Salerno’s business is constantly expanding and includes several specialised professionals: two physiotherapists, a life coach, a masseuse and a nutritionist.
In addition to being the native language of his grandparents, Italian is an important tool in Salerno’s career.
What did you study at university? When did you learn Italian?
I studied physiotherapy at the University of South Australia for four years and graduated in 2005.
I studied Italian every year at school.
I also did half a year at university while I was studying physiotherapy and I practised with my grandparents.
When I was a child, my grandmother (originally from Bisceglie, in Puglia) lived with us and I often practised Italian with her.
I saw my other grandparents (from Greci, in Campania) every weekend.
I also have many Italian friends, and I am the founder and coordinator of a group for young adults with Italian heritage here in Adelaide.
Do you think knowing a second language is important for your work? If so, why?
Knowing how to speak Italian is very important for my work because I work in an area of Adelaide where there are many Italians who come to see me.
It is very important for them to have someone who understands them.
Better understanding the problem helps to solve it faster.
Can you describe a typical day in your job?
A typical day at work for me – from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm with a lunch break between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm – includes helping clients with musculoskeletal problems.
I do most of my work in the office, but then I also teach exercises for some clients in the pool and gym, and I go to see clients at their houses or nursing homes.
I also dedicate some time to running my business, for example holding meetings with other companies and with my employees, and doing office work.
What is one of the hardest things about your job? What do you love the most?
A more difficult but also satisfying aspect of my job is better understanding how to manage and grow a company with employees.
What I love most about my job is seeing a client’s face when they feel better after therapy.
It also brings me a lot of satisfaction and joy when a nonna is so happy that she even brings me some sausages, tomatoes, biscuits or a cake from home.
In your opinion, what are three fundamental qualities of a physiotherapist?
Three fundamental qualities I need to possess to do my job well are: a passion for helping people; the ability to communicate well with anybody (both listening and speaking); and the ability to find solutions to any problem.