February 11, 2015

Butchers, Bakers, and Sandwiches

Butchers, Bakers, and Sandwiches

After a cold morning of touring the colliseum and other ancient roman ruins, we had the chance to meet the Maltese ambassador to Rome, Vanessa Frazier. She happens to be a Luther alum, and was extremely gracious in receiving us and telling us some great stories. I think it is always really valuable for Luther students to hear the pathways that alumni take after leaving Decorah.

Here is the group, pictured with our guide Nino. We all loved him and will always remember the phrase “Nino is here” as it sounded inside our earbuds that constantly linked us to Nino. Yes, Nino really does have his own website called Nino Knows.


One interesting story from the ambassador involved teaching a certain beloved Luther professor how to say “good morning” in Maltese. The prof cheerfully greeted her the rest of her days at Luther with that little bit of Malta. Only she didn’t really teach him to say good morning. The next time you see Uwe you’ll have to ask him what she really taught him to say! I can’t wait to see hime when I get back to hear his side of the story.

When we asked her what an ambassador does on an average day she told us the following story, which I love, because it gets to the heart of what everyone needs to do to be successful in their career. She said that on her first day in the foreign service an older, wiser colleague told her that on the first day she needed to go into the streets and find a butcher, and talk to the butcher about meat. On the second day she needed to go into the streets and find a baker and talk about bread. On the third day she needed to go into the streets and talk to the people about sandwiches.

In the end its about networking and making connections. This is what everyone needs to do to be successful. Make connections with people, learn how you can help them, and how they can help you. You will get much farther if you have a network that can collectively solve problems together.