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Volume 4  |  Issue 3

September 2014


By Lizabeth Matthesen-Jones

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.)

How do we, like Frodo, “keep our feet” in a rapidly changing world?  How do we develop a personal global mindset that allows us to embrace — rather than fear — globalization, while taking advantage of the personal and professional opportunities that await us? Lizabeth Matthesen-Jones, Western International University® (West) Professor and Department Chair for Marketing, shares four simple strategies that have helped her "keep her own feet" during her years in global business.


Since Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, technology has brought us closer together whether we like it or not. We operate on a global 24/7 news cycle. Our workplaces both at home and abroad now reflect tremendous diversity in generations, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and religion, among other things, driven to a large extent by the pervasiveness of technology. Even if you never leave your hometown, you are confronted by globalization every time you walk out your door. Here are four simple strategies that have helped me "keep my feet" during my years in global business.

1. Look at your culture from the "outside." How many of us really objectively examine our own cultures and what is and is not important in them, and why? Pretend you are a cultural stranger when you go to the mall or a restaurant. What does it look like? How do people treat one another? What would someone from another culture think of our most popular TV programs? What might they say about our culture to a stranger? The more we can look objectively at our own culture, the better we can understand why others may react to us in the ways that they do. Being able to examine situations objectively is a tremendous professional asset.

2. Travel. Encountering first hand another culture enriches and broadens your perspective on other people and their points of view and experience. When you cannot visit in person, become a virtual explorer. Technology allows us to go anywhere. Explore other cultures, read their histories and their literature, look at their advertising, their cultural artifacts, holidays. Pick a country and go on a virtual vacation. Travel is the best educational experience and gift that you can ever give yourself. Having an understanding of other cultures demonstrates curiosity and initiative.

3. Leave "America" (or your personal culture) at home when you step out the door. Forget that people may not do things the way you are used to or that their food looks or smells different or they look different. By opening your mind to new experiences — whether with a new employee from another generation or a boss from halfway around the world — and not judging things and people through the prism of your own culture, you can see things differently and learn not just about them but about yourself. Being open-minded is the hallmark of a true leader.

4. Perhaps most importantly, be informed. One of the greatest gifts of technology is the ability to access information from around the world. Spend time looking for and exploring diverse points of view. If you read a story about an international event in your local paper, go search out how it is reported elsewhere in other cultures and other media. In doing this, you start to move away from stereotyping and ethnocentrism, which are the strategies of the mentally lazy. The individuals who constantly are learning about other cultures and points of view are the ones who stay ahead of the curve professionally.

Individuals and organizations thriving in today's global environment are the ones who step out their door and approach the world with open-mindedness, curiosity, initiative, objectivity, and an interest in what is happening around them. This does not mean abandoning your own culture; it is what makes you who you are. It means being open to exploring who other people are and what makes them that way. That is how opportunities — both professional and personal — are revealed, and that is how, like Frodo, you can "keep your feet" in the world.

Lizabeth Matthesen-Jones is a 30+ year veteran of international business. She has worked in advertising, marketing and research, serving in managerial capacities for international advertising agencies and their clients around the globe. Her global clients have included Apple, American Express, Xerox, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, General Foods, Avon and Mobil Oil.

Global Mindset

Mobility & Business Development Manager Depression Recovery Centers
Scottsdale, AZ

For years, Gavin Hupp enjoyed a successful career in sales. However, as he surveyed the changing business environment, he realized that to be successful in the future, he needed a higher level understanding in three key areas: information technology, consumer behavior and finance. So Gavin enrolled in West's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, gained the knowledge he needed, and leveraged that knowledge into a new position as Business Development Manager for a group specializing in innovative treatments for depression. "Without West, I never would be able to provide such a wide array of value to such an important organization."


What did you enjoy most about your West experience?
The classes fit around my schedule and the course work was interesting, but I enjoyed learning from my instructors the most. Anyone can open a textbook or search the Internet for answers, but having a seasoned executive-turned-instructor explain how and why they did what they did in their business — and all the nuances and challenges they faced — is so valuable. You can't find that in a textbook.

What were the benefits of getting your degree?
I had already earned my bachelor in marketing, but I knew I had to diversify my knowledge base. Outside of the core MBA courses, I focused on a mix of finance and IT project management courses. This has given me a wide knowledge base that has allowed me to take my career to a new level on a whole new trajectory. Every course has had a direct application to my life and business.

How did your career change after graduation?
Before graduating from West, I was in various sales and sales management roles. I also helped small businesses with their sales processes. But after gaining additional knowledge from my MBA at West, I turned a consulting role into a position that provides more value than sales alone. It has given me a deeper understanding of how good businesses should be run and the confidence to make it happen!

What responsibilities do you have in your current job?
As the Business Development Manager for a depression recovery center, I am mainly responsible for growing the organization. However, I also work directly with the CEO on a wide variety of concepts — from business planning to IT project management and financial analysis. Without the knowledge I gained at West, I would not be able to provide such a wide array of value.

What would you tell a friend about West?
So many positions these days require a broad education in many different areas, and this is what West can give you. West is an excellent school that offers classes that can fit around your schedule, plus it has wonderful instructors, and you can make lifelong connections. But any school is what you make of it. Put your best effort into your assignments and participate as much as you can. And don't forget to reach out to your advisors — in my opinion, West's advisors are some of the best ones out there!

Gavin Hupp


Join us as we celebrate National Career Development Week this fall! West will be hosting three days of career events, November 11-13, for both students and alumni. On Tuesday, November 11, there will be a full day of complimentary, 20-minute, one-on-one coaching sessions that you can attend in person, online or over the phone. On Wednesday, November 11, West will launch pre-recorded career webinars on a variety of topics, including how to develop an elevator pitch and how to gain experience when you don’t have the experience needed for your new career choice. Finally, on Thursday, November 13, join West at our Tempe Campus for a panel discussion with West faculty members about how their areas of study can help prepare you for specific career tracks.

All week long, we will also be posting hot career topics on Facebook®, Twitter® and LinkedIn®


Tuesday, November 11
Career Coaching Day

What: Complimentary one-on-one coaching sessions

When: Tuesday, November 11. 20-minute sessions from:
8-10 a.m. MST (with Lindsey Fisher at Tempe Campus)
12-2 p.m. MST (with Eleanor Augur, phone or online)
3-5 p.m. (with Norm Meshriy, phone or online)

Where: Tempe campus, online or phone

Lindsey Fisher has a Master's degree in Community Counseling, is a Nationally Certified Counselor, and a Licensed Associate Counselor in AZ. Lindsey has served as a career coach for nearly 3 years and enjoys helping clients to define their interests, identify objectives, create workable plans to achieve them, and to support and motivate them as they embark on their career journeys and reach their intended career goals.

Eleanor Augur has a background as a Career Counselor, Career Center Administrator, Career Technology Instructor and eleven years of Distance Career Coaching. She empowers people in job search and career management to instill motivation and develop next steps for success in securing employment in today's market. Eleanor's clients compliment her ability to support and supply credible resources as they enter the job market or break barriers.

Norm Meshriy is a Master Career Counselor who made a major career change from a 24-year career in Information Technology Management. He serves as a consultant with an outplacement firm in San Francisco and is a Distance Credentialed Counselor. Norm teaches masters-level counseling courses at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He is the author of the book, Thinking Outside the Cubicle: How to Change the Job You Have Into the Job You Want.

R.S.V.P. today! Space is limited, so reserve your coaching session now and choose to have it conducted online via webcam, by phone, or in person.

Wednesday, November 12
Career Webinars

Take advantage of career webinars that are pre-recorded, so you can attend them at your leisure. You'll be able to access the new webinars on November 12 by visiting the On-Demand Webinars page at west.edu/alumni. New webinar topics will include how to develop an elevator pitch and how to gain experience when you don't have the experience needed for your new career choice.

Thursday, November 13
Faculty Panel Discussion

Join West faculty members in a discussion about how their areas of study can prepare you for specific career tracks.

When: Thursday, November 13, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. MST

Location: West Tempe Campus 1601 W. Fountainhead Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85282

RSVP by November 7: laura.lee@west.edu

Complimentary refreshments will be served.

All Week Career Tips

Visit West's Facebook®, Twitter® and LinkedIn® pages throughout National Career Development Week, and read up on hot career topics.

Career Development


A wise person once said, "Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life." Yet many working people find that work dominates their life and takes them away — physically and emotionally — from their family, their friends and their community. The good news is, there are steps you can take now to achieve a significantly better work/life balance, from cutting down on screen time, to scheduling more "me" time, to finding a company that will give you flex time.


Here at West, we know our working adult students have a lot of demands on their time. That's why we build so much flexibility into our course offerings. Some work demands can't be avoided, but many can. It often comes down to you making a conscious effort to create more non-work time and activities in your day. You can do it, and we can help — starting with these tips:

Take care of yourself.
A busy work schedule can keep you from taking good care of yourself, whether it's depriving you of sleep (answering late-night emails), good food (catching meals on the fly) and exercise (sitting at your desk all day). You can take steps to reverse this trend by doing things like setting a cut-off time for emails, bringing healthy lunches or not skimping on breakfast, and getting up a half hour earlier to get in a quick walk or jog. Taking good care of yourself also means addressing your emotional and spiritual needs, not just your physical ones.

Be there for friends & family.
It's not enough to be in the presence of friends and family. Make sure you are completely present (no tablet or smart phone in sight), engaged and totally focused on the moment. Schedule this kind of quality time often and treat it like an important meeting to be cancelled only in the event of an emergency. If you have to be away for long stretches, use Skype™ or other technologies to check in and stay close.

Expand your horizons.
There is truth to the proverb "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Take the time to nurture the other sides of you that have nothing to do with your job, like playing a musical instrument or creating art. Think back to when you were young. Are there any hobbies or activities that you used to enjoy but stopped doing? Maybe it's time to do them again. How about your community? Are there groups you can join where you can meet new people and make a meaningful contribution? Whatever you decide to do to make your life fuller and more interesting, make a commitment to do it regularly, regardless of how busy you are at work.

Get support or move on.
Part of achieving a better work/life balance may mean taking action at work like asking to come in early or work at home some days, so you can spend more time with your children or significant other. Unfortunately, some employers may turn down your flex time request and even insist that you make yourself available at all hours of the day or night. This is when you have to decide whether it's worth the sacrifice. It just may not be, and if that's what you decide, then that's when you should call on West. Our complimentary Career Resources can assist you in finding a career that offers you better work/life balance. Take advantage of our OptimalResume™ suite of online career marketing tools, and sign up for one-on-one career coaching. To get started, log on to the West Alumni Connection website and go to the Fast Track Career Tools page.

A healthy work/life balance is within your reach, but it's up to you to make it happen. Start taking steps now, and know that we're here if changing your job becomes part of the journey.

"There is nothing wrong with loving your work and wanting to apply yourself to it. But there is so much more to life. Balance is what is important, maintaining balance." — Bronnie Ware, writer & songwriter

Perfect Balance


Everyone has a story to tell. What's yours? Send it our way, and we may feature it right here in this newsletter. Check out Anthony Cox's story which we posted recently on YouTube®. Anthony and his wife Gentry are both 2014 West grads. Anthony is the first in his family to earn a college degree — and he did it despite having naysayers along the way.

So, what's your story? Did you travel across the country after you graduated? Are you doing something new and exciting in your job? Are you volunteering for a worthwhile cause? Whatever you're up to, we want to know. Email us a brief description now. You can even send us a photo or put together a video to help tell your story!

Anthony and Gentry Cox


Rob Wengrzyn, West Professor and Department Chair for Business, hosted an interesting and insightful discussion about what it takes to be a true leader. Rob talked about what traits make a true leader and how each of us can take steps to be better leaders ourselves. Rob volunteered to lead this event because leadership is his passion. "So few people really understand what it takes to be a leader," he explained.

So, what is one of the traits of a true leader? Charisma. According to Rob, "If a leader isn't charismatic, it's difficult to get people to follow them no matter how great their vision is."

Webinar attendees had this to say about the event: “Rob is very engaging speaker, and did a great job explaining the different leadership styles and context for each style. The information was very helpful for developing leadership skills.”

Did you miss the webinar? Not to worry! Just click the link below to view the recording.
Watch the Recorded Webinar

Link up with us on LinkedIn, and you'll find yourself connected with professionals from all walks of life but with the common link of having a West degree. Share your profile, start or join a discussion, track down resources and even find or post job leads. Make your West LinkedIn connection now!

Got a new address? A new name? A new email? Keep us posted by keeping your West Alumni Connection profile up to date.

If you're a new West grad, login with your preferred email and the password "welcome1" so you can start taking advantage of all that the West Alumni Connection has to offer. Be sure to change your temporary password and update the information in your profile. If you have any questions or issues, email us any time.

Laura Lee
Alumni/Career Resources Manager
602-429-1110 or laura.lee@west.edu

Alumni Reenrollment
866-948-4636 or inquiries@west.edu




*For program disclosure information, please visit: http://www.west.edu/online-degree-programs.

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