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How a Scrapbook Helped Relocate a Family 08.30.2019 | Morgan E. Wiedmann

Our Workforce Mobility Counselors regularly help relocating employees address these fears in creative and legendary ways. Here is just one of their stories.

A top senior employee accepted a 3-year international assignment relocating with his family from the U.S. to a small village in Spain.

Well, that was until Charlotte Acimis, Workforce Mobility Counselor, received a call that he might decline the offer.

Although this was shortly following the initiation, Charlotte was puzzled as to what had changed in the short time since he originally accepted. After doing a little digging, Charlotte discovered that his wife was very worried about the move. With the family’s support network of extended family and friends all based in the U.S., there was concern about the impact an international move would have, especially on their small children.

There was no question that the move would be a massive culture shock…relocation for them would come with major changes such as different school systems for their children, learning a new language, and starting a new life, far away from their loved ones. Despite the support they were being offered by the husband’s company, Charlotte could hear that that the wife was feeling extremely alone.

As an advocate of our Legendary Service philosophy, Charlotte took the initiative to speak directly with the wife - as a friend - to listen to her concerns and understand her feelings.

After the wife voiced her fears, Charlotte shared stories of other families she relocated internationally, including those in similar family situations, explaining how they had successfully (and happily) settled into their new home, help considerably by the support available through Weichert and our DSPs.

By the end of the call, Charlotte could almost feel the sense of relief the wife had.  It turns out she misunderstood the process and felt as if she would be in charge of relocating all on her own.  And she was worried about her children.

Once she understood Charlotte’s role and had a better idea of the services that would be provided to assist them, she said felt like the entire relocation might be manageable. The relocation was back on!

Without that conversation, I feel this move wouldn’t have happened
Charlotte Acimis Workforce Mobility Counselor

Just to make this story even more Legendary, Charlotte came up with the idea to have the family start a scrapbook of their experiences while on assignment.

“I’ve got kids myself, so I know they love something visual that they can pick up and see rather than something that you tell them,” said Charlotte.

She suggested they begin to gather pictures of the places they visit in Spain, the different activities they do, and the sights they see while on assignment, so they can go through the book together and create memories as a family.

Sometimes you never know if these ideas will truly takeoff….but with this family it sure did!

As Charlotte communicated with the family throughout the assignment to catch up and collect expenses, the wife would often refer to their scrapbook.

To this family, this scrapbook was more than just a way to remember their relocation in Spain or to share stories with their family and friends; it became a way to keep a journal of their assignment and bond together.

“It was quite a shock to hear that it had been so successful and it felt really special to know that my small suggestion had such a huge impact on them,” explained Charlotte.

Who would have known that a phone call and scrapbook could change this family’s life?

In a digital, self-service world the importance of the human element in relocation cannot be under-estimated when counseling an employee (and their family) during an important life change. Without that phone call and the special bond they formed, Charlotte believes this family likely wouldn’t have relocated.

And after 5 successful years in Spain, it was time for the family to repatriate.  And Charlotte was right there to successfully move them back home to the U.S.

Among the repatriation phone calls, the scrapbook came up again…the scrapbook that has become their treasured family item, loving holding their memories and stories of their relocation adventure.

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Written by Morgan E. Wiedmann

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Morgan Wiedmann is the Content Specialist in Weichert’s Marketing group. Leveraging over six years of experience in writing and marketing, she develops content for the company’s website and social media channels as well as for client and colleague communications. Morgan graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Journalism from Suffolk University in Boston.

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