Taking the leap to success 

Speaker at our Think Women event, Ann Ellis, founder of Mauve, shares her inspiring journey from Welsh farming family and headteacher to CEO of a global workforce solutions company.

Ann Ellis Mauve Think Women 2020
Relocate Magazine Spring 2020 issue thumbnail image
This article is taken from the latest issue of Relocate magazine – the must read for HR, global managers and relocation professionals.
Click on the cover to access the digital edition, read all of the articles on our website, or order your printed copy.
Ann Ellis is the co-founder and CEO of Mauve.
When Ann Ellis, CEO and founder of Mauve, was 12 years old, she dreamed of travelling and running her own business. It wasn’t until almost 30 years later, when she was married and with two young children and a successful career in teaching ahead of her, that she finally achieved her dream.“There were a number of occasions when personal reasons stopped me from making the leap to change my life, but I achieved it in the end,” she says. “Ever since I set up the business it has been an adventure. To fulfil your dream you need to be courageous, take the initiative and feel confident in yourself.”

Having the confidence to relocate

Ann’s journey is from her Welsh roots to an office in Italy and travel all around the globe, thanks to the company she set up with her husband in 1998. Now, Mauve looks after employees around the world, with offices as far-flung as Hungary, Cyprus, Columbia, Brazil, Dubai, London and South Africa.“In the early days, it was all about juggling,” she says. “I had a young family and the children only did half days at school, so I was working out of a broom cupboard in the morning and caring for them after lunch.”Her journey to Italy began in the 1990s, and today, Mauve Group is an international organisation providing global workforce solutions and HR services in more than 150 country locations worldwide. The company provides compliant global payroll, employment and immigration solutions. It provides organisations and individuals with the freedom and opportunity to explore new business territory.Spring Issue 2020 out now“I studied French and Italian at university and I had planned to travel, but I became a teacher and did the job for 24 years. Although I didn’t have any business skills when I set up Mauve, I was well organised, good at planning, good at communicating with people and able to juggle lots of different jobs at any one time.“When the opportunity arose to live in Italy with my husband, who was a telecoms engineer, taking our two children who were just six and 10 years old, I just decided to go for it. I was confident that we could do it. I was ready to make the leap at 40 and had the confidence to do it, whereas I didn’t have that confidence at aged 20.”

A growing business 

The family set up in Italy and while her husband worked, Ann began to help his colleagues and fellow engineers with their freelance contracts, immigration paperwork and working visas. To start with, the company grew slowly as Ann combined working with family life, but gradually it became a busy and successful enterprise, with associates in many different countries.“When I think back to those days, I needed to be flexible and cope with many of the challenges that women have around working and caring for a family.”Her first project was to help workers get a visa and permit in Hungary, and in the days before the widespread use of the Internet, this involved the exchange of lots of faxes. The company assisted engineers to get a working permit and be paid a local salary.Now, the business has a network of local experts, accountants, immigration advisers, HR experts and partners who can help with information about local knowledge, tax and compliance.

Find out more about Mauve: from ‘company in the cupboard’ to global operation

Through solutions such as company set-up, employer of record, international payroll and compliance, local HR and contracts consultancy, international market research, risk assessments and project management, Mauve equips businesses with the tools they need to grow. Mauve's bespoke solution packages ensure clients benefit from reduced risks, lower costs and faster timescales as they expand their business overseas or at home.“We make sure that people have the right contract of employment, that they are paying the right amount of tax in the right place, that they are compliant and we organise their local payroll,” she explains. “We also do a lot of risk assessments for NGOs who may have individuals working for them in the field. We do background checks on candidates, look at the environment in which they work and advise our clients on the risks involved, and how to mitigate those risks.”All clients are covered by Mauve’s corporate health insurance policy, so that employees and freelance contractors’ wellbeing and healthcare are taken care of. The company’s expertise means that Ann is often asked to help with unusual or novel situations and she always does her best to accommodate a client’s request.

Follow your dreams

To achieve success, you need to be brave and make the most of opportunities, she says. She never gave up on her teenage dream of running her own company and she managed to combine it with raising a family and working with her husband.“I live in Italy and we moved there in 1996 and I have not been back to the UK since then,” she explains. “I call Rome home. I think when we told people initially that we were moving, they thought we were mad. We both had secure jobs and we had a young family, and yet we were giving it all up and moving abroad. It has been a marvellous adventure and we have helped so many people and I am proud of what we have achieved.”

Read more news and articles on Enterprise

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.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory

Related Articles