What Giving Gives with Cultural Mixologist Jamie Gelbtuch

March 29, 2016
Publication: Daily Bits Of
Author: Mickey Gast

With four foreign languages under her belt, and extensive travels throughout five continents, it’s safe to say that Jamie Gelbtuch knows what she’s doing when it comes to training and coaching in organizations that are faced with multicultural challenges. Jamie also brings to the table the combined powers of a Bachelor degree in business and languages from Georgetown University with those of an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She shares today what she gets out of teaching and coaching.

Tell us a little about yourself. What do you teach?

I have always had a passion for languages and culture, and a head for business. I’ve been fortunate enough to combine all of this into Cultural Mixology, through which I teach people how to effectively manage multicultural challenges and increase their cross-cultural effectiveness.

Basically, I’m always looking for new and innovative ways to help global individuals, organizations, and teams manage the complexity, uncertainty, and personal challenges presented by living or working in an international environment.

Could you tell us about some of the feedback you have gotten from your community that you are extra proud of?

My goal when I’m coaching people is always to “coach my way out of a job” so believe it or not, I’m happy when people reach a point where they can coach themselves and don’t regularly need me anymore.  This is the nirvana moment! The best feedback is that I have helped facilitate enough of a mindset shift for people to overcome the challenges that were preventing them from reaching their goals.

What’s the highlight of your “teaching career” so far?

One of the best projects I’ve done has been researching cultural differences in Latin America, an area of the world that I am very passionate about.

The idea occurred to me after sitting through a boring conference presentation that basically presented the entire region as one big stereotype, or what I like to call Fiestas, Siestas, and Mañana. The results of this research have been featured in a number of publications and there are continual requests for more information, which tells me that it definitely resonated with people.

It’s always a highlight when you can begin to break down some of the cultural stereotypes that are out there!

If you were to boil it down to a few sentences, what would you say you get from giving (away knowledge)?

I get to make an impact on the quality of people’s global experiences.

Most people that I work with are experiencing some type of change:  a new country, new language, a new career, or all three at once. Change is hard; motivation isn’t always sufficient and trying isn’t always enough.

I thrive on showing people the potential and power that they have to effectuate positive change. There’s nothing more gratifying than watching people have insights that will help them begin to create and maintain the necessary conditions for successful change to occur in their lives. The added bonus is that I am always learning in the process too, since the combination of experiences and perspectives that each person brings to our sessions is so unique, particularly when it comes to culture.

What advice would you have for people out there wanting to start sharing their knowledge?

There are no inexperienced people. Everyone has something of value to share.

Don’t hold back just because something seems obvious to you; it may not be to someone else.

We often just don’t know what we don’t know. Writing an article or blog post, speaking at a conference, presenting a webinar, or volunteering are all great ways to start and can be done on whatever scale best matches your comfort level. Being authentic about the topic and consistent in your efforts is always a winning combination.

Thanks for joining us, Jamie.

You can connect with Jamie through her monthly newsletter The Cultural Insider.