Houston Chapter

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The Houston FEM Chapter is lead by Cara Butler at Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics. You can contact Cara via cara@totallyexpat.com if you have any questions.

There is no charge for corporate members and there is a $100 charge per supplier, per person assuming they have a valid Supplier Membership of $550. If you would like to know more about the registration process or have a any questions please enquire with Andy Smailes at andy@totallyexpat.com .

Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston

The Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter and the Houston Chapter are joint memberships so members of one are automatically members of the other.

Houston Calendar

14th May - Managing the Unmanageable: Loss of Life and Expatriate Workers – Register

The Previous Chapter Meetings

19th Febraury 2015 – Global Mobility – Best Practices

23rd September – Year-End HR and Payroll for Global Mobility

19th June – Global Payroll’s Role in Servicing International Assignment Programs

24th April – International Tax Concepts for HR Professionals

23rd January – Achievements & Innovations Within the Global Mobility Industry: Presented by 2013 EMMA Americas Award Winners


21st November – The Shell Global Expatriate Support Network

19th September – Return on Language Learning

25th April – Managing all-hazard threats in Africa

The presentation will provide insight into the all-hazard threats environment seen in Africa and provide an approach for an comprehensive expatriate risk management program able to deal with such threats.

31st January –  International Assignment Administration Issues



1st November ‘Follow the ABC’s: a recipe for expat success’

19th July – ISF Scholarships


Robert G. Horn, Ph.D

About The Event

If a company pays school tuition for expatriate dependents, ISF Scholarships can reduce annual education costs. ISF Scholarships, expressly designed for companies that pay tuition and fees for dependents, are tax-exempt and eliminate tax equalization reimbursements.

Company-paid tuitions for school-age dependents of expatriate executives are taxed as income to these employees. The company reimburses executives through tax equalization payments, which also are taxable. Tax equalization ultimately increases annual education costs by about 70%.

A company with 100 dependents attending private schools, incurs annual tuition costs of about $2.5 million. Tax equalization reimbursements cost the company an added $1.8 million. ISF Scholarships reduce tax equalization payments by about 40%.

Robert G. Horn, Ph.D.
Dr. Horn has spent over twenty-five years in international education, developing expertise in fostering effective working relationships between international schools and multinational corporations. Most of his career has been in the field of educational advancement and resource development. Experience has included work at American international schools in Japan, China, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia as well as consulting work in other parts of Asia. He also served as a Vice President at the Thunderbird International Graduate School in Arizona, the University of Houston, the University of Maryland, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Horn completed Ph.D. studies at Purdue University with research concentrations in economics of education, corporate philanthropy, and interpersonal communications. His dissertation examined the effects of interpersonal communication on the contributions from multinational corporations to international schools.

Through graduate studies and continuing field research Dr. Horn has become a recognized expert in the economics and organizational dynamics of international schools.

24th May – HOT TRENDS IN GLOBAL IMMIGRATION : Compliance (it’s the new black)

Sponsored by Grant Thornton


Elaine Martin is an attorney, licensed in the US and in Ireland. She has 14 years of experience working in corporate immigration law.  She was a Senior Associate for almost 9 years with the largest immigration firm in the world. She is now Managing Director of Paragon GeoImmigration, a company that provides global immigration solutions to clients worldwide.

Course/Session Objective:

Governments worldwide are investigating immigration compliance more thoroughly, with many countries requiring employers to act as compliance officers.  This session will look at changing enforcement practices worldwide, penalties for non-compliance, risks of business travel and managing risks and compliance. Participants will

  • Consider ways to structure a corporate policy to ensure compliance
  • Understand the limits on permissible activities for business visitors
  • Learn the penalties for non-compliance.
26th June – Taxation and Social Security for Expatriates – Register

The Detroit Chapter of the Forum for Expatriate Management is pleased to announce our next Global Mobility event entitled Taxation and Social Security for Expatriates.

Corporations that transfer employees worldwide must stay abreast of the taxation and social security requirements for their assignees.  This can be a complex and daunting task as every country has its own requirements and tax laws.  Global Tax Network, specialists in International Assignment tax services, will help mobility professionals gain a better understanding of the tax and social security requirements for foreign workers.

15th March – ‘Technology, Demographics & Border Wars 2015′

Our speaker will be: Michael Cadden, MBA, SGMS (Living Abroad, LLC)

Sponsored by Grant Thornton

Location: Downtown Club at Met 340 West Dallas Street The Met Houston, TX 77002 

Looking just three years ahead is a pretty short horizon; just the same distance as the year 2009 is from today. In the recent past we experienced some profound technology shifts, such as a million mobile apps and cloud computing, and these will certainly continue. But in the next couple of years we will add 12 million 22 year-olds to the workforce in the USA alone. Demographics and Technology combined make a volatile mix. Not only that, countries around the globe will be using the same technologies to tighten their borders, leading to ‘border wars’ between global companies and where they need to be to prosper.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the demographic shift that is remaking the global workforce and how this new workforce views international opportunities.
  • Grasp a beginning understanding on the technology and tools that are shaping the new global workforce.
  • Learn how countries will continue tightening their borders and new technologies HR can use to assure compliance

Now Qualified for 1 HRCI credit !

26th January – Providing a Talent Continuum to the Business through Talent Mobility

Linking talent management and global mobility has long been an HR mandate since it is a business imperative – where are you on the continuum? This session will lead us through what are considered to be the successful building blocks toward realizing the benefits of linking the two.

November 15  –  ‘Short-Term Business Travelers’ – Best Practices

Our speaker was:
Patrick Landers Managing Director, KPMG LLP

Sponsored by KPMG

As world travel becomes commonplace and your workforce passes through jurisdictions that are desperately seeking to increase their revenue base, meeting the challenges of tracking employees and global payroll compliance can be an especially daunting task. No single approach fits all organizations, but collaboration with external providers and relevant internal departments is generally essential.

This presentation focused on the issues surrounding short-term business travelers and will include a discussion of observed best practices.

Some of the topics considered were:

• What is considered taxable?
• What is nontaxable?
• What needs to be tracked?
• What is to be reported in each state? In each country? Where do you start?

September 29 – Canadian and US Immigration: Preparing for Close Scrutiny During a Recession

In response to the recession and high levels of unemployment in the US, the government is increasing their scrutiny of employers’ compliance with US immigration laws. It is essential for HR teams to be well informed regarding the legal implications of hiring, and maintaining foreign workers. Join us at our September 29th meeting where Robert F. Loughran, Partner at Foster Quan, will speak on Canadian and US Immigration issues.

August 8th – (host/sponsor KPMG) – Keeping Your Expatriates’ and Business Travelers’ Safe and Secure Anywhere in the World

Speaker: Pablo Weisz, Regional Information Manager, Americas Region, Travel Security Services, a joint venture between International SOS and Control Risks

Pablo Weisz is responsible for providing clients with high quality travel security analysis and reporting, and will be updating the group on current “hot spots” for expatriates and business travelers such as Egypt, the Middle East, and Mexico.

This session will offer insight on the trends and most common security and safety risks employees face while traveling or living abroad. Attendees will also learn about the heightened travel security concerns inMexicoand other regions of the world as well as the most common mitigation strategies companies are taking today.  He will also discuss ways to take a lead role in helping their organizations mitigate risks and fulfill their Duty of Care.

FEM MeetingFEM Meeting

March 15 -  Sponsor a Foreign Worker – Register

Speaker: N. Dang, Senior Attorney for FosterQuan, LLP

Please join me on March 15th at 11:30 at the offices of Grant Thornton for a presentation from Helene N. Dang, Senior Attorney, with FosterQuan LLP. This comprehensive session will provide a succinct and fundamental overview of work visas common to most HR professionals. She will discuss prevalent issues faced when sponsoring foreign workers, hot updates and current trends related to work visas, how employers handle wage/hour obligations, mandatory government fees, terminations and other employer-impacted situations. We will also provide tips and strategies to help mitigate and/or avoid government audits. Our sponsor for the luncheon and meeting is Linette Barclay with Grant Thornton. This session has been approved as an HRCI Certified Course, and Birchtree-HR, LLC is the HRCI sponsor of this program.

Time of the meeting will be 11:30 – 1:00 on March 15th

Meeting location: Office of Grant Thornton 2700 Three Allen Center 333 Clay Street Houston, TX 77002


Houston Events

Armstrong Relocation and Companies

The Houston Chapter of the Forum for Expatriate Management is lead by Cara Butlerof Armstrong Relocation and Companies.

If you have any questions about the Houston Chapter please email cara@totallyexpat.com .


Meetings will begin with breakfast, followed by an informal discussion on topics of particular interest to global mobility professionals.  We allow time for networking over breakfast, although solicitation by service provider members is strictly prohibited.

The inaugural event took place on Tuesday 18th May at the offices of Grant Thornton, 2700 Three Allen Center, 333 Clay Road, Houston, TX 77002.  This event included the delivery, by Jennifer Thomas Senior VP of International Assignment Management from Graebel Relocation Services Worldwide, of exclusive information from their recently held fourth annual Relocation Policy Summit.  Topics covered included; management of policy exceptions, loss on sale, International Assignment Services and how to positively cause successful buy-in to local markets internationally.  See the presentation to the event here. (Adobe PDF)

Membership opportunities

Membership and event attendance are free to in-house (corporate) FEM members.  Simply register online and gain instant access to all FEM has to offer.  Service Providers who take out a paid membership of FEM (which also entitles you to a listing in our service directory) are also welcome to attend.   Service Provider Membership costs just $550 per annum and allows you to send up to 2 delegates to any event (at $100 per ticket)


Houston Sponsor

Recognizing the value FEM offers to the Global Mobility Profession, Grant Thornton has agreed to be the Sponsor and Event Host for the remainder of 2010. Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the six global accounting, tax and advisory organizations. Through member firms in more than 100 countries, including 51 offices in the United States, the partners and employees of Grant Thornton International Ltd member firms provide personalized attention and the highest quality service to public and private clients around the globe. Photos from the eventJennifer Thomas, SVP of International Assignments with Graebel Relocation Services Worldwide delivering information from their recently held Relocation Policy Summit

Nigel Ayres, Commercial Director of FEM explaining the benefits of the organization and details of the NYC Global Summit and EMMA’s

Nigel Ayres, Commercial Director of FEM explaining the benefits of the organization and details of the NYC Global Summit and EMMA’s

Past Events

January 25 –  Key Issues in Expatriate Financial Services

A financial services update, compliments of HSBC. Doug Gallardo, Vice President with HSBC’s Global Expatriate Banking program, provided FEM members with his key insights into the financial challenges facing global companies and their international assignees, the regulatory environment and current financial turbulence, including some case studies. Doug also shared some highlights of the HSBC 2010 Expat Explorer Survey findings.  This session has been approved for HRCI recert credits of 1.5 hours.

Thursday 8th July  – “Localization: the decisions, implementation and challenges”

If you have expatriates in multiple locations, where do you begin when looking at whether or not to localize the population? What parameters do you need to set in place to ensure efficiency for the company, whilst retaining, and keeping happy the expat population? For answers to these questions and more, we joined the HR Team from American Bureau of Shipping. They shared the tactics they have employed with this sensitive issue, the unexpected questions that were raised along the way, and the ultimate building, implementation and day to day management of the policy. GPHR accreditation pending. See the PowerPoint presentation from the event here.

Thursday 18th November

This meeting was held at the office of Grant Thornton located in downtown Houston at 2700 Three Allen Center, 333 Clay Street, Houston, TX 77002.  Our topic of discussion was dual-payroll arrangements for expatriates. Linette Barclay, Houston Practice Leader of Grant Thornton will facilitate a panel discussion including Lisa Dorvinen, Global Mobility Tax Director of Baker Hughes and Paul Schmidt, Senior Human Resources Manager of Cameron.  Our discussion included the various types of dual payroll arrangements, including splits and shadows, as well as the administrative and compliance issues and the decision process in adopting the arrangements.

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