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Commute or relocate? A personal choice

Consultant Geoff Creaghan opts to move to the United States during a multi-year megaproject

After several months of commuting from Toronto to North Carolina every week, senior manager Geoff Creaghan missed the weekday routine at home. So, a year into managing a massive business operations transformation project for the University of North Carolina’s 16 undergrad, graduate and professional schools, he and his wife decided to relocate – at least until the project wraps up sometime between 2010 and 2013.

“It really came down to family,” says Creaghan, whose wife and two teenagers packed up and joined him in the summer of 2008. “My kids are at an age where they will only be home for two to four more years, and I just didn’t want to miss this important time with them.”

Changing countries a familiar family experience
Creaghan’s family is no stranger to cross-border adventure. He joined Deloitte in Halifax in 1995 to expand the PeopleSoft practice, then transferred to Deloitte’s San Francisco office in 1998. After four years there – the last two working for a dot-com – the family settled in Toronto, where Creaghan returned to Deloitte, bringing specialized skills implementing Oracle systems for universities and colleges.

To commute or relocate: A personal decision
When Creaghan was given the chance to oversee the Oracle PeopleSoft “megaproject” at the University of North Carolina (UNC), it was a growth experience he couldn’t pass up. He would be the on-site project manager for a team of 33 professionals from Canada, the United States and India – essentially the “eyes and ears” for Halifax partner Wayne Boyle, who joins the UNC team in person for two or three days every other week.

The decision to relocate has been a personal one for members of Deloitte’s UNC team. While some professionals have opted to fly in each week, spending Monday to Thursday on-site at UNC, others have chosen to move to North Carolina for a few years. No matter which path they select, Deloitte leaders have supported each team member’s choice.

Assistance and advice: From visa paperwork to community involvement
For Creaghan, helping him get his life back in balance meant Deloitte managed visas and other paperwork processing for him and his family, and helped them with the routine challenges of relocating – from hiring movers to finding schools for his children.

“Any move is significant when you have teenagers,” says Creaghan. “But they have been extremely resilient and are quickly re-establishing themselves in our new community. My daughter, for example, got a job as a lifeguard her first week here. I think it’s important to quickly immerse yourself in a new community, meet people and get involved. It has forced me and my family to get out there and get on with life.”

Regaining work-life balance key to focusing on future opportunities
With his family life back in balance, Creaghan is better able to focus on the career advantages of his UNC experience. Despite being 1,200 kilometres away from the Oracle higher education “home base” in Canada, he remains actively involved in making decisions within the practice. And being in the United States – one of several countries where Deloitte has expanded its Oracle services in the last eight years – Creaghan says he can explore new avenues for growth stateside.

“Personally, I feel my years in Canada and the United States over the last decade have really provided me with a significant network of friends and contacts whom I will remain in contact with for years to come,” he concludes.

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