emoment with carl
Graduating from Elizabethtown College in 1981, Tom Stepanchak wanted to find a good career, but had few specifics in mind besides a love of travel. At age 30, he quit a job he enjoyed at Dick Clark Productions and with a friend, fulfilled a childhood dream of visiting all 50 states. Since his friend Jeff was a baseball fan, they also visited every major league stadium. The six-month trip also gave his E-town classmate Tim Breneman ’81 a chance to re-introduce Tom to another former classmate, Lynda McCutcheon ’81, which led to Lynda and Tom’s marriage. Soon after, Tom went to work for BMW, which has given him more travel than he had dreamed of: “Since 2004, we’ve lived in Germany, India, and now Japan: three different countries, each with its own distinctive personality.”

Global management—Tom was Director of Sales and Marketing of BMW Financial Services India and now holds the same role for BMW in Japan—has taught him a great deal while letting him teach others: “I’ve learned to adapt my American management style to the local culture. Respecting societal norms while injecting a bit of 'can do' American spirit has worked well.” Adaptation was the key to success for Tom and Lynda: “It was terrifying moving to Munich, our first assignment in 2004, but we learned quickly from mistakes. When the New Delhi opportunity arose in 2012, the family discussion lasted 5 seconds: Yes! "

"At first, our friends thought we were crazy, but the number one comment that soon followed was: ‘What a great experience for your children.’ From there we moved to Tokyo in 2015. And now the most common question is: Where to next?” Tom points out with pride that “Our 16 year old son has lived half his life outside the U.S., and at age 21, our daughter has traveled to 46 countries, with the goal to see them all.” His lessons for E-town students today: “Don’t be afraid to take risks. I’ve taken a dive into the unknown many times in my life, and it’s always led me down incredible paths I had never imagined. Overcoming challenges of the unknown is exciting and rewarding.”

Tokyo Japan Alumni Reception May 2017

Enjoy the moment,

Carl J. Strikwerda,

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