Features - Alum of the Month
Heidi Kristin Wager
March 2006 Intake
What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
I earned my BA in Business Administration (concentrated in Marketing and Finance) with a minor in Political Science (magna cum laude) in 2005 at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan. www.arbor.edu
As a part of my undergraduate degree, I participated in three off-campus semesters/tutorials in Washington, DC, Chicago, and New York City as a creative/adventurous way to fulfill my degree requirements. Best undergraduate academic decisions I ever made!
What made you apply for the Mountbatten programme?
After my graduation from SAU in 2005, I returned to DC to live/work. However, that was short-lived because of some family matters needing my attention back in Michigan. Following some advice from family, friends, and mentors, I researched potential options for additional education/work experiences elsewhere before returning to DC. MB was one of the programs I found during my search and in retrospect, I think my time/effort /patience paid off. MB was what it claimed to be: a life-changing experience that launched me further into a life/career of living, serving, traveling, and loving abroad by connecting me to other like-minded young, tenacious professionals with vibrancy for life and adventure.
Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
During my MB stint in London, I served a multi-function, marketing/finance/communications role at Barkers Norman Broadbent (BNB) Recruitment Solutions, PLC, a company which at the beginning of my time there was comprised of 11recruitment solutions businesses (such as Barkers, Norman Broadbent, Garfield Robbins International, Hamlin Knight, Contaplusâ) and later acquired MRI China during our time together.
My role began as Group Finance Marketing and Finance Project Manager, which included projects such as the collection, analysis, and presentation of the company's monthly, quarterly, and annual report figures to the Board of Directors, shareholders, and employees; maintenance of the Group website; and working with the Group CEOs/CFOs to develop marketing tools. As the BNB/HKW relationship evolved and developed, I leapt into a more communications and marketing-based role in addition to maintaining responsibilities listed above. I also then began working on the development and release of the Groups Client Engagement Model, which was used to explain the strength and resources offered by the BNB collection of companies to potential users (ie. Recruiters/job seekers). My team and I also worked together for several months on the MRI China acquisition.
What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
BNB Group Finance team members were the highlight of my work experience. There wasnt a day I didnt enjoy going to one of my offices or working remotely. We worked hard and we had fun doing it. Our close-knit team was a small yet powerful and diverse one comprised of 4 Brits, 1 Peruvian, 1 Belgian, 1 South African/British, and 1 American (me).
To celebrate our differences and similarities, our team celebrated everyones' major holidays, birthdays, childrens births, anniversaries, personal successes, and new business. We also watched our fair amount of football (esp. World Cup matches) together. Group Finance honestly enjoyed one anothers company and dedication to the mission of BNB.
I do, however, have 4 specific examples of our Group Finance unity and fun.
Firstly, in the autumn of 2006, we had an All-American Thanksgiving luncheon. We invited each CEO/CFO of each of the 11 Group companies to attend and asked each person to sign up for bring in one item to share with the rest of the team for the potluck. I am not sure how we all pulled it off but everyone was able to find and bring in their potluck pieces for the meal. We had executives / employees from all over the globe share in the meal together. French-style pumpkin pie, English oven-roasted turkey, fresh cranberries, tasty bread etc. etc. Deliciousness and incredibly fun!
Secondly, the new business/acquisition process was a lot of work and meant some late nights, early mornings, thousands of emails, etc. but the whole process was exhilarating, rewarding, and professionally satisfying.
Thirdly, my sangria-themed leaving drinks. We'll leave it at that. A phenomenal time!
Lastly, one of my most memorable moments was my day out of the office and in Parliament - with MP (& BNB Director) John Redwood and our then-Group Finance PA/good friend Ursula Darvill. A brilliant time delving into the issues facing our globe! Unforgettable!
What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
So many to choose from but Iets say it would be a three-way tie among the Regents Park proposal, our MB Independence Day water fight in Hyde Park, or the gymnastics displayed at my leaving drinks. Literally, though, there are thousands of good times, social highlights, and most memorable moments during the year. I cherish those memories.
Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship
Be ready for anything. Be perspicacious. Engage / challenge the culture. Network. Have fun. ~It's an adventure. Enjoy the ride!
If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
My internship was brilliant. As I have said above, I enjoyed every single day. A great fit!! Thank you, to Paul Turner, Alex Fowles, and Anthony Jacques (and the rest of the BNB Team) for making it an amazing year.
One thing "I'd have asked Mountbatten to use social media to communicate with us more than they did with mass emails"
What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
Though I was offered an opportunity to stay with Group Finance post-MB, I returned Stateside to pursue a year-long time of service abroad. I spent a few weeks researching opportunities whilst spending time in Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Colorado before beginning my orientation and training with the organization I chose to work with. I served in the East at an international university teaching international commerce, advertising English, and coaching womens' basketball. After the 2007-2008 school year ended I stayed an additional few weeks in-country to take language and regional cooking courses.
I returned Stateside after my time in the East, spending much of my time for the next 3+ years in/out of hospitals/specialists offices/in bed to resolve some health issues rearing their head abroad. I stepped out of my full-time job, stayed at home, nauseated and wasting away. However, by the grace of God, with the love/support/encouragement of my family, friends, and colleagues, and with the help of hoards of specialists, I am now happy to say I am regaining my health and have now returned to work / am living a normal HKW life. Hallelujah!
As my symptoms lessened after the initial illness (and after the treatments started kicking in), I was able to return to my role in the maritime industry at Lakes Pilots Association, Inc. and simultaneously took on additional roles within the Port Huron Area School District and St. Clair County Community Mental Health organizations to share my story with those in my local area in Port Huron, Michigan.
Additionally, I also responded to a call to serve / love additional at-risk and marginalized populations worldwide by founding CALLED2LOVE, an organization designed to enrich peoples lives by empowering them to love. CALLED2LOVE strategically partners with other non-profit organizations/individuals who share the core values of love, peace, freedom, and service. My own personal call being to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, my plan is to connect people to each other so that we all might live more unified and peacefully in the days ahead.
My time with CALLED2LOVE has led to two trips to Africa for me in the past two years. In 2010, I set out to Kenya, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo to set up partnerships with organizations and churches such as Port Huron First United Methodist Church (USA), GOA Rehema Girlsâ Rescue Centre (Kenya), Emmaus Church of Christ (Congo) and in 2011 led a group of 10 volunteers from Grace Ministry Center (USA) to the GOA Rehema Girlsâ Rescue Centre (Kenya). Future work/trips ever-evolving and tbd. Check out our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/CALLED2LOVE.
Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
I am still currently employed with Lakes Pilots Association, Inc., Port Huron Area School District, and St. Clair County Community Mental Health organizations.
At Lakes Pilots Association, Inc., I am in my 11th season working with members of the maritime industry , lawyers, lobbyists, to create, amend, and maintain Great Lakes shipping policy (Code of Federal Regulations, Article 46) to provide the Great Lakes with safe, reliable, and efficient pilotage services.
I serve as a substitute teacher within the Port Huron Area School District through PCMI.
Within the SCCCMH agency, I have filled the contract for the Recovery & Discovery Theatre Programs bi-annual CMH Players performances as the Stage Manager/Costume Designer since 2009, working on performances such as Miracle on 34th Street, The Odd Couple (female version), A Christmas Carol, and A Month of Sundays. Our 2011 winter production is scheduled to be Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus opening November 2011.
Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
I am just taking life one day at a time but with any luck, someday, I'll be in a hammock, on a beach, in Fiji with some guy!