Leveraging your Language and Regional Expertise

On January 22, RBFAA members participated in a panel titled “Leveraging your Language and Regional Expertise”, organized in partnership with the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (GSFS).  The panel was part of GSFS’s “Jumpstart January” career week, which is aimed at helping students plan their post-graduation future.  The purpose of the panel organized under the GSFS/RBFAA partnership was to share RBFAA expertise with a new community of young professionals entering the workforce.

The RBFAA panelists included Mark Chandler, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Cisco Systems; Michelle Wyman, Executive Director at the National Council for Science and the Environment; and Mark Walker, Partner at New Magellan Ventures International.  They were joined by Keetah Salazar-Thompson, Coordinator at USAID.  The panel was moderated by a current GSFS student who posed a number of questions to the panelists about what they see as the key value for employers of regional expertise, and what trends they see in the job market.

From left to right: RBFAA members Mark Walker, Michelle Wyman, Mark Chandler

The panelists shared insights from their time working in Germany and what they collected from that experience in terms of regional expertise.  They also shared how they have applied that knowledge throughout their subsequent careers.  Several panelists pointed out that knowledge of a language isn’t just a communication tool; it is also a key relationship and technical tool that can be applied across many situations.  Experience with other cultures also signals to employers a certain intellectual flexibility and adaptability that is more difficult to obtain without living overseas. The panelists also conveyed that the breadth of experience that comes with living in or even just visiting many different countries further builds upon this strength.

Feedback from GSFS indicated that the RBFAA panelist’s expertise was well-received and helpful to the students.  At the end of the panel, each of the RBFAA members stayed to speak one-on-one with the students.  We are grateful for the funding from the RBFAA to host this event, and hope that this event can form the foundation for a relationship between Georgetown University and the RBFAA.

The RBFAA generously funded sandwiches for the lunch-hour event. The RBFAA logo was prominently displayed throughout the room.

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