Amway’s been a global company for much of our 60 some years. From my very first opportunity at Amway, I’ve been traveling globally, working with our teams around the world from the beginning in different capacities, including helping to open new markets when we were first going into Eastern Europe and such from an operational perspective. So, I’ve always been very comfortable. I traveled extensively and when I’ve wanted to do an ex-pat assignment, I always wanted to be in their shoes because I was always the corporate person and not always well-received. And, and so I thought I would love to do that. There were other opportunities that kind of came and went, but, a few years ago, the opportunity came up to go and build out a regional supply chain function within Asia-Pac. And there had already been an Americas one, a European, Russia one. And so, I thought, maybe this is the time and it was a little bit tricky because I had just had major spine surgery. My doctor and I had a long conversation and this is not going to define who I am. And so, he let me interview and I got the job and off I went. I can tell you that it is the best thing that I probably have ever done in my career.
There’s, so many lessons that I learned, but it’s really about being flexible in your communication style, in how you get work done. Because the Japanese are very different in how they make decisions and move things forward than the Koreans, et cetera. I managed 11 different markets there. So, I had to learn 11 different cultural styles and be ready to step into that at any given point in time. But I enjoyed that challenge. It was crazy busy but from a personal perspective, the one thing that I learned is I had to be very patient and I had to be patient with the people that I worked with. But more importantly, I had to be patient with myself and to be accepting that, this is a very different world and the pace at which you get things done is going to be different. I tend to be a little bit of a perfectionist, so I just had to learn to be okay and be patient with myself. And to know that I’m in a different country or countries, and it’s not my normal territory. There’s so much new coming at you, that you really have to be kind of patient and just work your way through it. But you’re absorbing a lot of new all at once and you go through a lot emotionally and you just have to give yourself a lot of grace.
But I would just highly recommend, I always tell my team members, if this opportunity ever presents itself, don’t be afraid, take the leap. I don’t think I’ve known anyone who hasn’t done an ex-pat that didn’t come back very happy with the experience.
For me, I’m in the role that I stepped into. Two years ago, we went through a huge organizational change and we switched from the regional model to a more centrally organized model from what we call center out. At that time, my regional role was eliminated. But luckily, I was offered the opportunity to come back and step into the global planning role. The relationships that I had built in Asia helped me so much to get ground and get success early on because the changes we made to be center led, really impacted the markets. And I had to lean into those relationships and friendships that I had made really the trust to get us through that. And, if I didn’t have that, how much more difficult it would have been to have the conversations I had to have and to make the changes. So, it really helps on many facets of your career to build global relationships and to get out of your comfort zone.