“Be able to manage, mitigate and escalate project risk as they arise” – Erica Shear

Erica Shear is a Massachuset native who wanted to go to school in a large city, so she ended up at Temple University’s Fox School where she received a degree in International Business. In 2015, Erica interned with Aetna International, a CVS Health company, and has been with the company ever since. For the last 6 years, she has worked in Project Management where she has had the opportunity to lead some large-scale international healthcare projects. In her current role as a Senior Project Manager, she leads critical projects aimed at improving healthcare outcomes for government employees in Guam. In her free time, Erica serves on the Leadership Board for Net Impact Boston’s Professional Chapter and enjoys travel, exploring the Boston food scene, watching movies, and anything outdoors.

She originally started as a psychology major but then switched to international business after traveling outside of the country. As a student, she got involved in a lot of clubs and organizations, including IBA, and the marketing association. This allowed her to get much exposure to professionals and helped navigate her career and get a job. Despite all she did, she also encourages students to explore their various interests by taking internships that aren’t necessarily in their field of study, that’s how she found out marketing was not for her. Shear now has a very International work ethic. Some advice she had for students was to take time zone accommodations when working with people in other parts of the world. Learning how to communicate well with people, with different work approaches can help a lot too.

In her current position, she works in the Americas Region of Aetna International, which serves companies in the United States, Latin America, and Canada looking for health insurance coverage overseas. A lot of her work involves group work, which she made sure to let students know they don’t end after school. One of the most important aspects of an international business environment is to be able to manage, mitigate and escalate project risk as they arise. Being able to anticipate things that may happen and coming up with ways to mitigate them is essential. As is the ability to be flexible and have a problem-solving mindset with what you can control. A regular day of international project management consists of facilitating meetings and driving teams to make decisions and problems solving. 

When working remotely especially,  a lot of communication clues can be lost, so adapt accordingly. People in different regions might have different priorities, and that can cause challenges when collaboration is needed. Her final statement to IBA was, There are a ton of opportunities in international business, even though it might not always be linear.

Question: What kind of experience have you learned in your international business field?

Response: You learn a lot everywhere you go. I’ve learned how to interact with and understand different cultures. 

Question: How do you achieve work-life and home life balance, while working on a differentiated work schedule? 

Response: It is very important to set your own personal boundaries. Set up expectations with your manager.