Kate Jeter, ’00
Former VP, Conference Producction & President, Healthcare Forums at Q1 Productions
Currently Launching a Hybrid Event Company of Her Own!
What has your career journey been like?
Following graduation, I took a marketing position in a large, multi-national conference and event production firm in Chicago, called Marcus Evans. Working my way up the ladder within the company, I moved into a leadership position where I was offered, and accepted, a transfer to the Barbados office in 2003. After living in Barbados for 2 years, I returned to Chicago and was hired to start a new event research and production company, where I subsequently worked for 15 years, called Q1 Productions. As part of a corporate expansion in 2009, I moved to London on an intra-company transfer to lead European programming, and I’ve stayed here ever since, becoming a UK citizen in 2017.
In today’s interconnected global and intercultural workplace, what are some of the skills necessary for successful work abroad?
Many of the skills required for a successful international career are equivalent to those required for a successful career anywhere; problem solving, clear communication, self-management and a willingness to learn would apply to any profession, anywhere. Recognizing that workplaces are going to be different and have different ways of doing business – it’s not going to be the same as it was in the US, is especially important in the international context.
What was the best piece of advice you received before you went abroad? / What advice do you wish you had received before you went abroad?
The best advice that I received before making my first international transfer was that I could always return to the US – keeping this in mind, internalizing that a move didn’t have to be permanent can really help to ease feeling of uncertainty. I wish I had also received advice on what I really needed to bring with me – less is more!
Was the culture change difficult for you? What tips do you have to overcome the challenges?
When I moved abroad the first time, to Barbados, I had a great deal of difficulty adjusting to what I perceived as a slower pace, and I often felt impatient with the more relaxed attitudes, especially towards business. If I could go back and advise my younger self, I’d emphasize the need for greater acceptance and embracing differences, a lot more flexibility, and patience.
Do you see yourself continuing to live abroad permanently or do you plan on moving back to the US in the years to come?
Having lived abroad now for nearly 15 years, it’s hard to imagine moving back to the US, but I’d never say never. With parents, siblings, a host of nieces and nephews, friends and God children back in the US, the draw is strong, but for now we’re quite happy with our life in the UK.
Thank you, Kate, for sharing about your career journey and life in London! Check our Instagram @ustcareer and watch this blog for more Global Alumni Spotlights throughout the semester!