Los Angeles – Ajay Babber, from London to Los Angeles

I met Ajay years ago in Los Angeles at a movie premiere and we have stayed in touch on and off. For a while he was running the EuroCircle Los Angeles at the same time with Saran Ganesh who I believe is now in Boston.

Ajay, since the readers don’t necessarily know you, would you please introduce yourself a bit to get started in your own words. Who is Ajay?

I moved to LA working for a tech recruiting company in Pasadena in 1999. I was soon headhunted myself to open the USA office for a European Recruitment firm which I co managed for 5 years before starting my own business recruiting for the video and interactive games industry. I love technology and and as well as running 2 recruitment operations now I’m also involved in a handful of tech startups. I’m a father of 2 beautiful kids, photographer and all round technopreneur! Born in England and still speak English… the English way.

What do you enjoy most about LA, now when you have more experience, how’s the quality of life compared to the UK?

I actually tried to move back to England in 2005 and that idea lasted 3 months if that! I still support England in the World Cup but the weather, lifestyle, overall quality life, being in the technology center of the world – as well as the fact my kids are American (and so am I now) is what keeps me here.

Usually there are some negatives, what are the ones for Los Angeles that really stand out for you personally? What do you miss most about home?

Of course I miss my friends and family…. Will leave it at that 😉 Negatives? Lot’s of negatives as there are everywhere in the world but that’s a one on one conversation with anyone that wants one! The positives out way the negatives and that’s what counts

Do you feel LA is a good place for you as an entrepreneurs right now? Are there any areas expats like you might like in the USA in your opinion (entrepreneurs? Why?)

Absolutely, There’s a fresh type of energy in the city together with a craving for attention. Everyone appears to be someone important whether they are or not – which isn’t a bad thing… Kind of keeps you on top of your game. This somewhat means the golden ticket goes to the person who stands out the best. Self-promotion definitely exists and works in LA…. and you need to be able to self promote!

Which are your favorite places/suburbs to live in LA? Why?

Every city in LA County has it’s gems… That’s what geographically different in LA. It’s not just once city with everything to do in a 5 mile radius! You can be at the beach (many beach towns to choose from) downtown, the valley, westside and you’ll always find something to do.

Do you go out a lot – hobbies? Or is everything about work right now?

Hobbies definitely circle around work, but work doesn’t circle around the kids (well not always)… The pace is such that you’re always busy but that’s the way I like it

What’s the cost of living compared to UK? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

Being in recruitment and dealing with international relocation, you can’t compare your earnings here to what they equate in the UK (or vice versa)…. It’s what you can do with your money here so easily and it’s spending power that for me (IMO) make’s it a better place to earn. I’ve been here 15 years so couldn’t give you up to date price comparisons but can say I still don’t flinch at the price of gas even with increasing prices.

What are the LA locals like; do you feel you mix mainly with other expats? I guess this is a bit easier for you since you speak with a wonderful British accent!

The accent helps. A lot. Let’s just say the weather keeps most people in a great mood. I haven’t met many people I don’t get on with… or rather don’t get on with me..

Did you think it is easy meeting people and making friends in Los Angeles?

Yes – but you’ve got to make an effort as well

Connect with Ajay Babber:

Website: www.whowantsmylife.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ajaybabber/


New York – Nov 12 2013

Join us for a special night of speedfriending (speednetworking) and cocktails with a European Flair on

When: Tuesday, November 12th 2013 from 6pm-10pm

Where: Pranna Restaurant and Lounge
79 Madison Ave New York, NY 10016

Registration will be at 6pm with the Speed Friending (speednetworking) starting at 6:30pm sharp.
Because of the set-up everyone MUST sign-up before the event as we need to print the seating charts for everyone prior to the event.
Come to EuroCircle’s SpeedFriending Cocktails the fastest way to network and create long lasting relationships.

The first 25 people to sign up will receive free Lumene Cosmetics! For over 40 years, Lumene is one of the leading Cosmetics brands in Europe.

After the initial Speed Friending portion of the evening it will open up into a full networking party.

Don’t miss out on this life transforming opportunity!

There will be happy hour drink specials and appetizers from 6-9pm. There will be food available for purchase.

Whether you want to make new friends, meet people for your business, looking for a new job this event is for you! Every few minutes you switch from one group to another group and get to introduce yourself to each group member for one minute. You will get to meet at least 25-30 people from European and International countries, backgrounds and professions.

Featured Hosts:

Francois Belizaire, Haiti.
Husniye Temocin, Turkey. She is originally from Turkey. While studying her Phd in textiles, she decided to move to NY and pursue her career in USA. She is currently working in apparel industry. She is passionate about fashion and the arts and working on developing her own brand.
Sejal O’dedra, England. She grew up in England and currently lives in CT.

Sponsorships Available – Email Alex at aspirer@eurocircle.com for more info!

We look forward to seeing you on November 12th!

Alexandra and the EuroCircle New York Team

New York – Pascal Sabattier

Mediterranean by heart. Parisian by birth. New Yorker by choice. Latin by soul.

Pascal, please introduce yourself so the readers get to know a bit more about you?

My name is Pascal Sabattier, I was born and raised in Paris, France. I grew up on the East side of Paris where my parents run a flower shop. I studied English and Economics at Sorbonne University, and then I got a MBA from ISC Paris. I relocated to New York in 1998. I came here initially transferred from Europe with an American company that is no longer around: Lehman Brothers. The rest as you know is history…
I presently live in the Upper West Side. I am a lead consultant / business risk analyst by day and a pop-jazz vocalist and songwriter by night. As for my stage moniker “Pascalito”, it is both a reference to my Mediterranean roots, my family is originally from North Africa and Turkey, and to my Latin musical influences.

When and why did you start playing/singing – and which instruments do you play?

I was a dancer first. I studied modern jazz and flamenco in my teens. I play a little bit of piano but my main instrument is the voice. I am a trained vocalist and started singing in my early twenties.

What was the first tune(s) you learned?

One of the first songs I learned was “Les Feuilles Mortes” it is a French poem by Jacques Prevert that was transposed into music by Hungarian pianist Joesph Kosma in the late 40’s, the song was later adapted in English and became the American jazz standard “Autumn Leaves”.

Is your family musical? Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.

Yes very musical. My grandfather was a Sephardic cantor in North Africa, my grand mother played the violin by ear. My mother is a jazz singer with a beautiful voice and my uncle was well respected singer songwriter of the Paris tango musette scene who produced several albums. I did not receive a very formal musical training but I really grew up surrounded by musicians and singers. I like to define myself as musically not-so-educated but musically cultured and nurtured.

Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

I have an admiration for Brazilian singer and composer Caetano Veloso who created a post bossa nova movement coined as “tropicalismo”, he is a very versatile and daring artist while being always pleasant to listen to. As for my French models, Henri Salvador, Claude Nougaro and Michel Legrand to me were pioneers in merging French chanson with North American jazz and South American influences. Among American jazz artists, vocalist / trumpet player Chet Baker has always been my favorite for his smooth cool sound.

What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?

There was always music in the house when I grew up. Sunday family lunches used to be an occasion to all sing together. Also my aforementioned uncle used to perform with his band at ballrooms. Seeing couples dancing to his music and expressive voice set an example for me of what “quality social music” could be.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

I grew up listening to old records ranging from jazz (Nat King Cole, Sinatra, Count Basie), classical chanson francaise (Piaf, Aznavour, Brel…) to Mediterranean folk.

Could you please describe your own musical ambitions?

I already had a few TV placements for my original works but I would love to have my music featured in a film by famous artsy directors such as Almodovar, Woody Allen, and Francois Ozon.
As a performer, I would love to play at the Montreal Jazz Festival and at some targeted intimate jazz clubs. I would also like to write songs for other more established singers.

Where do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?

My second released album “Neostalgia” has gained extensive national and international radio airplay in the jazz and world music scene.
As for TV, my songs have been licensed and featured in the popular cable network series Burn Notice (USA), NCIS Los Angeles (CBS) and Damages (FX).
As for live gigs, I have performed at a few well-reputed venues in New York City such as Le Poisson Rouge, Kitano, Metropolitan Room and French Alliance.

How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

It is an interesting question. I have been recently facing the challenge of balancing my life between my corporate day job constraints and my musical aspirations.
As I have evolved to a more professional musical level, I came to realize that the marketing of music for example is very consuming and requires solid logistics. I am at a transition point where I need to find alternatives and support to allocate more time and disposition to the creative side while not losing touch with practical realities.

I think you told me once that you spend time every year in France? Are you still doing that? I always wonder how it works for you – having spent most of adult your life in the USA – feel about your own country. That might be hard, right?? I guess I am asking also would you prefer staying here in the USA no matter what?

I used to go back to France at least three times a year as my mother lives in Paris but I have not returned enough in the past two years. I was naturalized a US citizen last year, which gives me the option to always come back here if I was to “repatriate” to France. I cannot tell you if I see myself staying here for the rest of my life. As much as I love New York and its infectious energy, I am bit in my “post American dream” phase where I came to realize that in comparison Europe offers an enjoyable haven in terms of quality of life and family work balance.

Could you share with us how you first found out about EuroCircle? How long have you been a member?

I have been a member since 1999, so prior century. A French acquaintance of mine took me to an event. My first impression was that the music was better and people dressed with more style than in most New York parties. But what really won me over was the international flavor and the breath and depth of subjects you could discuss among members. Your network has always been supportive and offered me my first opportunities to perform in New York. Thanks to one of your past benefit events 7 years ago, I also had the chance to meet a very talented fellow Swiss member, Thomas Foyer, with whom I ended up recording and producing two albums.

Do you have any upcoming concerts? If so, can you tell us more about them

Yes this coming Friday at the Metropolitan Room, a quality jazz cabaret venue. I will be accompanied by two world class Brazilian musicians, bassist Leco Reis and pianist Luiz Simas. The performance will be filmed and recorded like a live DVD. I will be presenting new material.

Artist profile and discography review published in the prestigious publication Jazz Times Magazine:jazztimes.com/articles/26554-pascalito-manhattan-s-french-connection
Website: www.pascalito.com
I have a new video freshly posted on Youtube of an original song I co-wrote with another long time member Thomas Foyer.
Contact me at: info@pascalito.com or pascal.sabattier@gmail.com


Atlanta – Constance Beer from Germany

I wanted to feature Constance from Germany – she is a single mom which itself represents more challenges. I also don’t know Atlanta at all as a city. By the way, the members in Atlanta should suggest EuroCircle who should be interviewed or let us know if we can interview you. All different countries in Europe is a lot of diversity. You can always reach me at kaisa (at) eurocircle.com

Please introduce yourself so the readers know who you are? Where are you originally from and where are you living now? When did you move here and from where? Did you move with a spouse/children

My name is Constance Beer and I’m from Gera, Germany. I grew up on the former east side in Germany and moved to Washington, DC in 1998. I spent that year in Maryland as an Au Pair and moved back to the USA for good in 1999. I had to stay in Germany for 2 months to get my papers.

Now I’m living in Atlanta, and I moved down here in 2006. I moved to the US by myself about 16 years ago.

Why did you move; what do you do for work/study/unemployed?

I moved to the US because I wanted to be fluent in English ( I was only fluent in Russian) and I wanted to get far away from home and discover myself. I finished High School and College in Germany. I’m a registered and certified oral and maxillofacial Assistant and I work in the ER as well.

What do you enjoy most about Atlanta, how’s the quality of life?

I enjoy living in Atlanta because it is a very big city and it is very diverse. It took some time to adjust but I love living here after all. I enjoy going out and dancing salsa and hip hop or enjoy all the different restaurants, lounges and cultures and people. I love my job and live in a beautiful place with my 5 year old daughter, who is attending a very good public school. I’m a single mom and it is very hard but I’m very happy.
I truly enjoy the parks and social scene in Atlanta and made some good friends over the years.
The weather is beautiful here compare to Germany even when it’s bad.

What are the negatives for you personally – all places have some? What do you miss most about home (or where you moved from)?

I always miss my family of course and some good home cooked German meals- even though I cook very delicious meals at my place a lot. We have some good German bakeries and restaurants down here but its still not the same.

I think I miss the true German/European honesty at times – and quark and bread.

Still I have been here for a while so that I’m not really aware of what I miss anymore.
For some time I thought people were superficial, but I believe those people exist everywhere in this world.

Is the city of Atlanta safe? Are there any areas expats should avoid?

I believe the city is very safe, there are almost no areas I would avoid-honestly.

How would you rate the public transport? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?

I own a car and I think it is the best way to get around plus I have to be very flexible and mobile.

If one lives more downtown/midtown in the city, you can take the Marta and buses and it is very easy to get around. But still the public transportation is not as awesome as it is in other big US cities like NYC or in Germany.

Which are the best places/suburbs to live in the city as an expat in your opinion?

I’m not sure where the best places are to live. I love where I live, in Old Vinings/Smyrna.
I would make the best out of it wherever I live.

How do you rate the standard of housing Atlanta compared to Germany?

I definitely live a much better life here in the US then in Germany, compared to my experience and income. I’m glad and happy, and feel appreciated plus I want to go back to school and get my BSN degree and my masters as a CRNA.

What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats? Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

I love and enjoy hanging out with all different people from very different parts of the world.
I always enjoy meeting new people and friends and learning from them.
I also enjoy meeting or hanging with the locals, ” the sweet and caring southerners”.
I have a great time wherever I go.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I’m very excited to join the Euro circle and attend the monthly meeting “finally”.
I met David Nienhuis (ATL) a long time ago and he always invited me, but I never had time to go.

Connect with Constance
EuroCircle: Constance Beer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/constance.beer
LinkedIn: Constance Beer

Atlanta – Nov 06 2013

Our EuroCircle November Get-together will take place on Wednesday, (Nov 6th) at the Georgian Terrace Hotel.
We will meet in the Livingston Bar and weather permitting will also have access to the outside patio.

Start time will be 8:00pm (not 7:30pm as usual).

Austin – November 01 2013

Austin Polish Film Festival brings Polish films: feature films, documentaries, shorts and animations to Austin audience and expands awareness of Polish arts and culture. APFF has been sponsored by Austin Polish Society for 8 years. APFF receives films from the Polish Filmmakers Association, which promotes and supports filmmakers. Every year APFF coincides with poster exhibition.

The theater is on the West Side of The Lincoln Village Shopping Center across from Highland Mall facing Middle Fiskville Road. There is plenty of FREE parking directly in front and behind The Marchesa.

8th Austin Polish Film Festival & Polish Poster Exhibit

Presents “On the Road Again”
Films: November 1-3, 2013
Poster Exhibit: November 1-15, 2013 (free)

Marchesa Hall & Theater
6226 Middle Fiskville Rd., located at the intersection of I-35 & 290, behind Highland Mall.