Working Across the Globe: Lexmark execs share experiences

 

CPT leadership team and families celebrating "Las Posadas" last December in Juarez.

CPT leadership team and families celebrating “Las Posadas” last December in Juarez.

Business Lexington recently interviewed two Lexmark executives (click here for the full article) who discussed their experiences working internationally. We wanted to expand that conversation with two follow-up interviews with other Lexmark executives who have or are working internationally.  This is the first in a two-part series. Our first Lexmark interview features Leea Haarz, general manager of Lexmark Juarez.

Lexmark: Where is your international assignment and what do you do for Lexmark?

Haarz: I’ve been on assignment for Lexmark for about two and a half years. My original assignment was to manage our CPT (chemical process toner) facility which is one of several manufacturing plants on Lexmark’s Juarez campus. I was recently promoted to general manager of the Lexmark Juarez campus.

Lexmark: How difficult was your initial transition for your international assignment?

Leea and her family on a recent hike in Sedona, AZ.

Leea and her family on a recent hike in Sedona, AZ.

Haarz: For me there were the predictable differences of location, culture, language and work, all of which I have absolutely loved. However, it was also a big change for my family in our lifestyle and experiences, and their support has been critical. Living in El Paso has allowed us to travel all over the U.S. Southwest and do things we wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to do. We deliberately plan our weekend adventures around our location and we love them.

Lexmark: What has being in a new, diverse culture taught you? 

Some members of Lexmark’s CPT team celebrating the start of production for a new toner product in the fall of 2011 in Juarez.

Some members of Lexmark’s CPT team celebrating the start of production for a new toner product in the fall of 2011 in Juarez.

Haarz: Working in a new culture is an opportunity to practice emotional intelligence.  The culture in Juarez is warm, optimistic and relational, and I try to share that with the rest of Lexmark when possible. I just love the people I get to work with every day.

In addition, being on assignment in general gives you a chance to have more authority as well as accountability for your decisions and work. This is a great way to learn.

How has your experience in Juarez helped you add value to Lexmark?

Haarz: I’ve worked at Lexmark for 18 years in many different areas including manufacturing, development, engineering and environmental, health and safety.  In this assignment, I use my experience and Lexmark knowledge to help bridge together our teams in Lexington and Juarez as well as our team in Lexmark’s Boulder, Colorado, facility. I strive to provide perspective and insight to all Lexmark locations on our goals, initiatives and motivations, because I understand what it’s like in multiple areas of the business. It’s a more complicated form of “translation” than just language. The better we can all communicate, the better we can meet our customers’ needs and manage our business.

What is your advice for people considering an opportunity to work in an international position? 

Haarz: I think the best assignments (international or otherwise) are those that match an employee’s skills, talents and interests with business needs. The adventure of an international assignment has the potential to grow you at a faster pace than others, but if you find one that matches your career and development goals, it’s a home run.

Lexmark: How has your experience in Juarez helped you add value to Lexmark? 

Haarz: I’ve worked at Lexmark for 18 years in many different areas including manufacturing, development, engineering and environmental, health and safety.  In this assignment, I use my experience and Lexmark knowledge to help bridge together our teams in Lexington and Juarez as well as our team in Lexmark’s Boulder, Colorado, facility. I strive to provide perspective and insight to all Lexmark locations on our goals, initiatives and motivations, because I understand what it’s like in multiple areas of the business. It’s a more complicated form of “translation” than just language. The better we can all communicate, the better we can meet our customers’ needs and manage our business.

Lexmark: What is your advice for people considering an opportunity to work in an international position? 

Haarz: I think the best assignments (international or otherwise) are those that match an employee’s skills, talents and interests with business needs. The adventure of an international assignment has the potential to grow you at a faster pace than others, but if you find one that matches your career and development goals, it’s a home run.

Click here to read the article in Business Lexington featuring Lexmark executives, Todd Hamlin and Ronaldo Foresti.