What career path can lead to Director Global Leadership Training Americas for Berlitz?

Posted by Ronald | February 17, 2013  |  No Comment

With the need to equip students and business people with the skills to communicate and work effectively in cross-cultural situations, The Holmes Education Post continues its segment of interviewing professionals in different fields. Our distinguished interviewee is Ms. Diane McGreal, director of Global Leadership Training Americas for Berlitz. Located in more than 70 countries, Berlitz is a global leadership training and education company with a comprehensive portfolio for building communications skills, global leadership training and customized dynamic solutions for cultural competency via multiple delivery platforms. An excerpt of the interview with McGreal follows:

What career path led to your profession?

In my case, it was not a career path that led to my profession but it was my personal international relocations that brought me to where I am today. In my previous career, I was a department store retail buyer. It was here that my international interest began as I traveled for product design and development. It was my husband’s career with an oil company that led to our international relocations. After each international assignment, we would return to the US, and I returned to my position as a buyer.

My interest in culture was heightened each time we relocated to a new country. After a two year stay in Malaysia, I decided to leave my buying career behind to leverage my international experience in the intercultural training field. My earlier education had been in fashion merchandising, and I felt I needed to support my personal experience with an educational background. At age 42, I returned to college as a full time student for a degree in International Relations. With my solid business background in retailing, international experience and added education, I quickly landed a position working in the field of intercultural training.

What educational background and/or professional training are essential for this profession?

A minimum of a Bachelor of Science Degree is needed and a Masters is useful; however, international living and working are most important. Many people in the industry also have experience in non-profits such as the Peace Corps.

What professional, civic or community organization do you belong?

I am a member of SIETAR (Society of International Education, Training and Research) InterNations and ERC (Employee Relocation Council).

What advice do you give to students who desire to pursue a career as director of a multinational organization?

In order to be successful in any multinational organization, one needs to effectively communicate across borders and this means skills beyond language. I strongly suggest that people take the opportunity to live abroad. This can be during their university years, or with their employer or on their own. You will gain insights about how culture impacts business interactions and how you can adapt to the changing environments.

I am a big promoter of The Berlitz Training Management Company model for building cultural competency, and I often talk to young people about this as they plan their careers. An open attitude, self awareness, cultural knowledge and cultural skills provide an excellent foundation for anyone interested in working in a multinational organization or a diverse environment. Being receptive to cross-cultural learning is the first step in building competency. Awareness about your individual cultural preferences, recognition of the cultural values, attitudes and behaviors of others, knowledge about your own and other cultures and the skills needed to work effectively across cultures are elements that can be applied throughout your career and personal life.

What is your job description and/or typical work day?

I wear two hats at Berlitz. One is supporting the business development for our cross- cultural training division in North America. In this role, I function as the subject matter expert on culture and support the sales team in client needs analysis, presentations and proposals. The second hat is in a global role as Worldwide Director of Solutions for Global Leadership Training. In this role, I am responsible for making sure that Berlitz has a portfolio of solutions to meet our global customer’s needs for training in intercultural communication skills, culture and global leadership.

We sincerely thank Ms. Diane McGreal for sharing her experience and expertise as director of Global Leadership Training Americas for Berlitz. We encourage other professionals of organizations to share their experiences as an avenue to improve public education. For consideration, contact us at [email protected]

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of three books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education” and “How to Eradicate Hazing.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is the national superintendent of education for the National Save the Family Now Movement, Inc., a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

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