Who are we ?
In spite of her Mediterranean appearance, Katia has French and Danish ancestry. With her experience and background, she brings to the foreign and French expatriate members of ExpatSymphonie, a service combining the French art de vivre (art of living) and the Danish hygge (enjoyment), for a vibrant personal experience.
The story starts when Katia is 15, the Danish grandparents of Katia come to France for a few days in October. During a lunch, they mention that the French school in Copenhagen has moved to their neighborhood. This struck Katia’s head who immediately questions : may I go? Every one is surprised but after ten minutes, it is decided that the grandparents will inquire. 15 days later, it is the autumn holidays, and Katia leaves France for Denmark to carry out her school year in Copenhagen; she spends a wonderful school year, where she discovers multiple cultures. That year, the school teaches 300 students of 32 different nationalities.
Integration is very easy, because for everyday life, she lives with her grandparents, and at school, most students are children of diplomats, accustomed to moving every 3-5 years. Therefore any new student is immediately integrated.
After her diploma, Katia decides to live a couple of month in England to improve her English. At the time, handwritten CVs were sent. Katia sends 52 (she still remembers it). For several weeks, the answers were all negative until she receives 2 positive answers. Luckily, they arrive one day after another. She leaves for interviews in London and Oxford. During the interviews at Oxford, she informs that she came to honor her interview, but her preference goes for London. The Financial Director takes out his joker and shows her the apartment she could rent. This little hint and the involvement of the Financial Director to convince her, have overbalanced Katia’s choice.
In Oxford, the integration is not easy, although she speaks the language. But fortunately, she is a young graduate, and integrates thanks to the student community. The Financial Director offered to be "the integrator" but Katia prefers to disconnect the professional life from the private life.
Katia also had an unexpected experience. Her mother, after 20 years in France, chooses to return to Denmark to look after her own mother at the end of her life (the grandmother of the beginning). What was not her surprise! Her mother who spent all her childhood in Denmark, speaks the language, has returned regularly on vacation to Denmark, and yet she is lost. She knows almost no one, she does not know how the daily life works, she has to learn everything again. Luckily, the grandmother, who still has her head, becomes the mentor of her daughter, and assists her in the reintegration of her own country.
Professionally, after Oxford, Katia continues to evolve in an international professional environment.
After 10 years at the Banque Transatlantique - the bank of the French abroad, the Quai d’Orsay bank, as it was called - serving Scandinavian and Italian companies, then managing teams dealing with international means of payment, Katia works 10 years at Fininfo-SIX, in charge of sales of national and international companies. Thanks to her role, Katia was led to coordinate the actions of local teams mainly in Europe, Asia and the United States, and the head office located in Zürich.
Katia speaks French, English, German, Danish and some Italian.
As a teenager Sophie spent a month in the USA in order to learn and practice English. There she felt in love with New-York City, and declared that she was to study and live there, no matter what. Then, she did it.
After graduating with her MBA at Salisbury State University, MD, Sophie joined a French Company, in order to create and manage their American subsidiary based in New-Jersey. As she first started with two suitcases, Sophie is proud to know that 20 years later this subsidiary is still in place and expanding!
Back to France, she first managed a branch in Paris in the security sector, then made her way to a more international environment as a strategic development director, overlooking 22 European countries.
Wherever she went, whether in Salisbury or in New-York, in Lomé or in Stockholm, In Istanbul or Madrid, in Warsaw or Cologne, Sophie met wonderful people, and here was her luck! Indeed if those “locals” had not help her get the codes, help her make her way into administrative process, help her understand the Dos and Don’ts, it would have been so easy, so often, to feel low and lonely!
Based on her experience, when Katia Lambert presented ExpatSymphonie to Sophie, she immediately realized it was a perfect fit in between making people grow, finding solutions, and making herself grow by discovering new cultures. She joined ExpatSymphonie where she not only meet wonderful people, but also facilitate their integration as “Parisians”! Welcome to Paris! Welcome to ExpatSymphonie!
Laurent, a pur French native, is also well-travelled across a wide variety of cultures. He has visited India, Nepal, China, Peru ..... He is a model for ExpatSymphonie, who relishes a challenge: he crossed France on rollers skates from Dunkerque to Perpignan, and also half of the United States from East to West from Boston to Illinois, went around the Annapurna and across the Corsican Mountains. One of his values is based on a quotation from Antoine de Saint-Exupery: "If you differ from me, my brother, far from hurting me, you enrich me".
Laurent speaks French and English
Serving HR professionals for almost 20 years, Laurent offers solutions to recruit on the Internet: sourcing more qualified candidates, improving candidates’ experience, measuring added value, reducing costs.
After positions with commercial responsibilities in different structures (firm and recruitment site on the Internet, HR communication agency), Laurent created the consulting company Compagnons de Cordée.
Given our life experiences, and after having exchanged ideas with companies, and listened to foreign and French expatriates, it seemed obvious that a holistic service which includes a cultural and human aspect, could bring real added-value to this market with such specific needs and expectations.
This is how we came up with the idea of founding ExpatSymphonie, a place of exchange, listening to each other in a convivial environment, so that Paris could be a fulfilling life experience.
We are looking forward to meeting you soon
Katia, Sophie & Laurent
Are you involved in international relocation to Paris ?
Are you thinking of hiring an expatriate in Paris ?
Feel free to contact us today, we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements.