Get Ahead by Going Abroad: A Guide to “Krafting” your Future One Step At a Time

To be the master of your destiny, you need to know at what point you are going to walk away…

Perry Yeatman, former senior vice president at Kraft Foods and global head of issues management, and internationally acclaimed writer of, Get Ahead by Going Abroad, the go-to resource that reveals how women, single or married, can leverage this trend to showcase their skills and move up quickly on their own terms, spoke at Georgetown University this month on how women and men alike, can achieve successful and fulfilling careers, through periodization.

I was particularly drawn to Perry. Not because I resemble the tall, ginger-haired, striking blue-eyed, native New Yorker with a brash tone, and shockingly refreshing, but because our lives were strangely paralleled. Perry, smart and stubborn to the bone, “won’t stop can’t stop,” at any cost attitude, lived an expatriate dream life at the tender age of 21.

Determined and with nothing to lose, she took her first overseas job in Singapore just as the country was in the midst of transitioning into First World affluence. She dined with the King of Thailand. Terrified Singaporean children cried and ran in the opposite direction of the American expat who they deemed a scary witch lady with fiery hair. She wore sunglasses, instead. From there, she accepted a post in Russia, and finally, she landed her dream job in London. Of all her international experiences, though, nothing compared to the culture sticker shock that she experienced  in Chicago, Illinois.

While majority of the women in her suburban neighborhood were housewives married to executive men, Yeatman was the executive wife married to a househusband. A straight shooting New Yorker lacking the grace and manners of a Midwesterner, and one of the few senior female corporate executives in the early 90s, Yeatman felt isolated and lonely at times, and it was here, in smack middle of the cornfields of this great nation, in Chicagoland, that she discovered her personal threshold and at what point she was willing to walk away.

Here were Yeatman’s key takeaways after sharing anecdotal moments pivotal to her professional and personal life challenges and growth.

  • Take on an assignment overseas. It will mold you into a more globalized, forward-thinking individual in every aspect of your life, not just on the corporate level.
  • You can pursue 3 things at any one time if you are lucky. You can’t be everything to everyone at the same time.
  • In order to negotiate, you have to know what you want. Decide what the right price is for you.
  • Have a plan and be comfortable with the plan and be ready for change. Let go of the things you can’t control.
  • To understand entrepreneurship, you need to have a generalist experience and get as close to the business aspects as you can to understand how a business works.
  • Money doesn’t drive happiness.
  • To be the master of your destiny, know at what point you are going to walk away.
  • Should you have a plan  B? Nope! Throw it out the window!
  • Advice for yourself: Take more time in your life, don’t run over people, and know it’s all going to work out. Finally, life is not a balance.

What are your 3 priorities in this phase of your life?

Meet Perry on LinkedIn & Twitter.

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