IT Leader | France Native | Co-Founder commenceledream.com
Bonjour, comment allez-vous ?
I was born in France some 50 years ago. I spent 31 fantastic years in the south-west of the country, a region tucked between the Atlantic ocean to the west, the Pyrénées mountains to the south, Toulouse to the east, and Bordeaux to the north.
I followed a classic French curriculum at school, baccalauréat, classes préparatoires. The goal was to become a fighter pilot in the French Air Force. This initial plan failed when the military found a problem with my eyes. New plan, I took a break from school and switch gears, to re-enter and work on a DUT Informatique. Yes, I finally graduated college with an IT degree.
I was ready for work!
I remained in France for 10 years, where I worked in various IT positions. It was a beautiful experience. I relearned everything. I made friends, life long friends.
We lived in Toulouse, Verdun-sur-Garonne, Talence, Andernos-les-Bains. We have enjoyed each time the culture, the traditions, the food proposed by different regions.
Somehow along the way, I married a splendid woman, a US native, born in small city on the eastern side of Iowa, on the shore of the Mississippi River. A couple of kids later, and #3 on the way, we decided that it might be a good time to give the USA a try.
It all started in 2001, we touched down in Chicago. It was early in May that year. In my head at least, this relocation was going to be temporary, but we adjusted well to the place.
Life is easy in the Midwest, along the shores of the Mississippi River. Our family grew and so did my English skills. We have five children now, all were homeschooled for a bit, then one at a time, junior high, high school, college. We worked at maintaining some French around. The language, but also how we live: we eat our meals together as much as the various schedules allow. We engage with each other at the table, sometimes long after the end of the meal
I grew too during this period: wiser father (I hope), wiser spouse (maybe), I obtained a Master degree in 2005, and engaged into a successful career at John Deere. It’s a privilege to work for a global company. You get to travel, a lot: Germany, France, India, many towns and cities in the USA. You work with people from around the world: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, New-Zealand, Spain. The exposure to this diversity is awesome. I had a good time for almost 20 years, then I left…
I took an early out; I saw an opportunity to be more independent. I need to be able to travel to France more often, for extended stays: my parents, my family there are not getting any younger.
This is why this program exists. My wife and I saw an opportunity to share what we know, what we have experienced with extending our culture, and to support a more mobile lifestyle.