Meet our Team

The event is organized by HEIMAT abroad in cooperation with the German American Chamber of Commerce in New York. See who's behind it! 

Got questions? Contact us!

Our Team

The team behind this event consists of (mostly) women who have all made their way across the Atlantic and built their life, career and family in the US. After 3 successful live ICH BIN EXPAT FAIRS in New York, they decided to take their event nation-wide so everyone can join and learn!

Gabi Hegan

CEO / Founder

Born and raised in Munich Gabi came to NYC in 1999 where she first pursued a career in the Hotel Industry.  In 2010 she founded, supporting expats and their families living and working in New York City. In 2017 she launched the 2nd platform HEIMAT abroad and the annual ICH BIN EXPAT FAIR in NYC, which is turning into a nation-wide virtual conference this year. 

It is her mission to support German-speaking expats to settle in their new environment and bring the community together.

She lives in New York City with 1 daughter. 


Irene Fuchs

Director Membership & Events | GACC

Irene has lived and worked on three different continents and sees herself as Global Citizen who believes in the power of community. Bringing people together is therefore something she truly enjoys. She supported the Expat Fair/Conference) from the beginning, as she knows from her own experiences that each phase of expat live brings new challenges.

Her career journey started in the corporate world and brought her via a New York startup to the German American Chamber of Commerce.

One thing remains the same throughout:her strong passion for project management and strategy which are essential for a large event like this. 


Kathrin Tartler

CTO | Virtual Presence &
Technical Infrastructure

Kathrin is the tech brain behind HEIMAT abroad and the ICH BIN EXPAT Virtual Conference. She is a true allrounder when it comes to all things "tech" and knows her way around many types of systems from setting up domains, email platforms, websites, online courses and so much more.
She works with a few small 
businesses, but spends most of her time on HEIMAT abroad,, and recently the ICH BIN EXPAT Conference. She lives close to New York City with her husband and 2 daughters.



Birgit Hori

Business Development 

Following her education in Hotel Management (B.A.) in Heidelberg, Germany, Birgit spent many years working in the hospitality and event management industries, which has given her a well-rounded skill set in customer service. Positions in sales, customer service, administration and communications have honed her organizational and management skills. 

Birgit came to New York in 1999 with the plan to stay only for 3 months and now has a 13-year old daughter who is currently finishing 7th grade. 

She is excited at the prospect of bringing her talents to the ICH BIN EXPAT virtual conference.


Kim Lenar

Content Manager / Journalist / Speaker

Kim Lenar Ehrhardt is a brand and video coach. The former reporter and media executive teaches online entrepreneurs how to stand out and attract more clients with high quality videos. From scripting and filming course content to teaching virtual presentation skills for video calls – Kim uses her extensive background in production to help her clients embrace the power of video. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, Kim works in both languages. As a consultant for the ICH BIN EXPAT Conference she is putting all her skills to work to help our speakers and audience alike to have the best possible experience. 

She lives in the Hamptons, close to New York, with her husband and two sons.


Annette Baker-Nowak

Speaker Relations 

Annette first first joined us as a volunteer in 2018 and has since become an integral part of the team. 

She holds a BA in German and American Studies from the university of Hamburg. 

Annette lives with her husband in Queens. 


Melanie Grossmann

Event Manager

Melanie joined the HEIMAT abroad team in 2017 and was instrumental in the success of the 3 live ICH BIN EXAPT FAIRS in New York City. She is excited to take our event nation-wide.

She is happily married to a NYC native. They have moved numerous times between Germany / USA and one year in France. She is a true moving-pro, after returning to the U.S. for the third time. The couple settled (for good now) at the Jersey Shore, where their daughter, who was born in NJ, attends high school.


Merle Wittig

Business Development

Merle joined the team in August 2021 as part of UA Ruhr's Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship in cooperation with the GACC NY.

She is enrolled at the University of Duisburg-Essen where she does her BA in Cultural Studies and Business Administration. This course of studies combines her previous banking apprenticeship with her passion for intercultural exchange.

After participating in various exchange programs herself, including exchanges in England, China, and the United States, Merle knows her future lies in an international work environment, and she is looking forward to approaching it.


Early Bird Expires In...