The interest for B Corps and legal Benefit Corporations has seen a substantial growth recently. In Italy, especially after the law on Società Benefit that was passed in early 2016, many university students are taking an interest in the subject and writing their master’s thesis on this. In mondora we often receive request from students who wish to interview us and other Italian B Corps for their thesis. There is one student that stands out from this group, Giulia Ancona – and this post is dedicated to her.
Giulia was studying Law and Economics at the University of Pavia and she contacted us like many other students. However, her request was more specific than usual: she didn’t have a questionnaire for us and she didn’t ask for a skype interview…she came to visit us. As she was so enthusiastic about mondora, we decided to make her visit special and invited her on one of our “ski Thursdays” rather than welcoming her in the office.
Giulia arrived by train and our colleagues Davide and Amedeo picked her up at the station and drove her to the ski resort where we spend our Thursdays in winter. It was the first time on the chairlift for her and she had never been skiing, so this was quite an experience for her! We all settled down in the refuge on the slopes and got to work. I spent the morning talking about mondora whilst Giulia frantically took notes – she really wasn’t expecting what I told her! About halfway through the story she decided she would not only write a small section about us, but a whole chapter of her thesis. We talked about the legal aspect and how we transformed the company into a Società Benefit just minutes before TeamSystem acquired a percentage of mondora’s shares. We then discussed how we live the B Corp values within the company and I explained our Benefit Projects, such as Share Our Break and Hire Bitto. We also looked more closely at worker welfare within the company and how we are structured.
It was particularly interesting for Giulia to hear about our flat, managerless structure and how we organise work and all talk to customers and follow every part of a project from negotiation to delivery and closure. There was also a great interest on her part when talking about remote working, ski Thursdays (which she got to experience first hand), failure parties that serve to eliminate fear within the company and so on. She asked many questions and I had a great time sharing our story with her.
The interview was followed by a traditional lunch with the team where she was able to ask more questions and hear other people’s stories and opinions too. In the afternoon we decided to make her visit even more special: after a last ski down the slopes (it was chairlift time again for Giulia) we took her to the Casèra del Bitto, where we keep our project Hire Bitto in collaboration with another local B Corp and Società Benefit, Valli del Bitto. Here Giulia was shown around a very special place and was able to see all the mondora decorated cheeses that we buy to support the farmers and cheesemakers of the valley. She was very happy of the day she spent with the mondora team and couldn’t stop thanking us!
A few months later I received an email from her with the final version of her thesis. It has a whole 15 pages about mondora and the team here really enjoyed reading it. As well as her thesis, it was Giulia’s turn to surprise us by inviting a few people from mondora to her thesis discussion in Pavia, an invite that extended to the post-discussion celebrations and lunch with her family too. So on the day of her thesis discussion me, Davide and Amedeo drove to Pavia to listen to her. The discussion was brilliant and Giulia explained her points with confidence and passion. She was so good that she sparked a debate between the examiners and dealt with the situation amazingly: she stated her points clearly and gave precise, unbiased answers to many questions. The round of applause she received at the end was well deserved!
After the discussion we joined her family in celebrating her success, which was very kind of them. We had a great time and it was a wonderful experience for us in mondora to play a part in Giulia’s thesis. She is now working as an accountant and is actively promoting B Corps and Società Benefit among accountants in Pavia. We are looking forward to her next visit and to future collaborations with this very talented student!