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Winter 2005 CalBusiness  
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Haas Alumni Find Intrinsic Rewards in Diplomatic Careers

John Bernlohr, visiting with chimps

John Bernlohr, MBA 90, says "after graduating...my life completely changed". His colleagues and fellow Haas alumni Mary Lou Bartoletti, MBA 83; Jack Diffily, MBA 86; and Hugues Ogier, MBA 90. agree. But it was not just the MBA that changed their lives – it was joining the US Department of State as Foreign Service Officers in the management sphere.

Bernlohr joined the Foreign Service 14 years ago, after undergraduate work at Harvard, seven jobs in 12 years, and finally his Berkeley MBA. He has managed people, property, and public funds in the Congo, France, Indonesia, Hungary, and Washington DC, and he learned French, Indonesian, and Hungarian along the way. He says he may have earned more money had he stayed in Silicon Valley, but the diplomatic lifestyle has been enriching in many other ways. Where else would you have the chance to help evacuate thousands of expatriates and even Jane Goodall's chimpanzees?

Hugues Ogier, while on assignment in Algiers

Ogier epitomizes the diversity that the Department would like to see. He is a naturalized US citizen, born in French North Africa, and speaks French, English, and Japanese. For his first tour in Lomé, Togo, 7 years ago, he managed a staff of 60 people, running all logistical aspects of the US Embassy. From Togo, he moved to Belgium where he was chief of the Visa Unit. Now he is posted in Algiers, where he heads all administrative functions. He already knows his following assignment: Sapporo. In the capital of the northernmost Japanese island, he will serve as the US Consul in charge of the economic portfolio. He sees his career in the Foreign Service not as a job but as a lifestyle. He loves the fact that his kids attend great schools, hang out with very diverse friends, and will end up speaking several languages.

Diffily already had an exciting career managing crews and tugs and ferries on the San Francisco Bay waterfront, but the lure of working overseas and having even more management responsibility led him to join the State Department. As a first tour officer, he served in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where he polished his negotiating skills and helped Americans get out of jail. By his second tour, he already had significant responsibility directing 35 local employees in Maputo, Mozambique. In Maseru, Lesotho, he was one of four direct-hire Americans on the embassy staff and handled the management, consular, and security portfolios. He next served in Beirut where he negotiated rent reductions of about $750,000, and is now in Washington serving as the Botswana desk officer. He hopes to go back to Africa next year.

Bartoletti left a 20-year logistics and finance career to serve two years in Guatemala as a consular officer, the traditional entry-level position for diplomats that exposes new hires to embassy operations. Back at "headquarters" Bartoletti is now putting her experience to good use on the Integrated Logistics Management System that the State Department is deploying to improve supply chain management and accountability.

Visit www.careers.state.gov for more information.

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