I still remember the excitement I felt upon reading the email from Susan Collard, manager of the Marketing Rotation Program, that I was approved to move to Dell’s office in Montpellier, France for my second rotation. A lifelong dream of working on three continents was about to come true!
Dell’s Global Marketing Rotation Program (MRP) is an award winning program designed to develop Dell’s future leaders. The experience provides a select group of individuals an incredible opportunity to develop their careers at an accelerated rate. 8-12 candidates are selected globally each year, and participate in strategic level stretch assignments, leadership training and executive exposure as well as the credibility of being a part of this recognized top talent program.
Before long, my first rotation with the North America Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG) Demand Generation team was over and it was time to pack up and fly across the pond. Having already immigrated once to the United States and recollecting what an emotional nightmare the first day and night were, I expected to feel the same way upon arriving in France – and I did. Older and wiser doesn’t matter too much when you’re thrown out of your comfort zone. Yet again, I found myself in a situation where I didn’t know a single person in the country, and this time, I had very poor language skills to boot!
I started working for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Enterprise Center of Competence, tasked with the important project of streamlining the loan depot process. Given the nature of the region, I had to work with colleagues far and wide, often remotely, with the occasional opportunity to connect in person. I underwent a challenging learning curve to understand Dell’s business priorities in a new region, establish cordial working relationships with a vast number of stakeholders both internal and external to Dell, and project my brand as an approachable, problem solving and collaborative employee. Today, I can proudly say that I’ve helped set up a benchmark process that other regions are trying to replicate, and which currently generates tens of millions of dollars per quarter in pipeline for Dell. During my stint in Europe, I had the opportunity to attend Tech Summit 2015. In addition to hearing about latest technologies from Dell’s leadership in the region and meeting some of our biggest customers, I also interacted with key channel partners who were invited for the first time.
I received overwhelming support from colleagues both on site at Montpellier as well as those based in other EMEA locations. Whether I needed to understand a Dell business process, navigate my paperwork with the local government or correct errors in my French, I could always find a willing and patient person. People went out of their way to make introductions and help me network. While there are too many instances to recount here, the ones that stand out include the annual beach party for the staff and their families in the lovely town of Grand Motte, and the International Day with colorful booths, plenty of delicacies and staff dressed up in traditional wear.
While the traveler in me seeks infinite opportunities to explore unknown lands, I am nevertheless grateful for my 14 months in Europe. I extensively travelled across France, Spain, Andorra, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Ireland, Holland and Germany. The diversity of landscapes, foods, architecture, and the rich history of each region has me mesmerized for life. The French themselves were amazed at the strides I made in learning their language and the number of locations I visited in a short time – in many cases seeing more than they themselves had!
Euro 2016 – the premier soccer tournament for European nations every 4 years – took place during my final months in Europe, and the Italian team camp was in Montpellier. As luck would have it, I got the opportunity to click a selfie (above) with my idol Gianluigi Buffon – arguably the best soccer goal keeper who ever lived. I’d visit the Italian team hotel and cheer the players on as they went off to practice. All my soccer loving friends were so envious that I was “hanging out” with the Italian team!
In the midst of my hectic, yet enjoyable, undertakings in Europe, I had to start looking for my final rotation. With input from my managers and mentor, I decided to join the product group as a marketing manager for the Dell EMC Validated Systems. Friends and colleagues organized a series of sendoff parties, which were bittersweet. And so, here I am, back at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock. I am fortunate that yet again, I’ve found a role within Dell EMC that I absolutely love. What remains of my European sojourn are fond memories, friendships for life, compliments on an apparently improved fashion sense and the simplest testimonial from me: I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!