The Universal Truths: Visiting Ketchum’s China Offices

I will admit for someone who often travels I was a bit nervous preparing for my visit to China. However, after being on the ground in Beijing for 3 days and now heading to Dalian for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions, I can honestly say there was no need to be stressed.

Barri Rafferty, CEO of Ketchum North America, visits the Beijing office.

Visiting the Ketchum Beijing office.

Yes the language is very foreign, and signs are illegible to me, but on a human level, the colleagues I met are ambitious – setting high standards for quality work, dressing very chic (nail bows, sequined panda tops and a polka dot jumpsuit where some of my favorite office fashions) and struggling with the same work/life balance I might observe when visiting our Dallas office.

Barri toured around the city of Beijing and took in some local pop culture.

Touring around the city of Beijing and taking in some local pop culture.

As I taught a class on leadership and navigating client relationships the discussions and challenges were universal. As business consultants we need to work to shrink the world to deliver more efficiently for global brands, and I am more convinced than ever a focus on collaborative culture will give us the advantage we need to crack the code. Clients and agencies are all focused on global strategy and seamless local execution. We often focus on the differences of cultures but what I was struck by this trip was the similarities.

Barri Rafferty is Ketchum’s former CEO and current head of communications at Wells Fargo.