Audrey Mezas started her career going from Flight Attendant to Facility Services Coordinator, and spent over a decade working for a large law firm, after which she decided to switch lanes, and start her own company, Expat in Amsterdam®. Now Audrey specializes in helping Expats and Internationals and several companies, safely land in Amsterdam, guiding them every step of the way with over 60+ services to choose from, such as housing and schooling. Audrey is a member of the Zoku Community and has quickly become part of the family, frequently bringing her clients to Zoku for a soft landing and having clients stay at Zoku.
What path has your career taken?
I started my professional career 33 years ago and did everything from being a Flight Attendant to Operations Crew Controller to being a Facility Services Coordinator. All these jobs have one thing in common, logistically solving problems while taking care of people. It is the common thread which runs through my life and has always given me immense pleasure. My last job was working for a large law firm, which ended up re-organizing the company. After having spent 14 wonderful years at the firm, I knew that my professional life had come full circle.
I now wanted to help Expats/Internationals land safely full-time, by guiding them, their families and companies in a professional manner, with the help of our professional Teamleaders. It meant giving back, exactly what I had missed when I came back to the Netherlands many years ago. I started my company Expat in Amsterdam® on 12/12/2012 which grew into becoming a niche Relocation company, offering tailor-made service to Expats, Executives and VIP clients and their companies. These past seven years have been the most fulfilling years ever! I have been lucky enough to learn many different specialities from my Teamleaders and have always listened to the feedback from my clients.
What brings you to Amsterdam?
This is where life throws you for a loop! Short version… I came to the Netherlands in 1986 for an unexpected vacation and realized during my visit that I had to reapply for my Greencard (I was working under the permit of my parents). Let’s just say, I never reapplied and ended up staying in Amsterdam and therefore became the “Expat in Amsterdam®”
What is your relationship with Zoku Amsterdam, and what are your thoughts?
I have never stayed the night at Zoku Amsterdam, but many of my clients have. We have always held meetings at Zoku and since then it feels like my second home. Zoku means tribe, clan or family and this is exactly what the staff mean to my clients and myself. My immediate family is spread over many continents and so every time I walk into Zoku, it feels like coming home.
What’s a life-changing song, film, event or book you’d like to recommend to others?
The Invictus Games created by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex (and the preparation for these games, as a Nations Liaison Officer) have been a life changing event for me! The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. These games are for and by the wounded, injured and sick Military Service personnel from 20 countries from all over the world and will now be held in The Hague, The Netherlands in May/June 2021.
What’s your current/newly discovered go-to product, service or app you would recommend to others?
The Packing Pro app – It’s amazing and so efficient. We all love it and hope to be able to use it again soon!My Fitbit watch – Whether I now only walk around the house or once we are able to move a little more freely – run, it keeps my steps in order, my heartbeat, calorie burn and even tracks my sleep.
What is your top tip for being productive while working from home?
I love using the Focus Keeper Time Management app. It’s very simple! Work on a task for 25 minutes while your timer keeps track, take a short 5 minute break and then start your next 25 minute task. After having completed 4 tasks you take a longer break. I’ve used it for years and love how it teaches me to focus!
Which book/product have you gifted the most?
My clients always receive a beautiful coffee table book after having purchased their home – with the help of our Realtor team. One of my favorite books to give is “Amsterdam: A Metropolitan Village” by Ewout Huibers – It’s full of beautiful photos which he shot of the city throughout a whole year.
Do you have a favorite virtual activity that you would recommend to others?
I have had several Zoom calls with my friends (let’s call it Happy Hour). It’s amazing how we now speak and see each other more often virtually. I recommend it highly as it keeps the family and friend bond strong and connected and it can even be amusing at times. I’ve heard that people are playing virtual games and I love it!
If you could pick one project to work on for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If I did not have my current company or did not have to work, then I would jump on a plane, fly all over the world and listen to people’s life stories and ask them what they would need. I would then connect these people with others who would be able to fulfill their wishes and dreams. I’ve taken baby steps to achieve this life goal, but have now been temporarily halted by having to “take care of business” during these trying times. I don’t like to give up, but hope that our lives as Entrepreneurs can pick up as soon as the world becomes a safer place. All that matters for now is that we stay healthy and that the world sticks together as it has been doing these past few weeks.
What is one piece of advice or tip in your field of work that you want to give to people?
Be honest and don’t make promises you cannot keep. I still hear horror stories from clients who experience some Relocation advisors who promise the world, while raising their fees. It makes our profession (for those of us who work hard and stay honest) look bad. We always tell the truth and stay honest, especially if something may not be possible. Trust is the most important factor in any profession.
How do you manage to keep up your mental health/wellbeing while working from home during these times?
I try to stick to somewhat of a routine. Get up in time for office hours and stop working at so called office hours. I also try to combine these “work” days with a short walk outside when possible and as long as allowed (not on weekends and by myself.) I do however see my “yoga mat” staring at me and will therefore start to follow my favorite YouTube yoga lessons again tomorrow, given by Yoga with Adriene, I’ve been following her for years.