How a 2 Year Stay became 13 Years and counting?

When we first came to the States on an H1B visa, our stay was intended to last for two years. This was in 1996 and at the height of the Internet Bubble. Thirteen years and a few economical ups and downs later, we still enjoy living in the Bay Area. Originally, I come from Munich, Germany and while I treasure the times we go back home to visit, I feel very much at home here. I relate very well to all the other women on this blog and know how challenging, exciting and exhilarating it can be to start a new life in a new country.

I’m the co-founder of Mindjet (, the visual collaboration tool that is based on the creativity technique Mind Mapping. Most Europeans have heard of this technique and our product “MindManager”. We started Mindjet in Germany but transferred the business to the US in the late 90’s. In 2004 we were awarded with the German “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” from Ernst & Young in the category of “Information Technology”. Mindjet has a unique birthplace; the book “The Cancer Code” (, is the story of how a journey through leukemia led to software that changed the way people work, and describes our experience with cancer and the beginnings of Mindjet.

Since leaving Mindjet, we started a new business endeavor: Coaching Sanctuary, an interactive life coaching solution for women to help them to create their lives with intention, integrity and the love of friends. No other online space combines a personal journal, vision board, community board, practice notebook, and personal tracking tools with an incredibly motivating self-guided coaching program, to help you transform your life. If you feel you are at a crossroads in your life or are interested in personal growth, check out the product at

Aside from getting a new company off the ground, I’m very active at the Women in Business group of GABA and you’ll see me at the GABA or WIB events. I also love to hike and travel to new places to meet interesting people and emerge myself in their culture.

Bettina blogging from San Francisco

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