(3 of 3) Women in Leadership at Graebel: The Impact of Diverse Leaders on Graebel’s Evolution
Over the course of Graebel’s 71-year history, we have transformed and evolved from a family-run moving company to a global talent and workplace mobility solutions provider serving renowned brands and companies in 165 countries. Through our journey, we remained family owned and have stayed true to our core values of truth, love and integrity. This transformation and our continued success would not be possible without a series of strong leaders along the way, many of whom are women.
In the final part of our Women in Leadership series we discuss accomplishments, how the company has transformed over the years and the role diverse leaders will play in Graebel’s future. We met with Bobbie Haworth, senior vice president, global contract services; Jacquelyn Landridge, vice president, enterprise excellence & strategic initiatives; Monique Castor, vice president, client services EMEA; Natalie Campbell, vice president, enterprise initiatives; Tasha Johnson, vice president, global marketing and Mary Dymond, chief talent officer. Each of these women has spent at least 5 years at Graebel and they have collectively dedicated over 70 years to our company.
What accomplishment are you most proud of as a woman in leadership at Graebel?
Johnson: I’m proud of driving the strategy of our global marketing team and the ways we’ve been able to define and tell Graebel’s story and purpose in a way that is authentic and meaningful to the family who built this company from the ground up. There are two projects that stick out to me. The first is the recent brand refresh project that I led the marketing team through. We worked hard to package up the story about how Graebel evolved over the years and where we’re headed, to help everyone understand our unique culture. The second project is setting up Graebel’s first social media accounts. Many people didn’t understand the magnitude of social media way back then, but there was this groundbreaking moment when we realized we needed to get into that space to connect with our clients, their mobile employees and the mobility industry in general.
Haworth: I am proud to have played a key role in winning some of our biggest clients and contributing to the growth and development of a world-class global mobility company. As an operational leader, I was involved in Request for Proposals preparation, client presentations, negotiations and ongoing management of the services teams. We landed a household name as we were just getting rolling and that was just the boost we needed. After that, we gained the trust of clients with major name recognition, which paved the way for us to secure other premier accounts — some of which are still clients today. It’s fulfilling to see that the processes and contracts I created in the beginning are still being used and built the foundation for success we’re enjoying today.
Landridge: I’m proud of the projects I’ve worked on that helped Graebel transition from a company doing business internationally to a truly global company. I was instrumental in the opening of our Shanghai office in 2012, so we could better serve clients in the APAC region, especially those who were establishing a presence in the growing China market. From a personal perspective, I learned a lot about operating in a global environment and across functions, to make me a more well-rounded leader. Another highlight accomplishment is managing the divestiture of the van line. While it was a team effort, I am proud of my leadership as project manager and the way we worked together to take this next step in the company’s future.
Castor: I also had the opportunity to help expand Graebel’s global footprint. I was at the forefront of our goal to have our first European client and build the account management function in EMEA. I relocated to Europe to lead that work in expanding our international accounts. It has been quite successful, and we now have a substantial footprint and serve amazing people and companies in Europe. I’m proud of taking something that was centralized in the U.S. and bringing it to a new region, to support exceptional experiences for our EMEA clients. This is personal for me, too, because I’ve been through the immigration process (I’m originally from Germany but moved to the U.S. as a young adult) and I’ve relocated multiple times for my career. I understand how difficult and overwhelming it can be, so I love being able to help people have a seamless experience. As a mom on assignment with three kids, I can empathize with clients’ relocating employees and what they are experiencing.
Campbell: I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built and the trust Graebel has in me to lead critical projects. I’m currently working on an exciting project that I can’t say too much about yet, but it will help reimagine the employee journey and increase client satisfaction. Stay tuned!
Dymond: I’m proud of managing our company’s response to COVID-19. I had some relevant crisis experience and could see from our offices in Shanghai and Singapore that we would need to be prepared. So, I established a task force to assess the situation and decide when to transition to remote work. I ensured we met regularly as the pandemic evolved and discussed the challenges and opportunities we faced, while prioritising, protecting and engaging our employees, clients, and the ability to serve our customers. I encouraged and supported development of new communications protocols and enhanced existing ones to ensure employees remained informed and engaged. That meant more video meetings, regular updates and encouraging managers to check in with their teams. I really appreciate the task force’s hard work and the dedication of our leaders as we’ve navigated the last year and a half together and as a result, we feel that employees know we truly care about their physical and mental health.
How did your accomplishment help transform the company?
Johnson: The Graebel brand is all about creating exceptional, people-first experiences and creating social media channels for the company gave us another way to connect with people and help problem solve, especially in the early days of social media. It helped us refine our responses and processes to connect clients and mobile employees with the right people who can create those exceptional experiences. We’ve continued that customer service and communications evolution with new tools, like our reimagined web experience and chatbot, to continue helping people quickly and efficiently.
Haworth: Some of our early clients really inspired us to improve and gave us a chance to prove what we could do. Our motto, then and now, is “Commitments Made. Commitments Kept.(R)” So, when clients presented new opportunities to expand our services, we pushed ourselves to find ways to deliver. Many of those early services we developed in collaboration with our clients are core services we provide to clients to this day.
Castor: When we expanded to Europe, we truly took on the journey of becoming a global company and adjusting to different processes. We took feedback from clients and internal stakeholders to heart and found new ways to raise the bar and operate as we learned and grew. Like Bobbie’s experience, we had international clients that elevated Graebel and trusted us to try new things.
Landridge: The divestiture of the van line was really a time of metamorphosis for the company. We knew we needed to embrace the future and give full attention to relocation opportunities, while still honoring and acknowledging our history. It was challenging, but also an exciting opportunity to grow. As you look at that in combination with our expansion into EMEA and my work in Shanghai, we really solidified Graebel’s global presence and helped us better understand how to operate in a global environment and work cross functionally.
How has Graebel supported your career growth and accomplishments?
Landridge: Graebel is forward-thinking. We see that in our business decisions and how we’ve evolved the company over time, but also in our culture. The company supports work life integration and recognizes that everybody has a life and a career, and they can coexist. Sometimes I need to leave early to go to my child’s sporting event and other nights I need to work late to meet a deadline. It’s great to be able to bring work and life together for greater fulfillment on both sides. As a mum who cares a lot about my career, that mindset has benefited me personally and I’m able to bring more to my role.
Castor: I’ve had a similar experience. I have a 7-year-old and 4-year-old twins. I’ve been able to establish a career and be a mom. My role in account management at Graebel has given me the flexibility I need to make my schedule work for my family and my job. Graebel has been very supportive. For example, when I worked in Prague, my son would come to the office with me on Friday afternoons and it was welcomed.
Campbell: Graebel is truly invested in creating an inclusive and engaged workplace, which allows everyone to be their authentic self and feel part of the team. And when that happens, we can do our best work. I was glad when I saw that Graebel was one of the first relocation companies on LinkedIn to post [after George Floyd and amid rising violence against AAPI folks] and offer their support to the community. It’s also more than that. Graebel isn’t just posting, but also investing in work behind the scenes to learn and improve and do better. When COVID hit, Graebel made all employees feel supported and gave us the flexibility we needed during challenging times. The company increased communications from our leadership team to make sure we continued to feel connected even as we worked from home. This is where #GraebelStrong was born and continues to resonate internally and on social media.
Dymond: As Chief Talent Officer, having a diverse team is a priority for me. I think it’s really important for my team to set an example of what it looks like to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce. If you want to make a change, you must start at home — for me that was within my department. Now, we’re setting the standard at the company and are able to make a difference outside of our department. I’m able to do this because the company is supportive of these kinds of goals and committed to making our workforce more diverse and inclusive.
Going forward, what role do you think women and other diverse leaders will play in shaping Graebel?
Johnson: I believe a variety of collective voices will be able to collaborate and continue to shape the future of Graebel. Graebel’s leadership team is taking intentional steps to encourage diversity at all levels of the company, including leadership positions, by empowering people to bring their ideas, skillset, specialty and authentic self to the table. As a company, we work with a diverse mix of clients and people from all around the world and we should represent that internally as an organization.
Haworth: I think it is vital for Graebel to continue actively working to ensure women and people from all different backgrounds are able to seize opportunities and help shape the future of the company. If we show employees what’s possible and that the company is here to support their goals, I’m confident diverse leaders will help shape the future of the company and lead Graebel’s next great initiatives. Graebel provides great opportunities for everyone to learn and grow, and I think that will continue to make us an employer of choice.
Dymond: Diverse leaders will play a critical role in shaping the future of the company. It’s also not just about having diverse leaders; it’s about making sure they have a voice and opportunities. If we don’t do that, it doesn’t matter what our statistics say. I am encouraged by Graebel’s DEI efforts to-date and think this commitment will be part of the next evolution of Graebel’s strong culture.
These leaders’ experiences demonstrate the many transformations of Graebel over the years and the crucial role leaders of all backgrounds play in shaping our company. Thanks to the hard work, dedication and leadership of these talented women, Graebel has navigated global expansion, changes to our offerings and continued growth all while consistently offering exceptional experiences to clients and mobile employees. As Graebel continues to evolve and change, we’re committed to creating space for diverse leaders to help shape our future.