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A World of Connections and Experiences

7305 Charlene Birkhoff
By Charlene Birkhoff, Director of Credit

As Smith’s Director of Credit, I work with colleagues across departments and global offices to oversee and streamline credit sales transactions while stimulating repeat sales. In this blog post, I talk about the international journey I’ve taken – and the diverse cultural exposure I’ve gained – by following the opportunities I was offered at Smith. 

Working for Smith has been a mind-blowing experience.

Being a born-and-bred South African, I thought that I had the ultimate exposure to diversity and different cultures. South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation, with 11 official languages and a variety of ethnic groups and cultures all mixed into one big pot. Little did I know that I would be exposed to even more cultures and traditions when I got the opportunity to work for Smith.

My family and I relocated to the Netherlands several years ago, and that is when I joined the Smith team in Amsterdam. Working with such a vibrant and versatile group of people – each from a different country, culture, and background – taught me that the Rainbow Nation does not just exist in South Africa; it can be found at Smith, as well. Not only did I get to interact with a variety of cultures by working with our great European team, but, on a professional level, I also learned the ethics and business cultures of countries from around the world.

I recently had the opportunity to transfer to Smith’s headquarters in Houston, and that was a life-changing journey, not just for me but for my family, too. Once again, we prepared ourselves to embrace new cultures, new experiences, and new people.

The move was very exciting, and we were welcomed by Smith’s global team with open arms and open hearts! My colleagues at Smith made a real effort to make my whole family feel at home.

I once again had the opportunity to get to learn new cultures and business ethics, something that probably would not have happened if I didn’t work for Smith.

I can honestly say that every move was an opportunity for me to grow professionally and personally, and these experiences have taught my family and me that you should never be afraid of anything different from what you are used to. Even though changes can be hard to embrace, they are valuable if you keep your focus on the positive things you learn from every place and situation you find yourself in.

Every day, my family and I keep embracing our new surroundings, new sports, new cultures, and new people. We learn something new every day, and we realize how fortunate we are to have experienced it all through this excellent opportunity afforded to us by Smith!

Check out more of Smith’s success stories on our LinkedIn Life page.

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