Feet on the pedals, mind on the mountain

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A conversation with Aurora D’Aprile

Bike sharing is only the latest among the several ways she has found to never stop moving.  Constantly going back and forth between Milan and Genova, her favourite place is up in the mountains. Interview with Valentina Vinci, from Milan’s Fundraising office.

What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
I work at the Fundraising Office. We search for funding opportunities, advise the researchers, support the Divisions in presenting their proposals to the financing bodies, and follow the negotiation phase until a project is handed over to the Projects Office for the implementation phase.

Which road led you to CMCC?
The chance road, for sure! I studied Politics and Economics of the Mediterranean in Genoa and I started working in the field of international cooperation. I was at the beginning of my career, I read about a job offer at the CMCC, sent my CV and …here I am! However, I did not forget my original interest: even now, the projects that excite me the most are those linked to territorial and international cooperation programs.

Is your current job the one you had dreamed of when you were a child?
I wouldn’t say so, I guess no child dreams of an essentially administrative job! Actually I did not have a dream job as a child. I was much more into “living the day”, unlike what I do now (unfortunately).

Could you tell us the most beautiful moment in your experience at CMCC?
The best moments are when – after an intense effort – a proposal gets financed and becomes a concrete project: I love to see the work going on and the results coming in.

What’s on your workstation?
Piles of papers: documents, calls for proposals, guidelines and submission manuals. And also pencils, colored pens, highlighters and post-it notes, all gathered in the CMCC cup (I do love stationery!). I have a floral mouse and three calendars. A Polaroid photo with my brother on his wedding day, one of the happiest moments for my family. And finally an empty flower pot… I tried to take care of a seedling, but I don’t have much of a green thumb!

What’s the ritual never missing in your workday?
I have no standard rituals. In winter I make myself a cup of hot tea before starting to work, but it is a necessity more than a ritual!

How do you get to work in the morning?
By public transportation, usually tram and underground. Despite living in Milano for eight years, I’ve discovered only recently the great potential of bike sharing (when it is not raining, of course!). An hour’s ride back and forth helps me to keep fit and to enjoy the city.

What do you do in your spare time?
I can not help moving and staying outdoors. During the week I go swimming at the pool (since we are in the new office I have no excuses, it is almost next door!). The weekend is dedicated to the mountains: for some years now I have discovered a boundless passion for hiking and mountaineering. The mountain has become my metaphor of life: you can not get something nice without commitment and at least a little effort. I combined my passion with volunteering through the Italian Alpine Club (CAI, Club Alpino Italiano): in Genoa, my city, I collaborate with the group of the Alpinismo Giovanile, a CAI activity dedicated to mountain education for children and teenagers.

Which is the most challenging adventure you’ve tried?
Up on the mountains, every hike, even the simplest one, forces you to challenge yourself, to discover your limits, your fears and, step by step, to overcome them. The most exciting adventures were certainly my first 4000-meter climb (Punta Giordani, on the Monte Rosa) and the ascent to Kilimanjaro, which is the highest mountain in Africa at nearly  6000 meters. In that case the altitude gave me some problems, but the thrill of having made it prevails over the discomfort…and I would go back there straight away! I love to share my enthusiasm also in volunteering activities, with the children and the young who join our group of Alpinismo Giovanile. I will never get used to the emotion of seeing joy, satisfaction and gratitude in their smiles when we reach the top.

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