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“Panama Proved to be a Pleasant Surprise”

Page 4 of 4

by Sandra Snyder

Shane Wolf, Director Customer Business Development, Procter & Gamble. Shane and family made two other international moves with Procter & Gamble before relocating to Panama last July. He says “they enjoy being out of their home country, Mexico, because being an expat allows them to experience a different life.” For his children, “they get to meet interesting people and develop in a way that is not possible without the international experience”. For himself and his wife “it creates a closer relationship that is very positive”. Professionally, it allows him to “develop value as an executive with international experience”. Overall, he says it is an “opportunity to achieve a high quality of life, to save money, and to enjoy the expat experience”. Prior to Panama, the Wolf family lived in both Guatemala and Mexico City, which Shane says is so big and so different from their hometown of Guadalajara that it is really like another international location.

When coming to Panama, the Wolf family was concerned because they didn’t know the country or what was available for housing and schools. They have three children 15, 5 and 2 so they needed four bedrooms. Because of the different ages and needs of the children, they also needed three different schools. With the assistance of Panama Relocation Services, they found just the right selection of schools for the children and within a few months the children were happy in their new schools and they had also adjusted to apartment living.

Proctor and Gamble Panama is part of an expansion plan for the company into Central America. While Panama is the largest in potential and the least covered market, when selecting a new site for the business services headquarters, Costa Rica was selected over Panama as it offered tax incentives in the form of a free zone which made Costa Rica a more attractive option. The Panama facility offers services and no products as all the products are made and shipped from Mexico or the US.

Shane found Panama an easy country to adapt to and his wife says, “It is because of the social life”. “The most important thing when relocating is that the wife is happy, if she is happy, everything else is easy.” And, Panama offers such an interesting and varied social life that Cecilia quickly made friends and settled into the community. “Analisa and Panama Relocation Services introduced her into the Who’s New Club in Panama shortly after her arrival and her circle of friends has expanded since.”

P&G always use a relocation service for moves of its executives and as a result of their experience here, Shane “plans to recommend that P&G continue to use a relocation service. The trained professionals provide more information about living in the country, schools, visas, work permits, moving companies, pet relocation, dress, doctors, running clubs as well as providing a good basis for an easy adjustment, especially on the part of the relocating spouse.”

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These are the experiences of just four of the many corporate families relocated to Panama in the last year. They are varied as far as being single or married, with or without children but their needs overlap in many ways. In general, they are all in agreement that their first year has been a successful one. Their positive attitudes and experiences remind me of the advice of Napoleon to his sister before her trip to Rome in 1803 – “Conform to the customs of the country; never run down anything; find everything splendid; and don’t say, ‘we do this better in Paris.”

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© Sandra T. Snyder
Relocation Specialist and Author of Living in Panama and other books.

Article first appeared AmCham Business Magazine August 2001.

 

The International Book Fair 2009
Sandra will be available to autograph books and answer questions
August 19
through August 23, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Info

Gran Morrison will inaugurate Book Week with Panama Authors: Sandra Snyder, Rose Marie Tapia, Rafael Candanedo and Rosita Cordoba.
September 19, 2008, 4:00 p.m. at Gran Morrison El Dorado, El Dorado Mall.

Tuesday Morning Meeting
Sandra will share some of her experiences and provide some helpful hints for better living in Panama. Info
March 11, 2008

P.B.C. Person2Person
Sandra & David on the radio. Podcast
January, 2008

 

 

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