Kieran Conlan, CEO of Cascade (a practice of Ricardo Energy and Environment), recounts his experience.
When Kieran arrived in Padova, Alessandro Leonardi and Lucio Brotto from UNIPD were all there to welcome him. Kieran’s initial relationship with UNIPD began when Alessandro proposed to come to CASCADE as part of another ERASMUS project. Kieran believes that it worked because they made it work, it was clear that there was a relationship, a lot of which was down to Alessandro, who constantly made the effort, often meeting Kieran when he was available. He believes that while ERASMUS led to a successful relationship, both the host and visitor need to hit it off. You understand the cultural differences. In his words “It’s about enthusiasm, you need to go out and meet people”.
Kieran confirmed that he can bring his experience back to the UK, “the UK is very good with policy, but less good with bottom up cooperation”, indeed, he can bring the experience from Lucio’s Bosco Limite, where he learned lessons of community-based participation for the greater social benefit. He has made business opportunities, and will involve them in bids.
The highlight for Kieran was cementing existing relationships, and making new friends while improving the understanding. “We explored lots of ideas”. Kieran also gave some advice; “Keep reaching out, keep up the enthusiasm, the work that you do is quite specific, give case studies, make sure everybody knows the work that you do is right. It’s important to let people know, give them a story”.
Kieran believes it’s important to be able to describe how you feel about your work and where you work, in few words, he describes CASCADE as: Proud and Happy. To sum up, he has learned the importance of maintaining the links, and the links lead to opportunity. The shared knowledge gives the experience and tools necessary to apply new things in the correct way.