Blog Archives

It’s not just about bringing croissants to morning tea!

Going back to see my family in France recently caused me to reflect on Australian multiculturalism. Did you realise that in Australia one in four of us was born overseas?

I was born in Bar-le-Duc, a small town in France to a French mother and Moroccan father. My fiancé is German born Russian, and we live (soon to be married) in Melbourne, Australia.

I have always been fascinated and sometimes challenged by different cultures. From a very young age, I developed an instinctive ability to adapt to other cultures. Spending my summer breaks at my grandma’s in Morocco, I was not the little French girl anymore – In my heart I deeply felt like a Moroccan girl. It has not only been adapting to another language, I even feel the tone of my voice and my facial expressions changing in different cultural situations.

However, when you move to a new country, you take it to the next level… Sometimes you find yourself completely lost, and not only in translation!

Allow me to share a memorable story from my time as a stewardess on a beautiful catamaran in The Kimberley. Freshly arrived from France, I decided to take up the challenge of working as a crew member in a team of seven. As the only woman! The challenge was real for many different reasons, but the language barrier created some hilarious situations.

There we were, on the first night on the boat and these deckhands start sharing stories about “Old Mate”. What followed was every night, when we were hanging out in the galley to do the dishes and share a beer, I would hear them mentioning their Old Mate again and again. After nearly a week, tired of being the only one who didn’t know this guy, I got the courage to finally ask, who is this Old Mate that everyone knows? In case you’re not familiar with the colloquialism, using Old Mate in place of the subject’s name in an anecdote assumes that the listener can identify them within the context – or not. Sometimes Old Mate’s a generic person who is irrelevant to the point of the story.

When I first started working in a professional environment, I thought I was doing a great job by arousing interest, soliciting for business and suggesting to clients they seduce candidates without realising the literal translation of those words and their cultural implications!

People are curious by nature, so when they notice my accent in person or on the phone it’s often a great conversation starter. I still make the occasional faux pas, but I’ve learnt how to own it by making it my point difference, whether I’m networking or socialising.

Cultural competence, in brief, is the ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures. In today’s workplaces, cultural diversity is part of everyday life. If I were to think about why embracing – actually I’d say celebrating – cultural diversity matters, I would put it in the following terms: Capturing unique talent; Boosting innovation; Encouraging productivity.

Of course your attitude towards cultural differences depends on your world view, but I would highly recommend investing in developing your cross-cultural skills… which is not just about bringing croissants to morning tea.

Given Australia’s multicultural society, how do you make the most of the different cultures in your world @work? What’s different about you that works to your advantage?

 

Interested in French style? Join me for Slade Chats with ‘French Chic’ Caroline Vosse – FrenChicTouch blogger, public speaker and entrepreneur at 6pm on Wednesday 13 June 2018. Click here  for details.

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Posted in Slade Business Support, The world @work

It’s networking, but not what you think!

Jenny comes from a disadvantaged family in Asia. She had to work to help her single mum with living costs so she could afford to send her to school. Jenny will never forget a primary teacher who paid for her school fees. Jenny loved school and this teacher inspired her to become a teacher herself.

This was just one of the many stories shared at our first Teachers Meetup of the year, which Andrew Barr and I hosted early in March.

Slade Teachers MeetupTeacher Meetups provide an opportunity for teachers to get together outside of the school environment, share their experiences and yes, network with their peers. As recruiters we focus on candidates when they need a new challenge, but we also care about experience in their current roles, their previous positions and the journey they take as their career in education progresses.

Here are some of the stories that we heard (names have been changed):

Laura’s parents were teachers. Like many children, she had initially resisted following in her parent’s footsteps. Later in life she came to realise that learning was integral to her upbringing and teaching was in her blood.

Eric is a former teacher. It can be a tough job and his years of teaching were physically and mentally demanding. He wanted to share his story with others in the profession to help teachers take care of their personal wellbeing and prevent burnout.

Claire became a teacher because she loved the French language (I can’t blame her for that). No matter how much you enjoy teaching, it takes a lot of energy. It wasn’t long before her passion for the subject was equalled by her care for the students.

Networking therefore, can simply be sharing a moment.

One reason I push myself to go to networking events is because, as you’ve just read, sharing your experiences with others is empowering. It boosts your confidence, nurtures affinity with peers, and makes you feel less isolated. As a former Principal, Andrew highlighted the collaborative and supportive actions of peers and colleagues as essential to teaching. In a teacher’s world, networking is about learning from each other to improve your ability to help students along on their learning journey.

After the meetup a few teachers went for dinner together to celebrate a recent VIT (Victorian Institute of Teaching) registration amongst the group.

What about you, why should you network?

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Posted in Slade Education, The world @work

I could have been French President…

Growing up in France, I’ve always been interested in politics, as well as the way people communicate.

I’m now an expat, but every day is still a cultural challenge, every meeting a learning experience.

As an education specialist, currently working with schools to recruit teachers, one of the first questions I always ask candidates, regardless of their level of experience, is “Why do you teach?” I’m looking for those éléments de réponse, as we say in French: I want to hear their aspirations, understand their motivation and learn why they care about their students.

Early in my career, I studied Public and Political Communication. After graduating with a degree, I worked as a project manager for a digital company. However, it was during an internship in a web agency as a 19 year old that I realised my ability to interpret what the clients were trying to say when we sat down with them for a project briefing. Those complicated design briefs which everyone struggled with, simply made sense to me. In the same way, I find I’m able work through all the strategic plans, position descriptions and resumes to find out what my clients and candidates are really looking for when recruiting today.

As a consultant, you uncover some inspiring stories from people at various stages of their careers, which often align to the growth and development of the organisation they are with, or seeking to join.

Back in France, in 2012, I had to forgo one childhood dream (the presidency) to fulfil another. I had always wanted to travel, so I left France to explore the world.

Arriving in Australia, originally to save money to travel to South America, I found my way to Broome, ended-up living there for two years, fell in love with the country and decided to stay. Living the life of a backpacker, working as host on a luxurious boat in one of the most naturally beautiful regions in WA – it’s pretty hard to beat.

I love meeting people when I travel, so eventually I met a guy, who knew someone and one conversation led to another… I moved to Melbourne and I’m now part of the Slade Executive team.

Like me, our team is passionate. We all have different reasons why we do what we do.

In the education sector, my colleagues and I have the ability to influence the growth and development of the people and the organisations we work with. When I think about why I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now, I’d say it’s my curiosity about people that led me to recruitment. I am constantly inspired by the stories of others – whether your goal is principal or president, it’s always interesting to know what motivates people to achieve their dreams. I hope some of mine resonates with you.

So what about you, why do you do what you do?

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Posted in Slade Education, The world @work