10 years, 5 teams, 3 continents, and 21,406 lessons later

The photo on top is me in December 2009, at the Emirates Group HQ in Dubai, UAE. The photo on bottom is me in December 2019, at the GE Additive Technology Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Two photos, taken exactly ten years apart, that together tell quite the story.

I was in my early twenties in the top photo. Young, fresh, hungry, and naïve. I could not have predicted in 2009 where my career would take me - from Emirates, to Aeroturbine, to Honeywell, to GE. I’ve met many people from all corners of the world and learned many valuable lessons, both personal and professional.

10 years, 5 teams, 3 continents, (1 baby) and 21,406 lessons later, here we are.

If I could go back in time, however, to November 2009, these are the 7 things I’d tell myself, without doubt, on how to find success and happiness in both life and career.

Family comes first. Sometimes, and regretfully, it might take a loss for us to remember this, but it always prevails.

Your network is critical. Get out and meet people. Always make an effort to get to know someone else, and always make a genuine effort to connect with them without an ulterior motive.

Expatriation is the greatest teacher of all. It teaches patience, tolerance, perspective, history, and the value of human connection.

Be yourself. Because wherever you go, there you are! It can take time to build confidence in yourself, but once you do, enthusiastically share it with others.

Stay curious. Strive to be a life-long learner - about things and about people. This helps with feeling present and mindful as well. And helps you stay young and sharp, too.

Practice gratitude. In the past 10 years, I’ve had high highs and low lows. One year, I was the top sales producer for a $500M/year aviation business. Another year, I was 6 months pregnant and job searching. The key lesson I’ve learned is to be grateful for all I have (family, health, home, food), always.

And last, know your values and find a team that shares them. After 10 years, I’ve learned what I value most in a team: trust, engagement, challenge, innovation, and a common purpose. These are non-negotiable for me now.

Where were you in the end of 2009? How has your life changed since then? What do you hope to be able to look back on ten years from now?

As always, I welcome any comments or questions at additivealison@gmail.com or alison.wyrick@ge.com.

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