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Relocate Think Global People Awards 2024: Winners celebrate in style

by | Jun 7, 2024

The seventeenth annual awards took place in London last night (6 June) in the opulent surroundings of Two Temple Place. Guests from around the world joined managing editor Fiona Murchie to acknowledge and celebrate incredible examples of how the sector is supporting global people on the move.

Around 80 guests representing the spectrum of specialisms – global employers, talent, DSPs, RMCs, international schools, serviced apartments, academia, family support and technology – came together to share their stories of success in friendly networking over a sumptuous dinners, alongside sponsor 3Sixty and supporter the International School of London.

Mani Sawheny of 3Sixty, the global marketplace for serviced accommodation, said: “Sponsoring this event really reflects our commitment to connect with the industry. We want to recognise the major achievements of the individuals and organisations to relocation.

“We really resonate with the principles behind Relocate and Think Global People awards. We believe in creating the best-in-class experience for employees and engagement. It’s a platform to connect with industry leaders.”

Recognising enriching experiences

Welcoming guests and introducing the much-anticipated awards, Fiona Murchie linked the fabulous wood-panelled, stained-glass setting of the mansion built for William Waldorf Astor to the richness that international experience brings people, businesses and wider society.

“I’m really thrilled to be here as we look to the past and the future. Being here in the mansion of someone who was the richest man in the world made me think, what are riches? Yes it can be wealth, power and status. It can also be health, happiness and sense of wellbeing.

“We are here in this place because you deserve the best to celebrate your achievements in this fast-evolving industry sector and what it takes to support people to flourish and do their best and give people a sense of home and place.”

Jane Hawthorne of Frasers Hospitality, shortlisted in the fiercely contested Best Serviced Apartment category, said of her evening: “I’ve loved it! The venue is incredible. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable event. Often I go to events and I know faces. But here I got to talk to new people. It’s been really good!”
 

Leading through thought and action

This year was particularly special as it took place in Relocate Global’s twentieth-anniversary year. Alongside the 19 awards and highly commended entries were two special awards. These were received by Dr Sue Shortland, who wrote for the very first edition of Relocate magazine, and John Rason of Santa Fe Relocation.

Making these special awards, Fiona Murchie paid tribute to both the legacy and impact these highly respected individuals have made on the field of global mobility in the two decades since Relocate Global’s inception.

“These awards recognise the ongoing importance of research and thought leadership,” she said. “We thought it was fitting to honour two people in this area. Relating to richness, which is what I was talking about earlier on, this is an appropriate time to honour two people who have enriched thought leadership across global mobility.”

John Rason’s series of research reports, white papers, webinars and conference seminars showcase and deepen understanding of the value of international experience. Dr Sue Shortland’s distinguished career in business and academia covers many important areas today, including gender and diversity. She has been at the forefront of exploring these frontiers and how they relate to cross-border moves.

A winner highlighting the important role of research for bettering the experience of people and families on the move this year was Heather De Cruz-Cornaire of Cafe Coach. Her examination of the importance of the human element in international moves for relocation agency REA earned her this year’s award for Best Research Contribution. The judges hailed it as “an extremely interesting piece of work that demonstrates in particular the value coaching can make to assignment success.”

Collecting her award, Heather explained how her personal experience as an assignee and trailing partner led her start this important work. “I wanted to look at what’s valuable and to listen to the voices of 34 participants around the globe and hear how uncertainty has affected the assignee and their family. Some of the stories I heard not only resonated with me and the work I do, but I felt I had to bring it out to the wider community.”

In the Best Book category, the judges recognised Dr Chin-Ju Tsai for her ten-year research into western management styles in China. The judges said “the book provides a clear contribution to knowledge. It advances both practical and theoretical approaches as well as our understanding of global people management, and the promotion of flexibility and choice in cross-cultural leadership.”

Thanking all the nearly 400 expat managers who took part in the research and all those involved in the process, Dr Chin-Ju Tsai said she was deeply honoured to receive the award. “The journey of writing the book was very long from collecting data, analysing it, writing it to finishing the proofreading process. I would like to thank all the judges and Relocate for this great award, recognising my achievements and hard work.”

Crown World Mobility was also highly commended in the research category.

Quality, compliance and wellbeing celebrated

Bringing new knowledge and thinking into the corporate world means services, flexibility and choice can be enhanced, helping to grow businesses through innovation. These characteristics were greatly in evidence in this year’s honour role.

Synergy Global Housing prevailed in the very hotly contested Best Serviced Apartment – Global category. Its VP of sales, Claire Barrie, recognised the community’s vital role in supporting people and companies on the move. Collecting the award, she said: “What a brilliant evening and gorgeous venue. We are absolutely delighted to be winners of this award.

“It’s an extremely competitive category and I’d like to congratulate everyone on the shortlist. While we are competitors and we do compete, we are certainly friends at the same time. I would also just like to take a moment to really recognise right now what everyone in the room does. Whilst we speak so much about technology every day, it really is still about people and the impact we make. So, congratulations to everyone.”

Judges highlighted how Synergy stood out for its work for customer experience, sustainability and wellbeing, introducing new initiatives over the past year that have delivered significant cost savings.

In the Best Serviced Apartment – Local category, Switzerland’s Stay KooooK took home the award in this category. Week2Week Serviced Accommodation were highly commended. Entries highlighted the importance of this accommodation sector to relocation, global mobility and business travel for safety and wellbeing, especially in the ever-increasing number of new locations.

The judges praised Stay KooooK’s dynamism in providing customised accommodation that focuses on personalised accommodation in a social setting, which is a “welcome development in locally focused serviced accommodation provision”. Accepting the award, Katharina Kunze of Stay Koook said “Everything that has been said is absolutely fitting. We are opening two new properties this week and next so I am here on my own. But thanks to the team and thank you so much.”

Eres Relocation Services also shone out this year for the judges, winning in two categories: Excellence in Talent Development, Deployment and Engagement; and Destination Services Provider of the Year – Regional. The judges were particularly impressed with the fast-growing company’s talent development academy and people focus.

Co-founder and managing director, Elaine Héry said. “Thank you to Fiona and Relocate Global for everything you do for this industry, for this evening and for this wonderful award. My partners, Jose and Julio, without whom this journey would not be the same, and most importantly the Eres teams in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, Germany Italy, who come to work every day motivated and working so hard and for inspiring me: this is for you.”

Ikan Relocation Services India were highly commended in the Destination Services Provider of the Year – Regional category, with Stabroek Solutions achieving the same in the local category. Top honours went to Ocean Relocation in the local Destination Services Provider of the Year category. Collecting the award for what the judges recognised as their “amazing work managing the safe evacuation of a significant number of expats” and response to crisis.

Daniel Drenger, its client services and partner relations executive, explained what the award means. “Tonight marks a special place accepting this award is a moment of immense pride and gratitude. It is a testament to the journey we have been on in troubling times. Our team went above and beyond to ensure the safety and comfort of our clients, even in the face of adversity. Acknowledging our efforts means the world to us and it fuels our passion to keep servicing with excellence. Thank you.”

Assicurazioni Generali is also celebrating after receiving the Excellence in Global Mobility, Global Policy Design or Implementation award. Receiving the news, Patrick Harteveld, group head of expatriate management, said: “There is a great sense of joy and pride among everyone. The kind words of the judges panel have been met with immense delight. We are truly honoured to receive this recognition.”

Technology, education and family support in an ESG-focused future

Technology continues to make a deep impression on the future of the global mobility in how it responds to employees’ demands for flexibility and choice, as well as businesses’ needs for cost control and compliance. Icon Relocation was highlight commended for its AI powered Cosee. Winning overall in this category – one of the largest and most competitive in the awards – was global employment and compliance risk-assessment platform, Work From Anywhere.

Presenting the award, awards judge Olu Euba, associate director of global talent mobility at WPP, voiced how Work From Anywhere “responded to market feedback and has clearly gone the extra mile to provide an outstanding service for clients.”

Work From Anywhere’s CEO, John Lee collected the award, “I have to take my hat off to this spectacular venue with all its history and culture. It’s a real privilege to be spending this day here with you all and I’m amazingly grateful to receive this award from all of my peers and congratulations to all the other finalists. I’m very grateful to my co-founder, Donal, and our families, as well as to Mercer for all their support, our partners, mentors and customers who have been on our journey.

Echoing Fiona Murchie’s comments in her welcome, John Lee spoke of his delight in winning this particular award. “There is a wider role for mobility into rewards, into retention, into attracting the best talent. We have a passion and I’m a firm believer that mobility teams have a special place in that particular discussion. Thank you very much for giving us this award.”

In the Excellence in Education category, TASIS England headed up an impressive international roster of leading schools and educational consultants. The category celebrates the role of quality education for mobile families. It highlights how a successful, timely and stress-free relocation supports talent retention, promotes employer brand and delivers employee engagement for best practice organisations.

Bryan Nixon, head of school, and Mary Biddlecombe, executive director of development at TASIS England collected the accolade from category judge Pam Mundy, executive director of advisory and international education consultancy Pam Mundy Associates.

“Schools have a prominent place in people’s lives,” said Bryan Nixon, collecting the award. Paying homage to the rest of the category shortlist and highly commended King’s InterHigh – praised by the judges for its innovative and authentic approach to online learning and live teaching – Bryan Nixon added: “To see so many schools doing so much to ensure families transition smoothly so children have the best opportunity to learn is so inspiring for us all. This truly is a community award for our staff and parents who do so much to ensure children are first and foremost so every in the family can settle and thrive. Thank you all so much.”

The next category, Excellence in Family Support, also accents the role of family support and education as keystones for employee engagement and wellbeing. New2NL Education was highly commended for its high-level bespoke educational consulting. NetExpat prevailed for its agile and responsive solutions to the evolving profile of expats globally and its flexibility.

Collecting the award, Alain Verstandig, NetExpat president, said Thank you for recognising us and the kind words.” Des McKell, NetExpat’s SVP of advisory and global partnerships, added. “It’s always a pleasure to receive these awards on behalf of our global teams, who work their magic and incredibly hard to look after people incredibly well.”

In this year’s biggest category, Arpin International headed the field to take the Excellence in ESG award, with BiCortex Languages & Transitions and Synergy receiving highly commended. Judge Siobhan Cummins, global mobility expert and consultant, introduced the award and presented it to Caroline Curik, director of business development and member of Arpin International Group’s Global Sustainability Committee.

“This is really an important award,” said Siobhan Cummings. “There is so much being published about ESG at the moment. It is on the C-suite agenda. Global. Mobility has a huge role to play in ESG. The judges were very impressed by the level of entries that came in and the work being done.”

Receiving the award on behalf of Arpin International, Caroline Curik said it is motivation and real enjoyment that are driving and delivering the company’s ESG initiatives. “It’s our management and whole company around the world who are really living this for sustainability and reacting to change. We understand we all still have a long way to go, but it’s about connecting it all together. Thank you so much.”

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