A couple of years ago, five beautiful minds faced a dilemma. Well-trained in economics, marketing and management, all five professionals encountered a decision: to live a balanced life in the places they loved or fulfil their ambitions by working on global projects with world-class companies.
The choice lay between fancy business cards or a window by the sea, between the job of their dreams or the love of their life. Often, it meant weighing the pros and cons of an office full of brilliant colleagues in a cold, hectic city versus the option of being free to stay close to family and explore the world. At each fork in the road, the latter always mattered the most. Yes, but doing what? they wondered.
Great jobs and exciting projects seemed forever reserved for those willing to live in big cities and sit in big offices all day, every day for most of their lives.
Nicolò, Mario, Naomy, Laura and Ludovica had been there and done that. They studied at prestigious schools: Bocconi in Italy, Fudan in China, Imperial and Cambridge in the UK, UBC in Canada, Nanyang in Singapore. They worked for some of the best companies in the world, both in the public and private sector: The United Nations and European Central Bank, McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, Google and Microsoft, Ferrari and Michelin-starred groups.
Yet, slide after slide and spreadsheet after spreadsheet, they felt they were no longer giving their best. They sensed that the once-flourishing qualities of creativity, vitality and energy were withering away.
The problem was not the late hours nor the high stakes. They loved challenging tasks and ambitious targets. They just needed new rules to live by, allowing them to be where they wanted to be and the freedom to live their lives.
At first, Nicoló tried to do that as a freelancer, facing the unknown in exchange for more freedom. He excelled at numbers and words, so he took on impact analysis reports and marketing strategies and business plans and communications projects – which, in the working world, are often performed separately and by different people. However, Nicoló was thirsty for new challenges, so he took them all together. It started working. Soon enough, he called in other like-minded people to work with him. And the concept took off.
Such diverse projects and people made all five professionals discover something they already had inside them: that strategies and stories are both intertwined and inseparable. They realised that people forget numbers and data when unaccompanied by clear messaging, and words sound hollow without a deep knowledge of what you are writing or talking about.
For the first time, it seemed, strategy and storytelling were done by the same people within the same company, working on the same projects: impact analysis and messaging guidelines, business frameworks and marketing materials, quarterly results and social media cards.
World Economic Forum, Netflix, the Australian Government, UniCredit - these are just a handful of the world-leading organisations they started serving from the narrow streets of Bari Vecchia, the rolling hills of Bali and Bologna, and the sea of coffee tables in Rome.
They were building their dream one zoom call, one slide and one ocean dip at the time. They believed in it, and it became real. It became Disal: strategies, stories and skills for global companies and digital citizens.
It all started with a choice. The beautiful minds were willing to work and live their best lives, no matter where their hearts would take them.