Xpat Interview: Giovanna Mandato Leahy, Chairwoman, International Women's Club

  • 23 Jul 2019 10:21 AM
Xpat Interview: Giovanna Mandato Leahy, Chairwoman, International Women's Club
Born in Italy and educated in the USA, I obtained my Masters in Business Administration and Marketing in 1982.  Since those days, my husband and I have traveled all over the world and lived in many countries in the last 27 years of both my and his professional career with Fortune 500 Companies. 

Having the experience of being both now retired Executive and Expat Wife, I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the IWC’s all over the world and certainly understand women in this position.  My family is passionate about Art, Travel, Reading, Animals, Animal Rescue, Protecting Women and Children…those that have no voice and no choice. 

Over the last 12 years I have especially loved being part of the IWC Budapest which provides a vibrant outlet to meet wonderful International ladies, has amazing social activities and well deserving targeted charity outreach.  Budapest is a small big city which provides a backdrop to all the IWC does and IWC takes full advantage of it.

As Chairwoman my goal is to also provide our members from around the globe with outreach and connections inside and outside of Budapest and Hungary.  We connect to over 80 IWC sister clubs all over the world and the goal is to see what we can do together.     

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
We arrived in Hungary in 2007 due to  my Husband's position. Prior to that, I was an Expat in Hungary in 1998 and 2004.  Somehow, Hungary has a way of calling people back.  

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
We have lived in over 7 countries and I have been both the expat and expat wife depending on the country. No matter what country and working or not, I always join the International Women's Group of that country. My husband and I are now both retired Executives.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
Fruit soup, good wine and actually how easy it is to get around. If you can capture the Hungarian heart, all things are possible.    

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
First it is always all about food like touring the Central market and tasting everything there. After walking all the areas closed off to cars and riding on the 4/6 tram to see the city.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Hands down Goulash Soup and Chicken Paprikás...stuffed cabbage is also a big contender:-) 

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Mozzerella, lemons, Parmesano cheese.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

8. What do you miss the most from home?
After 27 years away, we feel we have everything here to make us feel at home. 

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
I would have loved to have been an Anthropologist like Margaret Mead, everything begins here.

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Any politicians position.

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
We were on holiday with friends in Barbados and the US.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
Anywhere exotic but also within Europe to see friends.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
My favorite movie Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights.  One favorite hobby was Fencing.

14. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?
Any Italian dessert and Krémes.

15. Red wine or white?

16. Book or movie?
Love both books and movies equally.

17. Morning person or night person?
Both as well.

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Animal rescue and abuse. 

19. Buda side or Pest side?
Buda to sleep and Pest to live, everything is in Pest.

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
Opportunities don't happen, you create them.

  • How does this interview make you feel?