Italian born Monica Perna, from the province of Monza and Brianza, is an English coach, mentor and digital entrepreneur who built her academic career as an interpreter and translator. Director of The English Academy since 2018, and founder of the online Masterclass Impara l’Inglese con Monica, she is also creator of the “AUGE Method”, a new method of teaching English based on an experiential, interactive and immersive system with high technological and strategic impact. Among the first professional trainers in Italy to transition from the traditional to the virtual classroom, Monica is the only Italian admitted to the prestigious Platinum Mastermind of Dan Kennedy held in Atlanta, Georgia. Her professional path, begun when she founded her academy in Milan in 2012, led her to Dubai in 2019 where she grew as an entrepreneur in the highly competitive context of the United Arab Emirates. As a sign of gratitude, Monica dedicated her participation as a volunteer at Expo 2020 to the city of Dubai.
Why did you want to start AUGE International Consulting Company?
I founded Auge International Consulting, my education and advanced professional training company, after years of study that led me to the creation of an innovative learning system. I was eager to introduce my “Method” through an organizational and productive system that could offer e-learning instruction that was experiential, immersive and interactive. It had to be effective enough to meet the challenges that the Metaverse poses to any company that wants to operate in the present and future. Online teaching also allows me to reach a wide range of people. In fact, today more than 800,000 students from all over the world have participated in my free seminars, thanks to the possibilities offered by e-learning, which captured my interest back in 2018, well before the pandemic.
Tell us about AUGE International Consulting Company, what makes it so unique?
AUGE International Consulting is a young, dynamic and future-oriented company that I developed with my co-founder Francesco Iannello, to respond simply and effectively to the learning and training needs of those who need to combine education and growth with the dynamics of modern life. This venture gave me the opportunity to carry out projects that I had started in Italy; in the business context of Dubai, I could develop them fully. In this environment in continuous movement, the cradle of a futuristic conception of university education worldwide, entrepreneurs are challenged every day to grow and improve … and they have every tool to do so. The uniqueness of AUGE International Consulting is its mix of innovation, modernity and openness to the future. That’s why I named the company after my method of teaching English. AUGE stands for “Achieve Unbelievable Goals through Experiential learning”. In addition, the company, to facilitate broader access to education for all and to prepare for the future evolution of the world economy, accepts transactions in cryptocurrency, which are simpler, safer and involve no additional fees.
How has the business grown to be where it is now? What has contributed to your success?
AUGE International Consulting has grown from the ground up as a company in step with the most innovative technological advances in the Metaverse. With 30 employees from all over the world, 80% of whom are women, AUGE adopts high technological standards, continuous updating of tools and digital innovation to make users’ learning experiences more dynamic and productive. One of the strengths of the company is our focus on customer service, along with the high degree of specialization and innovation of the services we offer. Indeed, my learning programs now reach more than 800 thousand students worldwide. I must say that working and living in the UAE is very inspiring. The philosophy of the leaders who guide the city of Dubai, above all, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, is 100% aligned with our method of teaching and working: “Excellence is a habit, a style. It is love for being number one in everything. It is a journey filled with learning, perseverance and patience. The pleasure of excellence has a special taste that is only known to those who have tried it”.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
I’m most proud of being able to change people’s lives every day. Learning English is not just about skills, it is about transformation, overcoming your limits, and proving to yourself that you can do it! It means recharging your memory, embracing a new mindset and lifestyle that makes learning English a pleasant habit. Being a mentor & English coach, being able to daily inspire those who put their trust in me implies great responsibility, but also great privilege! Italians to start with, but really, any student in the world who wants to learn this essential language now has the most powerful tools at their fingertips, whenever they want, to achieve their goal of learning and having fun at the same time. This is possible thanks to interactive whiteboards, immersive experiences, mentorship and coaching sessions, native speakers always ready to talk online, virtual study trips and much more.
I spent more than 3 years searching for the right theoretical framework on which to base an effective and long-lasting English teaching program. After years of experience in the field, I found the right answer upon my arrival in Dubai. I came to the conclusion that by activating specific mechanisms linked to experience and emotion, the human mind can store more information, retain it more effectively and use it more easily. This concept, inspired by Dale’s Cone theories and the principle of Learning by Doing, enabled me to create an innovative program where I also reassessed the role of “Translation” as a fundamental skill for learning and to identify Globish as the global English actually spoken today by the international community.
What are the company’s plans in the next 5 years?
My company’s mission is to help people to grow and learn to their best advantage by using the most effective tools so that learning is truly effective and achievable for everyone. AUGE International Consulting aims to improve and simplify access to knowledge for all, thus making it truly inclusive, democratic and functional.
With this mindset, within the futuristic environment of Dubai, I worked hard to bring my company into the Metaverse by 2021, aiming at the internationalization of some of our programs that will be offered very soon, first in Europe and then in Asia. To accomplish this, AUGE International Consulting welcomed a team of collaborators who have had the opportunity to change their lives, growing personally and professionally in a young, multicultural and challenging company context where ” work” means “never stop learning”.
What has been the worst moment of your career so far?
I went through a rough patch in 2017 when, having purchased my dream home in Milan, I began renovating it by relying on a contractor who then vanished, taking my life savings with him. Those were days of suffering and anger that I overcame by taking on new projects and pursuing new goals. As I have always done in times of difficulty, I immersed myself in study. I started studying funnels and tools to start and manage an online business and shift to 100% e-learning. From the ashes of that painful time in 2018, Impara l’Inglese con Monica was created, the project that changed my life. I was among the first trainers in Italy to make the transition from the traditional classroom to the virtual one. But the worst moment for me was the loss of my mother, senselessly taken from me by lung cancer at only 58 years old. Inspired by her guidance, I created paths that completely changed the fate of my academy and my company, including English for Life and Fluency Formula; I brought 15 native English Coaches trained in the AUGE Method into the team. I have dedicated these projects to my mother by allocating a part of the profits to the Italian Foundation IEO Monzino to support research for cancer treatment.
When I share my story, I try to get across to my students that English and my Academy turned out to be my lifeline – a project that wasn’t merely limited to an idea, but was intended to put into practice to do some good. I feel that this is the only thing a person can do when life holds very difficult moments in store for you. The only answer to pain is to use it to help others.
How do you stay relevant and current and where do you get your inspirations from?
My main source of inspiration is the place where I live. Dubai was a pile of sand until 50 years ago; today the city holds more than 220 world records. Dubai’s vision is very clear: “Imagine, design and execute it: impossible is possible!”
When you live in Dubai, you have two choices: embrace the spirit and philosophy of the city and run with it, or stand back, floundering, and watching the rest of the runners pass you by. AUGE International Consulting has always known what to do – run! Running towards continuous improvement, the ongoing drive for excellence and the will to challenge our own limits every day in order to set new ones. After all, here they say, “Many think that sky is the limit for ambition. We say that the sky is only the beginning!”
What has been your key (or keys) to success?
The keys to my success are many.
Mindset: I had to do a lot of work on myself. It is said that to achieve different results, you have to evolve into someone new. I’ve had to grow in terms of mindset, even accepting the distancing of people who didn’t like the new version of me, motivated, but above all focused on the goals I had set to achieve.
Discipline: that ability to keep going in the right direction because inside you know it’s true.
Abiding passion for my work: when you create something of your own, the dividing line between you as an entrepreneur and you as a person disappears. Your company is your creature which, like a plant, with daily care and love, you make sure it has water and light.
Courage: I’ve never been afraid to take the plunge. I grew up as an adopted child in a family from Brianza. Seeing my dad go to work at 4 a.m. and return at 9 p.m. has always been normal for me, as has supporting my mother who has always tried her hand at various activities, making many sacrifices. This has made me the person I am today. I’m not afraid to throw myself into something I don’t know how to do; I’m not afraid to study or work even 20 hours a day if I have to. The fact that I can count on myself makes me feel safe. After all, if you’re not the first to believe in yourself, who ever will?
What steps do you take when you want to get through a less-than-good business day?
I do something! If I feel stranded and stuck, I exercise. After all, “as your body moves your brain grooves.” This is a philosophy that I not only profess to my students, but personally embrace daily.
When I feel confused and don’t know what to do, I read instead. There is a world of people out there who have probably already faced similar situations to mine from whom to take inspiration.
Generally, however, I have a routine that takes care of my body and especially my brain: I always go to bed and get up at the same time, even on weekends; I limit the use of social media to work activities and, most importantly, I surround myself with people from whom I draw inspiration, teaching, learning, and see as role models to improve my skills.
When I have a bad day, this enables me to access the tools and the mindset to help me react. After all, it’s all about how you choose to react to events, rather than just endure them!