Vivian Chiona - Psychologist & Counsellor, B.Sc, M.Sc a bi-cultural, multilingual expat with family all over the world, a certified psychologist, and the founder and director of Expat Nest (a multilingual and exclusively online counselling service for internationals). Vivian was born in Greece and has been living in Holland for 12 years.
The golden thread through her work is great appreciation of diversity and devotion to the international community.
How did your professional journey start?
Right from the start I had a very clear vision for Expat Nest. At the time I was just 28, and working full time as a counsellor at an international school in The Hague (a job I loved). I had a BIG dream though: to help more people transform their lives and move from a dark place into a brighter, better future. Specifically, I wanted to offer this kind of high-quality mental health support to the global expat community. You see, as an expat myself, I’m familiar with both the blessings and challenges of a mobile life and it didn’t take me long to notice the significant need for counselling services devoted to expatriates and internationals.
And so, in 2013, Expat Nest was born! By using online technology to enable “counselling without borders”, my team and I have been able to support expats, no matter where they are today or where they’ll be tomorrow, and irrespective of their origin or nationality.
What were your business roadblocks and how did you overcome them?
Firstly, it was a matter of changing mindset and even the way I introduced myself. I also had some personal challenges, which I had to overcome and make put different priorities in my business.
In the different twists and turns that Expat Nest has taken since its early days, my passion has been singular, and at the core of the business’s success. Every step I’ve taken since then – from working on Expat Nest in my spare time to taking the risk of going full time, expanding our network of global counsellors, revamping our (humble) early website, and so on – has been driven by the questions: How can my team and I support people, no matter where they are?
Who is your business role model and why?
I don’t have one particular role model per se, preferring instead to draw inspiration from many people on different levels. For instance, I appreciate the balance some business owners have between their business and their personal life, while others I admire for being visionaries; for always being able to think seven steps ahead of everyone else. Also, because of the novelty of Expat Nest, I don’t have many role models in my specific field. However, an organization that I really admire, and share the same values with, is Families in Global Transition (FIGT), because it includes people from all aspects of the international life, together focusing on a shared vision.
What book did you read in 2018 which made a difference to your life and why?
Through I first read it in 2016, Ariana Huffington’s Thrive continues to inspire me. Here’s my review on this: http://www.expatnest.com/10-things-i-learned-from-a-book-that-touched-my-life/
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