3 things an expat needs for a happy career.

You won’t need to be an artist to be qualified as creative, you just need to keep an open mind.

I met five women today and I went back home with a feeling of accomplishment. Not because I actually succeeded in something myself but because of the good vibes I’ve got from listening to their stories. Like when you read positive news and you’re all up to do something good from that very moment on, this morning gave me a sense of achievement.
It is certainly remarkable how women can adapt to the most desperate situations and how, when pushed to their limits, they can hatch the very idea that put them back in the game.

Surprisingly (maybe), when the inevitable critical juncture appears, someone manages to adapt not only by reinventing her/himself completely but also by doing it with passion.
This is the case of the ladies I have met today, all guests of my first networking event, organised by My Wander Coffee: they are all Italians who moved to Zürich in different years, with different backgrounds and education and who started-up and established well-known businesses in the city.

Barbara Muscionico
Le Torte di Apple Pie
Barbara is the creative owner behind Le Torte di Apple Pie. She always loved to bake and, after having discovered the cake decoration world, she started to study towards a Diploma degree in Sugarpaste at the PME Knightsbridge School in London. She is a mom and lives in Kilchberg.
She offers all type of cakes for all celebrations. Barbara loves to be part, with her creations, of the most important events of people’s life.

Barbara loves:

  • all things homemade, even when the results are not always what she hoped for, but satisfaction is just great!
  • all sort of kitchen accessories/gadget (I’d be curious to see her baking room)
  • apple pies, of course!

See her bio at:


Valeria Crescenzi
Crescenzi Communications + zurichwonderland
Valeria is a freelance journalist and writes about arts & culture, interior design, travel, and lifestyle.She has a pretty blog and IG profile called zurichwonderland where she took pictures about Zürich, a city she likes to fall in love with every day.She moved from a career at the Foreign Ministry in Rome to the exciting job of writer in 2011. After an experience with a travel mag, Valeria moved to Zürich and now writes for Swiss and European magazines. Valeria is also a web content editor, a translator and she is always eager to know new people and start awesome project with them (see fiveatfive.ch to have an idea of what I’m saying!).

Valeria loves:

  • generous portions of carbonara;
  • photography (and you’d know that if you looked at her IG profile
  • radio, she does not live without it.

Read her story here:

Tatiana Gaudimonte
Biologist and Nutritionist at Love your Body
Tatiana is a biologist specialised in nutrition: with her tailored services she knows how to advise and support people about health and quality of life, working towards customised and conscious eating habits.

Tatiana’s approach is fully respectful of each patient’s personal characteristic and every single case is treated by keeping in mind the person, not the charts.
Tatiana thinks that the best part of her job is the relation with her clients and the utter satisfaction she feels when clients reach their target. Sweet.

Tatiana loves:

  • animals, especially dogs, cats, horses, pigs, snakes, turtles, dinosaurs, purple dragons;
  • social networks
  • travelling, although she never does that as much as she would like.

Found more about her at:


Giada Varvello
Expat career and transition coach.
Giada is a feels-good professional coach. You just need to sit next to her to get the idea. She moved from Milan, where she worked in the HR of a multinational company, to Zürich where she set up her business as a coach.

She knows how it feels to be an expat, what this entails for better or for worse, and she is passionate about supporting other expats to live a fulfilling life wherever this life is.
Giada is a good listener and a great observer, she offers a practical way to smoothly rediscover one’s own path in life, effectively helping the transition into a new country or environment.

Giada loves:

  • dreams and she dreams big times;
  • journeys to discover new places;
  • evenings in the company of dear friends.

Ready to start enjoying your new job and life at your own conditions?

Read her about page here:


Marta Santoro Mastrangelo
Oil and wine producer La Percussina
Marta has an exceptional story to tell. Together with her husband, she bought an old farm in Tuscany, renovated it and planted olive trees all around. The farm has a historic connection with the Italian author Piero Calamandrei and like a past that returns (often, one must look back to the past to move forward into the future) and with an almost motherly cure, Marta started a process of growth and evolution that brought her oil to life and to the shelves of renowned groceries (also Jelmoli).

Marta loves:

  • to celebrate life with friends;
  • sipping red wine;
  • listening to good music.

Marta is currently working on her website, you will find new info soon on:

The topic we touched were copious and diverse but there were three common points we ran across during our conversation which turned out to be the key factors for a successful career:

1. Cultural flexibility.
We inevitably talked about the cultural differences we have encountered during all these years while living abroad:
+ how a different culture can affect our work,
+ how we tried to follow the conventional requirements of the host country, let alone languages;
+ the many nuances of local people’s behaviours, or better, customs one attempts to adapt to.
When you work with different cultures, your biggest requirement would certainly be some flexibility: amiability and friendliness work a great deal too.

2. Creativity.
You won’t need to be an artist to be qualified as creative, you just need to keep an open mind.
We discussed how vital it is to include creativity to one’s work just by keeping a fresh perspective about things in life and fall in love with your passion as much as possible. Cultivate your inspirations at least weekly, listen or read to other people’s stories and adventures, go out, meet people, find the right networking for you, especially when you work alone (you may want to see what’s cooking at fiveatfive.ch).

3. Relationships.
What I loved the most about the entire meeting was to uncover the real gratification and purpose behind of all these women’s professions: the sincere belief that to engage and to relate with people, while building a relationship with them, is the most satisfying experience of all.
While a business’s success can now also be measured on digital levels, the one factor these five ladies agreed to be as paramount is the real connection established between people: no computer or machine will ever be able to substitute a bond between individuals.
Could you believe that relationships are the ruling link that connects the work of a coach, a cake designer, a digital geek, a biologist and an oil producer?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
We started with a coffee.



Thanks Ristorante Piú for the lovely hospitality!

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About the author
Hi, I’m Chiara, an Italian landed in Zürich in 2011. I like to help people finding their way to the sustainable use of social media, without sacrificing results. I like to write about mindfulness and all things real.

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