Bloom Speakers

2016 Program

Morning Sessions:

Discovering Paris

Christopher Spence grew up in England, (where he acquired his British sense of humour) but has lived in Paris for more than fifteen years.  He is a teacher, writer, performer, singer song-writer, and has a particular interest in geology and palaeontology.  He is a dedicated fossil hunter, has written articles for the International Herald Tribune on his special interests and conducts in-depth group tours for Paris Walks including “Hemingway,” “The Revolution” and special tours of the catacombs and Paris sewers.  He brings his passion for history to Bloom this year with an introduction to the evolution of Paris

Inspired, Connected, Empowered - Your New Life in Paris

Grace Wong-Folliet, Founder,

Born and educated in Chicago, Grace moved to Hong Kong to get back to her Chinese roots, but who knew she would end up meeting a French husband, having two boys and moving to Paris 16 years later? After a fulfilling career working in media and communications and travelling the world for multinational companies such as Leo Burnett and Turner Broadcasting (CNN and Cartoon Network), motherhood inspired Grace to reinvent herself as an entrepreneur. Since 2009, she’s been multi-tasking as a strategic communications consultant for luxury and media clients and NGOs, a lecturer at INSEEC business school on Global Media, and novelty cake baker.

Nancy Ing Duclos, Founder,

Nancy first came to France in 1988 to learn French in the hopes of obtaining a foreign post for her budding TV news career. When fate intervened, she quickly dropped out of her immersion classes to learn French the best way—from from her new Parisian boyfriend. She then stunned her Canadian family in Toronto by quitting her job as a reporter/producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to move to Paris. This year, she celebrates 25 years in the French capital with her dashing photographer husband and son, and works actively as a freelance news producer for major television networks. She continues to be fascinated by French attitudes and lifestyle, and never to turn down a new challenge, is learning new skills in the digital world to create INSPIRELLE so she can share her French passions.

Why an American Library in Paris?

Charles Trueheart has been Director of the American Library in Paris since March, 2007. Trueheart came to the American Library after fifteen years at The Washington Post, the last four as the newspaper's Paris correspondent. Before joining the newspaper’s foreign staff in 1993, he was a cultural affairs reporter for the Post, responsible for coverage of book and magazine publishing and literary and intellectual topics. Prior to The Washington Post, Trueheart was associate director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and director of the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Public Affairs Forum. He continues to serve as a contributing editor of The American Scholar and has contributed book reviews, essays, and other articles to The Atlantic Monthly and other publications.

In a French Kitchen

Susan Herrmann Loomis is a France-based, award-winning journalist, an author and cooking school proprietor with nine books to her credit, and a professionally trained chef. Among her books are On Rue Tatin, a narrative about her life in France, with recipes, which won the IACP Award for Best Literary Food Writing for 2002. Loomis contributes to many publications, including Cooking Light, Metropolitan Home, France Today, and Gastronomica. She has lived in France for nearly twenty years and operates On Rue Tatin, a cultural and culinary cooking program, from her fifteenth-century home in Louviers, France, where she lives with her two children.

When In French

Lauren Collins began working at The New Yorker in 2003 and became a staff writer in 2008. Her subjects have included Michelle Obama, Donatella Versace, the graffiti artist Banksy, and the chef April Bloomfield. Since 2010, she has been based in Europe, covering stories from London, Paris, Copenhagen, and beyond. To read a lovely excerpt of the book in the New Yorker: magazine/2016/08/08/lauren-collins-learns-to-love-in-french

Pancakes in Paris

With a background in journalism, an M.A. in Film from USC and a prestigious John Huston Directing Award to his credit, Craig Carlson made the leap from production to pancakes in 2003 when he decided to open the first American diner in Paris. After more than a decade in business, Breakfast in America continues to serve authentic breakfasts and burgers to customers from all over the world. Pancakes in Paris is Craig’s debut memoir, with many more stories to follow. He and his partner live most of the time in Paris -- with the occasional jaunt to Los Angeles.


Afternoon Sessions:

Real Estate and Taxes

Tim Ramier was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. He is a US and French lawyer specialized in International Tax, Trust and Estate law. He has been practicing in Paris since 1990. Tim is a past President of the American Club of Paris, he serves on the boards of numerous Franco-American organizations. He was a professor of law at the Sorbonne and has been a frequent lecturer on law, tax and citizenship. He received a BA from the University of Louisiana and his JD from Loyola University of New Orleans. Tim is married and the father of a Finnish-American eight-year-old.


Jean Taquet holds a masters degree in commercial and civil law from the Sorbonne University. He served as a French "officier juriste" and graduated from Saint Cyr de Coëtquidan in the French Army. He has also been a teacher at W.I.C.E., and a speaker at the OECD. Since 1997 he has been a consultant in cross-cultural practical issues of all kinds confronting expatriate families residing in France including the area of real estate.



The French Workplace

Genie Godula has lived and worked in France for twenty years. She hosted one of the first talk shows on FM radio here, interviewed music and film stars for "Exclusif," the French version of "Entertainment Tonight," and currently presents the daily news on France 24.


Curtis Bartosik moved to France in 2002 for one year so his French/American wife could do a post doc and so he could do a sabbatical from Silicon Valley venture capital and learn French.  He attended Bloom to help him make sense of his new surroundings. Fourteen years later, he has a business with ten employees. In addition to running his company, he teaches management at the École Superior Commerce de Paris, and the Academie Internationale de Management. Other activities:  member of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce, Secretary General of the American Legion, and president of the Cornell Club. For sports, in winter he is a powder hound in Chamonix, and in summer he hikes the Long Routes (GRs) in the Alpes and Pyrénées. He has two boys ages 10 and 16.

Sports and Spirits

Jim Hobbs, from Bucks County, PA, came to Paris in the summer of 2012 with his wife and two children for a short vacation. However, everyone loved it so much they just stayed! Jim is the founder of, the largest website in the USA dedicated to travel to the Caribbean and Mexico. He was previously a national sportscaster at Fox Sports and worked regionally for CBS and ABC.




Billy Roberts is the Director of Youth and Young Adults at ACP. He is an avid fan of beer, baseball and football (soccer to the American folk). He comes from Grand Rapids, Michigan also known as Beer City, USA (it's true, look it up) and believes some of the most authentic conversations happen in pubs.




Education and School Options

Jude Smith served for five years as coordinator of the Education Directory for MESSAGE and currently co-Chairs the AAWE Education and Bilingualism Committee. She is co-editor of Beyond the Bac - Higher Education in France and Abroad and the recently published AAWE Guide to Education in France, 8th edition.



MaryClaire King has lived in France for twenty years and is the mother of three school-aged boys. She has had experience with various iterations of the French Education System: public schools, "sous-contract" private schools, and international schools - and has read obsessively on the subject.



Families Adjusting to a New Culture

Jeanette Laugier, an American, affording herself travel during some time off from a successful career, never expected to meet her husband to be, a Frenchman. One year later, she married and moved to France. Since then, Jeanette has become COO of a private association of family management (a French husband and 4 beautiful girls). Having no prior formal training of french language and even less of french culture, Jeanette learned hands on, how to apply good faith and good humor in really unsettling situations. Jeanette shares with us her cultural expertise and hopes you will gain years of insight in raising your children in France.

Toni McClintock first came to Paris from Santa Barbara, California in 2007 to spend a year abroad with her husband and three children, ages 5, 8 and 11. One year turned into two and then back to California they went. In her first novel, All Abroad: 3 Kids, 2 Years, 1 New Perspective; An American Family in Paris, Toni shares heart-felt stories of her family’s adaption to life in Paris and their subsequent re-adaptation and new perspectives on life when they returned to the U.S.




Jennifer Balmadier Parisian life has come full circle. After getting engaged to her dreamy French husband in 2002, she quit her boring insurance job in Boston and moved to Paris in time to attend the fall Bloom Program. Impressed with the program and how it helped welcome newcomers to France, she then volunteered to help organize the next Bloom. Now a shopping consultant, she has mastered the ins and outs of shopping in Paris and is happy to share her tips, advice and addresses.

Wine, Dine, and Fine[Living] in Paris

Marie-Dominique Bradford lived in California for 6 years where she met her husband. They've been back in France for 20 years where they are raising 3 children.A true wine lover and specialist of small producers, she launched the first wine by subscription website in France ( and has a wine store in the 3rd arrondissement.

Robert William Bradford is a Mayflower descendant who has made France his adopted home. An educator by profession and an artist at heart, Robert's double life as an actor/teacher is one commonly seen in the expat community. Hear about his daily encounter with language, culture and ‘joie de vivre’!

Managing the French Healthcare System

Shirley Dauger, originally from Long Island, New York, is a dually licensed nurse both in the US and France. She has been an expat in Paris for 20 years and working at the American Hospital in Paris for 18 years. Shirley hopes to offer tips and insights into the French Healthcare System so you feel comfortable addressing your healthcare needs while living in this great city.



Cooking Like the French

Janine Springall has always had a passion for food. She studied Culinary and Pastry Arts with a classical French curriculum for four years. She also worked in restaurants and private clubs for 15 years in the U.S. before moving to France in 1998. Janine now enjoys sharing her love for cooking with others.



Wine Down

Join us as we travel through 7 regions of France, learning a bit about the region, tasting wine, and celebrating the beginning of a great life in Paris.

Camilla Radford-Furman, French Wine Navigator, worked for the largest wine distributor in the United States for 12 years, in the on-sale market, consulting and selling wines to hotels and restaurants. She has an extensive background in tasting, pairing and promoting wines, so, when she moved to France, it was a wonderful opportunity to use her wine knowledge to help the expat community. It is now her joy to help people navigate the wine regions France, and help expand wine knowledge by understanding how to buy and enjoy French wines!