Get Ahead by Going Abroad

Get Ahead by Going Abroad

by C. Perry Yeatman, Stacie Nevadomski Berdan

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As companies expand their international operations, smart women who are prepared to pursue opportunities overseas can dramatically accelerate their careers, enjoying high-profile projects, bigger promotions, and impressive financial rewards.

Get Ahead by Going Abroad is the go-to resource that reveals how women, single or married, can leverage this

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As companies expand their international operations, smart women who are prepared to pursue opportunities overseas can dramatically accelerate their careers, enjoying high-profile projects, bigger promotions, and impressive financial rewards.

Get Ahead by Going Abroad is the go-to resource that reveals how women, single or married, can leverage this trend to showcase their skills and move up quickly on their own terms. Written by two women who did so with huge success, the book is packed with candid, instructive anecdotes and examples from their own and others' experiences, and step-by-step guidance for securing and succeeding in an international position. Yeatman and Berdan show how women at every level can benefit from an overseas posting: young professionals seeking to break out from the pack, mid-career women interested in new challenges with increased responsibility, or senior executives in pursuit of positions in executive management. Get Ahead by Going Abroad helps you get further, faster—and have fun along the way. It gives you the strategies to land the assignment, thrive in the job, and enjoy the lifestyle abroad.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Yeatman (senior vice president, Kraft Foods) and Berdan, both veterans of multiple overseas assignments, sent a "Girls Go Global" survey to over 100 professional women with overseas work experience, eventually reaching over 200 women as the survey was passed to others in both Europe and Asia. While the authors occasionally refer to statistical survey results and include a copy of the survey, the book is mainly composed of personal stories. These are arranged within chapters that proceed according to the steps from making the decision to work overseas to preparing for the work assignment, surviving the first year, prospering at the work, and finally repatriating. Advice from a few survey respondents is included along the way. These stories make the book feel like a group of mentors guiding the reader through deciding to go, getting there, and navigating cultural difficulties while distinguishing oneself on the job. The authors promise that survey results will be tabulated on a web site. In the meantime, the book includes useful lists, such as steps in the decision-making process, and important documents to take. There is no other book quite like this, a recommendation in itself. Recommended for public libraries and academic library career collections. (Index not seen.)
—Heidi Senior

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

Get Ahead by Going Abroad
A Woman's Guide to Fast-track Career Success

Chapter One

Fast-tracking Your Career

I was a twenty-five-year-old account executive making $25,000 a year when I accepted my first job overseas. By the time I returned to the United States ten years later, I was a vice president in one of the world's largest consumer products companies, making more than twentyfold what I had when I left. More importantly, those years were the most exciting of my life, both personally and professionally: consulting for several of the world's most respected companies . . . having an office off Red Square while working on behalf of the Russian ministry of privatization . . . touring Bangkok with Margaret Thatcher. Weekends spent scuba diving in the Maldives, romantically strolling hand in hand through the streets of Prague and Paris, or shopping in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. I worked hard, played hard, learned a lot, and had fun. None of it would've happened if I'd stayed in the United States.
—Perry, coauthor and Kraft Foods, Inc.

Going overseas can fast-track your career and expand your personal horizons beyond your wildest dreams. If you love adventure, thrive on taking risks and operating outside your comfort zone, and are fed up with the inequality of the old boys' network, going global could be your ticket to the fast track.

As thousands of women (and men) know, working and living in another country can expand your professional options manifold. International experience differentiates you from your peers. Doors open for you because companies need professionals who can actlocally while thinking globally.

Women in the know are on to this trend. More and more women are being asked to take on international dimensions in their existing jobs or are considering new jobs with more global dimensions—often at much earlier stages in their careers than in the past. International roles, once offered primarily to men, are now increasingly being offered to women. There are many reasons, but the most groundbreaking is the growing acceptance that a woman's natural style—her feminine traits—can actually lead to greater success in cross-cultural situations. A woman's style endows her with an awareness of and ability to adapt to others' styles. It enables her to build teams in a nonthreatening "we're all in this together" fashion. As women we tend to overcommunicate, which can actually be good in situations that are ambiguous and with -people who are different from us. We persist diplomatically in difficult circumstances and are not afraid to use the right mix of emotional intelligence, intellectual might, and feminine intuition.

Companies are acknowledging this new fact of business by sending more women abroad than ever before. Don't misunderstand us; those gender stereotypes that have limited a woman's ability to be considered for an overseas assignment still exist. But they are slowly but surely diminishing as more women succeed in international assignments from Bangkok to Buenos Aires, São Paulo to Stockholm, Calcutta to Cairo. If you are looking for a ticket out of middle management, join our new band of leaders: women we call the new globetrotters because of the successful international experiences they have under their belts (and in their pocketbooks).

Making It Real: Let the Adventure Begin

Throughout this book you'll meet dozens of women who have catapulted their careers by going overseas. We surveyed more than two hundred women who have spent significant time overseas, either as expatriates or in headquarters-based roles with significant international responsibility. We designed the survey in consultation with a seasoned research expert. Invitations to participate were sent to approximately 100 female professionals who have worked overseas and then to hundreds more as referrals from those women to others they know. Although the women who replied were not a strictly random sample, their responses represent the views of a highly diverse population of women executives.

Six women, including the two coauthors, will lead you on a journey of exploration into the wonders of working around the world. Colorful stories from women who took up the challenge of working overseas will bring the international experience alive. Each story has its own lessons, and the experiences are particularly instructive when seen up close. As you get to know us, we hope you'll enjoy our stories and feel that you've learned from them—and maybe find that you have a few things in common with us.

We will share our secrets and strategies, such as how to use your feminine style to your advantage, how to be market savvy and assignment wise, and how to make a successful return. We want you to feel prepared to take off on your own international adventure, to leapfrog the competition, and to take heart through the inevitable challenges. There are a growing number of professional women with whom you can build bonds based on shared experiences. You will become part of an international network of like-minded "global girls" who have had their passports to success stamped time and time again. So, let's introduce you to some of these inspiring women.

Anna Catalano, fluent in Mandarin, moved as a senior manager from Chicago to Beijing with a husband and two small children for two years while establishing Amoco's downstream office and exploring her Chinese roots. She later spent another five years abroad, this time in London as group vice president of global marketing for BP, and was recognized in Fortune's 2001 "Most Powerful Women in International Business" before making the decision to walk away from it all in 2003 and spend time with her extended family in Texas. She now serves as an independent director on several public boards.

Diane Gulyas, a chemical engineer with a passion for customers, had ten years of experience when she went over two bosses' heads to request a position overseas in Geneva, Switzerland. She and her husband lived there for two and a half years and then transferred to Belgium, where she supervised a manufacturing plant for another year and a half before returning home to Wilmington, Delaware, to work directly with DuPont's CEO. Recognized in Fortune's 2006 "50 Most Powerful Women," she now manages an international staff of seventy-five hundred and a multibillion-dollar division of DuPont, one of the world's largest chemical companies.

Get Ahead by Going Abroad
A Woman's Guide to Fast-track Career Success
. Copyright © by C. Yeatman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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