Trieste is a port and trading city in the northern Adriatic Sea. As a result of its turbulent history, it is uniquely diverse and shaped by many cultures, religions and people with different backgrounds. This represents an asset and an opportunity for the HHLA PLT Italy terminal, where Ghersenti works.
“For us, it’s completely normal for people to come from all over the world and mix here,” says Alessia Ghersenti, describing the spirit of her hometown. She herself is a good example of this mix. Her family has different national roots: Austrian, Austro-Hungarian, Slovenian and Italian as well.
“Thanks to the Austrian Hungarian heritage the people of Trieste are used to multicultural environments,” she says, explaining why immigration is so widely accepted here. As well people from Trieste are used to move around the world. We have for instance a big community living in Australia. Ghersentis family has also spread across many countries like Canada, Brazil, Australia, South Africa or Morocco.
We are the port, we are logistics, we are Hamburg and we are people from around 40 nations who work together and shape the future of HHLA.*
Ghersenti herself writes and speaks primarily in English but can also speak a number of other languages. She even started learning Chinese to distract herself during the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and is currently struggling bravely with the Level 3 exam.
As the coordinator of the CEO’s office and the Project Office, she takes all kinds of challenges and difficulties in stride. The HHLA subsidiary on the Adriatic is still new, as it is the team. “We all have to improvise quite a bit and react quickly,” she says, putting her headset on.
One of her two bosses, the CEO, has announced a spontaneous visit to the terminal. Preparations must be made quickly, and the CEO must be escorted. Ghersenti orchestrates it all with a resolute but friendly voice, usually via Microsoft Teams.
Her actual qualifications – which fit perfectly with Trieste – are also put to good use at HHLA PLT Italy. She lived in London and Muenich and completed various degree programmes in Italy - some of which focused on intercultural studies and diversity.