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Interviews > 2010


Sylke Riester, Managing Director for Europe, Rosetta Stone

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:49:23)
Sylke Riester
Sylke Riester is Managing Director for Europe at leading language-learning software company Rosetta Stone.

Sylke, can you tell us a bit about your background before joining Rosetta Stone?

Before joining Rosetta Stone in 2009 I worked in telecommunications – so you could say I am very enthusiastic about getting people talking. I worked for a company called Tele2, a leading Swedish telecommunications company active in 11 European countries, for six years. In my time there, I worked in different roles, including Marketing and Sales Director, based in Holland, Chief Executive, based in the UK, and Director of Sales for the Tele2 Group, based in the 30 million-customer company’s home country of Sweden.

What services does Rosetta Stone offer?

Rosetta Stone® provides interactive language-learning solutions. The company was founded on the belief that technology can replicate the way we all learnt our first language as children and we still work to that founding principle, evolving as technology allows.   more ...


Francois Roux, CEO & Founder of 2VancouverBC.com

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:46:08)
Francois, can you tell us a bit about your background before you started 2VancouverBC.com?

I was born and raised in France but I have been living overseas for the past six years now. I completed my Engineering degree at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) in 2004 as a student on exchange. I then spent a couple of years in the US and Australia before returning to the Canadian West Coast in 2008.

What prompted you to start 2VancouverBC.com?

It all really started with a blog I developed a few years ago when I first came to Vancouver as a student. At the time I was just playing with web technology to figure how I could best share content with Vancouver visitors around the globe.   more ...


Jo Danehl, Director, Intercultural Account Management & Sales, Cartus Corporation

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:43:51)
Jo Danehl
Jo, can you tell us a bit about your background before joining Cartus?

I have been with Cartus for 8 years (the past 6 years in the USA) but worked within the training industry for my entire career. I started in the Learned Society of the Institution of Electrical Engineers based in London putting together educational programs for the membership. From there I moved to Frost & Sullivan developing a program of open enrollment and client specific programs covering a whole range of topics – telecoms, sales & management. It was a great opportunity to build a really broad base of experiences and take on significant responsibility at a relatively young age; everything from business management to product development through to people management.   more ...


Robin Pascoe, Expat Expert

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:38:30)
Robin Pascoe, Expat Expert
Robin, can you tell us a bit about your background?

My husband used to be as Canadian foreign service officer (he's been in the private sector now for many years with his own global company) but during his time as a diplomat we were posted four times to Asia. As a journalist of more than 35 years now, at the time, I was not allowed to work as one given I carried a diplomatic passport!

So I initially started working in expat family support when our daughter was born in Bangkok and I wrote a newsletter for an international mothers group I helped start (and is still going strong after 27 years!) Later, I decided to write books, initially for the spouse, but the enterprise just kind of blossomed into five books and a website (sounds like a movie). Of course, because of the books, I was invited to lecture to expat communities in the schools, to clubs, and to international HR groups.

What products or services does Expat Expert offer?

Primarily, as a writer and journalist, I offer content in the form of my books and now a video lecture series. But along the way I also wrote hundreds of articles and conducted a major family survey that is still valid (and on the site for free) to give some statistics and a chance for families to give their point of view of the kind of support they need and the kind of support they received (or didn't!)   more ...


Alan Bentley, MD International Personnel Management Ltd

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:34:40)
Alan Bentley
Alan, please can you tell us a bit about your background before you joined International Personnel Management Ltd?

My career has focused on financial services and travel. I have experience in all aspects of Human Resources at a senior level, including international and executive compensation for local nationals, expatriates and third country nationals with HSBC and Thomas Cook.

What services does International Personnel Management Ltd offer?

IPM Ltd specialises in handling overseas staff placements for companies. That means sorting all the ‘red tape’ associated with, salary packages, home and host country tax and social security, cost of living, visas/work permits, accommodation, and schooling. We do all that is required to ensure a successful outcome for both employer and employee. We handle the movement of staff for multi-national companies as well as smaller businesses that need to project manage one-off overseas contracts. We will ensure that you are compliant in all aspects of home and host country tax and social security as well as immigration. We are currently managing international assignments in more than 50 home and 60 host countries around the world.   more ...


Jo Parfitt - expat writer, mentor and publisher

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:31:28)
Jo Parfitt
Jo, can you tell us a bit about your background?

I have lived abroad since 1987, moving from my home in the UK to Dubai, Oman, Norway, back to England for a while and now to the Netherlands. I have created, maintained a career based on my love of writing throughout this time. I have written 27 books, been a journalist, taught writing, done copywriting, been a speaker and now focus on teaching and helping expats and entrepreneurs to write books and articles based on their expertise and experience.

What services do you offer to expats?

I believe in only working in areas I know well. I know about running a business based on my passion, portable careers and being a writer as well, of course, as living abroad. My services are tailored to this niche. I tend to work with other expats and, as someone who attends expat and international conferences like FIGT and WIN I have done lots of research into expat issues too.   more ...


Oliver Heslop, UK Tax Specialist

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:28:51)
Oliver Heslop
Oliver Heslop is a highly experienced UK tax specialist dealing with expatriate cross border issues and is the official Expat Focus UK Taxation partner. In this interview we learn more about Oliver's background and experience and the services he can offer to British expats abroad and foreign nationals in the UK.

Expat Focus: Oliver, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to join Shipleys?

Oliver Heslop: I did my tax training with Andersens and spent my time mostly in expatriate tax work. I once had a 6 month secondment at Rolls-Royce in Derby looking after their international expatriate program. There were challenges in Jordan and Iran, believe me! Andersens also assigned me to Poland in 2002 and I learned my pidgin Polish by watching Eastenders with Polish subtitles.   more ...


Nick Digby, Echo-Xpats (Dubai)

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:19:25)
Nick Digby
Nick Digby is the founder of Echo-Xpats (www.echo-xpats.com), a Dubai based company established in 2005 delivering relocation services to individuals and corporations throughout the region. Nick is also one of the forum leaders in our UAE forum.

Expat Focus: Nick, can you tell us a bit about your background and how Echo-Xpats came into being?

Nick Digby: I have always worked in the hospitality industry, starting in a fabulous Italian restaurant in Singapore at the age of 13. I have worked in many world class hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental and Ritz-Carlton. I moved to Dubai in 2004 to start a role in Food & Beverage at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.   more ...


Justin Aldridge, Eye on Spain

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:15:49)
Justin Aldridge
Justin is the owner of the popular expat website Eye on Spain.

Expat Focus: Justin, can you tell us a bit about your background and how Eye on Spain came into being?

Justin Aldridge: I was born and raised in Gibraltar and after completing my A-Levels at 18 I went on to do a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at Liverpool University. After university I worked within the automotive industry, including a stint with a Formula One team, working in design, production and finally in a commercial role. The Automotive industry was, and still is, struggling in the UK and with the collapse of companies such as MG Rover, it made a big impact on the company that I was working for and they decided to shut the plant down, effectively making me redundant. I was only 28 and my partner Susan had just given birth to our twin daughters.

The redundancy gave us a little bit of money to do something different, so we decided to try a new life in Spain. We came up with the idea of Eye on Spain through our own need. Back in 2004 we were buying a property off-plan and still being in England we kept wondering if they were actually building it. So I asked a friend of mine who lived in Marbella to go and take some photos for me. He'd later email us the photos and it was very exciting to see the progress (or sometimes lack of it) being made.   more ...


Victoria Twead, forum leader and author

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (20:13:19)
Victoria Twead
Victoria is one of the forums leaders of our Spain forum and author of the popular book Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools. In this interview we get to know her a little better!

Expat Focus: Can you tell us a bit about your background before you became an expat?

Victoria Twead: I was born in Dorchester, Dorset, the middle child of three. My father was in the army, so we were posted to Germany where I spent the first five years of my life. I was sent to a German kindergarten and spoke only German. At the age of 5, we returned to Dorset and I was enrolled into a village school. I settled in well and promptly forgot all my German.

All three of us kids were sent to boarding school, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was like acting out an Enid Blyton book; nature rambles, midnight feasts and adventures. On leaving school, I trained to be a teacher but did many jobs before deciding to teach. I was a hotel housekeeper, welded fireguards in a factory, looked after goats and seabirds in an animal sanctuary and became a housemother in a children's home. However, all I really wanted to do was write.   more ...

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