How to enjoy an international soccer match

european soccer matchIf your travels ever take you to a land other than your own one of the best ways to enjoy and experience the culture is to take in a soccer (also known as “football”) match. Soccer is the worlds most popular game for good reason. It is a game that can easily be played by the poorest of the poor and the elites a like. Children in the worlds ghettos even play the game without a proper ball if need be, they can take plastic bags and roll them up into a ball to kick around.

Soccer is especially popular in Europe and Latin America but is even growing in Asia and North America (the north american soccer league, Major League Soccer, has just surpassed attendance averages of both the NBA and the NHL becoming america’s third best attended sport). To enjoy the game it is important to explore the nuances of the game as compared to other games you are more familiar with. One major difference between soccer and many other sports is that there are very few stoppages of play, it is a very open free-flowing game. In addition, the game is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each (plus extra time). If the ball goes out-of-bounds the clock will continue running. While soccer players typically do a lot of running in a match (on average about 10 miles a game) often times games are known for being low scoring affairs where one team is trying to unlock the other team’s defense. The pressure of the match will continue to rise until a team scores and the crowd goes crazy.

Among the most watched soccer matches are often played in Europe, where clubs from different countries have the ability to attract the best players in the world with high paying contracts. For club teams the most anticipated competition is the UEFA Champions League where the best teams from each country face off against other teams in Europe.

One of the most important aspects of enjoying a soccer match is seeing and hearing the sights and sounds of the match. In the United States at sporting events it is common to hear the sounds of the crowd intermingled with power audio-visual effects provided by the stadium. However at soccer matches it is more common to hear the supporters sing in organized songs to support their teams. In some soccer environments you might even see or hear fireworks being set off to celebrate the exploits of a supporter’s team.

In addition to aspects of international soccer matches which are generally true, there are also nuances to how soccer is experienced in various countries throughout the world. Recently, I had the opportunity to experience a soccer match in Rome Italy between AS Roma and Udinese, in addition to a great match, during halftime we enjoyed the experience of seeing a full-blown espresso and panini stand in place of the typical concessions you would find in the states. So my advice is when in Rome, drink espresso at your soccer matches!

Soccer Resources

Basic Soccer Rules
FIFA International Soccer Organization
Soccer News, Scores, and Schedules

Finding a Serviced Apartment Location

temporary housingServiced Apartments are types of furnished temporary housing that generally fall into two categories. The first category is Extended Stay Hotels; these typically offer a 24 hour reception desk and are furnished hotel rooms with small kitchenettes. While the second category of serviced apartments is what is called Corporate Housing. Typically corporate housing is for stays of 30 days or more and are often in furnished apartments and include cleaning services, utilities, and local taxes. Extended Stay Hotels often offer cheaper rates than traditional hotels because rates can be grouped into weekly or monthly segments.

The ability to find the perfect place for someone relocating can be difficult, thankfully there are a lot of options to choose from to meet the needs of each person. Below we have listed the 15 largest global serviced apartment companies based on the number of locations and linked to their websites. Each company offers a different approach and even within each company from property to property there might be nuances that are a better match for a particular family.

Global Serviced Apartment suppliers by Location

Company Locations
1. Oakwood Corp Housing 4,000
2. Marriott Temporary Housing 1,030
3. Extended Stay Hotels 683
4. Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) 498
5. Pierre & Vacances 312
6. Hilton Homewood Suites 241
7. The Ascott Ltd 209
8. Accor Hotels 190
9. Value Place 175
10. Quest Serviced Apartments 136
11. Choice Hotels 103
12. Hawthorn Suites (part of Wyndham Group) 92
13. Mantra Group (formerly Stella Hospitality) 67
14. Frasers Hospitality 46
15. Residhotel (France) 33

Please let us know about your experience with a serviced apartment in the comments or on linkedin, facebook or twitter!

Paragon Relocation Participates in Clean Coppell

In celebration of Earth Day, a dozen employees from Paragon’s Texas office participated in Clean Coppell, Keep Coppell Beautiful’s annual city-wide cleanup event.

Paragon employees participate in Clean CoppellFor the second year, employees picked up litter but this time the designated area was Paragon’s office plaza and surrounding area. On April 18, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., employees wearing volunteer t-shirts meticulously combed the area picking up approximately 10 bags of trash while generating immense satisfaction and sweat.

Jet Lag: Curse of the Weary Traveler

By Amanda Ward, Paragon’s Director of Global Consulting Services based in London, UK

Plane in the airAs we move into summer and begin planning those wonderful vacations, we examine a common ailment and some cures to combat the symptoms that can range from simply unpleasant to almost debilitating.  Most people who have traveled by airplane have experienced jet lag but few people understand why it occurs.

What is jet lag?

Jet lag is a medical condition known as desynchronosis; a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance travel on a jet airplane. Jet lag occurs when a body clock falls out of synchronization with the destination time. The body experiences daylight and darkness contrary to the rhythms to which it has grown accustomed; therefore, the body’s natural patterns are upset. Rhythms that dictate times for eating, sleeping, hormone regulation and body temperature variations no longer correspond to the new environment. While the body realigns the rhythms and the new daily routine, it is “jet lagged.” NASA estimates that the body requires approximately one day per time zone to adjust its circadian rhythm.

Who suffers from jet lag?

Anyone can suffer from jet lag, regardless of how often they travel by plane or their age. However, it is more common in people over the age of 60 and thought to be less common in babies and children. The speed at which the body adjusts to the new schedule depends on the individual; some people may require several days to adjust to a new time zone, while others experience little disruption.

What are jet lag symptoms?

The symptoms of jet lag are different for everyone, and also depend on how many time zones you have crossed and in which direction you have traveled. Usually it makes you feel tired and low in energy during the day. It disturbs your sleep, so you may have trouble getting off to sleep, or wake up often at night or early in the morning. You might have difficulty concentrating, and be a bit clumsy or irritable because you are so tired. You may also have other symptoms, such as indigestion, altered bowel habits and low appetite, and feel generally unwell.

Natural ways to combat jet lag

Since the experience of jet lag varies among individuals, it is difficult to recommend one specific remedy. Gradual adjustment over the course of several days, while maintaining a regular sleep length of seven to eight hours should reduce fatigue. To avoid jet lag think ahead and synchronize your body clock before you travel. If you’re traveling east, try going to bed earlier for a couple of nights. If you’re traveling west, go to bed later.

The following suggestions can also help to reduce the effects of jet lag:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after the flight to avoid dehydration.
  • Don’t drink lots of alcohol. The pressurized air in the airplane increases body dehydration substantially, and alcohol affects the body clock by not giving you a full and refreshing sleep.
  • A short episode of moderately intense exercise may help reset your body clock after arrival.
  • Try to fit in with the daily routine and activities of the new time zone as soon as possible – eat when they eat and sleep (or at least rest) when they sleep.
  • When the goal is to catch-up with local time (vs. fall-back to), avoid afternoon naps and eat an early and carbohydrates-rich, low-protein dinner.
  • As soon as you board your flight, adjust your watch to the destination time.
  • If you arrive in the evening, try not to sleep too much on the plane so that you can go to bed when you arrive. And sleep as much as you can if your flight arrives in the morning, so you can stay awake through the day.
  • Natural light can help your body clock adjust. If you traveled west, try to get more morning light after you arrive and avoid it in the afternoon. If you went east, seek afternoon light and avoid morning light.

Lastly, know yourself and plan your travel accordingly. Can you sleep on planes or not? If you can sleep soundly whilst you travel through the air, then schedule your flight to include an “overnight” trip which means one that arrives at your destination in the morning. If you can only snooze for a few moments, you should schedule a “daytime” flight that lands in the late afternoon or evening, at which time you’ll be so exhausted from a prolonged lack of sleep that you’ll be able to fall asleep at the right time.

Paragon Announces 2011 Award Winners

Paragon Announces 2011 Award Winners

Paragon recently announced the 2011 award winners. Employees were recognized for their outstanding customer service, cost savings initiatives, leadership and community involvement.

2011 President’s Award Winner – Marie Scott

The Joseph Morabito congratulates Marie ScottPresident’s Award is the highest honor an employee can receive at Paragon. To be eligible for this award, the employee must demonstrate a commitment to excellence by moving Paragon closer to our mission and our culture of success.

Marie Scott, Corporate Controller, was nominated for her outstanding work and leadership in the area of advancing our global billing capabilities. Scott led Paragon’s effort to respond to a client’s need for billing in 22 different currencies and to 89 billing points across the globe. The project was challenging to say the least as Scott had internal staffing challenges to overcome and her regular, full-time duties as comptroller to maintain. In the end, Marie accomplished the stated goals of the project and the client was delighted with the outcome. Through her diligent work, Marie underscored her commitment to advancing Paragon and the global reach of the organization while at the same time emphasizing her dedication and incredible work ethic. For these reasons, Marie Scott has been recognized as the 2011 President’s Award winner. In addition to a monetary bonus, Scott will receive an extra week of much earned vacation.

Congratulations to Marie and to the other deserving nominees including:

  • Kevin Sheehan
  • Stacey Bass
  • Andre Rekers

2011 Paragon Community Service Award Winner – Ryan Hopkins

Ryan Hopkins comforts an orphan in Honduras

The Paragon Community Service Award was developed to recognize one employee who is dedicated to the last tenet in Paragon’s Core Values, which is:

Community InvolvementWe demonstrate a caring attitude for our employees and the people we serve. We recognize that we are what we give back to our community. We feel a genuine need to help others is important to our success.

Ryan Hopkins, Underwriter for GenEquity Mortgage, was nominated for his tireless work with the victims of last year’s devastating tornado in Joplin, MS. Hopkins traveled to the storm ravaged area to distribute supplies and assist in the clean-up efforts. In addition, he led a Vacation Bible School in Honduras for three schools and an orphanage, while helping with the construction of another orphanage. Hopkins also serves meals at Solomon’s Porch, a ministry that helps feed and clothe the poor in inner city Dallas. For his outstanding dedication to helping those in need, Ryan Hopkins has been recognized as the 2011 Community Service award winner.

Congratulations to Ryan and the other deserving nominees including:

  • Teresa Mahlberg
  • Rick Calanni

2011 Paragon Service Award Winners

Many congratulations and thanks go to all our Consultants who earned the 2011 Service Award for having a 95% Satisfied average on all their surveys:

  • Steve Ford (at 100%)
  • Barbara Moskal
  • Jessica Stroede
  • Otis Lau
  • Bonnie Chung
  • Lisa Schmitt
  • Leann Tantillo

Moving forward, Paragon has decided to award our Consultants twice a year for their service ratings to offer even more incentive to provide an extraordinary customer experience, one family at a time.

Paragon Relocation Announces Appointment of Steve Williams, Director of Global Client Accounting

Paragon Relocation, a leading provider of global relocation management services, is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Williams as Director, Global Client Accounting at Paragon’s Coppell, Tx service center. In this newly created position, Williams will be responsible for expanding Paragon’s Global Client Accounting team and executing client contracts, guidelines, policies and procedures.

“Everyone at Paragon is delighted to bring Steve on board to provide an extraordinary financial experience to our clients and customers,” said Craig Selders, President, Paragon Relocation. “Steve brings decades of client accounting and global compensation knowledge and education to Paragon.”

Prior to joining Paragon, Williams previously worked for Cartus and Primacy as Director, Expense Services. In his most recent role, Williams managed a team handling new client implementations as well as providing on-going support for existing corporate clients. His experience also includes managing Solomon and Equus software applications.

Williams has more than 20 years of industry experience and holds a Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) designation from Worldwide ERC®.

Paragon Relocation Announces Appointment of Susan Myers, Director of Global Client Accounting

Paragon Relocation, a leading provider of global relocation management services, is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Myers as Director, Global Client Accounting at Paragon’s Coppell, Tx service center. In this newly created position, Myers will be responsible for expanding Paragon’s Global Client Accounting team and executing client contracts, guidelines, policies and procedures.

“Susan’s industry experience and knowledge will undoubtedly make an immediate and substantial impact on our company,” said Craig Selders, President, Paragon Relocation.

Prior to joining Paragon, Myers previously worked for Prudential Relocation as Global Compensation Manager. During her time at Prudential, Myers significantly expanded the Compensation Service offerings, building a global center of excellence in the Phoenix office. During her tenure, Myers’ responsibilities also included oversight of the cost management function for key clients. She also led the financial operations of Liquid Production as their controller.

Myers holds a bachelor of science in Accounting and an MBA both from the University of Phoenix.  She has also received the Global Mobility Specialist (GMS) designation from Worldwide ERC®.

Paragon Refines Company Mission Statement

Message from Paragon founder and CEO, Joseph Morabito
globe europeRecently, Paragon’s Management Team, gathered from all over the world, revisited our mission statement to provide refinement. We together determined that Paragon is in business to provide an extraordinary customer experience, one family at a time. The key word in this statement is “extraordinary.” What does it really mean? To better define the word “extraordinary,” I have asked all Managers at Paragon with direct reports in every department, division or subsidiary of our company to meet with our staff members to heighten awareness of our mission statement and to define the word “extraordinary” related to their particular company function. Once done, I have asked that all definitions be submitted to me. We are doing this to make our mission statement not just something we say in proposals to new prospects, or to our existing clients, but to have all employees at Paragon internalize our reason for being. Words in a service company matter, particularly when they turn into actions and deeds. The fact that one word can make such a huge difference in our mission statement is in and of itself pretty “extraordinary.”

In keeping with this thinking, we have added additional talent and resources at Paragon in Operations, Client Accounting, Corporate Accounting, Information Technology Applications and Network Solutions to allow us to provide extraordinary services. We have refocused our efforts on training for our Relocation and International Assignment Consultants to make sure they are well prepared to do their jobs. PRISM 2.0, our new automated operating system, is now fully in place for all existing and new clients, allowing for more functionality related to client and customer access to our system and reporting capabilities. We are in the process of completing a major upgrade of our computers at Paragon in preparation for more video connectivity. We continue to add Paragon boots on the ground as we will shortly add additional service capabilities in Germany, Switzerland, Singapore and China.

We are also developing relocation services for smaller, mid-tier companies – those clients with revenues of $/€10 million to $/€1 billion. These particular clients are more likely to implement more of a flexible benefits approach, rather than fixed plans requiring a different service mindset. Shortly, GenEquity, our national mortgage company will receive FHA approval, which will allow us to provide retail, in addition to the corporate mortgages we already provide. We will be providing retail mortgages this year in Dallas, Texas with a full expectation of growing into other markets in the U.S. Finally, we will begin offering PGR Home Caregiver services to senior citizens in the Dallas metroplex market in recognition of the 75 million Baby Boomers that began turning 65 years old at a rate of 10,000 a day beginning in January 2012. These services are designed to allow senior citizens to remain in their homes, living independently, as long as possible. Once this service is perfected in the Dallas market, we will go national.

The only thing I can say for certain is that change at Paragon is inevitable as we respond to our clients and customers around the world. However, when all is said and done, our mission to provide an extraordinary customer experience, one family at a time, remains constant for all our businesses. We know what we have to do to be successful. Our mission statement is very clear.

Joseph Morabito Paragon Refines Company Mission Statement