This April, it will be 2 years since I have lived here in the United States. The decision to move here was one that was not made easily. I was leaving a job that I loved (as head of the Orthaheel and Scholl Footwear business in Australia and New Zealand); I was leaving my family, my close friends and my relationship at the time. And I was moving to another country, on the other side of the world, where I didn’t know a soul. It would be fair to say that it was a decision that put me well outside my comfort zone.
I’ve been lucky enough to have known and worked with many of the team at Vionic Group for a number of years – in fact I am proud to say that some of my dearest friends are the people who I work with (Steve Mabb and I have worked together and have been great mates since 1998). From a work point of view, that made the decision to come over a lot easier. The culture at Vionic Group is one of support, and corporately and personally, they did everything within their power to make the transition as easy as possible, and make me feel welcomed.
There were many challenges in getting settled into the East Coast. Everything from finding a place to live or setting up a bank account to knowing the best place to get a pizza or where the nearest drycleaners are. Moving to any new place can present these types of challenges, but doing it in a new country takes it to a whole new level. This is where I was so thankful to my new family – the people who I am lucky to work with everyday. As soon as I walked through the doors at QVC, I was made to feel welcome in an instant.
The other guests, the studio team, the hosts, the buyers, the models, and the sales team – everyone was genuinely concerned with how I was settling in and all offered any assistance they could to help me out whenever it was needed. I must say that I have also been lucky enough to have met some great people outside of the QVC building, who have also gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome; people who I am very proud to call my friends.
It is hard being away from my family in Australia. Although I lived in another state, I still knew they were only a 2 hour flight away. What I miss the most is missing out on some of the special occasions. Whilst I always get home for the big events (I was in Australia in early November to celebrate my Mum and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary), I miss out on the little things – birthdays of my nieces and nephews (there are 12 of them), catching up with my 2 big brothers for a boys weekend, sitting down with my dad to watch the mighty Wallabies (that’s the Australian rugby team) play, or just having lunch with mum and listening to all the stories of what the grandkids have been up to. Whilst these are certainly things that I miss, I must say that being so far away has shown me that it’s more about the quality time you get to spend with the people you love. Things like Skyping or even just being in email/text message contact means that I’m kept in the loop and still have that all important connection. Seeing pictures of the birthday parties and any other fun times that they’re all having back there makes me feel included. I also still enjoy the occasional care package of Vegemite being sent my way.
Living here in the USA has been a great experience, and one that I can only hope continues. There are many more things that I want to see and do here. I have my bucket list and I’ll hopefully get a chance to tick some more adventures off it over the next 12 months. I see myself as being very lucky, because now I have a whole new family. The best example I can give on how caring people have been can be best explained over the recent holidays. Everyone I knew was so genuinely concerned as to where I was going to be for Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year. So many people invited me over for lunch or dinner. I can honestly say that it was the most humbling feeling I have felt. However, it’s this kind of openness, these kinds of gestures that make me love living here so much. There has not been a day since I have been here where I have had a negative experience with anyone. There has not been one day in the last 2 years that I have ever regretted taking up the opportunity to work here in the USA. If you asked me 5 years ago where I’d be today, I can tell you that living in the states wouldn’t have been on the radar. However, if you ask me now where I’d like to be in 5 years, it would be a very different answer. Australia will always be my home, but I am thankful everyday for the people I have met here, because I’ve been made to feel at home here in the USA too.
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