By Kerry McGinley
For Claudia Taylor, job success is built on bridging culture gaps. The senior business operations manager for PAE’s Global Mission Services division knows when she’s dealing with a workforce based outside of the continental United States, recognizing local customs is the foundation of a productive, effective team.
“It’s always a great thing to see how U.S. companies like PAE learn to adapt and include those different cultures and grow,” she said. “It makes it a great company. Having a diverse workforce makes great business and ethical sense.”
For her success in appreciating and maximizing the productivity of numerous workforces in different corners of the globe, Taylor was nominated as an example of Champion Diversity, one of eight key values critical to PAE’s success.
“Claudia works almost entirely in an (international) environment in supporting her assigned programs,” said Steve Reed, director of Business Management for GMS. “She understands the importance of a diverse workplace that offers unique opinions and different approaches when tackling objectives. When working with employees from around the world, she has been able to understand may different cultures and apply that understanding in leading teams to success.”
Over the past 20 years, the Mexico native has lived and worked abroad. Taylor has called Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Dubai and Thailand home at one point or another. She now works from PAE’s Fort Worth office to manage finances for multiple international contracts.
“I absolutely love working in an international environment,” she said. “That’s where you learn the most and you grow the most as a person and as a professional.”
Her job focuses on ensuring the client is getting the maximum value and service level. To do that, Taylor works almost as a financial diplomat who gets the nuances of local cultures and respects the differences between workforces the world over.
“I understand not only the cultural difference we have from a U.S. perspective, but I also understand how an Afghan person feels when it’s Ramadan and I need them to do something,” she said. “The cultural sensitivities are important in every country I handle. Colombia is a completely different dynamic... completely different than Kuwait.”
By setting a respectful tone for local customs, Taylor said she develops a strong rapport that fosters a positive reputation for the company and motivates employees to offer their best effort.
“We have to be more aware of what’s happening and driving the workforce,” she said. “Most of our international employees are fantastic and they love doing what they do for the (client). That’s a great feeling.”
That perspective is critical to ensuring a global company with a workforce that spans all seven continents stays on track to deliver critical mission support to the U.S. government and its allies.
“I strongly believe that diversity in the workplace is vital not just for the employer but the employees as well,” she said. “It’s a win-win for both. It builds a great reputation for the company (among locals) that leads to increased profitability and opportunities.”