Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek and Honorary Vice Consul Dr. Nayantara Ghosh-Ersek Receive Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria

DENVER–() –This week, Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO of Western Union, a leader in cross-border, cross-currency payments, was awarded one of Austria’s highest national honours.

“On behalf of the Republic of Austria, it is my privilege to present this prestigious award to Hikmet and Nayantara for their tremendous contributions, loyalty and representation in Denver and around the world”

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In a private ceremony, Mr. Ersek was honored along with his wife, Dr. Nayantara Ghosh-Ersek for their meritorious services to the Republic of Austria. Austrian Consul General, Andreas Launer was in attendance to present Hikmet and Nayantara the Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria and Decoration of Merit in Gold of the Republic of Austria, respectively.

“As a proud Austrian, migrant and the leader of a global company, I know firsthand that global connections help us achieve more together,” said Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO of Western Union. “It is my honor to represent Austria abroad and share my personal connection to help bridge communities around the world.”

A citizen of Austria and Turkey, Mr. Ersek draws on his international background to speak out publicly for the rights of migrants and refugees worldwide.

“On behalf of the Republic of Austria, it is my privilege to present this prestigious award to Hikmet and Nayantara for their tremendous contributions, loyalty and representation in Denver and around the world,” said Andreas Launer, Austrian Consul General.

Last year, Mr. Ersek received the WU Manager of the Year 2018 from his Alma Mata, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. In 2016, he was also awarded “Austrian of the Year” by Die Presse and currently serves as the Austrian Honorary Consul for Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement. Our omnichannel platform connects the digital and physical worlds and makes it possible for consumers and businesses to send and receive money and make payments with speed, ease, and reliability. As of September 30, 2018, our network included over 550,000 retail agent locations offering Western Union, Vigo or Orlandi Valuta branded services in more than 200 countries and territories, with the capability to send money to billions of accounts. Additionally, westernunion.com, our fastest growing channel in 2017, is available in more than 50 countries and territories to move money around the world. In 2017, we moved over $300 billion in principal in nearly 130 currencies and processed 32 transactions every second across all our services. With our global reach, Western Union moves money for better, connecting family, friends and businesses to enable financial inclusion and support economic growth. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.


Western Union
Rachel Rogala, +1 (303) 808-2674

Chronic Stress & The Importance of Self-Care

Moving to a new country, starting a new job and integrating into a new culture can be very stressful. Everyone experiences stress at different points in their lives and that is absolutely normal. However, when left unmanaged chronic stress poses a serious health risk. Scientists have known for a long time that chronic stress can lead to weight gain, heart disease, trouble sleeping and concentrating. Stress does not only affect your body, but also your performance at work. Some of the warning signs of chronic stress include low energy, frequent cold and infections, headaches, upset stomach and/or changes in appetite and eating habits, and trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual.

If you feel exhausted and overwhelmed more than usual, try some of the following activities to reduce your stress hormone levels.

1. Regular physical activity
2. Mindfulness and Meditation
3. Smiling and laughing
4. Spending time with friends and family
5. Listening to calming, relaxing music.

Most people are aware that chronic stress is detrimental to their health, yet they find it challenging to incorporate healthier routines into their daily lives. It’s easy to stay in our comfort zone and stick to old habits. However, we can’t expect different results by doing the same thing over and over again.
Becoming clear on our motivation to incorporate healthy habits and reduce stress is a first important step. This could be an imminent health concern, being more productive at work, or being around longer and in better health for our family and loved ones. Once we know what our true motivation is, it is much easier to stick to a new routine.

Reducing stress and implementing a daily self-care routine is vital for maintaining your overall health. It can increase your mood and energy, boost your immune function, promote longevity and make you more effective at work.

Start now and give yourself the gift of releasing chronic stress. If you like to get support, send an email to coaching@martinafelderman.com for a FREE consultation and goal setting session.

I offer an additional 60 min session for all Austrians who moved to the US or Americans who moved to Austria at no cost. Reach out to me and let’s talk how I can support you!

Election for the European Parliament on May 26th 2019

Information concerning the Election for the European Parliament on May 26th  2019 can be found here:



Please note that all Austrians abroad need to be registered in the “Wählerevidenz” until 12th of March 2019 unless they have a valid subscription for a “Wahlkartenabo”, which ensures an automatic mailing of the Wahlkarte for 10 years.

Please be advised that a proof of your identity has to be given (for example: attach a copy of passport or identification document).


Skiing in Austria

As we write this, lots of snow is being dumped over Austria and all appears in a magical white blanket. Winter in Austria is different to Colorado, with snow usually staying on the ground from November until early March. While warm days in the winter in the 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit are very common in Colorado, they rarely happen in Austria. Instead it usually stays below 40 degrees Fahrenheit with a high humidity that sends chills into your bones. But on a day with blue skies and snow covered mountains it’s beautiful.

In Austria, outdoor activities are considered a must with skiing being the national sport! Nearly every kid learns skiing from their parents or while going on week-long ski trips with their schools. Regions encourage skiing by offering low priced tickets, often combined with year-long other outdoor tickets – for example Tyrol’s Freizeitticket for 500 euros per year. It includes summer activities such as gondola rides to go hiking, museums entries or swimming in lakes and outdoor pools. Nature is one of Austrian strong suit and there is probably no Austrian who doesn’t marvel in the nature’s beauty!

Skiing as a national sport is ingrained by everyone watching the ski races with Austrian athletes usually dominating the sport, from ski jumping to downhill racing. Athletes are the true heroes in Austria enjoying celebrity status similar to Peyton Menning or the likes! Skiing goes way back to the 1900 in the Alpine region. Some Austrians also immigrating to Colorado and helped make skiing popular in the Vail area, bringing some of the typical vibe and building hotels and restaurants. And next time you are skiing in Colorado, check out some of the lifts or gondolas and see if they are branded with “Doppelmayr”, an Austrian company and one of biggest ski lift providers, if not the biggest. Plus famous brands like Atomic, Blizzard, Fischer and Head are internationally well known. In Austria tourism plays a major role and winter tourism is responsible for an impressive 5 percent of the GNP (General Net Product) of Austria. Agriculture, for a comparison, sums up to something around 3 percent.


 The most known region to go skiing is probably Tyrol. If you stay in Innsbruck, the main capital, you can get a ski pass that covers 8 ski areas surrounding the city, all connected to the center by an efficient bus service and reachable within 30 minutes. Famous ski areas are Ischgl, St. Anton am Arlberg and Serfaus or of course Kitzbühel for the famous Hahnenkamm race each January, attracting more than 50,000 fans to the slopes of Austria’s biggest annual sporting event.

Snowboarding has gained traction similar to Colorado. Nordic or cross-country skiing is popular too with low prices for using the slopes.
If you think skiing is just for the summer, think again! Thanks to glaciers such as the Tux glacier, skiing is even possible all year round! And prices are by far more favorable than in Colorado with day tickets around 40 EUROS (about $45).

While Colorado offers powder, Austria’s snow is usually more wet, so it’s a bid harder to ski, BUT: Austria offers huts on top of the mountains with fantastic, usually home-cooked meals! Many people just take the gondola up, skip the skiing altogether to lounge in a chair, enjoy the sun and treat themselves to a delicious meal. Après-ski is also a very important part of the entire experience, usually starting already in the early afternoon!

If all this doesn’t convince you to plan your next ski vacation in Austria, read more on this page.

Austrian Tradition: Christmas Cookies!

The Christmas time is always a magical time in Austria. It’s getting colder outside and people love to spend more time at home. Baking cookies is one of the big traditions in this season and families get together and spend a weekend creating delicious cookies from scratch. Recipes are handed down from one generation to the next and many have their own “secret recipe” or at least tips that already grandma used to make the perfect cookie! Kids are getting involved at a very young age too and are finding delight in getting their hands dirty while kneading dough or using cookie cutters for precious creations. It’s a fun family activity!

Some cookies are more common then others, but here we want to focus on maybe the three most famous ones:



Known as “Crescent almond cookies”, it is a favorite of most people in Austria. Delicious, crunchy with an almond taste and – of course – lots of sugar! It’s make out of short pastry.

Image Credit: Copyright Österreich Werbung Harald Eisenberger


Loosely translated as “Linzer Eyes” – referring to a town in Austria called “Linz”. Some legends say that it is actually not connected to the town but rather to a Viennese baker named “Linzer”. Whatever the origin, it dates back to the 17th century! It’s two pieces of chewy cookies, with the upper piece have a whole in the middle – the “eye” Some prefer even 3 wholes and a special Linzeraugen cookie cutter tool is available to make this easier! They are “glued together with jam – usually black current.

Image Credit: Copyright Tirol Werbung Janine Hofmann



The name is incredibly sweet and means “coconut kisses”. It’s a super simple recipe that you can finish in 10 minutes! Main ingredients are egg whites, sugar and coconut flakes, flour & butter.

Image Credit: Copyright Austria Tourism NY