In December, LinkedIn kept reminding me that I am celebrating three years as a volunteer in the marketing department of Women in Localization. This started me on a nostalgic visit with our relationship, one of mostly love and dedication with a kindhearted and generous partner.
I started working in localization in February 2017, after the age of 40 and after having been a stay-at-home wife and mother with part-time marketing jobs for all of my adult life in the United States. Then one day, localization embraced me and my in-language copy reviewing skills that I developed in a previous life as a journalist. It’s been a love affair ever since.
While working as reviewer for RWS Moravia, I was hungry…. No… I was starving for new concepts and ideas and was determined to learn as much as I could about localization in the shortest amount of time. My work was very specialized and, while I loved it, it did not offer me the industry perspective and understanding that I was craving.
Then along came an opportunity, prompted by a post I had seen on LinkedIn, to get involved with Women in Localization. I became part of the social media team managing Facebook, along with Edith Bendermacher (LinkedIn), Claire Goodswen (Twitter), and Mimi Moore (Editorial Content). Under the magical direction of Erica Haims, who put together the marketing team.
My volunteering with Women in Localization opened up roads that I had never imagined:
- I learned how the corporate environment looks and speaks
- I learned what the expectations are in a big organization
- I was empowered to offer my ideas and to contribute to the development of a marketing department, growing from a few volunteers full of enthusiasm and not a lot process to a full-fledged department with solid processes and cross-organization interactions
- I made solid work connections that helped me move ahead in my career (I changed jobs three times in four years and I completely love the job I have now as a Globalization Strategy Coordinator at NetApp)
- I have been in close connection with some of the most inspiring figures in the localization industry
- I realized that learning is an ongoing process and that every day you can be a better version of yourself
I now lead social media strategy for the Women in Localization global accounts and I have just put together a team of three people. I hope that I can inspire and support them to move ahead in their career just like I was inspired and supported.
My fulfilling experience with Women in Localization is prompting me to encourage everyone in our industry to volunteer their skills to learn and help each other. At Women in Localization we are in constant need of volunteers and mentors. If you want to donate your time, we will find a job for you. We have grown so much in the past three years that we need a lot of brilliant minds.
Not in localization? Not a problem. We welcome minds from outside of our industry to provide us with fresh perspectives.
My lessons from Women in Localization include:
- Volunteering at any age, regardless of your experience, is priceless.
- Find an org with a mission that resonates with you, and most importantly, team members that you can learn from and collaborate with.
- Set a goal, but don’t forget to have fun. If your goal is to boost your skills, you’d better do it with an organization that you love. There are plenty to choose from.
- Treat your volunteer work as your job – your work reflects on you and those encounters make the perfect referrals for jobs and advancing in your career.
- If you have plenty of experience, don’t think you are overqualified. At your level, mentoring can be one of the most fulfilling experiences you may have.