Nicole Wedell-von Leupoldt and Lea Sophie Suhr

  • Nicole Wedell-von Leupoldt, 40, and Lea Sophie Suhr, 33, both German
  • Creativity sector
  • Founders of Talent Interlock

About Nicole

Being a founding member of a university back home in Germany instilled Nicole with a “you can do just about anything” mentality. So, she did. Together with her colleague she set up a career development program for that university, gave trainings on career related topics there, guided people through cities and on mission trips in other places, interpreted for butterflies… Then, one day, the sneaky trailing spouse syndrome caught up with her in the middle of Flanders after coming to Leuven for her husband's job and with little kids.

Her motto, “Embrace it if you can’t beat it,” led her to develop the pilot dual career program for the University of Leuven, which was highly appreciated by the participants. Nicole is also a city guide in Leuven, currently following a Transactional Analyses coaching training and proud co-founder of Talent Interlock.

About Lea

Lea came to Leuven two years ago as her husband started a position at KU Leuven, together with their small child. Originally from Germany, she has lived and worked abroad before coming to Belgium, in places including Australia and Washington D.C. However, moving countries for your partner’s job – leaving behind your own – turned out to bring along some extra challenges.

Lea used the momentum she found as a traveling spouse to co-found Talent Interlock, which offers dual career services as well as career coaching and empowerment for expat spouses to help them maintain and grow their own career in their new country. Lea previously worked for think tanks in Berlin and for an international company in Brussels as a government relations manager for sustainability. She now lives in Leuven with her husband and two kids.

Lea and Nicole's Top Tips for Living in Leuven

  1. Give yourself time. Moving countries (especially as a partner) might have been a bigger change then you initially thought. (Re-)Building your career in the new country doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Know what you have to offer and know what you want but stay open to serendipity and new career paths.
  3. Network / find a mentor. And don’t hesitate to network in Ghent if you are looking for information for Leuven, or vice versa. People know each other in Flanders.
  4. If you are coming as the spouse of someone who is coming here for his/her job: Ask your partner's employer for help!
  5. Don't just look into the bigger, more obvious companies for vacancies. Start-ups are much more flexible, also regarding your language skills!
  6. Start learning the local language!

About Talent Interlock

While global mobility brings a highly qualified international workforce to Belgium and provides great opportunities, partners of these international knowledge workers often can use helping hands to adjust after leaving behind their own job in the home country. The ‘trailing spouses’ usually are highly qualified as well. Talent Interlock specializes in nurturing this international talent with customised trainings, job coaching and integration programs to prepare them to offer their best to the Belgian professional market.

Given the growing need for high potentials, international outlook shows that offering dual career services could be a large added value for a company regarding talent attraction, employer branding and talent retention. We therefore offer custom made dual career services for your company and, consequently, strengthen the Leuven region.

More Information

Want to know more about what you saw in Lea and Nicole's video or have read about here? Check out these links

  • They also recommend you check out job fairs, like this one
  • At the end of the video, we see Lea and Nicole with their friends and families at Hal 5
  • Lea lives in the Groot Begijnhof, a stunning example of the women communities that were popular in 13th-century Belgium. You can find out more about its history here. The 13 Flemish beguinages still preserved are a combined UNESCO World Heritage site, and Leuven's is the largest of the group.