Reflections on a Year Spent 6,000+ Miles Away

As 2016 Daniel J. Edelman Global Fellows, Drew Cary and Alicia Kim were a world apart. Drew, originally from Edelman’s Los Angeles office, spent a year in São Paulo, Brazil; Alicia, originally from the Seoul, South Korea office, was in Washington, D.C. Their Global Fellow experiences were as distinct as their backgrounds. Now back in their respective home markets, they shared their insights after a challenging yet exhilarating year abroad, as well as the differences in global communications they discovered in their host and home markets.

Q: Of all the communications marketing skills you developed abroad, what was the most relevant to your work during your respective fellowships?

Drew: Integration. My client work spanned several groups in our Brazil offices and offices around the world, including Employee Engagement, Talent, Digital, Paid, Analytics, Media and Creative. This exposed me to countless new marketing communications tactics and amplification practices.

Alicia: Specialization. Nested in DC, I was exposed to various public affairs/stakeholder engagement projects, which allowed me to focus on crisis communication and policymaker engagement skills.

Q: What were the main differences in client communication needs between your home and host markets?

Alicia: Client needs are shaped by each country’s policy and market situation. For example, Korea has a single-payer healthcare system whereas the U.S. does not, so our health sector clients have different considerations when communicating with policymakers or academia.

Drew: Local clients came into the Edelman office every week for meetings and often felt like part of the team. At one point, I was convinced one of our clients had decided to join Edelman!

Q: What are your key takeaways for global communicators?

Drew: Always reach out to the local account team before committing to scope. The local team will provide insights, suggestions, an overview of the media landscape, and budget, to help you manage your client’s expectations as you enter a new market.

Alicia: Be sensitive to different cultural nuances, as it can make a world of difference. For Edelman-ers, maximize the (great!) Edelman network. We have more resources in each region and office than one could imagine, and it’s important to know key people and their specialties.

Drew Cary is a 2016 Daniel J. Edelman Global Fellow with the Digital team in São Paulo, originally from Los Angeles.
Alicia Kim is a 2016 Daniel J. Edelman Global Fellow with Edelman Washington D.C., originally from Seoul.