In this week’s WITWAT (Where In The World Are They?) interview, Paul Galea talks to Rachael Delaney from the Class of 2016, Lenny Vadala (2002) and Andrea Abel van Es (1998) and discovers they have taken a range of paths and are living in diverse locations since leaving School.
Rachael Delaney (2013) – Nymboida, Australia
Since graduating from IGS, I moved to Byron Bay to learn to farm. During my 8 years there, I spent my time at different farms including market gardens, permaculture and agroforestry educational spaces, flower farms, as well as working with livestock, poultry and horses.
I also learned many practical skills in my time there and with help from another IGS alum, Dan Herbert, we built a house truck which I lived in on a farm for two and a half years.
I now have my own slice of paradise farm in Nymboida, 45km south west of Grafton on 240 acres where I have set up my little house truck permanently to run farm stays from. Here, I have built my own market garden from which I sell produce, eggs and ferments at three local farmers’ markets. I also raise sheep, cattle, chooks for meat and milk my beautiful house cows for milk and for making cheese and yogurt. I also have five sweet horses with a foal on the way. Two of my horses are Australian brumbies which I have trained from the wild and am currently starting under saddle. I hope to run trail riding here in the future to contribute to Nymboida’s attractions for visitors, who already camp next door at the canoe centre where they do extended guided canoe trips.
Lenny Vadala (2002) – Sydney, Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore
After leaving school I ended up working in Human Resources. I’m now a partner at EY (Ernst & Young) in the Managed Services business. Basically it is helping clients outsource their back-office function (accounting, payroll and tax). I am in the middle of doing an MBA with UNSW and spend a lot of time travelling overseas for work, mainly to Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur to help with those aspects for various businesses over there.
I head up teams of local workers in these places, which is great as I get an insight into the life, personalities and work practices of people living in those countries.
Interestingly, our teams’ brilliant technology innovations (like generative AI and predictive analytics) in these areas are very much appreciated by these companies, who are often held back by either a lack of automation or traditional customs and practises. In Korea and Japan, for instance, my teams and I do a lot of work trying to highlight gender pay disparity within organisations.
Outside of work, I have my lovely wife Romina, who is a teacher and we have two young boys. I’m hoping to send them to IGS in the near future!
Andrea Abel van Es (1998) – Costa Rica
I attended IGS from Preschool to end of Year 10 and had some amazing teachers along the way – Masumi sensei, Tom sensei, Ms Hammond, Mr Miller to name a few.
After graduating from North Sydney Girls’ in 2000 I spent the next decade, literally, collecting degrees, including Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering, Commerce and a Masters in Mechatronic Engineering research at Sydney Uni. But definitely the cherry on the cake was the full scholarship I got to do my PhD in Political Science at Stanford University in the US, where I met my now husband, Rob.
Since 2011, I’ve been working as a freelance peace and conflict research consultant for orgs such as the UN, USAID, OECD as well as think tanks like Australia’s very own Institute for Economics and Peace. My passion is and always has been sub-Saharan Africa (I’m a little OCD about this region), where most of my work and leisure travels take me.
I’m a proud mother of two crazy beautiful boys (Jasper – 8 and Nikalai – 6), and bonus mum to Lucas -19. My guiding star in parenting and all things life really were my two amazing parents (both deceased now), who tried to instill in me the idea of global citizenship. Through extensive travel with my kids (they’ve been to over 35 countries so far), and encouraging multilingualism (they speak five languages fluently), I’m hoping to help them understand that we are one as humanity.
We’re currently living in Costa Rica, but have our beautiful home in Manly beach, and spend the summers in Europe with family, friends and all the amazingness that comes with Eurosummer.