Driven by the Winds of Change Part 4

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Driven by the Winds of Change Part 4

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Change has been the only constant in the life of Marcel Corbeau, a Hong Kong businessman originally from the Netherlands 

IN SWITZERLAND FOR WORK, Marcel met a financial counterpart, a woman named Sanda who intrigued him. She was a true woman of the world – she had Chinese heritage, with a mother from Hong Kong and a father from mainland China’s Guangdong province. But she had been born and raised in Toronto, and spent time working in Canada and Australia. She was impossible to pin down, “the girl from everywhere”. She had been through even more changes than he had.

The two of them became firm friends through work, and married in 1995.

By this time, Marcel was 34 years old and soon found himself starting his second family. He had learned a lot about himself too. Many people, probably most people, hate change and hate risk. He and Sandra thrived on those elements.

Once more he used his ability to transfer his skills into new areas to jump into another entirely new business. He joined a company called Strauss, an Israeli family’s food venture, and became a key player in its Amsterdam office.

The firm was very successful, and one of its categories, coffee, was due to expand into the Eastern European nations, and eventually to South America.

One day, after hearing about Strauss’ international expansion plans, Sanda gave him a nudge. “Why not really open up your horizons?” she asked. She indicated that they could use Strauss’ connections to leave Europe, work elsewhere on the planet.

The idea of living overseas intrigued Marcel. Although his work for Strauss in their Amsterdam office was going well, he let his bosses know that if there was any opportunity for travel, he would be interested.

In the middle of 2004, the opportunity presented itself. Strauss had big plans for Latin America. They invited him to be Chief Financial Officer of their new venture in Brazil.

By that time, Marcel had two children with Sanda, making three in all. Yannick was 15, Alain was nine, and Dominique was six. Moving across the world would be a huge upheaval that would stress out most families. But not this adventurous one. The children had inherited their parents’ ability to see themselves as citizens of earth, not just denizens of one place. Marcel took a crash course in Portuguese and soon the whole family was crossing the Atlantic in search of a new life. The others arrived without any knowledge of Portuguese and learned it only after they landed in Brazil!

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