Aimee Hernandez – Diverse Lenses, Sharper Vision | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

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Aimee Hernandez | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

Aimee’s specialty is International Business, helping companies and individuals navigate the different cultural and administrative challenges of working abroad. She also helps project managers navigate the different approaches to project management to determine the method that will work best for them in their projects. This includes strategies for marketing, productivity, and motivation across different countries and cultures, and aligning business strategies with cultural training programs.

She has worked as a management consultant for 10 years, as an accountant in the US and Mexico for 20 years, for 6 years as a systems administrator for an international website with extensive experience in data privacy laws, and for 2 years as a Project Manager – her professional experience is as broad and dynamic as her cultural experience!

In her consultancy work, she’s helped companies in China, Russia, and Mexico and coached teams in the US, UK, China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines. This coaching includes senior and middle managers and executives from some of the world’s leading banks.

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Kevin Stafford 0:00
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the conversations with coaches podcast I am you’re already delighted host Kevin, because I am delighted to have finally made the acquaintance of someone who goes by many names. But in our coaching business and today goes by Amy Hernandez, I’ll just tell you, she’s an absolute delight, I’m finding myself so at ease talking to her, I have a feeling that you’ll get the same, the same vibe, it’s going to be another challenge for me to keep this short and sweet like we usually do. But let me invite you to get to know me a little bit better. Amy specialty is international business helping companies and individuals navigate the different cultural and administrative challenges of working abroad. This includes strategies for marketing, productivity and motivation across different countries and cultures, and aligning business strategies with cultural training programs.

Amy, it’s been I was gonna try to make a tongue in cheek pun about you getting lost last time when we were supposed to record like it’s been a long road to the podcast, but it has. It’s it’s lovely to meet you. It’s lovely to get a chance to talk to you today. Thank you for finding the time and being here today.

Aimee Hernandez 1:02
Well, it’s great to be here. And it is great speaking with you as well.

Kevin Stafford 1:06
Good, excellent. Let’s let’s go back to the beginning, not the beginning beginning because that’s we don’t have that kind of time. But the beginning of your your life as a coach your superhero origin story, as it were, like how you got your coaching powers, I like to sort of jokingly refer to it, how did you whether it was like a key moment where someone said the right thing at the right time? Or you just realized like, Oh, this is it? This is what I this is the word for what I want to do. How did you how’d you come to that realization?

Aimee Hernandez 1:32
Well, honestly, I kind of fell into it. I’ve always taught so I’ve always been a teacher. I was in business for many, many years. But about, I want to say 1520 years ago, I started teaching. And I got my MBA in international business. And I was teaching mostly executives like business, English, business, culture classes, things like that. And I found myself giving more and more advice on how they could move into different countries. So I started with a lot of executives in China, actually have worked for some very, very big executives, like VPs of very large major international banks that I have worked with, and got some great things done with them. But I guess from there, I started focusing a little bit more on doing the actual coaching. And then I accumulated a number of other degrees, which kind of expanded my reach to clients. So I mostly deal with international business, I also do a lot with project management. And since I have a pretty strong IT background, I work with a lot of IT people and figuring out how they can actually motivate the non IT people on their team or how they can get their IT people to develop that emotional intelligence that everyone is so looking for these days. It people don’t traditionally have to deal with everyone.

Kevin Stafford 3:10
Oh, to true as a former and still sometimes amateur IT person.I worked at that development.

Aimee Hernandez 3:18
Yeah. But I love coaching. I love teaching. And I travel a lot. I have worked in many different countries, I have experienced culture shock, and reentry culture shock when you go back and things like that. So I feel uniquely qualified to give some advice on people for the type of things that you should look for when you’re hiring foreigners, when you’re moving into a new country.

I did accounting so I can help with the tax structure and the administrative things. But mostly, it’s really getting to know the new culture and working with it. Instead of against it.

Kevin Stafford 4:04
Yeah, you really are like a multifaceted connector, like just the difference the different bridges that you can build from different points on different sides of of a chasm or a divide, where it’s like the cultural, even like the like the tax structure, because that’s like, that’s the kind of thing that it’s superduper easy to never give a single thought to when you’re about to move into a new country or to a new region or like kind of know that things will be different, but like tax codes might be completely not what you’re expecting or prepared for and just having someone who can like, just They just know that and so they’re like, Hey, have you thought about this yet? Well, you should look at this, this and that, because this is how it’s gonna go when you move when you start your business over there. It’s like, oh, it opens up a whole world of well, anxiety, but then also the solution is immediately there because you’re like, No, I can guide you hear I can help you make this connection.

Aimee Hernandez 4:50
I mean, sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s more difficult because I think we all have the tendency to look at things through our own, you know, cultural lens, so to speak. So everyone, when you go to another country, you look at it through your own country’s lens. Luckily for me, I’ve worked with so many different countries now, I’m not sure I really have a cultural lens anymore, because I just know that when I speak with my clients that are in China, I speak with them differently than I do my clients in Spain or in Germany, or here in Mexico, it’s very, very different, depending on who I’m talking to. And labor laws, labor management styles, how people work, they’re just so completely different in different countries. So true. It’s, it’s interesting to work with different different countries and different people like that.

Kevin Stafford 5:50
I’m just like, get my my brain is kind of spinning out, just thinking about all the difference. I mean, think about it, like when I encounter something that like, it’s a problem requiring a solution, but like, an obstacle, or a hurdle, or just some sort of new thing that requires like some navigation, just like you know how to speak to someone from a different culture in a different way. Or like, you know, whether I’m speaking to them or their sport into me, and just kind of like taking that extra beat, or sometimes way more than a beat, you just think about how, what I’m putting out there, what, uh, how I’m communicating myself, the work I’m putting out there, how that’s landing, not just how I’m shaping it, but how it’s landing and making sure that I’m at least thinking about that, and also asking like this, how did this come across to you and like working to build those bridges, and it’s so it’s such, it’s such a, an under illuminated aspect of the completely global world that we live in at this point where it’s like, we’re just we’re so interconnected. And we really do need guides to help us navigate some of those treacherous bridges.

Aimee Hernandez 6:45
And that’s where I come in, because there are so many accidental faux pas that people make culturally without even thinking about it. For example, in many Asian countries, they will say yes to you, no matter what, even if they have absolutely no intention of doing it. They’ll say yes, because culturally, it’s not acceptable to say no. And the thing is, is you have to ask those probing questions to find out if they’re really, if they really mean yes, or if they just don’t want to offend you.

Kevin Stafford 7:19
It’s something we’ve encountered a lot, just one of our, one of my favorite co workers is in the Philippines. And it took a while for us to realize she would like say yes to everything, and she would find a way to get stuff done. But then we could see when she was overwhelmed, because some things would just like stuck, the quality of her work would start to like wobble just a little bit, just a little bit. And we got to a point where we learned and also talk to her about this, just like, and she explicitly says like, culturally, it’s a little bit different. When we’re asked to do something, and it’s just a yes or no, we will say yes, because we can do it, we will find a way to get it done. And then it’s like, okay, that’s that’s introduces a whole other facet of management. And it’s like, how do I manage your complete and utter commitment to doing the job and saying yes to everything, with making sure that we don’t put you in a position where you’ve got too much on your plate that we don’t put you in a position to fail? That’s as like something about I think about that a lot. It’s like, what are the positions Am I putting people in based on their personality, their family, their background, their culture, their location, all of the above? It’s just, it feels, I was gonna say, at first, when I was laid out like that, I can remember a version of me that would find that overwhelming. The version of me now that is still growing is someone who is like us, really, I get to, I get to think about all of this, on how I get to connect with people and interact with people and how I get to serve them and how we get to work together to do things. It’s like, it’s more of an opportunity than a crisis, if that makes sense. But still, that is a an ever growing demeanor and development in me and I think in a lot of people.

Aimee Hernandez 8:54
True, true. And, you know, I do also speak many different languages, which has helped me because there’s always that those false friends where people will try to communicate in, in a language that maybe they’re fairly fluent in, but they make that mistake, and they just use a word that is completely incorrect mean something completely different and can change the tone of a conversation. So I like to help with those little things. Make sure to do this and not that because there are some words that are perfectly acceptable in one language that are not in another when you’re doing work. For example, in the US, we say things are crazy all the time, and no one thinks anything of it. Oh, wow. That’s crazy. Oh, you’re crazy. Oh, how are you going to do that? If you say that here in Mexico. It’s really bad. It’s like really offensives who yes, and little things like that. So if you call someone crazy here, you’re literally calling them men. Totally ill and they take it very seriously. And on the other hand, here, they call things ugly all the time. And it’s just a normal thing. It just means you know, it’s not so good little little things like that where even the translation you know, it’s not a big deal in one country, but it really is a big deal in another. And those small issues can get people into big trouble.

Kevin Stafford 10:27
That’s fascinating. I had no idea about the about the crazies, that’s something that’s something I’ve tried to I’ve been working on extra excising from my vocabulary, just for the mental health considerations and how it gets thrown around really casually. It’s like I’ve, I’ve gotten the invitation quite a bit as I’ve like, grown into middle age to reconsider the words that I have just taken for granted as words that are just thrown around in us and how they might land. And just even just thinking in, in, in United States culture about the use of the word crazy. And the mental health probably, you know, implications for that and trying to like just find other words like maybe wild, that’s wild, right means about the same thing and like, you know, basically American slang, but doesn’t have the same connotations towards mental health. But that’s like, see, that’s, that’s extra fuel for the fire for me to keep working on that change, because it’s still, it’s still slipped into my, into my conversations here and there. But realizing that it’s actually even more dangerous, but even more of a loaded word, in a culture so close to me is that’s, that’s yeah, that’s, that’s good files away, and like the front of the file, where it’s like, Okay, start working on this better, because you don’t know how you’re gonna like how you’re gonna affect somebody with such a casual throwing out of a word.

Aimee Hernandez 11:38
And that’s basically where I focus my coaching on is I teach people how to deal with the new culture that they’re going to get into. Some people decide to work abroad, they’re going to open a factory in another country, or they’re going to maybe spend six or six months to a year in another country, working, opening a new factory, something like that. And I helped them navigate those little cultural things that don’t seem to be a big deal to a lot of people, but they really make it a lot easier to, to work and to understand the culture.

Kevin Stafford 12:19
I love clearing the path that imagine I’m thinking of like a forest path, it’s not very well worn, and there are rocks and stones and twigs, and like loose gravel or some like all these little pitfalls that you can trip over, that you don’t really know are there. But if you’re experienced, and you’re like a hiker, you don’t know what you’re doing, you know, the lay of the land, so to speak, you can watch your step. And it’s just like, it’s really is that simple. But it’s also like, there’s tons of stuff you can trip on. That’s why you need a guide.

Aimee Hernandez 12:47
Exactly. And it’s been so much fun, I have learned about so many different cultures in my coaching. So it’s really amazing for me, I’ve found new places to go visit learned about new cultures. And that also helps me when other people want to go into another country. So little things like that are really helpful.

Kevin Stafford 13:14
I love this one new things. There’s an analogy that’s been floating around in my head since you since you use the word, the phrase cultural lens, I’m gonna see if I share it with you and see if this vibes your glasses, where and immediately when you when you start talking about different lenses and how you almost feel like you don’t have that anymore. Because you’ve become so familiar with so many different cultures, I immediately got this image of the whatever that device is called that when you go to the optometrist, and they’re basically testing your vision to figure out what your prescription is going to be. And they’re basically one or three, two, or three. And they’re just, they’re trying different lenses and different lens combinations. And then eventually, they figure out which one locks in where everything gets sharp and clear. And then that’s your prescription for the vision that you want to have, whether it’s here, or whatever it says like it feels like exactly what you do.

Aimee Hernandez 13:59
That is exactly it. That’s a really good analogy. I didn’t think about that before. But that’s a really good analogy. Just have to show them. What will work for this culture, you know, some cultures, you can be more, I don’t know, top down other cultures, you really have to get the input of your employees. And you have to know where you’re going with that there are cultures where unions are still very, very powerful, and others like the US where they’re not quite what they used to be

Kevin Stafford 14:31
on the rise on the rise.

Aimee Hernandez 14:35
But, but those kinds of things are really important when you’re moving to another country or when you’re going to do work in another country, because we don’t necessarily think about them. Because when you’re going from one country to another and maybe you’ll think about the food they eat, maybe you’ll think about how the money is but you won’t really think about you know, why did they do it like that? Why why is this How’d they do it? What are the laws that that govern this? And sometimes it’s very surprising.

Kevin Stafford 15:09
Frequently, it reminds me of one of the one of the core elements of of coaching that I’ve done. I’ve kind of I’ve having so many data points now in talking to so many coaches who focus on different different elements of life and business and development. That there is it’s not really about providing the information required or like loading you up on necessary like information or trivia. It’s about having the right questions to ask the questions you don’t even know to ask those. And it’s like, Have you asked this question? It’s like, oh, I didn’t even realize that was a question. I didn’t even know that that could be a question. And yet that question is unlocked. So many things that you really do need to know if you want to be successful into whatever area of life you’re moving into, whether it’s a new culture, a new industry, a new country, a different timezone, a different continent, whatever it happens to be. And it’s really that that providing of important questions that you might not even know to ask, let alone understand what the answers might be. That’s such a, you can’t can’t put I in my in my head in my heart, you really, it’s impossible to overvalue someone who can provide you with those questions.

Aimee Hernandez 16:15
Well, hopefully, that’s what I based my business on the idea. That is the idea. And it’s really helpful. Even if people aren’t planning on moving. Let’s say you just have a branch in I don’t know, Italy, or a branch in Germany that you have to work with. Coaching can really help you to understand how they work, why they do the things they do, or you know why maybe they take a longer lunch or a shorter lunch or why they’re more willing to work overtime or less willing to work overtime, depending on the country.

Kevin Stafford 16:51
Okay, let’s, I’m just doing the thing where I’m looking at the Zoom clock, and I’m like, I’m loving I’m loving the kinds of conceptual stuff this is like this is this is really good stuff. But I want to make sure we talk at least a little bit about like the nuts and bolts of your of your business, your coaching practice today. And it’s it gets kind of summed up with the who and the how, like the Who do you coach? And how do you coach them the WHO being if you have any particular focus? Or if it’s really anybody who fits a certain kind of need or criteria? And the how is really, I mean, are you primarily one to one? Do you do like lots of group coaching? Or do you have any mastermind you host a book that you have that sort of like can get people on the right track and all of the above?

Aimee Hernandez 17:25
Well, I do both one on one and group classes. Depending on I work for some companies where I do group classes for specific departments or something, mostly one on one who, honestly I coach mostly executives, but I’ve done middle management, even people who are just starting in management, because simply for the fact that those are usually the ones who deal with the international policies. So it tends to be I have more executives. But I also have quite a bit of project managers who are either working on agile project management for the first time or trying to figure out exactly how to work in their agile project management. And I do do a lot with that as well.

Kevin Stafford 18:17
Nice, there’s, there’s it makes total sense because there those are not quite transitional roles. But I often find myself thinking about people who work their way up and accompany whether they’ve gotten to the middle or high middle or the the top of their respective ladders, and how there’s that moment, or different moments, I believe throughout the journey up that ladder up that hill where you go from being really really, really, really, really good at the thing that you do so good. In fact, you’ve gotten promoted, but you get promoted all like a step away from that thing that you got excellent at into a role that has some leadership responsibilities, and some some team management responsibilities that require either an adjusted skill set or a skill set you haven’t acquired yet. And that’s that’s a really easy place for talented, caring, passionate individuals to flounder just because they’re not they don’t have the tools they need. They got they basically were so good. They got promoted into being just okay.

Aimee Hernandez 19:12
Exactly. And that’s what happens. And it’s my job to help those people excel in that role.

Kevin Stafford 19:20
I love it. Oh, that’s it’s such a good place to stop if they don’t want to. But I’m gonna I’m gonna be respectful of your time. And I’m also totally going to want to have you back on at some point because I feel like I’d love to unpack all all sorts of different aspects of this I would love in my head. Now I have like the 57 questions you didn’t know to ask but should

Aimee Hernandez 19:40
definitely I would love to be back again.

Kevin Stafford 19:43
It’d be lovely before I let you go. Where isn’t it a little two part question. Where can people find out more about you your work, what you do, how you do it, just learn more? And if it’s different, where can people best connect with you if they wanted to start a conversation or relationship?

Aimee Hernandez 19:57
Actually Amy Fernandez coaching is my website. They can book a session, they can learn about what I do on that website. Or they can always find me on LinkedIn to start a conversation. So I am definitely there. And Marie Elizabeth Mendoza, Hernandez, it also lists Emir Ananda is there and they can connect with me on LinkedIn as well.

Kevin Stafford 20:23
Excellent. I’ll make sure the links to both of those are in the show notes so that people are just a click away. They don’t have to remember not to remember a URL.

Aimee Hernandez 20:32
All right, that would be great. And I would be happy to speak with anyone who needs help in those areas.

Kevin Stafford 20:38
Excellent. Well, shoot. Thank you for sharing some time with me today. It’s it’s uh, I gotta say, it’s an absolute pleasure to get to know you. It’s like I feel I want to like pick your brain slash just like you have all the questions.

Aimee Hernandez 20:50
This has been a lot of fun. So I wouldn’t let it happen again, sometime.

Kevin Stafford 20:54
We will. We absolutely will. So thank you for being here today. Thank you, for the audience for listening. I hope you I mean, if you’ve got just like a little sliver, a little taste of the value that Amy has to offer. You know exactly what to do next. Connect with her talk with her. pick her brain hire her. She She knows the questions you haven’t thought to ask yet, which is such a great hook because it’s like, what questions haven’t I thought to ask yet. So, do the right thing. Find out more about me, and we’ll talk to you again here on the podcast very, very soon.

Aimee Hernandez 21:23
All right. Thank you. Bye.

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