Bio

biopic

The city of (West) Berlin, Germany is where I was born and grew up. It’s where I started my career in the business world and where I watched the infamous wall come down in November of 1989. In May of 2001, I packed up my life and moved to the United States to expand my personal and professional horizons. That’s where I got into sailing for real and from where I traveled the world for business…

 

Berlin, Germany

This city is one of the most fascinating places on earth and has often been the center of crucial events in world history. Growing up in West-Berlin during the cold war, we lived in a place surrounded by a concrete wall, barbed wire and border guards with machine guns. Of course that was just a way of life for us at the time.

Members of my family can claim to be “real Berliners”, meaning that generations were born and have lived all their lives in that city. They witnessed war and destruction as well as hunger and despair and persevered through all of it. In particular my grandmothers had a never-ending supply of stories living through times none of us will hopefully ever have to experience. Those stories taught us about resilience – something that is part of any Berliners DNA.

Much like many large cities around the world, Berlin has always drawn people from many walks of life as well as political ideas discussing the topics of the times in a place with unique challenges. Great diversity combined with lesson's hopefully learned from history, makes this very big city a place with great energy and a level of tolerance not found in many other places.

 

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

It was my professional career that brought me to the United States. I didn’t pick Boston, it’s where Gillette was headquartered and where I accepted a job in May of 2001. Moving to another continent is the adventure of a lifetime and of course my new role was a major challenge – that’s why some of us went on those types of assignments.

Some would make it through by focusing on the temporary nature of it and when they could go back home. I however never wanted to live in a temporary state, not even for one day. But I also wasn't so sure there was going to be something to go back to, so I set out to create a new life in “the new world”. I made friends from Argentina, Greece, India, Kenya, and yes, the US too. My work in those days took me to five different countries on three different continents. It was exciting and exhausting.

One Friday afternoon in the summer of 2002 not knowing what to do with my upcoming vacation week, I somehow ended up signing up for a sailing class that would start the next Monday. It would prove to be one of those things in life… I ended up sailing a lot that summer (and the next and the next…) and those of us who met in that class are still sailing together. It would turn out to be the foundation for much more to come…

Then one Friday morning in early 2005 we heard the news on the radio: Gillette had been bought – and I knew live as we had known it was over. Predictably I was asked to return “home” to Europe, problem was I was home, so the task at hand was to figure out what would be next.

 

San Francisco, California, USA

It would be once again my professional career that would allow me to make a bold move – literally – but it was also the realization of a dream to move to Northern California. Although I had not applied for a job in a very long time, let alone in another country, I managed to get a job in the technology industry with Autodesk. So, once again, I packed up my live and moved to Sausalito, California, just north of San Francisco.

I had always been drawn to San Francisco, a city by the bay known for it’s diversity and tolerance surrounded by natural beauty and opportunities to work in the technology industry nearby. Sausalito has it’s own charm and of course thousands of boats docked everywhere. Living there feels a bit like being on vacation when you get home from work.

It wasn’t so much the west coast culture, but working in a completely different industry that at least initially created the biggest challenge. Over time though there was no denying it: I was homesick for Boston and not even watching the Red Sox play at Oakland Coliseum could cure it. I had left to explore whether I would be happier living in California and given myself 2 years to try – it was time to return home.

 

Back to Boston, Massachusetts, USA

I returned home in December of 2008, just when all hell was breaking loose and we all would start to feel the impact of the Great Recession. I held on to my job at Autodesk, but knew there was a good chance that wasn't going to last. And it didn’t… in February of 2010 I lost my job for a second time in 4 years.

That week and on another important Friday, I answered the call of a friend who invited me to go to an Open House at a boat dealership in Bristol, RI. Three weeks later I was a certified sailing instructor and started teaching. I taught a lot that summer and helped my newfound friend build up his sailing school. The rest is history as they say...

I eventually returned to the Corporate World and continue to learn, adapt and grow in the business world. It’s what I do and what I am good at. But there is now a whole other world - out on the water - with the wind blowing in my face that provides a sense of balance as well as new challenges. Sailing is like life, the learning never stops. Sometimes you are the captain, other times you are just in for the ride. There are calms and storms and anything in between, but we need to sail the ship every day and I fully intend to do just that.