“Challenges are opportunities to discover your potential.”

Mara Vavassori

Head of Finance, LivaNova
Global Executive MBA 2017


In three sentences or less, could you tell us a little more about yourself?

As a woman and mother of two girls, I have always felt the responsibility to contribute to driving gender balance in my personal life and at work. As a leader, I believe I have the responsibility to include environmental impact and sustainability when making decisions both in my personal life and at work.


Any fun facts?

Over the course of my career, I have worked in 11 countries, something I dreamt about while growing up. This multi-cultural experience has contributed to defining who I am, and stimulated my curiosity and adaptability.


Mara Vavassori

Why did you choose INSEAD?

I chose INSEAD because I wanted to broaden my knowledge and network in Asia. Through my experience, I have gained much more: a truly diverse perspective and new friendships!


Can you describe your INSEAD Experience?

I would summarise my experience with the term ‘open-minded’. I have been exposed to content and interactions that unlocked prejudices and biases, and most importantly, that gave me alternative ways to interpret and behave. Previously, I might have been aware of my biases and limitations, however, prior to learning alternative behaviours, I would fall back into default at decision time or under pressure.

The INSEAD experience equipped me with the ability to consider beyond what is comfortable and visible, by using a practical and open-minded approach to decision-making.



Was there an encounter that left you with a deep impression?

I have been impressed by many professors and the way they were able to engage every student through a diverse approach of storytelling, active and playful interaction. I have been equally impressed by some class members for their achievements, and by others for their courage to pivot careers, of which many of them humbly and willing to share their experience and advice.


What was the greatest challenge you faced at work, and how did you overcome it?

I started my INSEAD journey while moving to a new country, into a new role and in a new industry! The biggest challenge was to integrate into a new work environment after a challenging acquisition and some cultural clash. I started leveraging on my INSEAD learnings across different functions and topics. Bringing neutral and objective examples gradually drove us to a more inclusive and collaborative environment where we could focus on goals and achievements. After a two-year journey, it resulted in a cohesive team, constantly delivering results in a highly competitive environment.


What is the best thing about you?

My growth mindset: I believe challenges are growth opportunities. I enjoy leading through coaching and collaboration, seeing people thrive and business progress towards greater achievements.


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement so far has been turning a struggling business into one that is profitable, and a dysfunctional team into high performing business partners.


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“Let’s focus on what we can control and improve”.


What does it mean to you to be Limitless?

Being Limitless is to constantly search for growth opportunities, with impactful purpose.



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