Gina’s top tips for a career that travels

1. Really enjoy what the country has to offer locally

2. Learn the language

3. Try to make local friends

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

5. Don’t feel intimidated 

6. Humour is very important – you can be focused and still have fun

7. Treat everyone with respect

8. Remember, you may end up working for someone tomorrow who works for you today

9. Call ‘home’ wherever your suitcase is

Gina’s career at Shell

In 2012 Gina was part of a team tasked with deploying a new operating system for colleagues at the remote Kashagan field, just south-east of Kazakhstan in the Caspian Sea. Meeting this project’s deadline was essential: if the new operating system wasn’t installed and in operation by June 1, Shell could potentially face a substantial fine.

For the next eight months, Gina worked both in Kazakhstan and remotely to ensure that the project plans were followed, issues were mitigated and, ultimately, that the system was successfully installed. Gina attributes the success of the project to the great collaboration with colleagues, both virtually and face-to-face.

In fact, Gina was able to use some of the language skills she’d picked up while working in other locations for Shell. Due to the diverse set of colleagues she was working with, her knowledge of Dutch, Spanish and English came in to use as the project began to progress. Languages are something that Gina is passionate about. On top of the three that aided her success in Kazakhstan, she also speaks French and a little Italian, Russian and Arabic.

She puts her love of languages down to the fact that she is a “third culture kid”: “I was born in America to a Spanish father and a mother from the Dominican Republic before moving to Venezuela as a child.”

So travel is not new to Gina and it’s continued to be a common theme in her career with Shell. Since joining Shell 22 years ago she’s had roles in Gabon, Paris, London, Hamburg and Oman. Today, based in Dubai with regular trips to Iraq, she has good reason to believe that “you should call home wherever your suitcase is.”

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