EU Business School

Meet the Women of EU Business School (III)

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Women in Business month has provided a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our fellow female staff members at EU. We are proud to work with such an international and diverse team of women, who specialize in everything from finance and management to communication and design.

We would like to celebrate their careers and share their valuable tips on life, business and being a woman!

The following EU staff are part of our extensive expat community. They share what they have learned from their experiences of living abroad and reflect on the proudest moments of their international careers.

rebecca pignot

Rebecca Tollefson Pignot

Head of Admissions, Swiss campusesGeneva Campus

Back in the United States, Rebecca studied a bachelor’s degree in French and international relations and then went on to complete a master’s in international politics. She started working in Fribourg, Switzerland, before settling in Geneva, where she lives now. Her favorite app is Stitcher, a podcast platform that Rebecca uses to keep in touch with events back home.

What lesson did you learn while you were studying (in class or out) that you still use today?

To always be open to working with new people because they can look at the world in vastly different ways to you. In graduate school, I made friends and contacts that were very different to any friends I had before. One of those friends eventually connected me to my first job in Switzerland, so you never know where the relationships you form might lead!

What was the proudest moment of your career?

Helping introduce my first bill into the U.S. Congress. It was a bill to promote studying abroad across the United States. It still has not been passed, but you have to start somewhere!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My kids: both my actual children and all the students that I work with every day at EU Business School. They’re the best!

MacGregor, Beth

Beth MacGregor

Team Leader, Accommodation & RelocationMunich Campus

Beth is originally from Canada but has truly embraced the expat experience, having lived in Sweden, France, Austria, South Korea and, currently, Germany. She has a master’s degree and is fluent in English, French, German and Spanish.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

When I was an English teacher in South Korea, I coached my students for months to compete in a national English speech contest. One of my students won the contest, and I was extremely proud of how far he had come and how I was able to get through to him.

What has your expat experience taught you?

The most important things in life are the people you choose to surround yourself with. True friends can make any place feel like home.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My cat, who wants her breakfast and some company!

Chiara Marcheschi

Chiara Marcheschi

Senior Regional Recruitment Manager EuropeBarcelona Campus

Other than Barcelona, Chiara has lived in the U.K., Ireland, Malaysia and her native country, Italy. Chiara studied a bachelor’s degree in peace studies and conflict resolution, followed by a master’s in international relations and human rights. Her studies led her to work with various NGOs before starting her career in education.

What lesson did you learn while you were studying (in class or out) that you still use today?

I had an amazing English teacher who went well beyond the curriculum and her paid tasks to offer us project-based learning from actual, real-life experiences. She taught me management, problem solving and critical thinking. I try every day to be as passionate as she was and transmit the same enthusiasm and curiosity to others.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

My greatest accomplishment stems from my time in Malaysia. My proudest professional moment was being the first European employee to be hired by my company. I walked into that new opportunity, crushed expectations and received the best reward. It wasn’t a promotion (at least not at first), but the feeling of belonging, which I didn’t expect to experience so soon after moving so far from “home”.

What has your expat experience taught you?

In the end, despite all the difficulties and the hard times you go through on your expat journey, you know you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Every single minute spent crying on the other side of the world, celebrating events on Skype or spending holidays “upside-down” in time are really worth the adventures and the moments you spend trying new food, visiting new places and seeing things through different eyes. Since realizing this, I have never woken up wondering “what if?”.

Serena Sardi

Serena Sardi

Executive AssistantBarcelona Campus

Serena is from Italy and studied anthropology in the U.K.. She has also lived in Guatemala and is fluent in Italian, Spanish and English. Serena likes to use Workflowy and Telegram to keep on top of her workload and her favorite food is, of course, pizza!

What lesson did you learn while you were studying (in class or out) that you still use today?

To question what I am being told and speak up when I don’t agree.

What has your expat experience taught you?

There is more than one way to do things and they are all valid. So, keep an open mind.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The need to get to a source of caffeine.

Veronica Cancio de Grandy

Veronica Cancio De Grandy

Head of Alumni Relations, Learning & DevelopmentMunich Campus

Veronica has been with EU for eight years and has taken on many roles within the network. She is from the U.S.A. and has lived in Spain, the U.K., Nicaragua and Germany. Veronica is a published author and professional singer.

How have your professional goals changed throughout your career? Why?

Yes. I have had what is referred to as a “non-linear” career. I originally wanted to go into advertising, then diplomacy, then the arts and now I work in both education and music. I think our cultural leaning toward being or choosing one thing to be or work in for your entire life is slowly flying out the window, and people like me are very happy about it.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

I have had several: the first publication of a magazine with my name under the title of head editor. That time where I performed an operetta with three generations of family members. There are many more, usually to do with doing something no one has done or done in that way before; I am not a big fan of repetition.

What has your expat experience taught you?

That the world is both bigger and smaller than we think. That my jokes rely heavily on pop culture references that are not understood by all. Also, when you live away from your family and place of birth, the concept of “home” becomes non-traditional. I have three at the moment: where my family lives, where I live and where I lived for the longest period of my life; I refer to them all interchangeably as “home”.

Maneh Tonoyan

Regional ManagerBarcelona Campus

Originally from Armenia, Maneh has also lived in the UK, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain. She graduated with a master’s in marketing and has since gained a strong background in marketing and sales. She speaks five languages, and her favorite color is blue because it symbolizes trust and peace. 

How have your professional goals changed throughout your career? Why? 

There are people who know exactly what career path they want to follow and there are others who are constantly exploring different directions. I was one of the latter until I started working in education.  

By the age of 29, I had had three different professions. At first, I saw this as a disadvantage, fearing I wouldn’t be able to commit and grow within one area, but now I see it as an advantage because I have gained diverse skills along the way. I did, however, apply passion and a positive attitude in all of my professional and educational experiences and gave 100% dedication. I think this is very important because it’s what allows you to learn and develop. 

Having this kind of background also helps me in my work. I am helping young people to choose their career paths so it’s quite easy for me to empathise with them. 

What has your expat experience taught you? 

I come from a small, landlocked country with a strong national identity, so living in other countries showed me the beauty of cultural diversity. Besides being proud of my own culture, I now also enjoy celebrating other cultures with my friends and colleagues from Asia, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world. It’s humbling to realize that we’re all humans first before belonging to any nation. 

Are there any professional opportunities that you wish you had taken in the past? How do you think your career would have been different if you had? 

I think if I was more patient, I could have become a scientist. But I wanted to learn many different things instead of committing to one discipline. In the end, I chose to pursue management. 

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