Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I created the first American football team for women in Italy in 2011 and since then I have been paving the way for the next generation of girls who will be able to play this incredible sport.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
I was a cheerleader for the Seamen Milano in 2010 and after watching all the games from the sideline I became very passionate about the sport. Every touchdown would ignite a fire in my heart and at some point, I just decided that I wanted to play. So I to drop my pompoms, I found other girls like me that were passionate about football. They say that when you find your passion you find your people and I found Valeria Vismara, Marzia Orsini, Beatrice Carminati, and Eleonora Sonzogni, four girls that were always on the football field and wanted to play just like me. Together, we decided to go to the owner of the team to create a female division. At first, he was against it and didn’t want us on the field, so Maurizio Vismara, the first coach that believed in our project, took us to the park and taught us how to play football. He gave us his old helmets and jerseys from the 80s, he taught us the fundamentals of the sport and we found another team that was being created in Bologna, we played our first game and when we won that game the owner of the seamen started to invest in the project. I have won the national championship of Italy in 2014 and I’ve been nominated Defensive MVP of the League in 2013. I have been the first Italian woman to work for the NFL and two of the documentaries I produced For NFL FILMS “ Women playing football in Italy” and “Cooking with Giorgio Tavecchio” were nominated for an Emmy in 2019.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Spectacular results are at of intelligence design and herculean consistency so the only way to thrive is to work consistently towards your goals, asking yourself what you want, remaining in the present, and adapting to every situation to get closer to your goals.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Many role models have shaped my career and the person I am today. I’ll give you my top four.
- Michael Jordan, because he is synonymous of fearlessness, resiliency, and constant effort and he inspires me every day to go beyond my limits and change my perception to create a new path towards my goals.
- Samantha Rapoport, NFL’s Vp Director of Football Development, opened the door for many women in the National Football League and without her, women would have never been able to coach men in the league.
- Billie Jean King for her motto ‘no risk it, no biscuit’. When she was an athlete she created the $1 contracts to build the foundation of professional tennis in the US and she’s evidence that if you don’t risk you will never win.
- My grandmother Vinicia. She was the pillar of my family. She taught me that if someone has a big heart you see it from their eyes, she taught me how to cook, and most importantly she taught me a great lesson before becoming an angel at 82 years old. She said, “Bambina mia, remember that you will always have to fight for the people and the things you love”. Ever since she passed away, I’ve been wearing the number 82 on my jersey because every time I go on the field, I fight for her, too.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Let’s start with a basic concept: American football is a sport where you have to stand up when everyone tries to knock you down. Sometimes you fall, but then you get up and think about your next play, you never look back because you know that your next play has to be your best play.
By practicing this sport I became stronger and more confident and it taught me how to perceive every obstacle as an opportunity. In a nutshell, it made me resilient and resiliency is a superpower: the power to achieve any goal, with determination and constant effort.
Resilience is something you can learn and my goal is to share my experience with the new generation of athletes out there, to prepare them to pursue their dreams without fear.
Concretely I created a program to become fearless, a real program that focuses on physical and mental strength. Because when the body and mind are synchronized, we in Flow.
Being in flow is a state of total awareness that we perceive when we are completely present in the game and we have control of everything. You know that feeling, right? When you’re on the field but you don’t see obstacles anymore, you just see the goal and you know exactly how to reach it. Well, I always research that state, where my skills match the challenges, and my goals are clear.
I have created a method to always operate in that space of high intensity.
I believe that we are only able to grow after we go through that space and that’s what I do every day, on myself and my teammates, and it works.
In collaboration with Jordan and Foot Locker, my job is to coach this program to the new generation of athletes in the schools of Milan by organizing specific events, workshops, and training camps.
One of my dreams is to bring women’s football to American colleges. Women in America only play at a semi-professional level so it would be a nice goal to launch teams in college, but it’s a big cultural challenge so we will start one step at the time. First, with the help of Samantha Rapoport, NFL VP Director of Football Development, I and other NFL Women Football Forum athletes have made arrangements with the NAA Colleges to create a VARSITY flag football league.
When the post-COVID World will be ready to reopen the Universities I will take my football program to the most prestigious University of the NAA to develop the league. I strongly believe that football is a great way to teach resilience and everything you learn from the sport will be very helpful in your life. When I teach Flag Football in the schools and I teach the girls how to throw, initially they are afraid and they apologize if they make mistakes, but at the end of practice their eyes full of strength and self-esteem. They change their attitude and if a girl acquires that kind of strength she will be a better woman and will help create a better World because a change in a girl is a change in the World.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
Jimmy Johnson always said that “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little “extra” and I think that embodies my true essence. I’ve always put that extra work in, on and off the football field. Aa a player and a producer. When I was an intern at NFL films and I was a production (or runner) on the field I would put my cleats on and actually run As fast as I could to help my cameraman, I would make lasagna for the whole crew, I would always work extra hours to be the best intern Nfl films had ever seen and that work got me to the Super Bowl (NFL films never takes interns to the super bowl) and it allowed me to produce two documentaries written by me.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can follow me on Instagram where I post a lot of content about my projects with Jordan and Foot Locker, my training routines, and my tips to become better athletes and even better people.