Hoya Highlight: Rafael Fantauzzi (EML’08), Diversity and Inclusion Manager, IKEA


What is the best career advice you have ever received?

Never take “no” for an answer.

What are the big trends in your industry you’re seeing now?

When it comes to my job, we are becoming more global. The most important resource to understand is the equality of a business. People decide to move on fast if they don’t like their environment. I try to create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable. My business is bringing people together.

What do you wish you had done earlier in your career?

I am a very resourceful man and I have been able to do many things in my career. I am actually amazed at all that I have been able to do and accomplish, so no, there is nothing I wish I had done earlier in my career.


What was your favorite class or who was your favorite professor at Georgetown?

I did my Executive Masters in Leadership, which was a one-year program. All of our professors were amazing but if I had to choose one it would be the creator of the program, Robert Bies. He taught many of our leadership courses. As the creator, he owned it and with that he imparted his knowledge and ideas with our cohort.

What advice would you give your younger self (or current Georgetown students)?

Your education is worth your time and money. This program was perfect for my career and goals as a civil rights activist and corporate leader.

How has Georgetown shaped you?

Georgetown has definitely impacted many parts of my life. First off, as a Catholic, the Jesuit values were extremely important to me. Additionally, the caliber of intellectual knowledge from our professors meant I received a top notch degree. Last, but certainly not least, I actually met my wife during this program and we got married by one of our professors at Dahlgren chapel!


What does your workspace look like? What do you have on your desk or with you at all times?

At IKEA, we are very simplistic. We don’t have offices and we each have a desk that any customer could purchase from the store. We do everything virtually and electronically, and we travel frequently, so our offices around the world are all set up similarly. The only office tools I need on a daily basis are my phone and my laptop

What is one part of your daily routine you couldn’t live without?

Coffee. Especially Swedish coffee—it is stronger.

What are your words to live by?

“Attitude without substance is just plain bitterness.” That is really about being a champion but supporting what you are trying to do with facts and not just opinions.

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