Why Unapologetically Unconventional? All my life I've heard that I don't do what's expected of me. Since I became a professor, the one thing that I hear the most is "Really? You don't look like a professor!" What am I supposed to look like? So I decided early on to embrace who I am, not apologize for it and just try to be the best version of myself. I recently discovered that my great-granmother Lucretia was very unconventional and broke all rules and that gives me such a great sense of belonging.
Your journey in a paragraph? I grew up in Transylvania, Romania, then went for grad school in Lugano, Switzerland. While doing my PhD, together with my friend Elia Frapolli we took over the management of a ski resort that went bankrupt and created a new concept of Destination Governance through 3 lenses of Organizational Behavior. After that, I started teaching in Boston, India, Italy. In 2015, I moved to Malaysia as the first hire of Asia School of Business. I have 2 cats in KL, one in Romania and my family has some irresistible Saint Bernards!
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? People say I am very engaging, that I have an effervescent energy?! And as a public speaker? My comedic/dramatic story telling style, the control of the room. At least that's what they say.
You're a very confident speaker. Where does this confidence come from? Preparation! I'm only confident when I over prepare. I tell my students all the time "Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance"!
Your favorite talk? JobStreet in 2016 started off as a talk then quickly turned into a stand-up comedy show with intense participation from the 400 people in the audience. And the Global IAA Conference on the National Opera in Bucharest, Romania. I walked on the stage of one of the most beautiful rooms in Europe and the audience was so generous and supportive! Being home felt very special!
What is your most memorable moment as a professor? I have so many, I really cannot pick one. I love when I am able to improve someone's life.
What is your most memorable moment in Malaysia? It is a surreal moment when Dato Jimmy Choo, the famous shoe designer takes a picture of my shoes for inspiration!
What's the funniest way someone introduced you before one of your talks? The Anna Wintour of Malaysia! I was both extremely flattered but also confused. I hope they were referring to my fashion sense and not my personality!
Do you have any nicknames? My American students used to call me the "Swiss Miss" like the chocolate. In Switzerland, they used to call me "La Bionda di Bosco". Some of my students in Malaysia call me "The Mother of Dragons". I love them all :) At least the ones that I know off ;)
What would people be surprised to learn about you? That I'm extremely introverted. That I am a couch potato. And that I wanna play in a Bollywood movie! What can I say, I am full of contradictions.
In one of your talks you mentioned that you had over 21 different professions! What were some of the craziest? Life insurance agent or dispatch for a truck company.
When did you want to become a professor? The first time I got in front of my colleagues in grad school to give a presentation. I finally felt like home. It was the most exhilarating moment!
What do you love? Women and their resilience. My students. Star Trek. Netflix. Our dogs and cats. The rain in Malaysia. Did I say Netflix?
What pisses you off? Discrimination, waste, criticism, cruelty. What are you afraid of? Mediocrity. Prison. Flying. Illness. Losing my loved ones.
If I weren’t a business school professor… I would be a stand up comedian or a talk-show host! Or a librarian.
What's your motto? "How hard can it be?" or "Fake it till you make it".
Who would play you in a movie? Somebody told me it would be Christina Hendricks in Mad Men as Joan Holloway!!! #obsessed
What achievement are you most proud of? My long lasting friendships! And I guess some of my work.
What inspires you? Who do you look up to? Pioneers, people who are not afraid to stand up, speak up, change things. The Rosa Parks, the first #metoo women, the first black athletes in the Olympics. Recently I became obsessed with Hannah Gadsby and her show #Nanette.
Your happy place? Outdoor hot springs or on stage/classroom!
What are you working on now? "I hate people and other management lessons". Stay tuned!