If I were to keep count on which door inside my family home is opened the most on a daily basis, I think I would find that one would feature at least twice as much as the next – our pantry door! In a house with 5 people and 2 teenagers (with a third not far away), it seems that our food just walks off the shelves without any trace of evidence. This speed of food disappearance can be multiplied by one hundred percent if it has sugar in it…and if that item is a jar of Nutella, well then, the race in our house is on. My wife has even taken to hiding the jar of Nutella in the most unusual places, but even then it seemingly always finds a way to empty itself!
So why this introduction about a simple chocolate hazelnut spread. Well, it is less about the product, and more about the ingenious inventor who created a brand that has the ability to cause wars in the Alweyn household – Michele Ferrero. I first became intrigued by Ferrero when I heard our very own Fr Pier reference him in a homily delivered to students during a Mass at Kolbe. It piqued my interest, and in reading more about him, there were so many values he embodied that aligned so deeply with our Kolbe Way, and what we aspire to develop within members of our community.
Firstly, Ferrero embraced opportunity and prioritised innovation. It was actually his father who first developed the Nutella product in Italy in the 1960’s, when he added hazelnuts to his chocolate spread due to cocoa being in short supply. However, it was Ferrero who had the foresight to develop and create the Nutella brand, and connect it initially to the national, and then global market. By continuing to reinvent the brand and foster innovative opportunities – like Kinder Surprise eggs for children, and Ferrero Rocher’s (my all time favourite) for a more refined market, he ensured his brand’s long term survival.
While his business acumen is unquestionable, it is the humanitarian side of Ferrero that I believe is far more impressive. Firstly, Ferrero was a devout Catholic, and it was his faith in Jesus Christ that inspired him to think of others before himself. He deeply valued his employees and was ground-breaking in creating the ‘Piera, Pietro and Giovanni Ferrero Foundation’ whose main purpose is to look after long standing employees of his company. The foundation offered financial support to those in need, while also providing educational, creative and recreational initiatives to all of his former employees. He also focused on giving back to his former community of Alba in Italy, where his foundation provides financial aid to citizens looking to pursue dreams within the fields of art, science, literature and history. Through his own personal success, he continued to reinvest in ensuring others lived better lives. His focus on others was unwavering until his death in 2015.
Ferrero’s story should provide inspiration to all of us in the Kolbe community. By valuing an unwavering solidarity with others, and being inspired by the life of Jesus, he modelled to us how to love as Jesus did. As members of our special school community, we should continue to focus on bringing love, joy and peace to others with every interaction we have. In doing this, we truly allow ourselves to experience true happiness and ultimately a genuine sense of belonging within the Kolbe community. Can I take this opportunity to thank you all for continuing to partner our College in inspiring our young women and men to show the spirit of Christ to others through their actions. Finally, if you need any tips on where to hide your jar of Nutella, I may know someone who can help!
Mr Neil Alweyn – Principal