Vesa Suomalainen – Two Mobile Software Startups Run by Europeans in Seattle

Please introduce yourself ?

My name is Vesa Suomalainen – I was born & raised in Finland and presently reside in Seattle, WA. After high school, I joined the University of New Mexico cross-country ski team in Albuquerque, NM – and ended up in getting a degree in Computer Engineering while competing in the NCAA skiing circuit.

How did you end up in Seattle of all places?
After graduating from UNM, I worked for Nokia in Finland for a year – and was then recruited by a college buddy to a small software company in Seattle. I was the first Finnish full-time employee at the Microsoft headquarters which back then was comprised of just 6 small buildings.

What is the best and worst about Seattle for you…what is a typical day and weekend?

Best thing for me about Seattle is the weather & the nature. A perfect place for outdoor activity all year around. Traffic is the worst – if you have to commute around. Fortunately, I work out of home so I don’t have to deal with the traffic problems very often.

How do you find the lifestyle in Seattle compared to your hometown in Finland ?

I don’t miss the deep-freezing temps back in Finland. But I do miss the abundant light of Finnish summers. Finns should be pleased about getting free college education and health care, and perhaps not so much about the taxes to pay for it all.

How do you make your living now – and how would you like to develop that career?

I manage twoMOBILE SOFTWARE startups that I co-founded – Webscorer Inc. and TrackCC Inc. Webscorer covers race registration, race timing and race results – and TrackCC is designed to make teachers’ lives easier by tracking classroom attendance, behavior, home work and grading.
Our objective is to become #1 app on iOS and Android devices in both categories – a goal that should keep me busy for a long while.

I often refer to this quote by Bill Gates: ”Most people overestimate what they get done in one year and underestimate what they accomplish in ten years.” While this is true in most industries, it is especially applicable for software.

You must have the patience, persistence, perseverance and wherewithal make it to the 10-year mark to truly succeed in business. To put this in personal perspective, Webscorer just turned 6 in June 2015, and TrackCC will have its 2-year birthday in November 2015.

Do you see the differences between nationalities easily – yours vs. Americans vs. other Europeans?
Seattle is full of immigrants from all over – mixed with locals and Americans who’ve relocated here from other parts of the US. Nationalities matter little here, it’s your competence that counts. Our companies have 3 Finns, 1 Canadian and 2 Americans

Knowing more about life and having lived with your decisions for a while (like work) – would you still choose to be there and why? Why not.
I have no regrets, and would probably still make all the same choices along the way, knowing what I know now.

What would be your ideal life – with no monetary issues to make it happen!
I feel that a happy life is a balanced life – a mix of family time, hobbies, friends and work. My one hope is that I can stay healthy & fit both mentally and physically until well into the 80’s to continue to enjoy all those aspects. That’d be ideal.

Would you move back to Finland – yes or no ?
After more that 30 years in the US, it’d be difficult to move back. My daughter, hobbies, friends and work is here – the full list that creates an ideal life. There’s always a tipping point in time when you move to a new place – I did consider moving back to Finland in the early 1990’s but I am glad I stuck around.

How to connect with you:

Nina Gonzalez-Lehto -A Local Childcare Consultant for an au pair agency in NYC

Please introduce yourself?

My name is Nina Gonzalez-Lehto and I work as an LCC, which stands for Local Childcare Consultant, for an au pair agency. I am originally from Finland and have lived in New York City for almost four years now. I originally came to the U.S as an au pair over 10 years ago and met my husband during my second au pair trip six years ago. We currently live in Queens, NY in Jackson Heights, which is a wonderful historic neighborhood with delicious food and beautiful gardens.

What is your typical workday like??

My typical day as an LCC starts with responding to inquiries from families interested in hosting an au pair. Many of them have found out about the au pair program online or through word of mouth. Au pair childcare provides up to 45 hours of childcare for an average of $360 per week with all agency fees and paperwork included, so it is often the most affordable childcare option available, especially in NYC, where a nanny can cost a family more than $700 weekly. However I do get requests from all over the country and have helped families from Seattle, Boston and San Francisco to find an au pair to name a few. I like to be involved in the matching process.
Depending on the registrations in my area, I might go interview a new family that has registered, to see if they are a good fit for the program and to mutually decide if this is the right childcare option for them. The au pairs provide childcare for the family, but as our program is an exchange program, our au pairs are also expecting to be treated as part of the family. I need to make sure that the family’s expectations are right.
Another part of my job is to do a welcome call to new au pairs in the area and to go over to do an orientation once they have arrived. I explain the program rules and answer any questions about the au pairs upcoming year. I also keep monthly contact with my host families and organize monthly meetings for the au pairs in my area. I am also the person, who provides support for the program participants if they were to experience any issues.

Who are the au pairs?
Au pairs are young men and women from all over the world, who want to experience life in America, while living with and working for a host family, providing childcare. All of our au pairs are CPR certified and come with different levels of childcare experience.

Outside of work, I like to spend time with my husband and our dog, go out for coffee or drinks with friends and occasionally binge on Netflix or Hulu.

When you think about what did you think about life in New York before you moved there – did you misconceptions that turned out to be wrong?

When me and my husband first decided to move to NY, I told him I would only live in Manhattan, no matter what the cost or the size of the apartment, but after living in a closet sized studio on the Upper East side, that needed major renovation and had no air conditioning, I finally agreed to my husbands wishes of moving to Queens, which is where he grew up. We ended up getting a wonderful apartment with a lot of space, that allowed us to take in our Pitbull-Boxer mix Barney and pay the same amount of money for this apartment that we paid for that tiny studio space that could not even accommodate guests. We are now located close to 5 major subway lines and I can get to Manhattan in 15 minutes. I was under the impression that Queens was “ghetto”, but I absolutely love our neighborhood and have enjoyed exploring other neighborhoods as well; Forest Hills for example is like it’s own little town with everything to offer.

What do you miss the most – and the least from your own country??

I miss winter and snow- In NYC the winters are windy and slushy. When it snows, everything stops and the trains don’t work. I do love the few days of snow we have here and I seem to be one of the only ones, who is excited when they announce in the news that there is a snowstorm approaching.

I also miss the food- It is difficult to find salmon that tastes like it does back in Finland and there is only one candy store I know of that sells Salmiakki, out national salty licorice candy, but they have a very limited selection.

The thing I miss the least is the September rain and fall depression, which my husband stated experiencing during our one year that we lived in Helsinki.

What should everyone know and understand about your country and its culture?
Us Finns are not very touchy feely when it comes to strangers. I still get anxious in a crowded subway over people standing too close to me and not giving any personal space. Also, we are ok with silence. We can sit next to a good friend in the car for 10 minutes without saying anything and it is not awkward for us.

What cafes or restaurants do you recommend to tourists to go to in NYC and why? Or to do something else.

The bar next door in the village has some great live jazz and you get a nice relaxing escape from the busy NYC life. For a weekend brunch, I recommend Three of Cups, which has amazing omelettes and a good deal for Mimosas. I also recommend people to take a train to Queens and experience a different side of New York. Did you know that Flushing Meadows Park was used as a background for the ending scene of the Men in black movie?

Would you move back to your country fulltime – yes or no (why and why not)?

I could definitely see myself moving back to Finland at some point, but not for a few years at least. I love the city and the energy it has and enjoy living and working here. I am excited to see what raising kids in NYC will be like and also want to experience hosting an au pair myself.

How to connect with you:

Email for inquiries about the au pair program:

Connect with Nina:
Email Nina
Nina @ LinkedIn

Live, Work and Play at the Shop Houses in Mueller Austin TX – Journey of a master hair stylist from Hungary


Haute European Salon owner Katalin Kiss made her way to Austin from Europe (Hungary) and is now Ecstatic to call Austin home. Katalin and her team at the Haute European Salon together bring 25 years of beauty salon expertise and strive to create a family experience for customers.

Services include haircuts, trims, coloring, styling, braiding, hair consulting, bridal services, up-do and additional aesthetician services for both adults and children. Katalin admits Mueller’s walk able and green community features were selling points when considering housing their business off Ruiz Street.

 “We’re excited about the vibrant community, energy and location. We want the salon to be a family experience for people in and around Mueller, Austin.”

Kati (as she is affectionately known as) grew up in Debrecen (Hungary) and was a very successful hair stylist working for variety of salon such as Hedge Hair and ultimately opened her own salon Coolcuts ccross from Debrecen Plaza.

Kati holds a master’s degree and many certifications from prominent hair product institutions.

In 2010, she followed the love of her life – Bosco, to Austin where they have an adorable 2‐year old Bryan, Bryan is ready for international travel with a U.S. and Hungarian passport. (Bryan did visit his grandma and other relatives in Debrecen recent last year).

Kati has also experienced Japan, Ireland and India as part of her travel itinerary. In addition to running her own salon, Kati is a part time instructor with Vidal Sassoon accredited Avenue Five Institute where she educates and inspires young minds aspire for the highest quality in hair stylist career path.

Kati prefers warm weather so Austin is her dream destination. In addition Austin has a wide mix of culture, cuisine and people that keeps Kati cheerful. She is also a member of the Austin Hungarian Association (AHA) and engages in their social and community programs when possible.

“I miss my family, my mother’s cooking and my grandma’s subtle sarcasm which are so humorous J

Kati had her share of struggle as she converted her European academics to American transcript as well as obtaining necessary permits to start her business.
There are also many differences in hair styling between America and Europe,” says Kati.

Example: it takes 3 years of education followed by a year of work experience to become a hair stylist in Hungary, while in America you can take 1,500 hours (a huge difference) of schooling in a private institute and obtain your hair stylist license.

Kati is here to stay with occasional visits to her home country.  If possible she and her husband Bosco  would like to retire in Ireland in a small green cottage by the Dublin bay area.

Haute European Salon & Beauty Products
4533 Ruiz street Austin TX 78723
S: (512) 368-­‐5880
C: (512) 797-­‐9351

Email Katalin
Visit Haute Salon online!

Atlanta – Aug 05 2015

Greetings everyone;

Our August Get-together will take place at the brand new BURN SOCIAL CLUB (next to Czar Ice bar).

Each night has its own theme. That evening we are invited to stay for their Latin Elegance Salsa night which starts later that evening – and includes free salsa dance lessons for those of you who are interested.
Of course we will have exclusive access to the entire venue.

Food is served at this venue featuring light fares, flatbreads and signature dishes.

To enter this brand new venue, please use the entrance to Czar Ice bar, located on the second floor and go towards the back where the entrance to Burn Social Club is located…

Collared shirts (for Gentlemen) and appropriate shoes and dress required for this upscale venue.

Please remember to invite all your international and like-minded friends.
Atlanta Eurocircle

Philadelphia – Aug 19 2015

EuroCircle continues it’s summer festivities with it’s celebration of Power Cocktails 2015.

NOTE: Please bring a PRINTED ticket with you (FREE):

This is a night when all EuroCircle members  invite their friends, Europeans, and expats, to introduce them to our circle. This year, we have a new home at the beautiful Ritz Carlton, and we will gather in the main bar area for a night of cocktails, laughter, and style.

Our co-hosts:

YOANA KOLEVA, Bulgaria:  Yoana arrived in Philly in 2006, to pursue her graduate degree in accounting.  She currently works as a

tax associate in the Global Mobility Services practice at KPMG, and enjoys spending her free time traveling, exploring the city, and making new friends.

MARIJANA VUJKOVIC, Bosnia & Herzegovina: Marijana is a post-doctoral fellow in Bioinformatics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She finished her graduate studies in the Netherlands

NORA WIGAND, Germany:  In Philly since 2010, Nora has lived, studied, and worked in 5 countries: Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Mexico, and USA.

Nora works in marketing for food and beverage packaging company SIG Combibloc.


Details:        We will gather around the long table, in the main bar lobby (left side).

Dress:          Stylish cocktail attire- we are European after all

Drinks:         Cash bar with drink specials. Ask for our signature cocktail, the Eurotini


Nadia Storm in New York: Danish Scientist Who Lives to Work, Not Works to Live

It is so great to run into people who really LOVE what they do for living. Nadia is going to tell in her own words about her life, work and expat experience in NYC (and elsewhere). Keep reading…

My name is Nadia Storm, I’m from Denmark and currently I live in New York.

I was born in South Korea and adopted to Denmark, where I grew up with my Danish family. I graduated from high school in 2003; I spent the following 2 years working and travelling in my “home” country, experiencing the life in South Korea. I attended University of Southern Denmark in 2005 and chose to study Molecular Biomedicine. I’ve always been interested in how the body works, and often asked questions like, why are we different, why are some people sick and some not, and why is it (still) impossible to treat diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s etc.

Travelling has always been a huge priority in my life, and something that I really enjoy – so when I had the opportunity to do a part of my Master’s degree abroad, I chose to move to San Diego (California) to work at Sandford Burnham Medical Research Institute, while finishing up my Master’s degree. At the end of 2010 I went back to Odense to defend my Master thesis, and one month later I continued to Germany to initiate a PhD at Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and age-related diseases. I chose this institute because of they offered me a great research project, huge scientific freedom and a professional and awesome environment. The professor for which I was working for has a great name in Ageing research, and I had met him a couple of times while I was in San Diego. 3 and a half amazing years passed by so fast, and it was absolutely incredible! Cologne is a wonderful city, the institute is growing and the science is absolutely international high-class science! I was lucky during my time there, and my result were published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the World, so doors were open in all directions.

In January 2014, I interviewed at six different institutions in the USA; I wanted to go back to the USA to precede my career as a scientific researcher. In February I handed in my Doctor Dissertation and in April I was awarded with a German Doctor’s degree – with outstanding remarks. In August I left Germany and October 1st 2014, I began a new life as scientist at Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York.

I chose New York because of the laboratory, the professor and the science – outstanding and very acknowledged in the field of ageing and age-related diseases, with a special focus on a specific cellular pathway that has been found to be very involved in biological ageing, and therefore also in diseases that are related to aged organisms.

I love New York because of all the opportunities here, and because it’s never boring. There’s always something to do, and there’s always something going on. Typically, however, I work a lot – so I don’t have too much time to enjoy the city. But when time allows, there’s always something up! And right now, it’s amazing that I can go to the beach on the weekends – feels like a small vacation every weekend!

New York is very different from Denmark – and from Germany. Everything is super expensive and the city is pretty chaotic and always busy! The Danish health care system seems like something coming from a different planet (I guess it actually almost does) and most nature is “fake”. But let’s just face it – New York is, despite the thousands of tourists, humidity close to 100%, bad public transportation and super expensive life style, absolutely amazing! There’s just something over the city! It’s great! I love it here!

The research community is also really really strong here – there are so many great schools and institutions gathered in a pretty small area, which increases the level as it attracts many scientists from all over the World. In my current laboratory, the level is super high, and people are working crazy hours – but they love it. We live to work – not work to live, which is something many of my Danish friends and family have a hard time understanding sometimes. I love my job and what I do, because it challenges me every day and because I get to do something. I’m part of developing, moving things forward and discovering. I’m very curious, and I always have a lot of questions – doing research I can ask some of these, and try to answer them myself. It’s simple – I’m just a nerd!!

While being away from Denmark, I’ve realized how civilized and lucky we are in Denmark – and how happy we should be that we’ve a strong wellfare system, and that everybody has equal opportunities from the beginning. Everybody can go to the doctor, everybody can go to school (even higher educations) and you’ll get help if you lose your job, if you’re sick or if you get pregnant. Danish people, including my self, are spoiled and used to a high degree of service and a country that works – that’s something that you learn to appreciate more when you see other countries where it doesn’t work, and where there’s no help or support from the government.

I would like, if possible, to return to Denmark (or at least to Europe) at some point – but for now, I’m very happy where I am. I miss my friends and family from Denmark – and some special Danish bread, but other than that, there are so many other delicious and awesome things that perfectly substitute the things that I used to do and the things that I used to eat in Denmark.

I would lie, though, if I didn’t say that I miss Danish candy, Leverpostej, italiensk salat, Koldskaal, Karbonader and some other Danish food-things.

Connect with Nadia Storm:

Nadia Storm @ LinkedIn
Danes in NYC @ Facebook

On Sunday August 2 2015 Danes in NYC and EuroCircle cohost Copenhagen Street Dog Launch Party with Revolving Dansk

Like EuroCircle at Facebook

New York – Aug 02 2015

Hosted by Revolving Dansk – co-hosted by DANES IN NYC and EuroCircle.

JOIN EuroCircle at The Delancey Rooftop in the LES for our daytime party, where we will be rocking it Danish-style.

We will be serving our classic Danish pølse hot dog, as well as adding some Danish flavor with gourmet Lakrids by Johan Bulow and kicking it up a notch with hot peppers by Chili Klaus!

Invitation is by invite only, and only those on the guest list will be allowed entry.

Alexandra and the EuroCircle New York Team

Talking about the Danes in NYC, did you already “meet” NADIA STORM? A lovely Danish scientist in New York City who absolutely LOVES her job. Read more!

DANES IN NYC website

AND don’t forget to Like EuroCircle at Facebook

New York – Aug 13 2015

Photo Credit to our awesome photographer Salvatore Fabbri of and and as well as our NY Organizer Alexandra Spirer

Join us at this beautiful rooftop for our Summer Rooftop Safari Party! Great music will be playing throughout the night.

Dress Code: Dress to Impress & Anything Animal Print (OPTIONAL and Not Required)

HINT: Check out the EuroCircle members’ Safari Across Southern Africa in Oct 2015 with Sherry
Email Sherry Kumar for more info on the trip.
Go To AFRICA TRAVEL PAGE for more info.

No Cover when you say EuroCircle at the Door

There will be $10 absolut drinks on special, as well as $10 champagne by the glass (make sure you get a stamp at the door to get these specials).  Food also available for purchase.

Look forward to seeing you all on August 13th!


Alexandra, Sherry & the EuroCircle NY Team
Members, please LOG IN with your email and password to sign up (if you are not a member yet, REGISTER HERE — it is FREE)

Please note since Facebook has restricted access to a larger audience, we highly recommend to sign up and RSVP @ the EuroCircle website and also invite others via Facebook.
Email Alex for ideas or to become part of team! Help is always appreciated.
EuroCircle New York Page for past events, photos and more

About Empire Rooftop
“A rooftop haven with stunning views.”
Located on the 12th floor of our distinctive New York City luxury hotel, Empire Rooftop & Lounge offers magnificent views of Lincoln Center as well as the Broadway & Columbus Avenue gateway to Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Jenni Stenman – Blogging in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado is supposed to be one of the nicest cities in the USA to live in especially if you like outdoor activities and are in technology. When I found out Jenni Stenman lived there I promptly asked her to tell her own words about her life and a bit about Boulder.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Jenni, originally from Helsinki, Finland, but now living in Boulder, Colorado, USA, with my spouse. We met in technical university and now both work in IT.

When and how did you decide to move to Colorado? Is it complicated to settle down there?

My spouse moved here in the beginning of 2014, and I have spent most of my holidays here since. I moved here quite recently in May 2015, but so far it’s been a fantastic experience with no trouble setting down – if you don’t count the US immigration procedures, which are not easy for anyone. Of course it helped that I had already had my “other home” here for more than a year and that this wasn’t the first time living in the US.

Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

Before Colorado, I spent two years working in Luxembourg, which was preceded by 9 months in Georgia, USA. Earlier, I have studied a semester abroad in Czech Republic. So far, I’ve visited 45 countries – and 39 US states!

What do you like the most about Colorado?

Colorado’s outdoors are fantastic: the Rocky Mountains are right at our doorstep! Thanks to this, the atmosphere here is also very outdoorsy, with city residents often discussing the best camping spots, most beautiful hikes or their experiences climbing 4000m+ mountains. In how many big cities with over a million residents do people have the chance to go to the mountains every weekend? Couple this with a laid-back restaurant and microbrewery scene and 300 days of sunshine a year, and I’ve fallen in love.

How is/was the cultural shock? What are the main differences with Finland, your home country?

I spent a couple years in the US also as a child, so culture shock even when we moved to Georgia was pretty mild. There, I was sometimes annoyed or even shocked by car-centric culture, harsh political views so unlike ones in Europe, unhealthy living habits (like huge portion sizes) and a general lack of knowledge or even interest towards the rest of the world. In Colorado or at least in Boulder, I feel many of these points are not an issue, and we’ve sometimes joked with our European neighbors that we live in the most European city in the US.

Do you miss anything from Finland or Europe?

I miss family and friends the most and reconsider my decision to move abroad every time I miss a wedding, birthday, or some other milestone in their lives. From Europe, I sometimes miss multiculturalism, the buzz of languages and international mindset. And then there’s of course the food: Carelian pies, cheap French cheeses, rye bread… the latest “oh I so miss that” was when I saw a photo of liver casserole!

Any ‘memories of an expat’ you would like to share with us? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

My best souvenirs are friendships from all over the world. Especially Luxembourg was great for this, because more than half of the residents in Luxembourg City are immigrants or expats – which means I now have friends from all over Europe. Keeping in touch with people after moving away is the hard part, but thankfully with Whatsapp, Skype and Facebook, it’s easier now than 20 years ago.

Do you blog? For what reasons?

I write a travel blog, (or in Finnish,, where I also talk about my experiences living abroad. I started them as a way to communicate with friends and family back home, but they’ve since evolved into so much more, and I now blog more professionally.

Which advice would you give to the other EC members who would like to settle in Colorado?

Go for it! There’s a popular bumper sticker here I often see on cars: Not a native, but got here as fast as I could. Most of the people I meet are transplants – either from some other state in the US or from abroad – united by similar lifestyles and a laid-back-but-progressive view of the world, and this has had a big influence on why this state has transformed into what it is at the moment. Just be prepared that the Front Range (Denver – Boulder – Fort Collins) is so popular that housing prices have risen much higher here than in many other parts of the country.

You can follow my life in Colorado and travel adventures on Instagram, and if you’ve got any questions yourself, feel free to tweet me!

Connect with Jenni Stenman:

Houston – Jul 29 2015

July in Houston — hot and humid!

This casually upscale designed venue and its bar is open to quench our thirsty appetite.
Paul’s Kitchen happy hour bar menu is all day from M-F, featuring globally inspired menu.
Complimentary valet parking.

New  guests welcomed and please share the event with others.

Members, please LOG IN with your email and password to sign up (if you are not a member yet, REGISTER HERE — it is FREE)

Please note since Facebook has restricted access to a larger audience, we highly recommend to sign up and RSVP @ the EuroCircle website and also invite others via Facebook.

See you, Cheers Venere, Shahla, and Juliana
Email Us for ideas or to become part of team! Help is always appreciated.
Meet EuroCircle Houston team