See also: AIESEC International, AIESEC Italy
An old stock Milanese, Paolo, the only child of Maria and Sergio, was born and raised in Milan where he lived until he moved to The Netherlands in 1977.
His granduncle was Giovanni Bolzoni, (Parma 14 May1841 – Turin 21 February 1919) a composer, conductor, theatre director and director of the Turin Music Conservatory.
Paolo’s parents were very close friends Silvio and Elsa Gazzaniga. Silvio Gazzaniga was a world famous sculptor who, among other achievement, was awarded the privilege to design and make the football world cup trophy. You can read all about Silvio Gazzaniga his life and work here.
The Gazzanigas had one daughter, Gabriella, and one son, Giorgio. Gabriella and Paolo are of the same age and, as kids, often played together. They loved to walk up the top of the hill overlooking the village of Gabriella’s grandparents, and stare at the sky talking about their wishes of what they’ll do once grown up. Gabriella became an artist following her father's footsteps. Among her many creations, are beautiful icons painted on wood tablets.
Paolo had a normal youth and was always eager to discover new challenges and to explore his beloved home city.
He spent his school holidays first in summer camps in Alassio, a beautiful resort on the Italian riviera west of Genua, and in Ponte di Legno, a beautiful resort in the Italian Alps.
When Paolo turned 11 years old, his parents purchased a summer home in Lavagna, a beautiful resort on the Italian riviera east of Genoa. From then on, Lavagna became his summer holidays venue.
High School Education
After primary and secondary education, Paolo attended classic studies at the high school Liceo Scientifico Vittorio Veneto, the first Liceo Scientifico ever established in Milan (1 October 1923).
Paolo fell in love with philosophy. An eye opener which freed him from religious superstitions and prejudice, and a passion which he developed throughout his entire life.
His professor Fraccari was a distinguished philosopher who went beyond the mere history of philosophy (which was, and still is today, the content of high school courses) and taught his students to discuss critically the works of philosophers.
Every Tuesday afternoon he met with Paolo and some other students at a bar in the city centre where he bought them a drink and challenged them to deeper discussions.
Have you ever watched the film Dead Poets Society (“O Captain! My Captain!”) with Robin Williams playing the role of John Keating? Well, just imagine Keating was a philosophy teacher instead of a literature teacher and there you have professor Fraccari standing before his class! Paolo just loved him.
Those were also the times of the fresh winds which, in 1968 blew from France all over Europe, and changed for ever the values of western society.
School buildings were taken over by students for a couple of days with heated debates over politics and society. As an example, Paolo still remembers the analysis of the devastating consequences on the socialist Polish economy at the time of President Gomulka that followed the poor potatoes harvest.
Liceo Vittorio Veneto had several distinguished students including Riccardo Giacconi, 2002 Nobel prize for Physics, and photographer Oliviero Toscani.
Giacconi’s mother, Elsa Canni Giacconi was Paolo’s professor of mathematics and physics.
Paolo studied Economics and Banking at the Catholic University of Milan.
Wonderful times with several distinguished professors and scholars who took active part to the economic and finance debate in Italy.
The aftermaths of the 1968 winds were still blowing, with confrontations regularly taking place on Saturdays in the Milan city centre between left wing and right wing students separated by the riot police!
Right at the first year at University, Paolo joined AIESEC.
Established in 1948, AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques) is a student organisation with some 20.000 university local committees in 123 countries.
You can read extensive information in the AIESEC section of this site.
Right at the first year at University, Paolo joined AIESEC and became President of the Local Committe “Milano Università Cattolica”.
The year after, he joined the AIESEC Italy National Committee as National Exchange Controller (responsible for the international students’ exchange) for two years.
Paolo became then the President of the AIESEC Italy National Committee, for two years until he moved to The Netherlands.
His National Committe Board of Advisors had Giovanni Agnelli (then President of FIAT S.P.A.) as Honorary Chairman and Walter Ghirardelli (Partner in Charge of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. Italy) as President.
In 1976, Paolo and the President of AIESEC Netherland visited Sierra Leone as part of the Executive Envoy Programme to assist the National Committee to expand their activities.
AIESEC has been the first true school of life to Paolo and suddenly exposed him to the world, sharing interests, values, respecting the beliefs of other students from over 100 countries.
As president of the National Committee, he learned how to manage a complex organisation with some 300 members in 23 Italian Universities, balance the needs of the local committees, find sponsors from industry and give Italy a prominent role on the AIESEC world map.
Paolo had five traineeships with AIESEC.
Skill Power Tools, Breda, Netherlands
1977 - 1978 (4 months) Product Manager accessories.
Skol Breweries, Breda, Netherlands
1977 (4 months) Cost accounting.
The Chase Manhattan Bank, Milan, Italy
1976 (4 months) Industry studies.
The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Vancouver , Canada
June 1975 (5 months) Internal audit, branch network development.
Postipankki, Helsinki, Finland
1974 (3 months) Money market, dealing room.
Except from the traineeship at Chase Manhattan Bank, Paolo actually never worked in Italy.
His first job was at Skill Power Tools, in Breda, Netherlands, following his traineeship.
Peat Marwick Netherlands
In 1978, Paolo joined the audit department Peat Marwick Netherlands (nowadays KPMG) and specialised in bank auditing and worked himself up to audit manager.
Peat Marwick Netherlands was Paolo’s second great school of life. A truly stimulating professional environment with regular audit and management development courses, where all had the same education background, the same professional qualification or were working towards obtaining it, and where the difference between a junior accountant and the senior Partner in-charge was just experience and auditing skills.
Strong and everlasting bonds bound all staff. All felt as members of an army elite corp always ready to offer their best to the firm. These are bonds for life; the Alumni reunions, decades after the times with the firm, are still today just like the firm’s old legendary Christmas parties!
In August 1984, Paolo joined the international Secretariat of Factors Chain International (FCI) – the largest world-wide association of factoring and finance companies – as Director of Planning and Development. Travelling extensively the world, Paolo learned the values and customs of very many cultures: an invaluable life experience.
His main responsibilities were:
The development and management of the association's EDI communication systems,
Representing the factoring industry as a member of UN/EDIFACT MD4 in the development of UN/EDIFACT messages for factoring,
The development of a netting and cash management system,
The development and management of world-wide education courses,
Assisting in network development.
When living in Milan, Paolo played rugby as left wing with CUS Milano Rugby, a then second division team in the Italian national division.
His trainer was Paolo Caccia Dominioni, the legendary fly-half of Amatori Rugby Milano and of the Italy squad.
Downhill and cross-country skiing were Paolo’s winter breaks in Ponte di Legno/Passo del Tonale , Innsbruk/Igls and Reischach/Riscone.
Paolo is an active member of Phanos Amsterdam, with seat at the magnificent Olympic Stadium, where he trained weekly and ran several races representing Phanos, from 10K to marathons.
Now living in Maastricht, Paolo remains still member bound by loyalty to his club.
The ancient game of Go wéiqí in Chinese) is an abstract strategy board game for two players in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent.
Go begins with an empty board. It is focused on building from the ground up (nothing to something) with multiple, simultaneous battles leading to a point-based win. Chess is tactical rather than strategic, as the predetermined strategy is to trap one individual piece (the king).
Paolo learned Go when living in Amsterdam, and was one of the founding members of the Go club The Two Eyes. His membership card had “Member 1”.
Apart from sport, Paolo loves the performing art of magic (he acted on stage a number of times), music, Italian cabaret, philosophy, formal logic, quantum physics and wine – enjoying our vineyard and producing our wines.
Paolo also wrote the script of a number of biting political satires.
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