#international

Fara Haron, fast-track career, communicates transnationally, believes in people development, has been on the move ever since she was a kid, makes the best out of every situation, likes to be there rather than at her desk, born negotiator, never travels without her iPad and running shoes, prefers a strategic to an operational approach, Executive Vice President North America, Arvato CRM Solutions.

Fara Haron

I actually grew up all over the world,

says Fara Haron. My father was a diplomat, so I had the opportunity of living in lots of different countries – we moved something like every three or four years. Moving around a lot is still a big part of her life, because as the Executive Vice President of Arvato CRM Solutions, Fara is responsible for various locations across North America, Canada and Mexico. She is also the CEO of the locations in the Philippines.

Moving so often as she grew up has taught Fara one thing: If you move to a different country every four years or so, you simply have to accept all of the associated changes and make the best out of the respective situation. This attitude also helps her in the job she now has.

Digitization is currently totally changing the way communication works, and we are no longer just a call center provider but are developing into customer experience specialists. It’s incredibly exciting to be in involved in this transition.

India, Spain, the US, Germany and Manila: Fara’s travel schedule over the past few weeks could hardly be more international. She is usually on the road at least two to three times a month, sometimes she even visits several cities in one week. I’m responsible for more than 5,000 employees. It’s really important to me to meet all of them face to face from time to time. At the same time, out customers also expect the occasional site visit from me. For me, these trips are a great way to discover the world and to help our global business to continue to grow.

However, this sometimes makes it difficult to achieve a good work-life balance. I have to admit that I am the kind of person that doesn’t differentiate too much between the personal and the professional life. If you spend as much time at work as I do, then I guess you really ought to enjoy what you’re doing, Fara says and laughs. I also really like the fact that I have the power to achieve something with my work. At the Arvato location in Phoenix, for example, she has initiated a program that allows the employees to collect credit points for their university course whilst working. In my current position, I am responsible for a lot of employees and I think that’s a great way to help them to positively impact on their careers and their lives.

When she does feel she needs some time out, Fara goes running – wherever she happens to be. Besides her smartphone and tablet PC, she therefore also always takes her running shoes with her when she travels. I think one of my strengths is that I am a very determined person. I set myself a goal, and I achieve it. One of the goals she has set herself for next year is to run a half marathon. I am very disciplined when it comes to training, and disappointed if I don’t achieve what I set out to do. But things do change, and sometimes, it just isn’t possible to achieve something. I suppose I have to learn to be more flexible – so my training schedule is good practice for learning how to adapt all the time.

Getting ahead fast – that’s not just Fara’s hobby but also aptly describes the way her career has developed so far. Throughout my career, I have always been a little bit younger than most other people in similar positions. But as soon as the colleagues and supervisors realize that you are good and that you have confidence in yourself, age is no longer important. She joined Arvato CRM Solutions nine years ago as a project manager to establish the company’s customer services structure in Argentina.

Since then, I have had a different job with totally new challenges almost every year. Bertelsmann gives me the opportunity to try out new things all the time, and to be an entrepreneur.

At the beginning, she worked on the operational side of thing – but she soon realized that’s not where her true strength lies. Strategy is what she’s made for. I enjoy the transformation of my industry sector and the fact that it’s so dynamic. I need these constantly new challenges, I get bored quickly. Fara has her own approach to dealing with the stressful phases associated with the rapid changes in her business environment: The best thing you can do is to just take things one step at a time. If you think too much about everything, rather than just doing it, you’ll never get anything done.

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