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Interviews > 2009


Andrea Martins, ExpatWomen.com

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (02:06:21)
Andrea Martins
Expat Focus: Andrea, can you tell us a bit about your background and what prompted you to start ExpatWomen.com?

Andrea Martins: I started working on ExpatWomen.com with my American friend Jill Lengré when we were both living in Mexico City three years ago. Jill and I had a combined 20 years of experience abroad and saw a real need for an online community that aimed to connect and inspire expat women on a global scale. One year later, we launched ExpatWomen.com – a motivational community that shares expat women success stories, entrepreneurial ideas, expat confessions, blogs, real-life stories, interviews, articles and much more.

Prior to ExpatWomen.com, I was on the trailing spouse circuit. I scored some work with multinationals and the Australian Embassy in Indonesia and then played mum for four years in Mexico. Before going abroad, I worked in strategic human resources, workplace diversity and project coordination – nothing to do with the internet.   more ...


Geoff Birch, Offshore-Rebates.com

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (02:02:25)
Geoff Birch
Geoff Birch has 28 years of experience in financial services and established the online brokerage Offshore-Rebates.com in 1999. In this interview we learn more about Geoff's background and ask his opinion on a number of expat investment issues, including the effect of the current economic crisis.

Expat Focus: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how Offshore-Rebates.com came into being?

Geoff Birch: It’s actually a very long story. I give my background to all new clients but if I tell all now it will occupy an inordinate amount of space.

So if I may give a very quick potted history instead, I started in this business in January 1980 with Prudential in Brighton, UK. I rose through the ranks with 5 promotions but after they restructured the company in 1991 I became frustrated in my new role of Sales Manager and by 1992 decided to leave. A year before, I had been happy and doing well, so had thought I would stay with Prudential until I retired. However once I’d decided to leave I realised I not only wanted to leave the job but also wanted to find a new scene altogether. My wife was up for it so we decided to “go for it” and leave the UK.   more ...


Tom Zachystal, CEO Individual Asset Management (IAM)

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (01:58:53)
Tom Zachystal
Tom Zachystal is CEO, President, and Chief Investment Officer of Individual Asset Management (IAM), a U.S. Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) specializing in portfolio management and financial planning services for expatriates. IAM is an official Expat Focus financial services partner and in this interview we learn more about those services and also get to know more about Tom's own background and experience.

Expat Focus: Tom, can you tell us a bit about your background and how IAM came into being?

Tom Zachystal: IAM is a financial services company dedicated to the needs of expatriate clients. I spent ten years as an expat in the oil industry – seven years as an employee for Schlumberger and three years as a consultant. During that time I started investing my own money and found that it was difficult to find a financial advisor who could offer multiple services such as portfolio management, financial planning, insurance, and tax, to expatriate clients. Eventually I became more interested in investments and the financial world than in engineering and the oil industry so, after a number of years with Merrill Lynch and a private firm in the US, I started IAM in September of 2002 to cater specifically to expatriates.   more ...


Kirstie Wilson, British Business Connection and moderator - USA forum

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (01:54:58)
Kirstie Wilson
Kirstie is a new forum leader of the USA forum. In this interview we get to know her a little better!

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

Kirstie Wilson: Before coming to the United States I worked for the National Health Service in the UK for 10+ years. I was a Data Analyst and worked my way up to being a Health Information Unit Manager, reporting directly to the Director of Public Health. I had the distinct pleasure of working at Lothian Health in Edinburgh for the youngest, most dynamic Director of Public Health in the UK.   more ...


David M Sutton-Rowe, moderator - Spain forum

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (01:50:23)
David M Sutton-Rowe
David has been a moderator of the Spain forum for quite a while. In this interview we get to know him a little better!

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

David M Sutton-Rowe: I was born in 1953 in Catterick, North Yorkshire. My father was in the RAF and I went to school both in the UK and Germany. By the time I left school I could speak both English and German.

I enlisted in the British Army at the age of 16 and served for three years in the Royal Corps of Transport, I then changed tack and re-enlisted into the Royal Military Police. During my time in the army I was posted to countries all over the world: Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Germany, America and the UK to name but a few. After serving six years I left the army and retrained as a Domestic Appliance Service Engineer (Washing Machine Engineer). I did this for a further 20 years and had the opportunity to appear on my local radio station as an expert on consumer rights regarding domestic appliances.   more ...


Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gokmen, Istanbul-based American editors of Tales from the Expat Harem

Posted by: Jamie on Friday January 06, 2012 (01:47:04)
Anastasia Ashman
This expatriate literature project, an internationally bestselling anthology by foreign women in modern Turkey, has been praised by everyone from diplomats to professors, top travel publications like National Geographic Traveler and Lonely Planet, and major global newspapers like Canada's Globe & Mail, the UK's Daily Telegraph, and the International Herald Tribune in Paris.

Expat Focus talked to the Expat Harem creators and editors: Anastasia Ashman, a California native and resident of Istanbul for the past 4 years; and Jennifer Eaton Gokmen, who hails from Michigan and has lived in Turkey for more than a decade. Both women are professional writers and married to Turks.   more ...

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

Bupa Global is one of the world’s largest international health insurers. We offer direct access to over 1.2m medical providers worldwide, and we settle directly with them so you don’t have to pay up front for your treatment. We provide access to leading specialists without the need to see your family doctor first and ensure that you have the same level of cover wherever you might be, home or away.

Cigna International

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.