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Navigating Cultures in the Global Workplace

Workshop Series

This interactive workshop series for Northwestern staff aims to provide tools for greater self-awareness and practical knowledge to increase intercultural sensitivity and effective communication in the workplace. The small group workshops will be conducted online, involving a combination of live presentations, discussions, and interactive activities. All participants will be provided with an online, personal assessment — the Cultural Orientations Indicator® (COI) — and will have access to an array of professional development materials.

At the end of the workshop series, participants will be able to:

Workshop Dates - Winter 2023

In Winter 2022, our workshop series we will take place on Thursdays, from 10am - 12pm, starting on February  2nd and ending on March 2nd. Applications are now open.


The workshop is free to staff members selected for the program. However, if a participant does not attend all five sessions of the workshop, we will request a $65 reimbursement from the participant’s home department to cover the cost of the individual’s (COI)® assessment.


The workshop series is open to all benefits-eligible Northwestern staff members. Preference will be given to applicants with some experience working with culturally diverse constituents and who demonstrate the ability to critically reflect on their own experiences.


The process requires two steps — a nomination form and an application form.

Application Form (for participants)

Nomination Form (for supervisors)

Both forms need to be submitted by Friday, January 20th, 2023.


Jennifer Gerrard and Janka Pieper from the Office of International Relations have been working in international education and affairs for a combined total of over thirty years. Jennifer and Janka are both certified in teaching the Cultural Orientations Approach (COA) and have a tremendous amount of experience working in different cultural settings.

Jennifer Gerrard has spent the majority of her career in the field of international education and has held roles focusing on international student program management, academic advising, and educational development in conflict contexts. She has lived abroad in Cairo, Egypt and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Additionally, her work has enabled her to work closely with teams in Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan. In her current role, Jennifer directs international agreements university-wide for Northwestern. She is also responsible for managing Northwestern’s international relationships via international delegations and visitors, such as government officials and university leadership from institutions abroad.

Janka Pieper was born and raised in Germany and came to the United States as a student in college. During her time as an undergraduate at Illinois State University, she worked as an international assistant helping international students navigate the university system and adjust to living in a new culture and society. She is an expert in intercultural communication, international public relations and global marketing, and has traveled extensively surround the world. In her current role, Janka tells Northwestern's international story and develops communication plans for global initiatives and internationalization efforts. In her previous role at Northwestern, Janka led integrated marketing campaigns on study abroad and global health initiatives. She has worked with and written extensively about projects and partnerships with universities in Germany, France, Serbia, China, South Africa, Cuba and Mexico, among others. Janka is also Vice President of the Board of Directors of the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center in Chicago.