As owner and executive director of a Rome-based consultancy specializing in corporate and financial communications, Luciano Luffarelli has clients from all over the world, so it’s only natural that he wanted his postgraduate communications management to have an international orientation. He says he’s getting that and much more as a member of MScom12.
Luffarelli’s career includes eight years as a financial journalist, working as Head of International Media Relations at the Olivetti Group, a term as Head of External Relations with Autogrill, Europe’s leading food and beverage provider, and working as Director of Corporate Communications at Ras, a major Italian insurance company in Germany’s Allianz group. He also has led Communications and Image at the Monte dei Paschi di Siena banking Group, been Vice President for Communications at the Rome-based corporate communications agency PMS, where he was project manager for the 2004 IPO of Terna, a spinoff of energy giant ENEL.
Luciano Luffarelli Corporate Communication, with offices in Rome, Milan and Bologna, was founded in 2005 is unusual in that it takes an Anglo-Saxon approach to communications.
“I had been looking for anything that could improve my theoretical background in communication management. Like many communications professionals, I was thrown into this field with no formal training beyond my journalism education and experience,” he explained. “Prior to joining MScom, I relied on associations like the Italian Federation of Public Relations (FERPI), the International Public Relations Association and the International Association of Business Communicators to get access to educational tools related to communications management.”
It was through FERPI that Luffarelli heard about MScom.
“I attended a meeting in Milan and meet MScom’s program director as well as Toni Muzi Falconi, founding chairman of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management, which is an MScom partner,” he said. “MScom really appealed to me from the beginning because of its international orientation. For example, there are differences in the way you as a PR professional act in different countries. My own perspective is that the Anglo-Saxon world is 20 years ahead of Italy in terms communications management, so it is a must that I have the most current approaches in order to best support my clients.”
Though he was impressed with MScom from the start, he didn’t immediately enroll in the program, instead waiting for “the right time” in his business and family life so that he could fully commit.
“Three years ago, my business was still quite young, and I have six children—three still at home—so there were issues of time and resources,” he said, adding that when the right time came, he jumped into MScom with full force.
“MScom far exceeds my expectations. I’m living not only an educational experience but a professional and personal one, as well. One week of full immersion in MScom contributes so much stimulus and so many interesting perspectives: new people from different countries, intellectual challenges and also the social aspect of the program,” he said. “Every one of my classmates brings something to the table. I hope, from my broad background I bring something useful to my classmates, too.”
At 50, Luffarelli is older than the average MScom participant, and he’s stimulated by fresh ideas and new perspectives his younger professional peers bring to the program’s renowned breakout discussions.
“In the Italian market, I know the important communicators, what they think and how they work. It’s very exciting for me to be in Lugano for a week every other month to take in all of these perspectives from both the MScom faculty and my classmates,” said Luffarelli.
He is actively leveraging his MScom experience for the professional enrichment of his staff.
“I am absolutely bringing the perspectives I gather at MScom back to work with me. I’m always preparing a list of ideas based on the many inputs I receive, and about once a month, I organize a half-day company meeting that we call our ‘Meeting for Non-Urgent but Important Things’ and I use it as an opportunity to share with my staff stimulus I’ve gotten from MScom,” he said.
Beyond the profession
Luffarelli’s enthusiasm for MScom is nearly boundless. He calls it “an exercise that goes beyond the profession.”
“In general, MScom opens new ways of thinking, but it’s always an exercise of your own mind, even in one’s personal life,” he said. “For example, the MScom seminar on general management offered a lot of suggestions on how to look at the big picture, and I find that I’m applying these concepts in my everyday life.”
Even MScom’s rigorous pace is a plus, Luffarelli said.
“It’s really demanding, and that was a little bit unexpected. I thought one week every other month wouldn’t be too much, but the pre-readings, attendance and studying for examination demands a lot of us,” he said. “At the same time, MScom is a reminder of what we can do.”
Text based on interview carried out in March 2010.