love this job because it allows me to meet incredible people and diverse companies. Behind each company there are people who make the difference: in find hard-working and passionate people I give my best because I always give my best. I work with my head and my heart.
Which achievements make you proud?
I am proud of having remained the same as far as possible for a young woman who is becoming an adult. I believe that I have never lost my head. I always think about everything I have done and then about all the things I still have to do. About how much I must learn and I feel like I don’t know anything. I am proud of having supported my family. And I am very proud of my “baby”. My charity organization is called “Remembering Marco”: I founded it in 2013 in memory of my husband Marco. Each year we select a student from the Università Politecnica delle Marche for a six months internship at Valentino. We want to give this kids the opportunity to live their American dream, the one Marco experienced a few years ago and the one I am still living. I would like to include more students in the future.
In your blog you tell the story of Anna, who is living her “last Year in New York”. A very touching story that will be told more thoroughly in a book. Is this “last year” a prophecy?
I don’t know yet. Everyone keeps on asking me and I still don’t have a final answer. I think I know in my heart what I really want but it’s not just up to me and we will see what life will bring. “Il Mio Ultimo Anno a New York” is a blog where I write about my life as an Italian American (editor’s note: Annalisa became a US citizen a few weeks ago) in New York. I started it a lightly and seriously in the same time in January 2016 but only this year, in January, did I really focus on it as I saw the blog growing and with it my followers’ support. I have always felt the need to share my experience through thick and thin. I believe that sharing is essential for growth. Two months ago I started writing short stories that I shared on the blog and the Facebook page “Il Mio Ultimo Anno a New York” and people’s reaction was incredible. My short stories deal with my arrival in New York and my internship days. It is a great project that I so profoundly believe in and in which I have put my whole heart. The book will have the blog’s name and will be published in English and Italian. The American release will be on November 14th. An incredible feeling!
What advice would you give students leaving for an internship?
Don’t wait to do things! One often waits for the famous “right time”. Yet there is almost never a right time. There is always at least one reason not to leave, not to start, not to challenge yourself. Leave! Try things. You can only learn by doing and then understand which path to follow. The best one for our peculiarities.
And another advice: take risks! If you have an idea, share it with someone who can help you reach your goal. Risking implies accepting many “no” and closed doors. I would put all my eggs on learning, fighting on the ground and not sitting home. Life passes by so quickly. So: don’t wait, take risks.
What’s on top of your to-do list right now?
My life is currently revolving around my book and my blog. On top of my to-do list there is my book release in New York and then in Italy. My goal is that the book reaches as many people as possible. I really want to get the message through: in life anything can happen and you have to roll up your sleeves and start over again with a smile and your head up high. There is no alternative to me.
You left 11 years ago. How do you see yourself in 11 years?
Can I be a dreamer? Here’s how: in a big country house close to a city. With kids running in the living room and vintage tiles from an old cottage, with a terracotta portico and a big wooden table and wrought-iron chairs. I prepare lemonade in a big Anthropologies’ glass jar bought in New York and I wait for you. You will interview me again, and I will tell you about my new project. May a book, maybe a charity event, or who knows… maybe something completely different. We will hug and emotionally think: how quickly does time go by!
Here are the links to read the stories written by Annalisa and discover her charity organization.
Charity Initiative: www.MarcoOmiccioli.com