Managers Abroad: Jake Willis

What prompted you to seek work out of New Zealand?
Like many Kiwis, after university I wanted to see more of the world and rather than just going to Australia, like some of my friends, I decided if I was going to leave my home country it would be to experience culture that was unknown to me. I was fresh out of university when I first came to England so I didn’t have firm career plan. After few years I got an opportunity to work in property. I’d studied hospitality management so always assumed I’d end up doing that kind of work.

How are your experiences overseas shaping your understanding of New Zealand?
My business means I quite often meet the “before” and “after” version of travelling New Zealanders. One day I’ll rent room to Kiwi couple who have just arrived and are embarking on their career. The next day I’ll meet another couple who’ve been here for 10 years and are looking for someone to take care of their property so they can emigrate home to start family. People from both ends of the scale show we’re very hardworking nation and that, no matter where we are, we make the most of opportunities that come our way.

How can offshore Kiwis contribute to New Zealand?
It’s important to remember that lot of offshore Kiwis intend to return home at some stage. While they’re overseas they’re building tremendous amount of international experience in their chosen fields which can be taken home to New Zealand. One of the best ways for offshore Kiwis to contribute to New Zealand is by prospering as much as possible while they’re away. When they do eventually go home – which one in four overseas Kiwis intends to do – they’ll be taking home not only money to pump back into our economy but also skills, contacts and experience. M

Jake Willis is member of Kea, New Zealand’s global talent community.

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