Inspiring stories of Natolin alumni in times of pandemic – Roberta SAVLI

It is with great pleasure that we share the story of Roberta SAVLI, Natolin alumna of the Charles Darwin Promotion (2009/2010). These last months have challenged many of us on different levels. In these times of crisis, the mixture of optimism and pragmatism found and applied by Roberta can serve as inspiration to build up our resilience.

Roberta works as a Senior Manager in the Health Systems Team of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the professional association of innovative pharmaceutical industry in Europe. “Our organization represents 36 national associations and 39 leading pharmaceutical companies in Europe, also coordinating cross-sector collaboration in R&D. The COVID-19 emergency has put enormous pressure on developing a vaccine in an extremely short time and that requires significant support.

The studies at the College of Europe in Natolin developed my interest in working on global issues. They led me to a career in the pharmaceutical industry where, on a regular basis, I deal with advocacy, research and coordination related to the functioning of health systems in Europe. Now, I am focusing on the sustainability of health systems, which is a central topic during the pandemic. I cannot deny that the overflow of information on COVID-19 made me often feel exhausted. I engage with the topic not only at work, but also in my private time, as we all do. The fact that I am used to read the latest news from Spain, Belgium and Italy every day, is for sure not helping me to find the right balance.”

How does Roberta manage to sustain her engagement in such a challenging time? Her organization conducts regular staff video-calls every week, while teams virtually meet every day. It is not only a good management practice but also a helpful routine. Surprisingly, remote work allowed many colleagues to get to know each other better. A new intern has been introduced in Roberta’s team and the “new virtual” has become the new normal. All thanks to a “one-step-at-a-time” attitude, which allows for bringing and accepting change successfully.

According to Roberta, “regardless of the circumstances, staying positive is crucial, especially for young graduates who might be overwhelmed with the current economic slowdown. This situation reminds me of the multiple obstacles that suddenly appeared on my career path because of the financial crisis of 2008. Today we are experiencing a transformative period, one in which new opportunities may arise from the dust. We should never stop believing in ourselves, our goals and principles!”