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Meet the Nominees of the 2021-2022 Board

Dear Members,

On behalf of this year’s Nominating Committee, I am delighted to present the nominees for next year’s Board.

It is always a difficult task to find nine Club members who are willing and able to dedicate their time to the Board, but this year proved even more so.

As such 4 of the 5 members of our Nominating Committee (Kate, Cheryl, Petra and Patricia) resigned in order to take up Board positions.

Please do take a moment to learn about the nominees and ensure you participate in the voting process, as part of our annual AGM in April, to formally elect them.

Best wishes,

Janu Soner

Anne Stubley | President

Hello, I'm Anne Stubley and would be proud to continue as your President next year. I’m British but have lived in this area for many years and in fact, was one of the founder members of the Benvenuto International Club of Monza in 1990.

My passions are dogs, golf, walking, reading, travelling and the Benvenuto Club!

When I was elected President last year, I started with lots of ideas for the Club, but unfortunately, due to Covid, most of these had to be put on hold, and we had to invent things as we went along, mostly using virtual Zoom meetings.

Based on the very positive feedback I’ve received from many of you, I believe these virtual meetings have played an important role in keeping the spirit of the Club alive, during these difficult times.

During the “yellow” moments, Marisa Riva and I did also manage to start a walking group and so during autumn, many of the members were able to enjoy some walks in our beautiful Brianza.

The motto of the Club this year has been Friendship and this would be our principal aim again next year. This last year has shown us how important friends and our Club are to us. I am looking forward to working with this fabulous group of ladies, who have agreed to serve on the 2021/22 Board.

Petra Vismara | Vice President

I was born in Monza 50 years ago from a British mother and Italian father. I attended IULM University in Milan and have a degree in Public Relations. I worked in the family clothing business until my children were born and then became a full-time mum. When my children started school I did the CELTA course at the British Council in Milan and became an English teacher.

I have been a Benvenuto Member for 15 years and have always very much enjoyed it. I love the international atmosphere and sharing experiences from different cultures. I have already been on the Board 3 times, when I arrived as Membership Director and in these last couple of years as Secretary.

I am looking forward to being Vice-President next year!

Kate Icke | Treasurer

I was born and grew up Birmingham in the UK. After graduating from Leeds University in 1969, I came to Italy as an English teacher. After a couple of years, having realized that I had no vocation as a teacher, I returned to London to complete further university studies but returned to Milan in 1973. I have lived in Italy since then, first in Milan then in Monza.

From 1974- 2008 I worked for a multinational professional services firm, where for the last 10 years, I was Director of Communications for Italy.

I was married for many years to Franco, who sadly died in 2012. Since then, I have pursued my various hobbies which include travelling, (until Covid), reading, entertaining my five “honorary grandchildren” and marmalade making.

I joined Benvenuto Monza in 2012 and have always enjoyed playing an active role, both as a past Board and Charity / Raffle committee member as well as participating in a number of our myriad of events and activities.

For this coming year, I offer my services as Treasurer for the Club. I look forward to being a member of the Board and hope to be able to enrich the already vast collective experience of the other members.

Diana Ganea | Membership Director

I am from Romania. I have been living in Italy for the last 6 years but I have lived and worked in multinational multicultural environments for more than 20 years.

Whilst in Romania I worked as an HR - Training Admin professional for multinational companies and since leaving to follow my husband's job assignments in Russia and Slovakia, I focused on domains like Conscious Parenting, Language Training/Multilingualism and Cross-cultural communication.

I have two daughters, 10 and 12 years old and I love cinema, cooking and knitting.

Whilst in Slovakia I had the opportunity to join the Board of the International Women's Club (the Benvenuto twin organization) also as a Membership Coordinator.

I have always enjoyed being part of such a club that brings together women from all over the world and supports their social and cultural integration in expatriate environments.

Angela Oppi | Secretary

Hello, I’m Angela Oppi and I was born in Milan. I moved to Monza when I was 6 years old. Now I live in Villasanta with my husband, my two teenage sons and our cat.

I’m a newcomer and I joined the Benvenuto Club in October 2020. I love traveling, dancing, sailing, reading and meeting friends and new people. I studied English and French in Italy and abroad (later on I studied also Spanish) and I graduated as a conference interpreter and thus fulfilled my dream, which I had cherished since childhood. I have been working for over 30 years and thanks to my job I have always been in international and multicultural environments.

The Benvenuto Club has given me the opportunity to meet many new people in an international atmosphere, the one that suits me most. Exchanging ideas and listening to the experiences of others is undoubtedly enriching and stimulating for me, a real lifeblood.

I am very happy to be on the Board for next year and I look forward to meeting you all!

Barbara Valaguzza | Newcomers Director

Hi, my name is Barbara Valaguzza. I was born 49 years ago in Monza, where I still live with my family.

I graduated as a Pharmaceutical Chemist and I worked at my University and for a Pharmaceutical Company for a few years, before my husband and I decided to start our own business.

In my spare time, I love reading, food, travels, yoga, walking and cats.

I became a Benvenuto club member about 10 years ago and I had the opportunity to be the Board just after that. I really enjoyed the experience as it gave me the chance to meet a lot of you wonderful ladies.

So I am very excited to again be on the Board next year and I will do my best to provide a warm welcome to all our new members!

Patricia Macnamara | Social Media Director

Hello, I’m Patricia Macnamara. I’m Irish / British dual nationality. I grew up in the UK and spent 20 years living and working in London, followed by a couple of years in both Athens and Rome before settling here in Brianza 12 years ago with my Italian husband.

In the past (and hopefully again in the not too distant future!) I loved to travel and experience new cultures, but for now, my activities are mostly constrained to reading and long daily walks with my trusty Labrador in the Brianza countryside.

When I first arrived in Monza, the Benvenuto Club was an immediate and important connection for me and throughout the years, it has remained a great source of friendship and cultural stimulation.

I look forward to working on the Board again next year and helping support another successful year for the Club.

Ivy Ortelli | Public Relations Director & Working Women Events

Hello my name is Ivy and I come from Hong Kong.

Before arriving Italy in 2002, I have lived at various times in UK, USA & France.

I have two daughters of 21 and 18 years old.

Currently I work as a Fashion buyer for a distribution company in Hong Kong/China, which is a dream job for many ladies like me!

This will be the first time that I am on the Board for the Club and I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge!

Cheryl Stockman Chalouhi | Special Activities Director

Please let me introduce myself: I am Cheryl Stockman Chalouhi.

I have lived in Italy since 1977. I am married and have 4 adult children.

I joined Benvenuto when my youngest daughter went to university, which was in 2008.

Over the years I have held several positions on the board and in particular, Special Activities.

Despite the difficult times are at the moment, hopefully by next September we will have understood the new norms and maybe we will even be able to begin organising “real” events again!

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