Hannah Pellegrino, GMS, International Assignment Management Consultant, joined the Weichert Workforce Mobility team a year and a half ago.
After working in Project Management for a pharmaceutical advertising agency, she realized the impact studying abroad in college for three months in Ghana and a few weeks in South Africa still had on her life. She was ready for a different world, and a good challenge.
“Personally I’ve always been attracted to international opportunities and exposure, having lived abroad myself, I wanted to work and interact with real people and have an impact on individuals,” she says.
Coming from the fast-paced environment of an advertising agency prepared Hannah to juggle her workload of assignees — which ranges from long-term assignments and permanent transfers to extended business travelers and short-term assignments — with no problem.
So you may ask, what exactly is a Mobility Counselor?
As a Mobility Counselor at Weichert Workforce Mobility, Hannah partners with corporate clients to facilitate their global mobility programs and help deploy their talent around the world.
She is responsible for counseling assignees on their benefits and relocation packages, processing payments and managing the data and logistics of international assignments, which can include everything from initiating household goods shipping services, working with moving coordinators, shipping pets, working with visa and immigration firms to ensure everyone is moving and traveling legally, connecting assignees to local area specialists to find housing and orienting them with local amenities. These are examples of just some of the responsibilities Mobility Counselors have in making all the moving pieces involved with relocation come together.
We wear many hats, some days we are therapists, other days we are handling logistics of shipments, analyzing data input, dealing with strategy, finding the best solutions to any problem, answering questions on benefits and exceptions…it depends on the dayHannah Pellegrino
What would a typical day look like?
Hannah says there is no such thing as a typical day as a Mobility Counselor, you take it day by day and approach the situations as they arise and this is what keeps the job exciting.
While she may not be contacted by all of her assignees on a given day, the most critical skill a Mobility Counselor can have is to be highly organized, which is particularly critical when it comes to managing and prioritizing ongoing communication.
Each day is different and finds her working on a little bit of everything. She describes herself as a musical conductor because she’s responsible for all the moving parts associated with an assignment, orchestrating shipping arrangements, visa requirements, house hunting and tax counseling just to name a few of the pieces she manages, ideally harmoniously and most importantly on time.
“We wear many hats, some days we are therapists, other days we are handling logistics of shipments, analyzing data input, dealing with strategy, finding the best solutions to any problem, answering questions on benefits and exceptions… it depends on the day,” says Hannah.
What impact can Mobility Counselors make?
Hannah keeps open communication with her assignees at every step of their moves, from start to finish and everything in between.
Although going on an assignment or permanently relocating is exciting, the process can also seem extremely overwhelming to her assignees. Making them feel supported and showing empathy for their situations has the greatest impact .
Because of the close-knit working relationship assignees develop with their Mobility Counselor, they expect you to have their back and answer any questions they have along the process. Hannah excels in this and becomes her clients’ teammates during their relocation process.
This is when the therapist hat is worn. If someone is traveling in a week with sick children or having trouble finding housing, their stress levels can rise. As a Mobility Counselor, you have to talk people down, and make them feel confident that you are working to find solutions. Hannah explains that you need to reassure people that you are there for them and remind them that they’re going to be okay.
It all comes down to setting expectations for your assignees and providing an answer, even if you are just updating them that you are working on finding a solution. Hannah does a great job at always keeping them in check for the future, and she has seen the comfort that this can bring.
She will be in communication with her assignees anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, and understanding the impact she has on not just their moves but their lives inspires Legendary Service.
“I don’t think I have one particular Legendary Service story that jumps out, I try to provide Legendary Service all the time. Making people feel like they are always a priority is really important for this job,” she says.
As a Mobility Counselor, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution; what you did for one person won’t necessarily work for the next person but as Hannah explains, it’s always rewarding solving unique situations and providing assignees with solutions for the smoothest transition possible. Sometimes, the little things mean the most.
Her favorite part of the job? “I like getting feedback, when assignees tell me, ‘we couldn’t have done it without you’ or when they follow-up and tell me about their kids and how they’ve settled in,” says Hannah.
She has especially enjoyed the connections that have developed with her assignees; each time she works with “career expats,” it’s almost like meeting up with an old friend again.
Yes, all assignees are unique and no two days are the same. But rising to the challenge keeps Hannah and her fellow Weichert Mobility Counselors on their toes and ready to make the next relocation journey a resounding success!