Ashley Croxford draws on expat experience and passion to bolster the industry
Ashley Croxford, who leads the employee mobility function in Australasia for consulting firm Arup, took home the most prestigious award for an individual at the inaugural TEMI Gala Awards in November 2019.
Ashley won ‘Champion of the Year’—sponsored by Grace—in recognition of her demonstrated expertise, collaborative approach, commitment to professional development, and impact on the industry.
“I’m both humbled and proud at the same time,” she said on the night.
Employee mobility expertise and expatriate insights
Ashley holds a Bachelor of Business Management majoring in Human Resources and has also studied Australian Migration Law and Practice. Her career in global mobility spans more than 10 years and includes roles with Rio Tinto and Vale before joining Arup, which employs around 14,000 people across more than 30 countries.
First-hand exposure to the expatriate lifestyle gives Ashley a deep understanding of the intricacies and personal impact of being on assignment—she’s lived and worked across three different continents.
“I’m truly passionate about mobility. Having been an expatriate myself, I believe that it’s a complex industry and there’s a big need—which will continue to grow into the future—to improve assignees’ and expats’ experiences as they move and relocate around the world,” she said.
Improving awareness and knowledge of mobility
Ashley enthusiastically shares her knowledge with her Arup colleagues and has instituted new resources and internal training around mobility issues, regular knowledge-sharing sessions, and a monthly e-news called the ‘Mobility McNugget’.
She describes herself as someone who is always striving to improve and continually grow, to enhance her ability to support employees and assignees, and help others build their own careers.
Based in Brisbane, Ashley is active in the local chapter of the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) and serves on the organisation’s “All things mobility” working group.
“With Mobility in Brisbane considered as a particularly small industry, I considered it imperative in creating lasting relationships amongst peers in the IM field,” she said.
“As a dedicated and passionate mobility leader, I am able to present as a ‘sounding board’ at these forums and support other industry professionals and their endeavours to successfully overcome their challenges.
“One of my key long-term goals as a mobility professional is to help facilitate the furtherance of my peers, their ambitions and the expertise within the international mobility field as a whole.”
Leading the way in showing how mobility drives business benefits
In addition to being well-credentialed and a generous mentor, Ashley has brought new levels of sophistication to Arup’s approach to international mobility by applying her relationship-building skills, creative communication, and focus on up-skilling.
As a mobility specialist at Arup, Ashley led a major change project to develop a new, centralised international mobility (IM) function and move away from a decentralised approach.
The success of that work resulted in her promotion to IM Team Lead for the Australasia region (the project was also named ‘Most Effective Transformation’ at the 2019 TEMI Gala Awards).
“Through a sound understanding of key mobility functions, challenges, industry standards, I was in a position to remove legacy obstacles and create a new direction for IM,” Ashley said.
In the Team Lead role, she’s implemented initiatives to address immigration and taxation challenges, strengthened external stakeholder relationships, and introduced new systems to simplify and automate many mobility processes.
“Consolidating & transferring tools, templates, and documents into the system has streamlined our processes,” Ashley said.
“The implementation of automated reporting has changed the way Arup manages its internal processes as it has delivered true value to the businesses group leaders, recruiters and our own internal team.”
A positive vision for the future of employee mobility
Ashley believes the future of the global employee mobility profession is bright but requires an investment in ongoing industry and professional development.
“As companies continue to branch out, expand and become global entities, the future workforce will be more mobile…and it is our role to responsibly govern the effectiveness and success of global mobility,” she said.
“The future of the industry relies on existing mobility professionals to further their profession as well as mentor the new entrants to the industry.
“As the mobility function touches on so many fields, including but not limited to; human resources, policy & contracts, payroll, finance, taxation, immigration, recruitment and many more, it is imperative that the industry or at least businesses implement relevant industry training.”
She is excited about the opportunity to improve the mobility function at Arup, keep growing her own skills, and finding creative and collaborative ways to overcome challenges in the field.
“My pursuit for excellence in this field and the growth of the mobility program within my organisation have been successful to both the business as well as to my team.
“I consider myself an extremely fortunate person who has found their calling in life by working in the IM field, I find tremendous personal joy and passion for my role within the industry.”
Interested in getting involved in the 2020 TEMI Gala Awards?
Award submissions will open from March 1, 2020. The 2020 Gala Awards event is scheduled for 12th of November, 2020.
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