The international exchange of goods and services has grown exponentially over the past decades despite ongoing low intensity wars, intermittent financial crisis and a major recession. The world has never been so tightly knit together in this phenomenon that we call globalization. While trade is the most visible and tangible part of globalization, all of this would not be possible without products and services that are ready for the global marketplace. Taking products and services global is what we do and our industry has an unusually high percentage of women that contribute at all levels. So we thought it was time to showcase these women, who they are, what they do, and the part they have in Women in Localization through this series of brief interviews called “Global Sound Bites”.
I am very proud to start off the series with Rachel Lord, Chapter Manager of Women in Localization, North-Eastern US.
- What is your name and where do you live?
Rachel Lord, and I live in New York.
- What do you do in localization?
I am Sr. Director of Project Management Office @ WeLocalize. Our PMO brings together our global PM community to jointly solve some challenges and build solutions to the way we deliver client services.
- What is your global footprint? We have come up with this concept to map how global our group of women is. How many countries have you lived in and how many countries have you visited?
I have a degree in International Business and Languages from Scotland. As a student I often lived abroad. I did a year of high school in France with a French family. This was before the internet and we hand wrote letters to family and friends, calls were expensive, so a move by yourself as a teenager was different than it would feel today. As part of my degree, one year was spent at a French business school in Nancy.
As student, I visited Spain during university vacations, which helped me a lot with my Spanish! After graduation I lived in Venezuela thanks to the British Council and taught English at the university level. That was an eye-opening year: the Venezuelan system was very different compared to what I’d seen in Europe, and social unrest made it uncertain when students could come to class. It made me appreciate the stability we had in the west. I then moved to New York in 1995 on a 1 year program to help graduates with a US work visa to pair them up with an employer, a community and a place to live.
I have been working in New York in the localization industry for 17 years now... and the rest is history… The language industry brings you a great set of colleagues to work with.
- What did you study?
My degree was at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland which has some specialized bachelor’s degrees in languages - one in Language and Interpreting, and one in International Business and Languages.
- What has been your career in localization?
I started at Berlitz GlobalNET in 2000. Even though I had studied International Business and Languages, I wasn’t aware that there was a localization industry and so when I saw a job ad I was kind of thrilled to find that there was a whole community of people working on the business side of languages. I stayed at that company 7 years and we went through 2 acquisitions during that time. We became acquired by Bowne Global Solutions and a couple of years later by Lionbridge. It’s great to experience acquisitions, they’re such a part of our industry. You get exposed to a new leadership team, new ways of working, and new tools. I left to join CLS Communication as the US country manager. CLS was a Swiss headquartered LSP with offices around the world and it was great to be part of this organization, and extremely talented colleagues. I was there for 6 years and shortly after I left they went on to be acquired by Lionbridge, so friends from both those companies are now working together. Next I had a chance to work for a year with an excellent WBE (women-owned) LSP based in Brooklyn, Eriksen Translations. Vigdis Eriksen, the founder and CEO, is interested in promoting women in the workplace, does a lot of networking with women-owned businesses. I found it interesting to be part of that WBE world. Company culture is important to Vigdis, and you feel like a friendly family. I left as the opportunity came to join Welocalize. I have been here for 2 and a half years and it is exciting to be part of a large company with bold ambition and an exciting growth trajectory.
- What do you like the most about your current job?
I think I love the global collaboration the most. You know you get the best ideas when you have colleagues from so many different viewpoints that contribute.
- Is there something that still surprises you about localization?
I love all the change that is being introduced. Very often ideas come from all areas in a team, some of the new entrants to the industry are bringing with them fantastic ideas, making sure that we are re-thinking ways we could collaborate more. I find that is not at all static, things we are doing now we were not doing just a few years ago. There are opportunities to learn new things all the time.
- What is your role in WL?
I am Chapter Manager for the North-East Chapter, in the United States of America.
- How did you get involved in WL?
The North-East Chapter was founded about 18 months ago by Ora Solomon, Rachel Ferris and Sara Vlahovic. Ora invited me to become a member and I went to the inaugural New York event last year. I was really happy to know that we are building a Women in Localization community right here in New York. Ora invited me to become the new chapter manager for 2017 and it has been a great experience so far. We have been working on growing the membership of the North-East chapter and we have more than doubled it, we are now about 160 members. We are working on events to take place in New York and Boston. We have events lined up in April and May and we are planning events beyond that too.
- Where would you want to see the organization move in the future?
It’s really exciting to see that there is a lot being done to pull the chapters closer together, we are going to collaborate and share views of what has been a successful event, we can leverage from each other and we are coming together more on social media and we have a more coherent strategy for social media, so that we are not just doing chapter-specific postings. I think all of this will help to further the feeling of ‘we are a large, 2,500 person strong, global organization that can really build connections between the chapters’. So I’m excited to see that we take it from somewhat separate chapter teams to a more unified way forward.
- Tell us about the event coming up.
It’s a panelist event in NY on April 27th from 6-9pm. It is career-focused and the theme is “what would I tell my 22-years-old self’. We have 5 fabulous panelists who will share their stories about their progress in the localization industry. Some are from client organizations, some are from LSP organizations and I think they are going to share a lot of knowledge and expertise. We’ll also have great opportunities to network together, there will be drinks and food, and the opportunity to meet people from many different organizations. We already have 60 people registered and we are looking forward to a great turnout.