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How to gain satisfaction as a female expat in multinational corporations

It can be stimulating as an executive in the corporate world to have the opportunity to live and work abroad for a multinational corporation. You enter the expatriate world with endless possibilities to network, grow professionally and personally build the life of your dreams. Challenges do, however, present themselves for expat women, making it hard to thrive in the corporate world of your new country. Cultural changes may cause friction and complication in the workplace, language barriers and the unforeseen pressure thrust upon you as an expat woman to add value, be a worthy employee and make a difference.

Her Expat Life outlines how to overcome female expats' obstacles and gain satisfaction in an executive position for multinational corporations.


You may have just moved to the Middle East and landed a fantastic opportunity. However, if you come from the US or the UK, the corporate world's culture, leadership styles, and communication are vastly different.

"Scholars have pointed out that leadership could not transcend cultures. Leadership styles in the USA and the Middle East are significantly different. Managers in the United Arab Emirates are found to be less transformational and more passive than managers in the USA and Europe. Differences in leadership styles in various cultural organizations cause frustration and conflict among managers" - Interchopen -

All companies have their own defining culture. It's wise to prepare, research and be open-minded to the possible cultural differences in the new workplace. Other Expat women are your greatest ally, and you should make an effort to network, mingle and befriend people when you arrive.

Cultures in companies or countries have a significant impact on the performance of both employees and organizations.

Lean into being the minority

Yes, the glass ceiling may still exist, yet more and more women are entering the C- Suite; that could be you if you take ownership of your efforts as a female expat executive.

"Eighty-seven per cent of global mid-market companies have at least one woman in a senior management role in 2020" -

Sometimes you might find yourself the only female in the boardroom. See this as an opportunity to thrive instead of blending into the workforce; the doors that open could be immense.

Hire a mentor

Surround yourself with like-minded expats, women and supportive people. A mentor might be someone in your new city that you are moving to or someone you trust from a professional standpoint who can help guide you through the process of working overseas. Seek out professionals who work in the corporation you will be working for to prep you on company culture and what to expect. -

It doesn't matter who they are, as long as you can learn from them.' - Forbes

Set boundaries

Being a female expatriate executive exhibits glamour, experience and a life of prestige, but it is without sacrifice. With every upside, there are hidden costs too. You will want to challenge yourself and take on international commitments to professionally make your stance on the global stage. Be aware of burnout and the upheaval of moving overseas or constantly moving for work commitments.

Make sure to take care of yourself and take breaks/holidays to reset and recharge!

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