Ted Dale was born in Kyoto, as the son of missionary parents. He experienced life in Japan as a foreigner until college age. He struggled with his identity, having grown up between two worlds, appreciating aspects of both, but not knowing quite where to belong.
Ernie Gundling originally set out to Japan as a student of the Japanese language, and he lived there for a time as a Buddhist monk. His deep interest in the culture continued to shape his plans, and he later returned to conduct field research in a Japanese company through a Fulbright Dissertation Research Fellowship.
Through their experiences, both were eager to focus on “helping people understand and interact more effectively with people from different backgrounds.”
Japan’s booming economy in the late 1980s created the perfect foundation to do just that. There was a clear lack of knowledge about Japanese culture in the U.S., and Ted and Ernie knew they could help bridge that gap.
In 1990 they founded “Intercultural Training Resources Incorporated,” which provided seminars on “How to work with the Japanese” in Silicon Valley. They then expanded the company’s work to encompass a wider range of countries and business topics as well as consulting and training.
“I believe we have made a positive impact on a number of people’s lives. But there is still a lot of work to be done.”
— Ted Dale, Chief Creative Officer
As the Internet became more available to mainstream users and businesses, Ted and Ernie were approached by clients to create an online tool that could help organizations navigate successfully in various cultural contexts. The idea for GlobeSmart was born! Released in 1999, it had a cultural profile allowing users to compare themselves to the average profiles of people from other countries as well as colleagues they could invite. Today, the tool covers business practices in nearly 100 countries and has had well over a million users.
In 2005 the company merged with Eaton Consulting Group, launching a truly global business platform with offices and representatives all over the world. The combined organization was re-named Aperian Global.
The name comes from the Latin word aperire, meaning to provide access or to open.
Aperian Global became the new brand identity for the vision and mission that Ted, Ernie and all employees of the combined organization continue to share today. The founders’ vision of making an impact has not changed.
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