We asked EA’s Director of Settling In Services, Kristen Joyce, what exactly her job title means and how her lifetime of moving around made her the perfect person for this role at Executive Arrangements.
Q. How would you describe your job as Director, Settling in Services to a person you just met at a cocktail party?
A. It’s a welcoming, supportive role, ensuring that all of our candidates know that Executive Arrangements is available to assist them as they make their Cleveland transition, while offering initial connectivity and opportunities once they arrive.
Q. Can you share how your experiences helping American expats when you were living abroad with your husband and children uniquely prepared you for this role?
A. I was the ‘buddy family’ coordinator for the American school my children attended in England and a ‘neighbor to neighbor’ liaison for our American school in Japan. In both roles, I matched incoming new families with an existing family from the school. This family served as a resource for questions or learnings about the school, and both families were encouraged to meet once the new family relocated so they felt an immediate welcome. Through this experience, I learned that some families need support and a buddy more than others but reaching out and providing access to these families is a must, and a best-in-class service. Providing some type of initial support is key and then most of the time newcomers grow their network. Typically those who are most successful in the transition embrace the opportunity to learn and listen. In all cases, being in the position of newcomer or an advocate for newcomers, has allowed me to empathize and support our EA alums in their transition.
Q. Transitioning into a new community is complex, but you’ve managed your own family’s relocations several times. How can newcomers benefit from what you’ve had to learn the hard way?
A. You learn something new each time you move. Upon our first overseas move, a relocation counselor of sorts explained to us all that we should focus on accomplishing one thing each day related to the move and that in doing so that this should be our measurement of success. I liked this message of ‘set the bar low’ and feel accomplished! The physical move is hard so your mindset needs to be a positive one. There are also going to be hiccups in the move, so prepare yourself for them. Find a new friend who just made a similar move, or an old friend who has relocated in the past, you can share and laugh over your joys and misery. If moving with kids, even the most outgoing of children can take about 6-months to transition, so don’t hold your breath waiting for this! And finally, enjoy the time where you don’t have a calendar full of invites and commitments, where you are tourists in your own town and life actually slows down a bit. It won’t last long, but it can be one of the joys of moving, if you allow it to be!
Q. What are some of the most memorable in-person EA Orientation Days you’ve had with candidates and why do you think they made an impression on you?
A. The wonderful thing about this job is that almost all of my days are memorable! Most candidates haven’t experienced Cleveland and to show them all of the opportunities, accessibility and beauty of our city makes for a great day. And if we can also make a personal connection through our community guests and stops along our way, then the day is a success!
Q. If you were tasked with writing the New York Times article “36 Hours in Cleveland” what would a visitor have to experience to get to know the true vibe of our town?
A. The arts and culture, the unique landscape including the lake and green space, the history, and of course Cleveland’s sports! A trip to University Circle via Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and through the Cultural Gardens will allow you to visit Cleveland’s (free) Museum of Art and take one of their daily docent led tours, while seeing one of John D. Rockefeller’s gifts to the city along your way. It will also give you an opportunity to ride the old Euclid Beach Park carousel at the Cleveland History Museum, and pose for pictures along the picturesque lagoon and Nord Family greenspace that surround the museum. You can stop for lunch in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood where authentic family-owned restaurants still make up most of this developing area. Take a quick drive along nearby Fairmount or Shaker Blvd to experience one of the neighborhoods that surrounds Cleveland and gain an understanding of the residential beauty that makes the area a desirable place to live.
You can then head back Downtown and experience more history, culture and a view of the Lake from Cleveland’s NorthCoast Harbor. See what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has on its outdoor concert schedule for that day, or use your out of state license to get a discounted tour of this Cleveland favorite. Make a trip to see Cleveland’s West Side Market and the urban neighborhood of Ohio City on your way to Edgewater Park’s Cleveland script sign. You’ll have a time of it trying to hold back your surprise in seeing one of Cleveland’s beautiful beaches while you gaze at the Downtown skyline and a get a glimpse of westside lake life. Spend the evening catching one of Cleveland’s sports teams, and if it is a beautiful summer night, hopefully you can get the $15 SRO (standing room only) tickets to the Cleveland Guardians game! Stop at E. 4th Street before the game to enjoy pre-game festivities, drinks, a meal and don’t leave without popping into the Downtown Heinen’s grocery store occupying the old Cleveland Bank Trust building and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful architecturally repurposed buildings in the city. Grab a glass of wine on the second floor of this masterpiece and think about all of the ways Cleveland has amazed you!
Every single EA staff member brings unique experiences and knowledge to the table. The histories of all 19 of us mean we share real-life answers to virtually every question a candidate or newcomer has about life in Greater Cleveland/Akron as well as insights from our own relocations and perspectives. Having a sophisticated and robust talent attraction and retention plan will separate your organization from your competitors. Executive Arrangements’ personalized wooing and onboarding is an important part of this plan and makes a difference in landing your top candidates and their families. Call us: 216.231.9311