Board elections 2019 – meet our candidates

Board elections 2019 – meet our candidates

This year the IAPA members will vote on two positions on the Board: The chair and one regular Board member position is vacant. Below you can learn more about the candidates running for these two positions this year.

If you are not attending the IAPA Annual General Meeting and you are a full voting member, make sure your vote counts and complete the Proxy form 2019 latest  today March, 14 2019.


Delphine Vaills

Europair Services



I have been in the au pair industry for 23 years and attended my first IAPA conference in 1997. With running the French agency Europair Services in Paris and being a former au pair myself, I have experience on both sides of the business. I can say that I love my job and I am fully committed to it!

I am a founding member of UFAAP, the French Union of Au pair Agencies, and was their Chair from 2010 to 2016. UFAAP now represents 13 agencies working on improving the quality and the image of the au pair system in France. I have been on the board of IAPA for 6 years and have been holding the chair position since 2016.

Statement of Intent 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three years being the Chair of the IAPA Board but I do not yet feel that I have achieved all that I planned to and would love the opportunity to continue working hard to make IAPA stronger and more prosperous than ever.

Board member

1. Candidate :
Ellen Heesen-Hiemstra

House-o-Orange Au Pairs

The Netherlands


I was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands but raised in Tokyo, Japan and further educated in Oxford, UK and The Netherlands. After quitting medical school in The Netherlands I switched to business and obtained a bachelor in marketing and communication. My love for medicine led to a career in the pharmaceutical industry with companies such as Procter&Gamble and Hoffmann La Roche, but after having 3 kids in 17 months, I realized that a full-time career at a multinational was not flexible enough for a busy mom and I left in 2000 in order to start my own Au Pair company. My company has grown from strength to strength and now has a second office in Cape Town, our head office is in The Hague, The Netherlands. I have had a lot of board experience over the past 15 years and have been president of the Dutch Branch organization BONAPA as well as being on the board of ECAPS and having been on the IAPA board for the past 3 years. 

Statement of intent

I am running for a second term on the IAPA board because I feel that my work for IAPA is not done yet and I still have a lot to offer. My particular skill sets include strong marketing and communication skills as well as having experience with lobbying a government in order to obtain an au pair visa for all nationals. Because of my international background and strong connection to 4 continents (Asia where I lived and grew up, Europe where I’m from, the USA where my daughters and parents have lived and Africa where I have a home and another business) I feel that I embody what IAPA stands for and am able to view issues from a highly international perspective. I have greatly enjoyed serving the International Au Pair community over the past 3 years and would hope to do so again for another 3 yearsrs.

2. Candidate:
Nicole Kofkin

Smart Au Pairs Educational Exchange



After an International career in the travel industry, I founded Smartaupairs UK in 2006. As a board member of BAPAA, I contributed to the British au pair industry for many years and participated in ECAPS to establish cross border au pair standards in Europe. Nearly 10 years ago, I founded Smartaupairs Australia and continued to bring the industry together as a founding member of CAPAA, The Cultural Au Pair Association of Australia. Last year, the au pair agency became part of Travel Active|Educational Exchange in the Netherlands, an industry leader with a 30 year legacy and a wide range of programs alongside the International Au Pair Exchange.

Statement of intent 

Having lived and worked in many countries and across different cultures, I am more than passionate about cultural exchange. I am a great believer in industry collaboration, best practice and high standards. I have extensive experience in dealing with sensitive and complex government dialogue.

3. Candidate:

Michael Xie

Soon after graduating from Beijing Foreign Studies University, I entered the youth travel business in 2007 with great enthusiasm and was among the pioneers to bring au pair programs to China. In 2011, I  founded LoPair, a professional au pair agency that brings hundreds of au pairs in and outside of China each year. LoPair au pairs have been nominated for IAPA’s Au pair of the Year finalists twice and won the award in 2017. I was elected again as Chair of the China Au Pair Association in May, 2018 and am looking to grow the Chinese chapter faster, immersing and contributing to the international community.

Statement of Intent

1. To broaden my horizon in the international business landscape and learn from the System

2. To bring insights from Chinese/Asian perspectives using my years of experience to the Board

3. To help grow number of Asian members using my ties and connections

4. To actively help members connect and do business together as much as possible