Humans of CEMS: Triumph over Challenges! From NUS to Graduation in 2023, Leonardo Lotto Inspires CEMSies with his Unyielding Spirit in the Face of Adversity

In 2022, Leonardo Lotto started his CEMS journey as a student at NUS. An Italian, music, sports and travel lover, Leo enjoyed his CEMS studies until he had a life changing accident. However, in spite of his injuries, Leonardo graduated from CEMS in London in December 2023. In his recovery period the CEMS family came together and sent postcards from all over the globe, messages, phone calls. CEMS has become for Leo more than a degree programme, it became his world. We talked to Leo recently.
Leonardo Lotto

What did you feel you experienced most from the CEMS Community after the accident? 

The CEMS community has been wonderful and I would like to say how much I appreciate how much empathy there is in CEMS.  After the accident, I felt all the love and how close they were even if they were far away all around the world. 

CEMS is by far the best thing that has happened in my life so far. It really changed the way I see the world. After CEMS I became more optimistic about the future. 

At the London Annual Events the CEO of Sanofi (Paul Hudson) said that the world needs us more than we can think. I feel it is true, having leaders that are attentive to other people will change the way the corporate world sees things. Now I am very curious to see where my peers and I will go in the future and the impact there will be. 


How do you maintain a positive and resilient mindset in the face of so many challenges?

A year ago my life changed completely in one second. Everything was normal and then I had to face up to so many challenges. What I thought at the time - there is no way to go back in time. So what is the best I can do in this situation? And I discovered that there are lots of things I cannot do anymore and some things I can do and do even better than before. 

My voice now has a different impact than before and I will try to use this to leave a mark on people's life in general. It is not easy to be positive at all times but having contact with people and exchanging ideas and experiences, it's the thing that has most helped me to stay in contact with the real world. 

Being positive is the only way that I have to not only survive but live again. I don't know how I actually do it, I just know it's the best way for me to go on at the moment. The CEMS community helps you so much - the sincere love that we have for each other it's real and it's because we experience so much together, we have so many common values and we see the world in a very similar way. The links we have in the CEMS community are so strong, we know we can change the world together.


Thinking about your personal and professional life, are there areas of personal growth or specific accomplishments you'd like to happen in the future? 

I’m having a reflection moment now. A lot of things have changed and I need to better understand where and how I could bring value and leave a mark.

I am still very passionate about politics. We live in very complex and hard times and I’m not sure the future will be easier. As always in difficulties you also have the opportunities. It is now the moment to demonstrate who we are and that we stick to the values we say we believe in. 

I would like to use the impact that my voice has now to inspire and leave a mark. I’m thinking what is the best way to do it.

Be as free as you can and fight for freedom whatever it takes!
Leonardo Lotto
Leonardo Lotto

How can others be supportive? Are there any specific things you appreciate when it comes to interacting with people?

An accident reminds you how fortunate and lucky you were before and how there are so many little things that are so important. After the accident, I was  focusing on the fact that I couldn’t ski or travel anymore but after a while, you realise that the little things are the one that you miss the most. 

What I find very hard at the moment is that I can’t do simple things like get out of bed and to have breakfast by myself. This loss of independence is very frustrating. Freedom and independence are the most precious things a person can have. I am very aware of that now. 

For others to do for me? Is to be there - all the time, friends and family.  A little message, a call, visit me. It could happen that I don’t feel good and I won’t answer but I know that they are there. That helps a lot. I received postcards and messages from all over the world and every day when I wake up I see them.

Not everyone was able to treat me as before. Luckily,  the CEMS community also had the emotional intelligence to understand that I am the same person as before, just with some physical difficulties, and how important it is for me to maintain the same attitude.

The psychologist in the hospital couldn’t understand how I had so many people message me, visit me, ask for me. But the reason is simple: if you are not part of CEMS, you cannot understand. 


Are there any messages that you would like to convey to the CEMS community?

A big thank you to everyone in the CEMS community. The main message which relates to the current world situation is to be as free as you can and fight for freedom whatever it takes!

Since the CEMS community will have so much impact, if they keep freedom in mind then everything will be ok.