Best research contribution

Winner: Heather De Cruz-Cornaire, Café Coach


This article is taken from the 2024 Awards supplement in the Summer 2024 issue of Think Global People magazine

Click on the cover to access the digital edition.

View your copy of the Summer 2024 issue of Think Global People magazine.

Watch the highlights of our 2023 Relocate Global Awards here

Heather De Cruz-Cornaire, business and coaching psychologist at Café Coach Ltd, was the winner of the Best Research category. Her work highlights the important role of research in helping to improve the experience of moving for assignees and their families, particularly those in dual-career households.

Crucially, she looked at the importance of considering the human element in international moves in work for relocation agency REA, which earned her this year’s award for Best Research Contribution.

The judges described it as “an extremely interesting piece of work that demonstrates in particular the value coaching can make to assignment success.”

Her research looked at the challenges facing globally mobile families post-pandemic, including investigating the emotional experience of dual-career families. She then shared these insights with global mobility professionals and the wider talent community.

The importance of family support

Her research revealed how provision of spousal support was one of the most consistent and strong predictors of psychological adjustment for an accompanying partner to the relocation. Yet in many organisations this is not a standard benefit.

She explained how, for a globally-mobile family with a dual-income, the fear of unemployment on assignment for the spouse or partner can have a devastating impact. Indeed, it is the experience of the whole family that can make or break the assignment. She demonstrated that data shows how employment access for dual-careers has a direct impact on talent attraction, retention and the experience of the mobile family on assignment. 

Listening to assignees and their families

Collecting her award, Heather explained how her personal experience as an assignee and trailing partner led her to start this important work. “I wanted to look at what’s valuable and to listen to the voices of 34 participants around the globe and hear how uncertainty has affected the assignee and their family. Some of the stories I heard not only resonated with me and the work I do, but also I felt I had to bring it out to the wider community.”

She explained that understanding this human element fulfilled a number of important aspects of duty of care, with implications for the workforce, organisations and families. It revealed the power and impact of human connection, the beneficial effects of raising resilience and health and wellbeing, and fulfilled diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) initiatives. Her research also found that pre-move support had a positive impact on family adjustment.

The judges said: “This is an extremely interesting piece of research that demonstrates in particular the value that coaching can make to assignment success. A low-cost intervention can result in an improved assignee and family experience leading to positive outcomes.”

See the Winners Announced Page

The award was collected by Heather De Cruz-Cornaire, Café Coach.


Visit the Café Coach website

Watch the Award Ceremony video highlights

Read about award-winning global mobility, leadership and education in the upcoming Summer issue of Think Global People magazine, with the teams and organisations being celebrated in the Relocate Think Global People Awards 2024. Secure your copy here.


Have you heard about our Think Global People community?


Find out more about the Think Global People and Think Women community and events.


Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.

Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.

Awards 2024


Awards 2023
Awards 2022
Awards 2021
Awards 2020
Awards 2019
Awards 2018