Sandra Foster, PhD, works in the reality of globalization.
Since 2007, she has directed the executive coaching program of the U.S. executive search firm Korn/Ferry International in London. Her territory is Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.
Foster travels several times a month, working with executives from Fortune 500 and other major international companies to help executives develop leadership skills that will help them achieve their companies' strategic goals. "The challenge is being aware of and responding appropriately to different worldviews," she says.
In the Middle East, for example, she dresses conservatively and modestly, and assesses non-verbal cues that inform her about whether or not to engage in such gestures as shaking hands with male clients. She also stays aware of regional differences, as well as differences in organizational cultures that let her know whether to present herself with humility, or as "the expert," for example. She stays on top of business news and current events to understand how those shifts may affect her clients' strategic decisions.
Her training as a clinician has helped her understand the pressures that business people face, she says, and to advise them on healthy self-management techniques.
Although she says the work is not always straightforward or comfortable, "It is an amazing adventure," she says. "It's a privilege to be able to work with so many different people, situations and cultures."