12 Miles from Mosul

May 25, 2017 Tim O'Shea

Tim O'Shea leading a breakout session


We were sitting in a conference room at the insideMOBILITY Americas Policy & Strategy Summit, in the second hour of a peer-to-peer session. Twelve Mobility professionals engaged in the conversation around them, each representing a variety of industries – financial services, consumer goods, IT, medical products and heavy industry. We’d spent our time talking about ways to use data, policy flexibility and the myths surrounding ways to calculate return on investment.

As the topics turned towards policy approaches, one participant spoke up. “We have assignees twelve miles from Mosul.” She went on to mention her challenges finding a balance of benefits to get experts to take these often-risky assignments, but I didn’t catch much of what she said. Twelve miles from Mosul, Iraq, the site of an on-going war’s major battle, a place where misery and danger and death are a constant?

Her comment reminded me we can get so lost in the tactics of what we do in Mobility – dealing with details and escalations or fine-tuning of already-generous benefits – that we sometimes lose sight of the human element of our jobs. Mobility professionals make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people every day. Sometimes it’s calming an irate employee, other times it’s diagnosing a policy that needs improving, and others times it’s listening, caring and providing service to people at their most vulnerable. But it’s always about empathy and understanding, traits not always that common in our world today.

We may not all have to face the horrors of war a stone’s throw away from where our customers lay their heads at night. But we all face the reality that what we do matters, that what we do makes a difference and that what we do requires more than a small dose of humility and grace to help our customers thrive in their roles, whether that’s in Moscow, Mosul or Manhattan.


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About the Author

Tim O'Shea

Tim O’Shea joined Graebel in 2015 and is responsible for the Global Consultancy team. In this role, he collaborates with business development and client-dedicated teams to identify and recommend policy and program enhancements for Global 100 and Fortune 500 clients. Among his critical responsibilities, Tim spearheads the by-invitation Graebel Relocation Policy Summits, forums and roundtables that take place in the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. Prior to joining Graebel, Tim was most recently Vice President of Human Resource Shared Services at Fidelity Investments. His experience and proven ability to tackle complex challenges faced by expanding global organizations make him the perfect fit to deliver excellent counsel and in-depth quality solutions for our clients, and for our expanding global organization.

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