"On Abroad Experience Impact on Beliefs and Goals" by Erik Michielsen

How exciting is the World Cup right now?  Think about it.  On average, one BILLION people are watching these games.  No matter the country, this is humbling.  And exciting.  It is an opportunity to make clear the possibilities that exist outside your particular country's borders and the expected, and unexpected, potential that exists for you to see. 

Abroad Experience is a pillar amidst the leadership enabling ingredients, or themes, that provide structure to the video interview segments shot, edited, curated and presented to you on Capture Your Flag.  By experiencing the unfamiliar, we are constantly pushed to better understand not only our passions and interests, but also our potential and capacity to evolve them over time. 

Whether you have friends and family attending the 2010 World Cup or are, like me, simply enjoying the games from afar, it cannot go unsaid that the effect global culture has on opening our eyes to possibility is tremendous. 

Many Capture Your Flag interviewees have shared their abroad experiences with me in our interviews.  As interviewees return annually to share new ideas and insights into their developing careers, we will build upon these stories. What excites me most is how the video panel element - year over year interviews - will chart change and development over time. 


Just as we started out here in Brooklyn knowing little and aspiring high, abroad travelers only know a destination.  Plans and events may be charted, but the stories and their effect on us remain unwritten until actually experienced.  Often, these experiences are unfamiliar, yet, is unfamiliar a bad thing?  Interviewee Yoav Gonen shares why he embraces the uncomfortable and unknown and uses it to better chart his own course in life. 



I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Hutson out of school back in 1996, where we worked together at what was then Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).  Hutson found purpose outside business process consulting and it hit him by complete surprise, while traveling abroad to Honduras to assist with Hurricane Mitch relief efforts.  His story certainly does not begin here but this moment, and those pineapples, proved more transformative than anything he could have imagined.  Have a look...


From that point, Hutson continued his quest toward what he would soon be defined as "corporate sustainability".  After returning to school to evolve and refine his ambition, Hutson was released back into the wild - in other words the job market - to apply his trade.  Over time, a job at the Environmental Defense Fund led him to Bentonville, Arkansas, where Hutson was presented an opportunity to work with the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart and help lead its corporate sustainabilty strategy, in particular the elements involved with green supply chain.

Who would have thought that an idea stemming from a pineapple field could frame a life purpose realized by working inside the largest country for the largest company to plan a green initiative scalable to the entire world. How, exactly?  I'll let Andrew explain...

In short, abroad experiences offer extreme potential but that potential only has possibility to be unlocked when the trip is taken.  I highly encourage everyone I meet to push themselves to meet new cultures, be they regional, socioeconomic, generational, or, of course, global.  Watching Andrew Hutson, Yoav Gonen, and the other interviewees inspires me to continue trying new things and also, for new things I discover and like, to revisit and share them with others over time. 

Please visit the Capture Your Flag Facebook Fan Page to share your own Abroad Experience!