plays_well_with_others_mugSo, there I was heading off to kindergarten back in 196…. never mind the year. New shoes, new haircut and my treasured ‘Planet of the Apes’ lunchbox. Who knew my kindergarten teacher was onto something when she gave me an E for effort in the category of ‘Plays Well With Others.’ Was she a soothsayer, forecasting my foundational need to partner with people?

Partnership is always palpable. Throughout my career spent at various communications agencies (with a stint in-house at American Express), one of the common threads that fed my professional curiosity was the ability to partner with colleagues around the globe. Learning about other cultures and gathering insights on how public relations works in countries such as Asia or South America provided me with knowledge and makes me a better counselor to clients.

So, almost six years ago when I joined Padilla, I was a bit suspect about how I could continue my international learning. Sure, our agency has talent by the truck full, but what about people that weren’t like me, that didn’t have similar backgrounds or cultures? Would my new job feed that part of my professional curiosity?

During the interview process several colleagues discussed their involvement in Worldcom Public Relations Group, a network of independent agencies that spans 6 continents with access to more than 140 offices. But was it real? Would it be a hodge-podge of disconnected agencies with no real propose?

Happily, the answer was a resounding NO. As a matter of fact, I needed to take my ‘New York Big Head’ hat off and take a humble pill.

This network of agencies, from Cleveland to Prague to Tokyo, is comprised of true partners – no holds barred. They share everything – from best practices on staff retention to local insights on global new business efforts.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t solicit help or provide counsel to our network of partners. Over the past few years I dove into the deep end of the pool – from spearheading initiatives for Worldcom on knowledge sharing as a member of the global board of directors to heading up the consumer practice group efforts.ApesCropped

It reaffirmed my point of view about learning from others that aren’t like you. I am stronger and smarter when I surround myself with smart people who aren’t carbon copies of me – and I have that in spades with the cadre of talent that is reflected in the Worldcom partnership. I would definitely give them an E for Effort as global partners.

So, before I close, I just have one question of tantamount importance for you to consider.

Does anyone know how much a vintage Planet of the Apes lunchbox goes for on Ebay?