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In response to PwC’s findings that women have a lack of role models in the global mobility sector, we’re showcasing positive stories of women who’ve lived and worked internationally. While each experience is unique, every story maintains a common thread of deep personal growth, which has had a lasting impact throughout the lives of each of the women profiled.
In 2010, Eliz, while working as an accountant for PwC Philippines, was approached by her manager with an opportunity to join a team being deployed to Sydney, Australia.
“I was really excited because that would be the first time that I would ever be out of the country,” she says.
“I felt very happy because I felt like my efforts had been rewarded.”
The opportunity was a 3-month stint living and working in Sydney with her company’s Australian team.
As an accountant, Eliz was part of a team deployed from the Philippines to Australia during the tax season to help with auditing services.
Experiencing a new culture
Before this opportunity, Eliz had never been outside of the Philippines or moved out of her family home. Understandably, the trip was eye-opening for her and was a huge time of learning.
“I saw beyond the Philippines and the culture I grew up in,” Eliz says.
“The first few weeks I got a little bit homesick. In the city, everyone’s moving so fast, and they’ve got their own thing. I was so used to having my family so I didn’t need to worry about the weekend because it would be spontaneous people would be there for me come the weekend. And then in Australia, I had to plan my weekends so I wouldn’t be sitting alone in my flat.”
Overcoming these challenges made the experience even more rewarding.
“It did help me with my career. It opened my eyes that the world is big. It’s not just the Philippines, and there are opportunities out there, and If I wanted to, I could relocate.”
Eliz used the opportunity to see as much of Sydney as possible, even trying out skydiving.
Expanding your skillset
Experiencing a new culture meant being exposed to new ways of work, communication and lifestyle.
“It’s very different in Australia,” she says. “People talk to you in a very straightforward manner whereas in the Philippines you have to be very careful.”
Even simple things like lunch breaks were different between the countries and Eliz took notes.
In Australia, colleagues often ate lunch at their desks or took shorter lunch breaks if they wanted to leave the office earlier. In comparison, the Philippines has a culture of taking long lunches, but subsequently, overtime is also frequent.
“Whatever I found beneficial I brought it with me,” says Eliz. “If I ever feel I want to finish early — I do lunch Australian style.”
A family role model
Less than half of the women who participated in the PwC’s Moving Women With Purpose research “agree that their organisation has enough successful female role models for international assignments.”
This experience coupled with the fact “57% of global mobility leaders confirmed women are underrepresented in their mobility populations,” shows the importance of showcasing success stories in this field.
When women can see international assignments are possible, they’ll be more likely to set goals to achieve a similar experience for themselves.
“Actually it’s because of that experience that a lot of my younger cousins look up to me,” Eliz says.
She’ll often hear them say, “Oh I want to be an accountant as well because you get to travel.”
“It was very attractive to them.”
For Eliz, this was a very empowering experience, and she’s glad to provide insight into what’s possible for her younger family members.
“I’m glad that very early in my career I got to experience [international work] because I was so game to travel and relocate in that time. I was thinking oh this is an accomplishment because I was a new accountant with little experience back then.”
After her stint with PwC, Eliz moved to another global company – Deutsche Bank. Here she was sent on another short-term assignment — this time to Mumbai, India.
“That’s an entirely different culture again,” she says.
The experiences overseas allowed Eliz to experience different work styles and broadened her concept of what was possible. It’s what lead her to look into working remotely when she became a mother last year.
But she says motherhood won’t keep her from taking on an international assignment.
“I would be keen again,” she says.” It would just take a little more planning.”
Photographs courtesy of Eliz Rose
Article by Bree Caggiati
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