Christine’s around-the-world career trip with Professional
Our Business Development Controller, Christine Otley has returned to her family roots at Professional’s Italian HQ after 6 years abroad which saw her move countries, change roles and cross continents with the company.
Born in Canada, Christine’s maternal grandparents came from Pordenone and having first moved there in her early 20s, she returned earlier this year.
Tell us about your career with Professional
I started with Electrolux Professional in 2010 in the Central Controlling team in Pordenone where I spent almost five years in a few different roles before my first international experience with the company. My next stop was the UK where I worked as Sales & Margins Accountant for two years. I loved my colleagues and the work environment but the gloomy weather was just too much for me so I set my sights on a sunnier destination.
In early 2017 I headed to Singapore to fulfil the role of APAC Business Analyst and two years later moved into the Regional Controller role for SEA and India. In January this year I moved back in Pordenone, excited to take on the role of Business Development Controller.
What are your biggest learnings from living and working in different countries?
Asia was by far the more challenging and rewarding experience in my life. It is so different from the Western world and, before taking on the role in Singapore, I had never been exposed to Asian cultures. Living and working there really turned my world view upside down and I started to look at situations from different viewpoints – not just those that came naturally to me.
My take-away is that sometimes what we do and say can have an entirely different interpretation in another culture. It’s important not to take for granted that your intended message is indeed the message that has been received.
What are you most proud of in your career to date?
I am most proud of the relationships that I have forged with colleagues throughout the world. I truly feel that I have created a global network within Electrolux Professional and I find it so rewarding to receive emails (especially emails or chats just to say “hello”) from colleagues around the world.
What conditions are most effective for your learning and development?
I think that it’s important to have mentors within the company and I have been so fortunate to have worked with some really exceptional people. If ever I find myself at a ‘roadblock’ and don’t know how to address a difficult situation or how to sort out a particular challenge, I’ll reach out to one of my mentors to get some advice. Sometimes even a 15-minute conversation can do wonders for me and suddenly an uncertain situation can become crystal clear. It’s important for my growth and personal development to have access to these people and I am so thankful that they make time for me when I come knocking at their door.
You were in Singapore when the pandemic began, how have you coped with the situation from a job perspective?
I have not taken the corona situation very well at all. From March 2020, I found myself working exclusively from home and my business trips, which were quite frequent since I was covering such a large area, came to a halt. The things I loved the most – travel and interacting with colleagues – became challenging, because online is just not the same as in person, especially in Asia, where already I struggled with adapting to the culture. Nevertheless, I made more frequent calls to colleagues and managed to forge quite strong working relationships. But to be honest, I’m itching to get back to the office as I desperately miss the interaction.
Tell us something fun that few people know about you?
I’m expecting a baby boy at the beginning of June! I’m a first-time mom, so I’m about to be navigating in uncharted territory very soon. Overall, I’m really looking forward to taking on this ‘new role’ in my personal life.