Careers are about opportunities... not whether they come along - they always will - but more about how you react to them. It was March 2003 when the phone call came. My career had progressed pretty well... coming out of college with a marketing degree into the early 90's UK recession I had started cold calling to sell IT training - a great grounding! After 3 years a change was needed and I was successful in moving into the food side of the Mars business (think Uncle Ben's and Dolmio) working in Trade Marketing and Account Management. In 1998 I joined ASDA and 8 months later Walmart acquired the business.
Having worked across the Trading Floor for 5 years in ASDA, the phone call came in 2003 with an offer to work on sourcing food for Walmart globally. It involved moving to Bentonville, Arkansas for two years... never part of my career or family plan ( a wife and two daughters now in situ ) but after family discussion, we agreed we did not want to look back and say 'what if'. So we packed up and moved to the US deep South and an adventure began... two years sourcing product on global contracts was followed by localization in the US and six years managing integrations as Walmart acquired and partnered with retailers in countries as diverse as Chile, India, Central America and China. In 2011 another opportunity came as I was asked to lead integration in South Africa and have spent the last four years in Johannesburg working in sub-Saharan Africa across eleven countries. As I look back across visiting over fifty countries since 2003, living on three continents and managing to reach the Vice President level in Walmart, I will always say to people jump on opportunities....they may be uncomfortable, challenging, risky... but you only have one career and you will always feel happier looking back at the end and saying 'I'm glad I did' not 'I wish I had'.