Each year, more than 65 individuals participate in the World Bank Family Network Career Lab sessions. These remarkable individuals, who are the spouses of World Bank employees, leave behind flourishing professional paths, friends, and families to support the mission wherever it takes them. What lies ahead in their post Career Lab journeys as they settle into a new place? We invite Professor Natcha Thawesaengskulthai to share her ongoing journey and provide insights on her professional career in D.C., which she now calls home.
I embarked on an exciting journey from Thailand to Washington, D.C., in April 2022. While in transition, I proudly maintain my roles as a faculty member in Chulalongkorn University's esteemed engineering faculty and as the Global Chief Innovation Officer at Chulalongkorn University. Additionally, I serve as a board member of the National Innovation Agency, CU Enterprise, and Chulalongkorn School of Integrated Innovation. I also hold the position of Chairman at CUE Foundation and serve as an advisor to Siam Piwat company.
Relocating to a new country for an extended period has brought practical considerations to the forefront. This marks my first experience living in the United States, where I am committed to balancing ongoing academic projects at my home university while exploring new opportunities. My overarching goal is to contribute to success, nurture future leaders, create sustainable impact, and promote continuous learning for nations and our global community. Adapting to a different work culture after 16 years at Chulalongkorn University has been a significant adjustment. Additionally, I must consider my family's needs and lifestyle.
A valuable lesson from Career Lab is the importance of a 'mobility mindset.' This mindset underscores that staying in one place limits learning, and true growth and contribution come from mobility. Coupled with honest self-reflection, this mindset has helped me assess my goals and strengths. Networking with fellow CLAN members enabled me to identify areas where I can make meaningful contributions, aligning with my academic interests and ensuring career continuity, regardless of my husband's mission location.
An exciting opportunity emerged as I engaged with the Royal Thai Embassy in D.C. and various U.S. business communities. Thailand's eagerness to expand internationally, coupled with the U.S. business community's welcoming stance towards startups and skilled talent, inspired me to establish the Chula Global Innovation Club. This initiative aims to enrich the global startup ecosystem, showcasing our faculty and students' innovations with the potential for project spin-offs and scale-ups.
Thanks to the pandemic's influence on remote and hybrid work, I can conduct most of my work from Maryland, occasionally traveling back to Thailand. Managing time zone differences and coordinating between the two countries does present challenges. However, the anticipated impact of this initiative on students, the university, and the business community justifies every effort. It's a career path I can pursue regardless of location, another invaluable insight from Career Lab.