I attended the 2015 World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. as the co-head delegate of the Young Diplomats of Canada. I was particularly interested in the event because it promised to provide insight into how business interacts with governments, international organizations, and non-profits in order to achieve global development objectives. As a young professional working in Financial Management for General Electric, and with broad experiences in emerging economies, the meetings fit my interests very closely.
During one of the sessions, I was fortunate enough to hear John Rice, Vice Chair of General Electric and President & CEO of GE Global Growth and Operations, speak about the work that our company is doing in Africa to build critical infrastructure and provide necessary healthcare innovations. As someone with a long-time interest in African development, it was fascinating. I took the opportunity to introduce myself afterwards and also expressed a desire to participate in the work he had described. Only a few weeks later, after having followed up with Mr. Rice, I learned that he had personally forwarded my resume along to the relevant people within the company across Africa. And soon thereafter, I received notice that I will be placed in Nairobi, Kenya beginning this July.
Thanks to the introduction made by Mr. Rice, I’ll be working in GE’s Business Development group (an area notoriously difficult to break into) directly for the Managing Director for the continent. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity for I’ve been told by John Rice and others that my new boss is a phenomenal leader and teacher. This will provide me with a view into the development and implementation of continent- wide strategy, and allow me to work on projects that drive GE’s local expansion through new market access, locally relevant products, services and technologies, and adjacent growth opportunities. We will not be working on discretionary products, our products create value by producing innovations that move society forward and contribute solutions towards some of the world’s most complex and serious issues. In the African market, business success will require coordination with both the public and non-profit sectors – something that was widely discussed at the World Bank/IMF meetings. I am excited to develop my own skills, witness topics of discussion from the meetings first-hand, and contribute to the development process.
Without my YDC experience, I would have never had the opportunity to interact with one of my company’s most senior executives. And without that chance, I would not have been able to secure what is my dream job for this stage of my life. My experience as a delegate had catalyzed the biggest early-career accelerating opportunity I could have imagined.
I am ready to give this everything I’ve got! Check out this video of GE Africa.