Failure of assignments not only carries a disruption and monetary cost for the organization, but perhaps more significantly, an emotional and wellbeing cost for the family. With a professional career in Human Resources, Emily Rogers, founder of Expat Parenting Abroad, is an expert on expat life and expat parenting—the wins and the challenges, as well as how to have more. She regularly sees the impact on relationships, on the workplace, and on the family. She has lived abroad for over 20 years, with 12 years in Asia, and knows what works and what doesn’t.
With Expat Parenting Abroad, she provides support and guidance in a way that works not only for the family, but in the long term for the organisation as well. She says, “We all want people to thrive when they are living abroad. I’ve got the steps and processes to ensure that happens.”
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between the World’s Leaders and Emily Rogers:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader. What challenges did you have to face to get where you are today?
Moving internationally every 2 years, having to reinvent myself every time became quite a lonely and tiring experience. Then I decided enough was enough. It was time that I had something for myself, something of my own that I could take with me on our next move. Expat Parenting Abroad was the product of that very conscious decision and I have never regretted it. However, I will admit that starting my own business has been one of the toughest chapters of my life. It’s through the challenges that I have grown not only as a business woman, but also as a wife, a mother, a daughter and a friend. I believe all the challenges have made me a better person.
Describe the Expat Parenting Abroad offerings that address the needs of your customers.
Moving countries is often a very isolating and difficult time in a parent’s life, not only in the physical moving process but also in the changes that moving creates. For example, many people leave careers behind to follow their partners. While this can be framed as an opportunity, it also comes with a sense of loss and grief.
I provide coaching and support through two core programs. Firstly, Families Thriving Abroad, is a programme that is a step by step process to support the transition period for a family no matter if it’s their first or fifth move or repatriating. Whether they are in the armed services, diplomatic core or working for private companies, the issues and challenges the family faces remain consistent, and there are simple steps they can take to ensure the family thrives.
Secondly, I offer a more intensive coaching program, Kickstart Life. This supports people who are looking for something more in their lives. They’ve lost their passion, their drive, or their direction. I also offer tailored coaching programmes addressing the specific needs of individuals.
What are the challenges you and your team at Expat Parenting Abroad come across in your day-to-day operations?
There is a lot to learn when starting and subsequently growing a business, from the constantly changing technologies to the relationships that are required. Staying abreast of industry trends, knowing who to connect with for support, and generally staying on top of everything can be really demanding on time and energy, and at times, overwhelming. It is important to remain focused on the ‘why’ and be clear about how this challenge fits into the big picture. This can help to clarify and crystallise the next right step.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
I have an amazing coach and mentor, Amel Derragui, who has truly been my guiding light. She has so much experience in business, but also in supporting globally mobile people, I feel really privileged to have her support.
The book that’s had the biggest impact on me in the past few years is Tara Mohr’s Playing Big. At the time, I was really struggling with confidence, and this not only gave me perspective, but helped shape how I moved forward.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your organisation to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your employees at the same time?
Due to my personal life, moving as often as we have, Expat Parenting Abroad has been deliberately built as a portable business, location independent and able to move with me. Being portable means that everything is online-the coaching, the programs, all the support and community. The pandemic has meant that people are more accustomed to being online, and are comfortable meeting on Zoom. This wasn’t always the norm. It not only lowers our overall carbon footprint, driving across town for meetings etc, but keeps our clients safe as well.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drive expat parenting abroad.
Core to everything at Expat Parenting Abroad is family, and supporting strong family connections. Be it with the immediate family, or distant family back home. Sometimes this is easy to balance, but sometimes it can be challenging. It’s all about pausing and asking ‘where does this fit in the big picture’ and then making a decision based on that. This is not only core to me, but to my clients as well.
What do you see yourself as in the long run, and what are your future expat parenting goals?
I see Expat Parenting Abroad being the ‘go to’ for organisations and families moving internationally. The pandemic has really brought home the important role organisations have in their duty of care to the families and the necessity to provide the right support at the right time.
In addition, as a result of the pandemic, families are a lot more cautious about moving away from home. Ensuring they know the right steps and processes to make the transition smooth, and to support their family to thrive is going to be even more important in the future.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t allow your fears to stop you. You have a unique offering and there are people out there who need what you’re doing. Just focus on the next right step, what is the next right thing for you to do, make that happen, and keep going.