Hello everyone let me introduce myself.
My name is Federica Cascia. I have a few nicknames, given to me by friends, family, and acquaintances. Each nickname represents a different part of me – a different part of my life.
Each nickname represents a part of who I am.
My name is “Chicca,” to a very small group of people – all from my region in Italy called Marche – which includes my family and friends with whom I attended kindergarten and primary school with.
My name is “Fede” to a small group of Italians. These are special people that you meet in your life. The ones that you share something with. The ones that you hold close to your heart.
My name is “Fed” for my American colleagues. They are all familiar with the name Frederick, but my name doesn’t have an “R” after the “F.” So I’ve started to say, “call me Fed, like Fed-Ex but without the ‘Ex’” – it is working!
All the different parts of me – Chicca, Fede, and Fed – make me who I am and I want give you a glimpse of my story.
Chicca is a pest, a tomboy.
In kindergarten, Chicca adored Mazinga Zeta, liked to imitate Tarzan, and climbed between trees during recess. Chicca loved to turn on the light during the afternoon nap, as soon as everyone was asleep, and would tirelessly remove the veil from the nuns at the first opportunity.
Chicca loved to make trouble.
For her grandmother and her dialect-style expression, Chicca is a “remigia” the ultimate expression to describe energy, passion, and exuberance.
At the age of six, Chicca fell literally in love with being on stage after her first kindergarten and ballet performance. So much so, that she decided to study ballet for over twenty years, practicing, acting, and doing animation in tourist villages.
Teaching at the gym for over ten years, along with teaching marketing and digital marketing for the Latam Business School, have been another expression of that first admiration for the stage. Today it lies in this blog – and ultimately in the idea of writing a book.
Chicca is also the six-year-old girl who was asked to seat in the front row on the first day of school because she is the daughter of separated parents. Not just an ordinary daughter of separated parents, but the only daughter of separated parents in the whole school, the only one in the entire town.
I am telling you this story because if you read these lines, you’ve probably come across my blog that talks about personal growth and about my absolute belief in the ability within each of us to shape our lives. I believe that it is not the starting point, nor the finish line that matters in life. It is the journey.
Our personal journey is the vital element of our lives. And this course is made of personal growth. It depends on our ability to expand our Comfort Zones. It is always a personal story. There is no need to compare ourselves with others. There is no competition. Each of us is unique.
The exercise of retracing the highlights of my life to tell you who I am, allows me to connect the dots and reinforce the story I want to tell you. The Comfort Zone Shake-Up story – a story of change, evolution, enrichment, personal and professional growth. It is my story, and it could be your story, too.
But let’s get back to my story.
Chicca developed a certain familiarity with an important concept that she will carry with her as she grows into Fede and Fed over the years. That concept is diversity.
I was different compared to most of my peers when I decided to work towards what I wanted. And I wanted to be independent.
To finance my first aerobics training certification, I had two different jobs. I was a barista every Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at my uncle’s shop and a salesgirl at my aunt’s bakery every Monday to Friday morning. To be independent – and with my certifications – I worked in different gyms five hours a day, five days a week while I was studying economics and marketing at a university.
I was different compared to most of my peers when I decided to leave my hometown and to move to Milan – “the city.” Can you imagine how much I stretched my Comfort Zone? In Italy, moving from a small Tuscan-style town with less than six thousand people to a city like Milan is a big stretch, let me tell you. My culture, my habits – even my accent – was different from the rest of my new crew.
I was different compared to most of my peers in Milan when I decided to move to New York – “the Big Apple.” Can you imagine how much I stretched my Comfort Zone? My culture, my habits, the language!!!
Fede is the girl who discovers, among the thousand activities and projects that spanned the course of 20 years, two passions that will impact the rest of her life.
The first is Romualdo Fortucci, her friend, lover, boyfriend, husband, shoulder, confidant, adviser, supporter and biggest fan. At the time of writing, I spent about 56% of my life with him, and I’m not 20!
The second is marketing. Marketing is the reason she was able to graduate when the instant gratification of the aerobic teacher salary was so strong. Marketing immediately represented the perfect discipline; the meeting point between the analyticity of the accountant and the creativity of the dancer. Marketing represented me.
Digital marketing and social media marketing have helped to forge the idea of never feeling ‘arrived,’ of continuing to learn, of constantly working to expand your comfort zone.
Marketing has literally allowed Chicca, Fede, and Fed – all the parts that make up the adult version of me – to travel the world. From the beginning in Marche, then through the laughing Romagna, the great Rome, the important Milan, and well…the Big Apple – New York.
If today Fed writes these lines from a desk overlooking Times Square, she owes it to the unparalleled support of her husband, the coaching of extraordinary leaders, the obstacles put in place by nothing less than extraordinary leaders, and of course – marketing.
It would be unjust not to take just a little of the credit for where I am today. It took my untiring tenacity, my unbridled passion for learning, my healthy curiosity and my resilience to go from that first desk in a village in the Marche to a desk in an office with a breathtaking view of New York.
If I have not told you enough yet, you’ll have fun following my adventures. If you have come to read this far, I can only thank you, welcome you and naturally wish you always have the courage to “shake-up” your Comfort Zone.
I wrap up this story with the hope that you will find at least a little inspiration among these pages. And I recommend starting here.
Chicca, Fede, Fed.
Photo Nousha Salimi