Career Advice with Sasha Kalb, VP Compliance & Risk, American Express Global Business Travel
- In our second instalment of our interview series with successful lawyers in the field, we’re excited to bring Â youÂ Sasha Kalb, sharingÂ her insights and tips on how she established and maintains aÂ growing and successful career.
Name: Sasha Kalb
Current role: VP Compliance & Risk, American Express Global Business Travel
Law School: Brooklyn Law School
First job: Attorney Advisor, US Customs and Border Protection
Years of experience: 11 1/2
- Tell us about your career path and how you got to be where you are today?
When I finished law school, I knew I wanted to work in the area of International Law, but didnâ€™t quite know what that meant. I was given some good advice by a fellow graduate from my law school who worked at Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He suggested that it was a good place to start because I could get some real, practical experience in my first year out of law school. And he was right â€“ it was a great place to start. I started to understand what it meant to build an internal customs/international trade program. From there, I broadened my role into general corporate compliance.
- Whatâ€™s the biggest challenge in your current role, and how are you handling it?
Managing time zones. I live in Hong Kong and cover all of Asia-Pacific.Â Given all of the varying time zones in the region, this means that my clients start work at 5-6am and finish work at 10:30 my time.Â In addition, many of my team members are based in Europe and the U.S., which makes the days even longer.
- Whatâ€™s the best piece of career advice you were given? Whatâ€™s the worst?
I was offered a wonderful career opportunity when I was five months pregnant with my first child. I was scared about taking the opportunity and considering turning it down.Â But someone I trust very much told me to take the job because great opportunities donâ€™t come along very often.Â I did and it worked out really well.
- How is technology impacting yourÂ role?
To some degree, it is making my role easier. Recently, I was able to avoid a long-haul journey away from my family by scheduling a video conference in lieu of an in-person meeting.Â On the other hand, technology means that we are always connectedâ€¦and available to work.
- How are you balancing work and your personal life?
I have a family and a job that requires very long hours. So managing work and my personal life is a constant balancing act.Â I donâ€™t think I will ever get the balance quite right, but I will keep working on it.
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