Stephanie Ward was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA to American parents from Oklahoma themselves. It may seem that she does not have a very diverse background with both her parents and the rest of her family being from the mid-western United States.
Ward’s cultural background comes from her ancestors when they immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1865. She moved to the Netherlands in 1999.
“When I moved to the Netherlands in 1999 for love, it felt like coming home in a way because although my ancestors are from Germany, it’s only a few hours away,” said Ward.
Ward describes the Netherlands to be very similar to the United States with a few distinct differences in the way that people interact with each other. In the Netherlands people are much more direct and straightforward.
“At first I was taken aback by the extreme directness, and now I’m used to it and very much appreciate it,” said Ward.
Ward immigrated to the Netherlands from the United States and has permanently lived there since 1999. This makes her an expatriate, or expat, which means that she is someone who lives outside of their native country.
When Ward moved to the Netherlands, the country had just changed its laws to make gender-based discrimination illegal. This provided women and those of other genders, equal representation in the government.
Infographic: Big happenings in the Netherlands during 1999.
Since living in the Netherlands, Ward started her own company working with global entrepreneurs who want to create their own business. The business — Firefly Coaching — uses her background in marketing to coach entrepreneurs on how to make their businesses thrive.
“The values in my family were to work hard, be kind, be honest, do what you say you’re going to do, and that difficult experiences build character. I still hold these values and so they do play a role with my work supporting global entrepreneurs. No matter where you are from, we all want to be heard and listened to and to feel that we are understood. I care deeply about my clients and make sure they know that I have their best interests at heart and will support them in every way possible to help them reach their goals,” Ward said.
Whether she is moving from her home to somewhere across the world to a foreign country becoming an expat or working with those who have lived culturally mobile lives and are global people starting their own business, Ward is passionate in what she does and imparts that passion to others trying to make a difference around the globe.