Three Flags, One Heart

Three Flags, One Heart

Jul 08, 2024 401 ITA ENG

It is a pleasure in this new interview to host someone who, before emigrating from Italy to the United States, came from another country to Italy. The relationship between the emigration of those who become new Italians and the emigration of those who move to America from being Italians is fascinating, and Cornelia Pop, whom we welcome to We the Italians, sums up both experiences.

This is also a story that, once again, tells how valuable the Internet and social media can be, when used in the right way, to make community. And for once, we can say that the perfect title for this interview is: Three Flags, One Heart.

Cornelia, please tell us your story that begins in Romania, continues in Italy, and then sees you move to the United States

Absolutely! My journey began in Romania, where I was born and spent the first 13 years of my life with my four sisters and two brothers while my parents were in Italy, working to create more opportunities for us. As a teenager, I moved to Turin, Italy, to join them. There I pursued my education and eventually started my career in a Big4 multinational consulting firm in Milan.

In 2018, during my first maternity leave, my husband received a job opportunity in the U.S. Driven by curiosity, courage, and a desire to step out of our comfort zone, we took a leap of faith and moved to the Big Apple. This bold move opened new horizons for us. After a few years, I found myself working at the same consulting firm, but this time in NYC, supporting organizations, especially in HR, in their journey of innovation and tech transformation.

Currently, my husband, our two daughters (6 and 3 years old), and I live in Jersey City, embracing the adventure of life in a new country.

You created an inclusive, empowering, and resourceful network: Italian Women USA. How did you come up with the idea to do this?

The idea for the Community sparked shortly after we moved to the U.S., specifically in March 2019. It all began when I started connecting with several Italian women on social media who had been living here for some time. Their invaluable advice and suggestions helped me navigate the initial adjustment period.

I soon realized that many of these women didn’t know each other but could greatly benefit from being connected, just as I felt enriched by their support. This realization inspired me to create the Community, which grew from an Instagram page to a Facebook group, to in-person and virtual meetups, and eventually to local chapters in multiple cities nationwide.

Please tell us something more about IWUSA. Your website mentions a core business team…

The vision of our Community is to enhance the experience of first-generation Italian women or those who have lived in Italy at every stage of their journey in the U.S. by nurturing meaningful connections and providing a safe environment where every can find the support they need.

To bring this vision to life, we adopted a member-driven approach where everyone can invest their time and expertise to contribute to and grow our Community. We have a dedicated core team of six that oversees all ongoing initiatives, a network of Ambassadors who lead 25 Local Chapters in cities across the nation, and several Contributors who provide specific expertise as needed.

How many members does IWUSA have?

Our Community has grown significantly since its inception, thanks to word of mouth and the power of shared experiences. Currently, we have 8,600 active members across the United States in our Facebook group, all contributing to and benefiting from a safe environment, meaningful connections and resources available.

What are your main activities?

Our main activities include regular networking meetups in multiple cities across the U.S., organized by our Local Chapters, and monthly virtual workshops and webinars that focus on personal and professional development. Additionally, our members actively share their stories and experiences on our Facebook group and WhatsApp Local Chapters, offering mutual support.

We recently launched the podcast “We Are IWUSA” to motivate and inspire listeners through our stories. Our activities continuously evolve to meet the needs of our members and the capacity of each volunteer.

I see that you have Ambassadors, as we do, in several parts of the USA…

Yes, we do! Our Ambassadors and Assistants play a vital role in expanding our Community’s reach and impact. Currently, there are 25 Chapters in the U.S. managed by over 40 members. They help organize local meetups, support new members, and ensure that our initiatives and resources are accessible to Italian women across the United States. Their involvement has been instrumental in fostering a strong sense of belonging and support within our Community.

What can We the Italians do to help Italian Women USA?

We the Italians can support the Community by amplifying our message to reach more first-generation Italian women who are living in or planning to move to the U.S. Additionally, creating opportunities to connect our Community with broader networks and potential mentors would significantly enhance the support system we offer, empowering more women to thrive in the US.

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