Managers Abroad: Fine service

What prompted you to seek work out of New Zealand?
I was working on the restructuring of Databank in Wellington with consultants from Booz Allen & Hamilton. When I explained the concept of “OE” to them they suggested I go to Harvard, Wharton or Stanford and do an MBA for my OE. In true Kiwi style (having no idea what the significance of getting into one of the top business schools in the world was) I said, “Why not?”, called my father up to tell him I was leaving New Zealand for six years, travelled to the US mostly on train, overland via the Siberian Express and embarked on my MBA at The Wharton School in the US. That was 20 plus years ago…

How are your experiences overseas shaping your understanding of New Zealand?
My experiences overseas are paradox. Kiwis grow up in very small country that is incredibly communal given our isolation. My observation is that when Kiwis head to the US they assume that given how big it is, that relationships are not as important, but content is. The opposite is in fact true. Given how big the country is people vet people on who you know – as way of knowing whether you are real – so relationships are even more important.

How can offshore Kiwis contribute to NZ?
Offshore Kiwis are contributing in multiple ways. I am member of the World Class New Zealander network. I am secretary of the Massey University Foundation in the US and this year I am an Entrepreneur-in-Residence working to bring flavour of Bay Area [San Francisco] innovation to the business programme. I am on the board of Global Women – actively supporting women in leadership in New Zealand and I have been involved with San Francisco Kea from the beginning. Kea is great vehicle to support Kiwis in connecting globally. The Bay Area is all about building products and companies. We have an incredible group of really committed expat Kiwis who are actively supporting New Zealand companies coming into the Bay. We are currently building an exciting programme to support the America’s Cup – with the objective of opening up the Bay Area to visiting Kiwis. M

Linda Jenkinson is member of Kea, New Zealand’s global talent community.

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