Stories of Success From Across The Globe
Have you ever thought about working overseas? This topic is particularly close to our hearts at Naked. It’s where Erica and I met while working in London (see photo evidence below)* and we have that wild and grey city to thank for some of our most incredible career moments and toughest lessons.
We asked three ladies we love who are living and working abroad - in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong - to share their stories and motivations for making the move. We hope you are as inspired as we are:
Jackie Funder is currently working with Macquarie Capital's Infrastructure Advisory team in New York, where she works on large M&A transactions in the sector. She is whip smart, an economist by training and always the one standing at any party.
‘The paradox of choice’ is a phrase that I had heard many times, but only really felt for the first time upon moving to New York.
In 2013 I decided to quit a great job at PwC, leave my boyfriend, pack up my life and move to New York. If people asked why I was going I would say – ‘I just love New York!’ Whilst that is true, it is not the real reason I moved, nor the reason why I stayed.
I’m here because of the unbelievable opportunities that present themselves every day. When I moved I didn’t know that I wanted to do in my career. I was thinking finance or a start up, yet how I would get these jobs or what I would be doing - I had no idea.
What I quickly learnt was that by putting yourself out there in a new country and exploring what it has to offer you will ultimately find more opportunities than you thought possible.
So much so that you end up with living with the paradox of choice. And really, this is no bad thing when you think how limited the options were for women 40 years ago!
Law graduate, turned graduate recruiter for law (and one of the funniest women around) Tiff Rogers thought the expat life had passed her by. Until, just 4 weeks ago, she quit her well-heeled job to take up an opportunity in Hong Kong…
I always wanted to live and work overseas at some point. With a serious hankering for adventure and a curiosity that kills cats it was a no brainer for me. But for some reason, it just didn't happen. As friends started to return home from their overseas jaunts, I became resigned to the fact that my ship had sailed and that was that. Settled in Sydney, I was happy enough. Good job, great guy, all signs were pointing to Pleasantville. So when an old boss who I adore approached me about an opportunity to work with her at a global investment bank in Hong Kong, there was a lot to weigh up.
At 32, was moving to a crazy frenetic city really the right thing to do? Shouldn't I be slowing down and settling down like everyone else? What are my priorities? The 'shoulds' and 'what ifs' in every direction were pretty deafening until suddenly it was really quite clear. I wanted to go.
I was extremely fortunate that my boyfriend was prepared to come with me so once flights were booked, cars were sold and farewells were made there was no turning back. I found it incredibly liberating to step completely into the unknown.
So fast forward, I am now six weeks into my new job and new city, basically catapulted out of my comfort zone. Every assumption I had about leadership, team management, stakeholder management and even my own capabilities is in question right now as my reference points have shifted completely. As terrifying as that sounds, it’s actually the best bit. I manage a virtual team with direct reports in HK, China and India and have my own reporting lines to HK, North America and Europe with stakeholders scattered all over the Asia Pacific. This has forced me to rethink the way I communicate, my approach to building relationships, my leadership style and expectations of others and myself. Finding my way in such a diverse cultural melting pot requires navigation and new judgment calls on a daily basis and while that’s an immense challenge, it’s also where the growth is happening.
To anyone considering an international working experience I could not recommend it more highly. The degree of change is unparalleled but with that comes immense learning potential and personal and professional growth. From a career perspective, there are huge gains in being immersed in a new culture, learning about business through a different geographical lens. Plus it opens up a whole lot of doors and networks to tap into. As for Hong Kong specifically – it’s fast paced, eclectic and frankly pretty bonkers but there’s something for everyone and that’s what makes it ace.
Dani Weber is a gender & sexuality geek, ex NAB banker and community organiser. A killer public speaker, she gave a TED-style talk to over 150 people about using gamification break down barriers on serious topics like feminism and she has even presented for us at recent workshops.
Just over a month ago, my partner and I packed up our lives and moved to the U.S. We had been very keen to embark on an adventure overseas, and when the opportunity of San Francisco was presented to us (through a career move for him), I was absolutely thrilled.
I had spent two years with the security of working at one of the big four banks. But I’ve come here now with no work (yet) which is definitely a challenge but also a huge opportunity. It’s really made me question the routine of a 9-5 job. I am now crafting various projects to give me a balance of income, productivity, and fulfillment.
I am incredibly happy here, and excited about what I can create through spontaneity, persistence and carving my own path.
*Camden, London circa 2011