||Name: Tom Morgan
MUM Degree: MA, Higher Education Administration, 1980
Position: Intercultural Consultant
Countries Worked In: 50
Expertise: Cross-Cultural Training, Coaching, and Consulting
Number of Clients: 100+
Standout: Great Trainer of the Year Award, 2008, IOR Global Services
Passions: Playing Blues Guitar, Being an International Foodie
In today's globally interdependent economy, executives and other employees must frequently work with people from other cultures, or even relocate to other countries for their jobs. But how hard is it to adjust to a different culture? What is the best way to prepare for it?
If you’re the executives at Verizon or Vodafone, prepping to send sales teams to work in Japan, Germany, France, and the U.K., you bring in Tom Morgan for a cross-cultural sensitivity training workshop for your employees.
If you’re Disney studios trying to understand why your animated film didn’t go over in India, you retain Tom for a primer on the fine points of Indian arts and culture. Or, if you’re the artistic director of Cirque Du Soleil trying to mold a show for audiences in China, Korea and Dubai, you sit Tom down in the first row to watch a rehearsal and then use his feedback for course correction.
“I help people build intercultural skills,” says Tom, a cross-cultural consultant with 18 years of experience, who does one-on-one work and group business trainings for some of the largest corporations in the world.
Topics Tom typically covers include the host country’s culture, the adjustment process, dealing with culture shock, and differences in communication styles. He uses the Bennett Scale to diagnose a client's stage of cultural sensitivity, then customizes his training based on that starting point.
“As they progress," says Tom, "they experience higher states of awareness of the host culture, ultimately arriving at a stage where they can integrate that culture into their own reality — they’ve expanded their consciousness to include the other culture.
“So it was with Consciousness-Based Education at MUM,” Tom says. “They’re both about developing consciousness. Both helped me see how unity and diversity work together."
Tom has helped clients and their families relocate to more than 50 countries, working with more than a hundred Fortune 1000 companies and organizations including Boeing, General Motors, the U.S. Marine Corps, Nestle Purina, and Chevron.
His interest in cultures grew out of his early family life in Pittsburgh, PA. “One of my uncles studied at Harvard Divinity School and was an expert in Asian religions. I had relatives in the Peace Corps. We were Quakers and our tradition was to have guests over. So we’d have Indian gurus, people from Nigeria and Japan, all sorts of interesting people.
“In my twenties I traveled a lot. I was in India for three years, I taught in Nepal, I worked on a peace project in Nicaragua. I spent six years outside the U.S., which had a huge impact on me. I was fascinated by cultural differences. I knew I wanted to work in the field.”
In 1993 Tom began to read prolifically on the subject. He called authors. He took courses at the Intercultural Communications Institute in Portland, Oregon. He networked.
At a conference in Washington, D.C, he met the executive director of the U.S.-India Business Council. “He told me his staff had never done intercultural training,” says Tom, who jumped on the opportunity. “Soon I was in D.C. working with them.” From there, Tom founded Tom Morgan Intercultural Associates, gradually building an impressive client list.
Has Tom's education at MUM helped in his work?
"Only in every way," he says. "The knowledge I gained at MUM is woven into everything I do in this field. Intercultural communication is all about elevating consciousness.”
He particularly values the focus on self he experienced at MUM. “I really liked that I was able, over and over, to connect the details of what I was learning to the study of the self. That was one of the most important things for me."
When Tom isn't working, he can sometimes be spotted in some cozy coffee shop, finger-picking on guitar with his band, Skunk River Medicine Show. Or, when he's abroad, he takes pleasure in expanding his gustatory consciousness at restaurants that showcase local dishes.