616. Helping Expat Partners Become Tandem Nomads
Amel headed to a meeting on her university campus in Lyon, France, to start brushing up on her English-speaking skills. She soon realized she had stumbled into a meeting for recruiting students to sell encyclopedias in the U.S. Was this the “something exciting” she had been looking for?
Amel Derragui is a business and marketing coach, a speaker and the founder of Tandem Nomads, a podcast show and entrepreneurship platform designed to empower expat partners and help global nomads turn their career challenges into successful portable businesses. After a career in sales and then advertising, she quit her job to join her husband abroad and launched a marketing consulting business that she ran living across three continents. Six years later, discovering a real need for expat spouses to find their own source of fulfillment and financial freedom, she launched Tandem Nomads.
Tandem Nomads has been featured in the cover stories of Forbes Magazine, Global Living Magazine and other media. Amel has spoken at various major events such as the Forbes’ Diversity and Women’s Empowerment conference of the World Bank and IMF family network conference.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Amel’s interest in people living the expat life has its roots in early childhood. The daughter of Algerian diplomats, she was born in India, lived in Yugoslavia, Uganda, Algeria, then moved back to the former Yugoslavia, which had become Serbia. By the time she was in primary school she had attended school in three countries, learning in three languages. At age 14 in Uganda, she started her first entrepreneurial venture and never lost the bug for business. In France for high school and university, she learned about life as an outsider and was soon organizing a partnership at her university, bringing business students together with local entrepreneurs and companies.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Just short of earning her undergraduate degree in business from the University of Lyons in France, the multilingual Amel noticed her English was slipping. Intending to enroll in an English-language summer session, she inadvertently went to the wrong room. English was being spoken, so she stayed. She had stumbled into a recruitment meeting for a U.S. company. Asked why she stayed, Amel explains, “I was looking for something new, something exciting. I needed to be challenged.” She ended up taking the job in the U.S. The company paid for her to complete her undergrad degree and earn her MBA. “Something happened there! I think the biggest highlight of my life. When I came back from that, everybody would tell me I was not the same person. I think I was revealed. I knew that something was underneath me, that had not been expressed all these years.” Looking back on the life-changing decision, she recalls, “I didn’t over-think it. What had I got to lose? Go for it!”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Sometimes people are unhappy and they don’t even realize it. They do not know how to listen to what their gut or their body is telling them. I think the first step is becoming aware of it. Once you are aware, it is very important to find a way to create the space for that. It starts by setting aside time for yourself, to listen, to play, to learn. And to do something totally unrelated to your career or work. This time has to be non-negotiable.”
Steps to Success from Amel Derragui
1. Set aside time to listen to yourself, your gut, your body. Make this time non-negotiable.
2. Realize human beings are not meant just for work, food and sleep. We all need time to play, to know ourselves as more than careers and achievement.
3. Be open to situations that will reveal yourself to you, that will let you see deep desires and passions that may be buried underneath the stress and busyness.
On Her Bookshelf
The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho
Connecting With Amel Derragui
Free guidebook: “Six Steps to Build a Successful Portable Business.” Download at: www.tandemnomads.com
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