When I began my role at Parsons, never would I have dreamt of the opportunities and experiences that were awaiting me. A three-month assignment in the Middle East was definitely not on my radar, but when I learned that a temporary marketing manager was needed in the Parsons’ Dubai office, I jumped at the chance.

Preparing to go to a foreign country for three months was a daunting challenge but it was made much easier by my supportive team leaders and Parsons’ Global Mobility. Thanks to them, I was guided through the paperwork, travel logistics, and customs requirements, which just left me with the final and most difficult tasks — packing and saying goodbye to my cats.

Arriving in Dubai, I was immediately enthralled by the impressive city skyline and surprised by the lush landscaping and greenery in the city. Minus the heat, I couldn’t even tell I was in a desert. I couldn’t believe I was going to live and work in one of the most multicultural and modern international cities in the world, and I was so ready to begin.  

The first day of anything can be intimidating, full of uncertainty and confusion. My first day in the Dubai office started out that way, but my anxieties were quickly put at ease as I was shown around and introduced to my new colleagues. After almost three years of mostly working from home, I never thought that I would enjoy working in an office again, but there is something special and unique about the Dubai office. Besides the palpable sense of pride in the innovative work Parsons is doing in the region, there is also a sense of dedication and gratitude for the professional opportunities many wouldn’t have back in their home countries.

Since everyone is an expat, they understood what it was like to be new in Dubai, and they made me feel so welcome. Everyone was incredibly helpful, not just with getting me situated in my new role but in making sure I was situated in my new life. That I knew where to grocery shop, what foods I should try, the best way to get around the city, and the must-see tourist attractions. Needless to say, fast friendships were made and the office became a home away from home.  

The marketing role in Dubai was just as dynamic as the city. With the Middle East’s ever-growing infrastructure, rapid implementation of smart city technology, and rise in complex megaprojects, it is now more important than ever to reinforce the position we have held in the region as a trusted and premier project management firm for the past 60 years. With the help of MEA business development and the marketing team, we quickly made an impact on the internal and external communications in the region.

Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.”

― Andrew Zimmern

When I wasn’t working, I was discovering. I become my best self when I travel; I’m an explorer, satisfying my curiosity. I’m social, connecting with new people. I’m an observer, looking at the world from a different perspective. I’m empowered, overcoming challenges as I navigate through a foreign place. I experienced so much in the Middle East and will never forget how I felt standing on a dune in the Arabian Desert, taking in the sea of sand that stretched far past the horizon, or craning my head back to gawk at the gilded splendor of the Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace, or the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I will never forget the relationships and connections I made, and I’m so glad that technology makes it easy to keep those connections even though I am now a 15-hour plane ride away.

After saying a difficult goodbye to my new friends and Dubai, I came back with priceless memories and a better understanding, of not only Parsons’ presence in the Middle East, but of our presence globally. With this better understanding, the marketing team is able to strengthen the alignment of our “One Parsons” message and our position as a leading global solutions provider in the North American and MEA markets. It’s extremely gratifying to see our continued progress with our MEA marketing activities and to know that my efforts made a positive impact.

About The Author

Chelsie McKittrick is a seasoned marketing professional with ten years of national and international B2B experience, with a background in both internal and external marketing, business and product strategy, branding, content creation, campaign execution, and tradeshow logistics. Chelsie is currently Parsons External Communication Lead for the Connected Communities sector, where she collaborates across departments to deliver strategic marketing plans to support the business’ priorities and pipeline.

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