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“Out of comfort zone” - every time I hear this expression I start smiling.

If I look back to my career path since I joined GE, I see a continuous numbers of requests that sound like “Annie, it’s imperative for you to continue to take on challenges and push yourself outside your comfort zone!” and I always ask to myself “Is really that point such important for my career development?” But –honestly- it was anything but clear that each and every step, each and every “pushing”, has been a pillar for my development.

1st PUSHING - I joined GE in 2011 as a Commercial Support for Equipment Finance. My previous job-experience was in the Marketing field, so it was such a huge challenge for me to start leveraging my skills in Financial Services! I supported all the businesses within Equipment Financing - IT, Office, NAR, Healthcare…, with the aim of increasing and maximizing Partners satisfaction by efficiently managing and resolving their requests (early terminations, relocations and lease-end management).

2nd PUSHING - After 6 months I was asked to support Healthcare Financial Services team, and since the beginning the question was “how can I support this kind of business? I got used to a flow-business and HFS is a structured one”. I had the opportunity to stay close to HFS Account Managers and Segment Leader, deepening into each commercial transaction, and I immediately understand that I had the desire to deepen my knowledge in commercial and structured transactions. 

3rd PUSHING – In October I had the opportunity to replace HFS Account Manager during her maternity leave. Useless to say how I felt it an enormous challenge. Completely (here we go again!) out of my comfort zone. This opportunity allowed me to start working side by side with Customers and Partners. I managed the relationships with GE Healthcare and I start managing structured deals… and I immediately understood that it was kind of…electrifying me. When the AM came back I was asked to definitely skip into a Sales role in HFS and this was the first great opportunity for me to face with “authentic” sales job and targets. Definitely awesome.

4/5th PUSHING - In Q1 2013 I was asked to stretch my experience again… and I moved in Capital Markets, firstly as a Sales Representative – from July as a CLP member. So far, I can definitely say it has been the most challenging “pushing” of my career in GE. Because it gave me the opportunity to really understand first-hand the GE SLT 2013 imperatives: Customer focus and Simplification

And it is worthy of a separate paragraph J

These are 3 takeaways from my 1st CLP Rotation:

- GROW WITH THEM. Where them means Customers.  As I was saying, at the beginning of the year I was asked to follow and develop two relationships that in the previous year were completely passive. In 2012 they generated € 8MM together. I start working hard with them, trying to follow the challenge that GEC SLT give us at the beginning of the year: customer focus, customer alignment. Thus, I start reshaping the relationship, letting feel them that I was there to help them growth. I worked hard on reviewing the contact strategy: more calls and f2f meetings to understand their needs; reports, analytics and pipeline reviews to maximize business opportunities. And the output was amazing: doubled CV & Volume results vs previous year.


- MAKE IT SIMPLE... TOGETHER. The other 2013 GE imperative was simplification. When I joined Capital Markets team I was impressed on how much work on that point could be done. For that reason I started working on some projects with the aim of simplifying processes. And I added the word together because I realized that this process it’s not possible without the participation of each and every function. I would also like to underline the engine of these simplification processes: the Customer. Every action was about bringing the customer advocacy point into the business.


- STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE, THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. In my platform almost every process is designed on a flow business structure. Thus, it has been a huge challenge to work in the Capital Markets team, where anything could be taken for granted. Neither the processes, nor the relationships. For that reason we decided to start working on that point, pretending for our processes the same excellence we had for the flow business. And this initiative started from writing a Commercial Operation SOP and from organizing some internal meetings to let our colleagues know each and every detail of our daily job and reshaping together our business. It was incredible to realize how could be powerful working together with passion and persistence. This could not bring anything but excellence.


Oh… I forgot… 6th CHALLENGE: 2nd CLP Rotation in Risk…this is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone… I’ll keep you updated ;)


Written By: Annalisa Valerin (GE Capital, Italy)

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