Upstate SC Alliance Blog
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April 20, 2017
Borders may exist on paper, but with the power of technology and a global economy, business booms beyond boundaries. To explore what this means for the Upstate and how we can better prepare for international business, the Upstate SC Alliance is sponsoring Our Upstate Vision Forum: Building Global Fluency on April 27. 
 
Co-hosted by Ten at the Top, Upstate International and the World Affairs Council Upstate, the event will provide insights into global fluency, the ability to understand and collaborate across those complex, and often unfamiliar, practices within the business world and beyond.
 
“In today’s world, companies are constantly conducting business across the complexities of language and culture. This makes it vital for our workforce to become globally fluent, not only to recruit and retain international companies but also to bolster the sense of community for Upstate residents of culturally diverse backgrounds,” says Susanne Hite, Director of Marketing Communications at AFL and Ten at the Top Board Member. “To prosper as a region, it’s critical that we simultaneously act global and engage local.” 
 
The Forum is Thursday, April 27, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the BMW Zentrum in Greer. The cost to attend is $10, and registration is available until April 26.
 
For those who desire a more in-depth training in global fluency, a four-hour Global Fluency Training Workshop will be offered April 27 beginning at 10 a.m., with only a few spots remaining. Registration for this workshop is $150 and includes training materials, lunch and admission to the regional forum.
 
“Reading about a culture and understanding that it is different from your culture isn’t enough,” says Tracie Frese, Executive Director of Upstate International and World Affairs Council Upstate. “Global Fluency requires practice. People have to be willing to adapt and adjust their behavior. Interactive training helps put into practice in the ideas you read about.” 
 
The World Affairs Council Upstate is a leader in engaging in this type of programming, Frese adds. The workshop will be offered by Brad Gosche, Senior Director of the Global Fluency Institute, which is part of the Columbus (Ohio) Council on World Affairs. 
 
During the afternoon Forum event, Gosche will be joined in a panel discussion by Herrin Hood, Global Product Line Manager from Milliken; Reid Lohr, Senior Managing Director of the EDI Group; and Susan Simmons, Director of Career Management Worldwide for Michelin.
 

Global Fluency’s Upstate Value Proposition
 

For those of us who do business across continents, or even with people from diverse backgrounds here in our own country, it is crucial to develop global fluency. Whether you speak a foreign language or not, you can strengthen your cross-cultural communication skills to benefit both business and personal relationships.
 
Interacting effectively with contacts from different cultures is a necessary skill for Upstate business people, but is also a great need for our area as a whole. Maintaining a region that is welcoming and inclusive of all cultures will provide stability for the Upstate’s economy, attracting and retaining companies from around the world.
 
As it stands, the Upstate of South Carolina is home to almost 500 companies representing 34 countries, so global fluency is critical even if we never leave our hometowns for business. Whether it’s learning to negotiate without alienating, marketing appropriately, building trust, forging relationships or navigating conflict, there is something for all of us to learn.
 
Yuri Ivanov of Ivannovation, an international translation business and co-sponsor of this month’s forum, echoes the value of the event: “The Upstate is becoming more international by the day; direct investment, import and export are staples of our economy. As a result, South Carolinians are increasingly interacting with people from different cultures, as well as traveling abroad to make deals. This event will equip them to travel seamlessly between cultures and to act appropriately no matter what country they’re in.”
 
The Global Fluency Forum will prepare Upstate business people to step outside of our region mentally, if not physically, preparing to make international business happen. We will explore ways to make cross-cultural interactions smooth and successful, with a panel of experts sharing their experiences and tips.
 
Global fluency has value beyond the boardroom; this kind of understanding boosts our region’s sense of community and quality of life, allowing us to maximize our place in the global market. 
 
And, Frese adds, Global Fluency training can help us to realize how other areas of the world may view our culture. 
 

Join Us for These Events

Interested in attending the Our Upstate Vision Forum: Building Global Fluency in the Upstate afternoon session? The event is April 27 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the BMW Zentrum, and cost is $10. Click here to register. 
TOPICS: International
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