Every once in a while, one gets the chance to be an ambassador. While very few people will ever be accredited as an ambassador from one nation to another, a responsibility that is usually given to people who are part of a particular foreign policy establishment or people who have acquired enough fame as politicians or done enough work in helping to elect a political leader that the end result is their placement as the people who represent their nations abroad. That said, from time to time someone who is an active and involved person will often have the chance to be an ambassador for the companies they work for, the schools they have attended, or even areas of professional knowledge. Sometimes this will be because someone has an official position, or sometimes it will be as a result of simply going about one’s normal business doing what one normally does, even without awareness that one is serving as an ambassador to others.
Perhaps my experience is a bit unusual, but as a college student, I always loved career fairs. Whether I was attending a career fair held at the university where I attended, or whether I was part of a professional association at a conference and meeting people there, I always enjoyed speaking to corporate ambassadors. I would leave my resume and talk about company philosophy and history and pick up pens or pads of paper or stress balls, which were always appreciated corporate swag . I still love going to conferences and collecting swag, although the opportunity has rarely come my way to give away very much of it. Despite the fact that items are not always immediately practical, and are definitely marketing items for other companies, I enjoy the ability to talk with people when they are explaining what they do and what they are passionate about.
At times, we may even be set aside as a model example of a category for others. It is clear that some companies enjoy the chance to outsource their ambassador responsibilities to others. For example, many publishers are perfectly content to send me free books in the knowledge that I will like most of the books that I read, with the expectation that they will sell books as a result of something that is said. At times I will give a review of a product like a book or movie or energy food with some memorable comment that helps others to understand something better and indeed find themselves curious to read the book or listen to the album or try the product themselves. For the price of a free sample, the goal in mind is that someone will be sound word of mouth advertising to promote a company in lieu of more expensive marketing efforts, where honor can be given to those who are good at influencing others.
In many ways, regardless of whether we do so formally or informally, we are an ambassador for our way of life . When traveling abroad, as I have been known to do before, we must be conscious of two great truths, among many other possibilities. One of these truths is that we come from a country and we represent that country through our behavior abroad. People will think of our country in part because of the example that we set for them. The other great truth is that we are not in our home country, and the ways of the places where we live may often be strange and downright unsettling. Hopefully others will cut us a bit of slack when we are far outside of our comfort zone and far from home, but that is not always the case, especially when we come into contact with traditions that are offensive to us, and where our own perspective and worldview is offensive and threatening to those we come across. In such occasions it can be difficult to be a good ambassador. In more mundane ways, though, we are ambassadors of the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the states our driver’s licenses or license plates show, and that job of being an ambassador can be of great pleasure, in that we can help build up the reputations of the institutions of which we are a part through our conversation and conduct. Let us hope our example is a good one.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: