A new team member for our intercultures global head office
Raina Müller-Bornemann enjoys a good thriller, particularly those by the famous South African writer, Deon Meyer. His books “tell a lot about the relations between different ethnic groups in South Africa, and changes in [the country’s] society,” she says. Reading these stories reminds Raina fondly of a time in her life when she lived for five years in Windhoek, Namibia with her family, and travelled extensively through the southern region of the continent. The youngest of her two “third culture kids”[i], who was born in Namibia, explains that her mama does “something with people in other countries” for work.
Born for customer relations
Her daughter would be correct. In fact, Raina has been working one of intercultures‘ key Customer Management roles since mid-2016 as a team member at our Global Head Office. If you have not already encountered Raina over the phone, via your inbox or at our office, know that she joins a small and mighty back office team that supports customer relations. In her role, Raina develops and organizes custom-made training and coaching for customers worldwide; develops trainers; and networks amongst our global consultant pool. She’s also learning the meaning of Virtual Closeness[ii], which she says, “is becoming one of the main topics in intercultures’ trainings, and is truly interesting.”
Rainas unique background
Raina joins our team with a Masters of Arts degree in International Business Studies with a focus on Southeast Asia; some study of Tourism; and a certification as an intercultural trainer. She says, “what shaped me most was that I worked in different cultural backgrounds in Germany and Namibia, and also in different professional backgrounds”. More specifically, Raina’s professional background includes private sector work in Sales and Marketing; Tourism; and an overseas assignment with the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. “Through this,” says Raina, “I experienced different business cultures, and learned different ways of how people work together.”
Welcome to the intercultures family
In her time at our headquarters, Raina has observed that, “what I haven’t experienced to this extent [professionally] is the appreciative way that intercultures works with customers, consultants and within the team.” We like to believe that what she’s experiencing reflects intercultures‘ stated mission, vision, values, USP and understanding of quality.
Every team members is adding to intercultures diverse culture
Unique for our Berlin office [iii], Raina is a hire who identifies as “entirely German as both [her] parents are German, and most of [her] life she has lived in Germany”. She may represent an outlier beyond the German archetype. At the encouragement of her parents, Raina studied in Scotland at age 12; France at 14; and Canada at 16. Raina looks like a Berliner to those who assume that those who belong look alike, though she’s experienced being a “foreign object” both outside of, and within, her homeland. She became particularly aware—and at times critical—of her German cultural identity when living and integrating in a Javanese-speaking, predominately Muslim, area of Indonesia; when repatriating to Germany and encountering the cultural tendency to stick to the rules; when speaking with Germans less exposed to cultural difference—both within and outside the nation—who did not necessarily understand why someone would want to leave the country and live in Africa. The variety of Raina’s experiences reflect intercultures’ deep conviction that our customers benefit from the fact that our Global Head Office staff and consultant pool also live the processes that we offer externally.
In addition to welcoming Raina Müller-Bornemann, intercultures would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who make our global operation possible. To our team in Berlin; our key stakeholders in China, Germany, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S.; and to the talented consultants and coaches who identify professionally with intercultures, we thank you with deep gratitude, respect and anticipation for 2017.
Namibia – a small insight into a diverse country
Namibia is located in the southernmost region of the continent of Africa, which generally includes the countries Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabe.
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[i] A third culture kid (TCK) is a young person or individual raised in a culture other than their parents‘ for a significant part of their early development years, and exposed to a great variety of cultural influences.
[ii] Virtual Closenes is a term coined by Line Jehle, Dr. Marcus Hildebrandt and intercultures‘ own, Stefan Mesiter, in their book, Closeness at a Distance: Leading Virtual Groups to High Performance. In the book, Virtual Closeness is said to describe, „the perceived closeness between two or more group members and their perceived closeness to the context and space wherein they interact after a period of little or no face-to-face contact.”
[iii] Since established in 2001, intercultures has intentionally maintained a back office staffed by a minimum of 70% team members of bi-cultural or non-German origin.
Photo credit for title photo of Raina Müller-Bornemann: Stefan Meister.
Source of Partial map of African continent: Google Maps.
The above article was included in our Nov. 2016 intercultures e-newsletter.