CxO of the Week: Nicole Sahin, CEO and Founder of Globalization Partners
Nicole Sahin, CEO at Globalization Partners, is transforming the way companies expand to new markets around the world. The company's solution makes it easy for businesses to hire talent in over 170 countries without having to set up international subsidiaries or branch offices or navigate the complex legal, tax, and HR matters traditionally associated with global expansion.
It is born out of the combination of two of Nicole's entrepreneurial missions: to break down barriers to global business and to build companies people love.
Globalization Partners has been recognised as one of the fastest growing companies in America and is well-respected in the international business arena. The company's success is largely owed to Nicole's vision and understanding of the obstacles that global expansion comes with.
Further to Nicole's credit, life at Globalization Partners is rewarding. The company strives to continuously inspire its workforce, built of the best and brightest minds, to do more than they thought possible. In return, the company offers fierce loyalty, as well as perks such as a four-week sabbatical after just five years of working at the company.
In light of all this, we wanted to get to know Nicole a little more and find out what motivates her to be the leader she is today. Nicole, thanks for joining us…
EM360: Firstly, it'd be great if you could give us an outline of your career and background. What can you tell us about your school and work journey to Globalization Partners?
Nicole Sahin: Thank you so much for having me. So, my name is Nicole Sahin and I am the CEO and founder of Globalization Partners, where we help other companies expand internationally.
Our clients are usually looking to hire a small team in a given region – primarily sales, technical, and sometimes marketing folks. Trying to achieve this in the traditional sense is really hard. It requires businesses to understand a country's laws, register the company, and formally start doing business in that country before they can hire an employee – it is really intimidating.
When businesses work with us, they identify the talent they want to hire anywhere in the world, and we put that employee on our locally compliant payroll and benefits in that country. We then bill the cost of that employee back to the company. We make sure the employee is legally paid, getting a payslip, happy with the employment terms – getting a tick in the box on all the backend administration. We offer this service in approximately 170 countries.
What have you learned about yourself along the way?
To never do something you don't want to do, get really real with yourself, get centred, get grounded, and work with absolute confidence with whatever decisions you make. I always said that I did not want to do anything out of line with my integrity; I didn't want to sell something I wasn't absolutely confident I could deliver; and I never, ever wanted to treat an employee unfairly simply to hit a “quarterly number” or any other metric that might not align with what I believed to be fair and true.
I have a Triple Bottom Line philosophy that means that Globalization Partners always puts the well-being of long-term relationships with clients, employees, and shareholders ahead of short-term profits. It was equally important to me not just to have a high-growth company, but to prove you can do it while building a company that people love.
Globalization Partners is a saving grace for businesses looking to expand. What led you to starting the company?
Nicole: I have always been a traveller and when I was a teenager I always thought I would be a philanthropist, specifically in the pursuit of alleviating extreme poverty. When I completed my undergrad in Anthropology, I actually went to live in Guatemala for a year and I worked with the local people to build schools and implement the necessary infrastructure to provide education and opportunities for better future development. However, I very quickly realised that I was not meant to only be a philanthropist, but that I could better help people through building a business that makes it easier for people to be employed anywhere in the world and by creating a positive employee environment.
Globalization Partners began as many companies do — with an idea: empowering the coolest companies and brightest people to work together seamlessly around the globe. Our goal has always been to make international workforce expansion easy. I'm proud to say that our solution is helping companies achieve their goals faster than they could have imagined.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
I think the best advice I got – and I would give this also to those just starting out in their own businesses – is to take one step at a time. Even if you have a big vision, it always starts with the same first few steps: registering the company, starting a website, and signing your first client. It is important to take these incremental steps – walk before you run sort of thing. Also, when the time comes, hire the very best people that you can find.
Where would you like to see your company and its clients in ten years' time?
I am excited about what the future brings. We are expanding everywhere, and currently have internal offices in over fifty countries and will be adding sales and marketing teams in all those jurisdictions. Our next launch is Europe, with our new sales & marketing team already having started in January from a base in London. The possibilities ten years from now are endless.