6 Ways IDEAS Cultivates Professional Development

Jun 29, 2020 10:17:54 AM Sarah Rymer

When I first joined IDEAS, I was unsure of what the next six years of my professional life would look like. I kept hearing the lie in my head that said people might think I was giving up on my professional development because I could not find a job in America. This lie came from the fear of the unknown about my future. The truth was, I could find work in America but the time was right to move overseas.

shutterstock_256828558Continuing my professional development is precisely why I had joined IDEAS in the first place! I was invited to move abroad and work in my field of expertise. My education background is in public health.

The project I work with trains rural villagers in southeast Asia to become physician assistants. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and good at. I also knew that IDEAS projects would allow me to work alongside people groups who are marginalized. 

Once overseas, I learned quickly that my work had become much more challenging. I had to consider new languages and translations, new cultures, new resources, and new social norms. I discovered that I had to develop my adaptation skills immensely. This gave me an impetus to learn new life skills and grow in ways I did not believe were possible!

Here are 6 ways IDEAS cultivates professional development:

  1. Improves ability to connect and communicate cross-culturally
  2. Enlarges capacity to embrace the unknown
  3. Increases confidence when initiating crucial conversations
  4. Provides opportunities to develop new skills 
  5. Strengthens adaptability to new languages, cultures, resources, and social norms
  6. Implements the following key tactics for developing employees (Forbes):
    - individual development plans
    - performance metrics
    - opportunities outside job function
    - constructive feedback
    - removal of barriers
    - link to a professional network
    - development resources

IDEAS provides individual development plans, shares performance metrics, outlays resources, and provides links to professional networks. If I were to return to the American workforce today, I would do so knowing that my growth as a professional has been cultivated beyond what I expected.

What is the next step in your professional development? Discover how you can cultivate your skills, network globally, and grow cross-culturally through IDEAS


About the Author: Sheldon and his wife joined IDEAS in 2014. They work with a partner project that trains rural villagers in southeast Asia to become physician assistants. Sheldon is the Year 1 Curriculum Coordinator and Science Teacher for EMA and has lived in southeast Asia since 2015. Click here to read more about how IDEAS can be part of your professional development.


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