Interview with Ilaria


a handful of questions to our colleagues

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Ilaria is amazing!


Who is Ilaria?

Ilaria Papola is a 28 years oldConsultant and member of the Design Team as a Solution Designer with an educational background in Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology.

I joined atrain almost 3 years ago, in August 2018, right after graduating from my master’s degree at University of Bologna. It was supposed to be only a six-months internship and I planned on being back home by February 2019. But here I am, almost 3 years later, still here and happy to be. No deadline in mind.

I think this fact also describes me quite well: I like to be flexible and spontaneous and I’m often ready to challenge and change my plans or take a risk. As Kurt Vonnegut says: “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down”.

Curious, sporty, determined and ready for change, Ilaria is a voracious reader and a tireless traveller.

I also like reading and sports, especially football and hiking. I’m passionate about learning new things (the latest addition is learning how to play the Ocarina: wish me luck!). Most of all, though, I love to travel with a few friends, discovering new places or re-discovering familiar places in a different light.

"Teamwork and collaboration
and the feeling of building something together
are very motivating elements."

We know that each company has its own characteristics and peculiarities, could you tell us which ones distinguish us and which you might not have found elsewhere?

In past conversations with other atrainers, whenever the topic of what we loved about atrain came up, a common theme was “people”. Both caring about each other and putting people first from the customer side is something that distinguishes us.
To quote a team member that recently joined: “atrain is not the typical consultancy”.


 

What surprised you the most, hopefully in a positive way, when you started working at atrain?

I was surprised by the informal and open atmosphere. Now I give it almost for granted, but every time a new colleague joins, I get reminded of how surprised I was in the beginning by how curious people are, how trusting and how accepting they are of different ideas, no matter who shares them. I remember one of the first brainstormings I participated in, a few weeks after joining atrain: very experienced and confident-looking senior consultants asking me for my opinions and ideas.


 

You are a Solution Designer, what are the most engaging and enjoyable moments/tasks of your role?


As a Designer, there are many very engaging and enjoyable moments for me. I really enjoy the beginning of a project, in which we come together with the customer in co-creation sessions, we listen to them, consult them and together we brainstorm and create the concept that we will develop iteratively into the final experience. Another very engaging moment is being able to see, at the end of the process, how the participants react to the sessions we created, what they think about them and the positive impact the program has on them. Seeing true change, and being aware that you are a piece of the process that facilitates it, is very fulfilling. A last enjoyable part of my role is certainly working together with other team members (from the Design Team) or with other colleagues (from SOTs & MBTs). Teamwork and collaboration and the feeling of building something together are very motivating elements.

"The people, the culture
and the learning opportunities.
atrain pushes my limits,
leads me out of my comfort zone"

At atrain we are structured according to the Self Organized Teams and Mission-Based Teams model, can you tell us something about your specific experience and how this type of organisation reflects on your work?

Working in Self-Organized Teams can be challenging at times. But overcoming these challenges together with your team is highly engaging and satisfying. This type of organization stretches your limits and definitely places you out of your comfort zone often. However, the understanding and the growth that stems from that allowed me to get a better understanding of the organizational world (in general) and some of the challenges our customers are going through. Overall, working in self-organized teams allows me to be a better Solution Designer, understanding the life cycle of the products I work on (from the needs analysis to the standardization of the final product) and generating a sense of ownership and responsibility towards my team.


 

Sometimes working life can be challenging, if you are in a difficult moment how do you find the support you need?

I think one of the strengths of my team is that we truly care and support each other. This is part of our values as a self-organized team, but it is not only a slogan. I can always reach out and find support in my team. Sharing common experiences and difficulties can help you understand and improve yourself, either through peer coaching conversation or just from informal chats. In a broader sense, though, I’ve always felt comfortable asking for help or support from any colleague in the organization.


 

What makes working at atrain amazing?

The people, the culture and the learning opportunities. atrain pushes my limits, leads me out of my comfort zone, especially because as Designer we are expected to always strive for innovation and cutting edge new concept. It’s continuous learning and I always feel supported through the process because I know that my teammates act from a place of caring. I feel challenged but safe. This way I can accept the risk of failing and leverage it as a learning opportunity. The informal and spontaneous atmosphere is what makes this trust and learning possible in the first place.

In atrain, I’m very happy, I found a great place to work, where I can be myself, experiment, learn and develop my wings on the way down. “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is”.


We want to give importance
to individual perspectives

We want to give importance
to individual perspectives

deep dive
Do you wanna learn more about this role?
get in touch
Curious? Questions? Ask!

Deep Dive

Do you wanna learn more about this role?

Get in touch

Curious? Questions? Ask!