Trading Places at FTI

Two Colleagues Trade Cities, Offices and Houses for Two Months to Gain Insight and Experience

When two FTI colleagues from bustling cross-Atlantic capitals had the opportunity to trade places recently, they discovered not just different cultures and ways of working, but similarities too.

Anais Laporte from FTI Brussels and Amber Glenn from FTI Washington D.C. not only traded desks, but homes, for their two-month switcheroo – an experience allowing them to encounter new clients and modus operandi.

“In the U.S. I worked on very different accounts to those I’m used to in Brussels, so it was a huge learning opportunity,” said Laporte. “We all have so much to learn from one another, and I’ve been trying to absorb as much from the team here in DC as possible, to bring back new ideas to Brussels!”

Glenn agreed, noting, “there are so many cultural, language, and business differences between us, but, being able to fully immerse myself with the team and understand other perspectives makes our professional relationships stronger.”

Glenn admits the experience had been somewhat of a culture shock at first, especially for someone who had never before experienced work-life outside of DC.

“It’s interesting to see the way people in different regions of the world approach work,” she said adding, “we all do essentially the same type of work (Strategic Communications/Public Affairs) but our perspectives and cultural differences certainly play a role in the approach and office culture.”

Cultural exchange isn’t always a walk in the park, and homesickness can happen to the best of us. “Being in Brussels without my circle of close friends and family has not always been easy but it’s great to know I have friends within the FTI network that have become like a second family to me!” said Glenn, who even traveled to London with an FTI colleague she met in Brussels to attend the Caribbean Carnival festival. “It was a good time and I was very grateful to be able to spend it with my co-worker and her family.”

Laporte, meanwhile, has immersed herself in Washington’s wealth of museums and exhibitions. “The National Portrait Gallery is 5-min walking distance from the office, so you can always stop by there for lunch, or the Phillips Collection on Thursday nights as it’s open until 8:30 pm,” she said. Laporte’s favorite DC destination, however, is the Newseum: an interactive museum with exhibits showcasing everything related to journalism. The National Museum of African American History, too, is next on her list.

Staying in each other’s houses also helped make the switch feel like home. “When I tell people Amber and I also switched houses, they LOVE it!” said Laporte. “It makes such a difference to live in a ‘real house’ and not an Airbnb or hotel room. It makes things more real and concrete.”

Ultimately, both women agree the exchange has been a fantastic experience and that the better they understand their colleagues and clients – globally, as well as locally – the better they will be able to serve them.

Learn more about where a career at FTI Consulting may take you.

The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.

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