#79 Eva Gallagher – The best of both worlds, work and play in Shanghai
Eva has lived in Shanghai for a year and a half with her family. They moved to Shanghai for her husband’s job and she has continued in her role as president of a medical communications company based in the US. Their clients are biotech companies and the focus of the company is research and education in oncology and hematology. Today Eva is going to share with us what it’s like to manage a virtual company from overseas while holding down the fort at home in Shanghai. In particular, Eva highlights how this assignment has been such an incredible opportunity for the entire family.
Sometimes the most unpredictable contact will be just that perfect person.
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Taking an opportunity
Eva’s husband was asked to consider a move to Shanghai two and a half years ago and while he and his family had some similar opportunities in the past, they always found some reason not to take the risk. This time though, the kids being preteen and teenagers now, they felt that this might be the last chance to do the move with them and finally agreed on a Shanghai adventure.
A typical day in Eva’s life
Eva works for a virtual company and has a team of 18 people in the US so they all work while she sleeps. When she gets up in the morning Eva typically get her kids off to school then tackles all of the emails that came in overnight. Once her kids get home from school and their after school activities, the next few hours are spent on homework and then dinner. After the kids go to bed she usually makes conference calls from about 10 pm until…very late.
A functioning virtual company
When Eva started with her company 2 years ago she had one direct report. Her team has now grown to 18 people and she wasn’t sure how it would work to manage a virtual team of that size from afar. The team uses Google hangouts and Skype all the time and it has made a huge difference.
While a typical US based company is usually able to hire talent from a thirty to sixty mile radius, Eva doesn’t have that constraint, she can recruit top talent from everywhere. Eva’s beginner level of mandarin is not a barrier for success, as most of her work is US based and her contacts in China are fluent in English.
A drawback would be the pace. Before moving to China, Eva thought she would be able to easily network with biotech clients in China and build a team. Business development in China though turned out to be really slow and relation based. While she was used to networking in the US, she was surprised by how much time and effort relationship building took in China. It can take 3-5 years to make any significant strides.
Use all of your resources, Eva says. She personally never turned down a lunch meeting and tries to network more broadly than in the US. Every little step is significant and it takes time to grow your network here and establish trust.
“If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” –Lou Whitaker
Connecting with Eva