First established in medieval times, guilds were associations of craftsmen and merchants cooperating to further mutual interests, which gave them considerable power. Since then, guilds have evolved into groups of people with shared interests organized to support common standards and work in the interests of its members.
Loy Searle, Founder and President of Global Guild, said her organization follows in the footsteps of these ancient federations, but with a modern, global touch.
“Our mission is to nurture strong globalization and content teams to support our companies, strengthen our industry and help each other grow and advance,” Searle said. “As a result, this will increase the visibility of the globalization industry and raise its strategic importance.”
During her experience at companies like JD Edwards (Oracle), Google, and Intuit, Searle has seen the globalization industry grow exponentially over the years. In Searle’s experience, many employees find themselves working in siloed organizations within larger multi-national companies, where the global distribution of teams makes it challenging to build professional relationships and find strong peer-to-peer networks to ask questions or share best practices.
In addition, many globalization professionals tend to come from other fields and are drafted by their employer to take on globalization responsibilities, often with little or no training or support. While senior management may believe that running a globalization program is a simple enough task, industry veterans know the role requires deep knowledge about processes, technology, vendor management, global business practices, cultural awareness and interpersonal skills.
“Every day, people working in the middle tiers of our profession – the leaders of tomorrow – are put in the position of having to guess about what to do because they don’t have the answer,” Searle said. “Globalization newbies quickly figure out that they’ve landed in a profession with deep esoteric knowledge, but may not have the time or budget to become their company’s localization guru.”
Mentorship is often suggested as a solution to help fill this gap. However, while there are many strong and innovative leaders in the globalization industry, the ratio of leader to mid- or early- career professionals doesn’t support everyone finding a mentor.
“I created the Global Guild because the middle and entry levels of our profession don’t have the support that those at the top have – we can now be that support,” Searle said.
“We bring together small communities of globalization professionals, who are led by an industry veteran to create a knowledge community offering expertise, friendship, and thought leadership,” Searle said. “Our right-size teams share best practices, learn from each other and develop a strong peer mentor group that is their go-to place for industry and professional questions.”
Groups can discuss thorny issues to build perspective, close gaps, and improve decision making.
By sharing personal experiences, professionals learn from those who have gone before, and strengthen their leadership skills in a supportive, judgement-free environment.
Most importantly, Searle emphasizes that Global Guild strongly respects ethics and confidentiality. Intellectual property, proprietary and competitive information should not be shared with other group members.
“The values of our groups are what make them really stand out,” Searle said. “While there’s an emphasis on sharing, contributing, and creating a safe space for exploring challenging issues so everyone can learn, we do not discuss sensitive knowledge like strategy or pricing information.”
“We don’t each have to have all of the answers,” Searle said. “We just need to know where to go for the answers. Global Guild is about creating small personal communities that have the answers, and aren’t only helpful peer mentors, but your friends – we are your tribe.”