Bee Sykes’ career has been varied, to say the least. From working as a competition groom for international showjumping teams to being the office manager of a property investment company in Mayfair.
When Bee’s husband was offered a job at Google’s European headquarters in Dublin in 2011, they knew they had to take the opportunity. But the move wasn’t without its challenges.
”There was a big transition with small children. Settling into motherhood, keeping the family going and keeping the house going. It was tough” explains Bee.
However, through this journey, she founded Families Go Global, a support network for relocated families offering things like mentoring, coaching and meetups. We caught up with Bee to find out about her venture.
How did you come up with the idea for Families Go Global?
In 2013, I was offered the opportunity to help manage a parents community within Google. I was a volunteer helping families that had relocated for the company to connect. The employees were already engaged in the company. I was helping their partners and their children to get settled.
The group grew to about 250 families. We started to become a bit of a magnet while we were out and about. We started getting approached by other families who were also looking to connect. That’s when I formed Families Go Global in 2015 to open up the community to all families. Since then we have approximately 1,500 families on the social network platform and it’s not just expat families it’s also Irish families that have returned home.
How did the company develop?
The social network was working really well and also mentoring families but I wanted to find a better way to help them settle and that’s when I went into coaching. I offer integration, relationship, personal development and career coaching. I help families deal with the changes they face as individuals and as a team.
What’s your average day like?
I wear lots of different hats from mother, wife, student, coach and mentor. I get up around 5am to study psychology whilst the house is quiet. My children, who are now five, six and seven usually get up around 7am, so it’s all hands on deck to get them ready for school and out the door. Then I go on to coach families, organise events and grow Families Go Global until I collect my children and put my mummy hat back on.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Without a doubt, the impact coaching has on lives. It’s literally life-changing and the ‘positive ripple effect’ means it’s not just the client that benefits but their children, partner, family and wider circle of friends and colleagues too.
Why do you think the company has been successful?
Because of the human connection. The families can relate to each other. Every family is unique in its own way and every family has different needs but they are still going through the transition of moving to Dublin, leaving family behind and having to start with a clean canvas again.
What has been the biggest challenge?
It’s not there now but at the very outset, it was financial. Obviously, there are children involved and we do events so there were insurance costs. To set up the company properly there were costs too. At one point we had membership fees but I decided to drop that because I felt putting a price tag on friendship didn’t fit. The community is free.
What’s your team structure like?
We are currently a team of four with Celine Harrand (Marketing & Communications), Sheila Carrasco (Business Development Mentor) and Brittany Winkelman (Photographer). Our expanding team of 6 parent mentors host meetups/events to introduce families to each other, explore local activities and share local tips to help their settling in process.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
If it’s where your passion is and you really believe in the idea then you need to persevere. It makes a huge difference if you don’t give up.
What is my dream for Families Go Global?
I would love to connect with employers and see more families benefit from our social network and coaching. Dublin has been a great start for us with over 1,400 families. The majority have relocated here to further their career and we’ve found employees are much more engaged at work when they are less anxious about their familiy’s settling in process.
Subscribe to our mailing list