How an Autobiography at Age 12 Perfectly Predicted Our COO’s Future
Our Chief Operations Officer, Laurette Bennhold-Samaan was recently interviewed for the Executive Leaders Radio, based in Washington, D.C. The program is dedicated to honoring individual’s hard work and dedication to rise to leadership roles. It highlights the personal journey of executives on their way to success.
Laurette shares many interesting details of her childhood and her roots in this 12-minute interview, and how those experiences have affected her leadership style and career path. The U.S. American with Egyptian and Armenian roots was born in Egypt and moved to Nigeria with her parents and sister early in her childhood. As she reflects on her experiences, she notes during the interview: “I think it framed who I am both personally and professionally. It’s both a vocation and my avocation for my whole life. Personally, it has influenced me in that I married a German, we adopted a daughter from Ecuador and have friends from around the world. Professionally, it’s impacted my jobs. I worked for the Peace Corps for 7.5 years, then went to the World Bank, a very international organization.”
Laurette’s curiosity for other cultures and appreciation of them has led her down this path of cross-cultural consulting and global mobility [read more in her Inside Aperian Global interview]. She thoroughly enjoys her work and the impact it can leave with others: “We have many aha-moments with our clients which gives me a great deal of satisfaction. When you are in a room with a client and they have understood something that they have done or something they will do differently based on our training.”
When it comes to developing cross-cultural competence, Laurette suggests to start with yourself: “It always starts with understanding yourself- self-awareness, because that is the lens you are looking through. For example, if I have orange lenses on and I look at you, who might wear blue, I will see you differently. Our lenses affect our perspective. [To develop cross-cultural competence is]To really understand our own cultural upbringing and values.”
Listen to the full interview here and learn about the impact her mother and father had on Laurette’s leadership style, and how she perfectly predicted her future career at the age of twelve!