About eighteen years ago, when I was the director of brand marketing in Ketchum’s New York office, I had the unique opportunity to live and work in London for two months on a client assignment for Unilever. While there, I not only had continuity with my clients, but I also had the chance to integrate myself into a different office culture and gain exposure to the nuances of the European market. Additionally, it was a privilege to be able to work face-to-face with international colleagues and foster a great spirit of collaboration in a time when the lack of technology made the boundaries between offices feel more isolating.
This all happened before Ketchum had a formal colleague exchange program, and the experience was a game-changer for me. I no longer saw the world through New York-centric eyes, and I came away with a newfound appreciation of the importance of integration across markets and offices, as well as the balance between globalization and localization.
That’s why I am thrilled that, this summer, Ketchum has launched our Global Scholar Program, which creates an infrastructure to facilitate experiences similar to my own. This program is an extraordinary opportunity for 20 colleagues from around Ketchum’s global network to export and import expertise, knowledge and insights across Ketchum’s offices. In addition to the transfer of knowledge, colleagues will acculturate to local markets, helping them to cultivate a global mindset and sustain our culture of collaboration. Moreover, we hope that the experience will precipitate innovative ways to enhance our clients’ business around the world.
We received nearly 100 applications in this inaugural year, and the quality of the entries made it extremely difficult to choose from the incredible pool of applicants who went through the arduous screening process. Those who were selected for the various scholarship opportunities will be crossing the network – and the globe – for the next 12 months, going from Madrid to New York, New York to Shanghai, Hong Kong to Dubai and Düsseldorf to Beijing, to name a few. This is just a snapshot of the 20 journeys that will occur over the next year, and we’re all anxious to hear about their experiences and benefit from everything they’ve learned during their respective visits.
Ketchum has always placed an emphasis on employee training programs, as well as on being a globally connected network, and the Global Scholar Program is just the tip of that iceberg. Just last month, for example, we held Camp Ketchum, a hallmark training program for the agency, which brought together nearly 90 colleagues from over 30 offices for a week of intensive training to further the participants’ leadership potential, expose them to new training tools and help them forge long-term relationships with colleagues from around the world. As we continue to expand as an agency and become even more global in our mindset and our reach, the importance of programs like Camp Ketchum and the Global Scholars will continue to grow, giving numerous colleagues the kind of game-changing experience that I had so many years ago.