Three Minute Squiz With… Serafina Maiorano

Serafina Maiorano is the global CEO for Advance – a platform to harness Australia’s expat talent, expertise and energy. She’s a Squizer we aren’t keen to compare passports stamps with as she has worked in the UK, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Singapore, USA, China and India and is currently based in New York. Here, she takes on the Three Minute Squiz.

How and where do you Squiz?
On my phone after lunch.

You are the Global CEO for Advance, give us the elevator pitch?
Australians around the world are achieving incredible things. Every day, global Australians are innovating and succeeding at new heights. The many millions of Australians who have, do, or will live outside of the country represent an incredible, unique and untapped national resource. Advance’s core mission is to engage, connect, and empower leading global Australians and alumni; to provide a conduit for the flow of ideas, influence, innovation, and capital back home to Australia.

‘Networking’ is a bit of a buzzword. You are an expert in providing an effective networking environment – what’s the secret?
I have always loved connecting people, skills, ideas, and organisations in the hope of creating partnerships that will ultimately serve a greater purpose. For networking to be successful, curating your guest list to bring the right mix of people from different cultural and industry background together in the room to create opportunities for new connections to be made is essential. Inspiring content and great food and drinks goes without saying.

A bit about we Aussies… according to your membership breakdown, which are the most popular cities for Aussies working overseas? And what are some of the more obscure countries/cities in which your members live?
The US and UK remain strong bases for Australians overseas, but the growth region for Australia’s diaspora is Asia – by 2030 a third of all Aussies overseas will be in Asia. Some cities draw people depending on their passions and business aspirations – Silicon Valley and San Francisco for start-ups and tech, Hong Kong and London for financial services…and New York – well, New York is a centre for so much!

Why are Aussie workers valued in overseas workplaces? Is there a common quality that we bring?
There are some stereotypes about Australians, like hard working and easy going, but what sets overseas Australians apart is that their international experience means they bring valuable new and diverse ideas and perspectives to the table. They are highly talented, globally mobile and recognise that they are well placed to take advantage of accelerating globalisation.

You’ve been back and forth from Australia for a long time, what do you miss about our great southern land?
Like most Australians overseas, it’s family and friends, followed by the big blue skies and open spaces, and great Vietnamese food.

And what don’t you miss?
I’m so fortunate to work with so many leading global Australians – I never feel too far from home!

Your favourite book and/or author?
Maya Angelou. I am inspired by her life experience.

What’s your ideal weekend?
Doing things to make me forget to check my phone, hanging out with my 5yo daughter, and trips to beach with families and friends.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with
Vivienne Westwood, Leonard Cohen, Maya Angelou, Rumi. I enjoy an evening for great discussions, great food and laughter.

And what are you serving up?
Always Italian classics!

What is the quality do you most value in a friend?
Humour, passion and compassion. I would borrow a quote from Maya Angelou – ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

What is the most overlooked news story of the moment?
The UN IPCC’s latest report – 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.

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