Focus on Mexico team members.
Ray and Marie Bullock are the Founders of Focus on Mexico.
The Focus Group is pleased to have team players who can communicate, problem-solve and take on any of the jobs required of them in a service organization. You'll find out when you come on a Focus Fast-Track-to-Learning program that our team members are flexible, adaptable and able to work together to make the Focus on Mexico Learning Adventure a delightful experience for our participants. Time and again, we're reminded by our participants that our team members are our biggest assets.
Lynne Barrette: The Focus staff members are the key to the success of this program. Individually you each have an important role to play and as a team you all focus on the same goal. You all create a positive and caring atmosphere, you meet of all our needs through your relentless attention to every detail and your energy and enthusiasm is simply contagious. Now that's the kind of team that I would like work for.
Victoria & Tom Schmidt: Manual is an incredible gentleman. Not only does he drive the bus with pride, but he quietly watches over all of those under his care. I enjoyed watching the way he lovingly cares for his bus and his van. He is funny, polite, and a genuine delight.
Mary Highsmith The Focus Staff couldn’t be better. They are the most accommodating people I have ever met. After being with Ana, Kristina and Tere for just a short time, I felt as though I had known them for years.
Jim Cronkwright: There is no way I can say enough good things about the entire Focus staff. Such a talented, loving, serving, caring, knowledgeable group of professionals is really rare, but you have it.
Kathleen Phelps: Ana, Kristina and Manuel were particularly helpful to me and I greatly appreciate their kind efforts. They are all a great asset to your program. I am so grateful that God directed me to this program! It has helped me so much in introducing me to a “foreign” part of the world that I would never have considered referring to without it. Ray and Marie have truly created a special asset to potential residents.
Michaela Sirbu: "The Focus on Mexico program is truly awesome and well worth the price." Loved the connections that I formed with the Focus team members, who will be a valuable resource when I move to the Lakeside. Thank you for your care, kindness and helpfulness!
Pat Ptashnyk: The Focus Staff were very friendly people, each one made you feel welcome and valued. I would recommend this program and encourage anyone thinking about coming to Mexico to seek it out even if they were not coming to this area. The fact that anyone who has taken the course is welcome to come back is a big bonus.
Arci Estorga: The Focus staff made us feel like family. You guys are amazing in your hospitality, your kindness and your willingness to go out of your way to make us comfortable.
Bob Wagner: I have never experienced such a loving and caring group of staff members as you have. Ana and Liz were exceptional. The most informative and caring people I have ever met. Some like each of them would get to the ends of the earth to meet our needs. Very professional and knowledgeable.
We are well aware of what a special team we have, but it's especially nice to have them appreciated by our participants too. We thought you would like to get to know them a little better:
Marie Dwyer-Bullock, Director of International Marketing
Marie is Director of International Marketing and co-founder of Focus on Mexico. She is passionate about helping people learn everything they need to know about the real Mexico; sufficient for them to make an informed decision and then a smooth transition to the next best chapter of their lives. Marie has a great love of Mexico and her people and an incredible ability to help people experience Mexico through her eyes and heart.
Having run her own company in Alberta Canada for many years, and taking numerous personal development and marketing courses (studying under the Marketing Guru – Jay Abraham), Marie’s specialty is marketing and people; she is impeccable in her attention to detail.
Marie and Ray moved to Mexico in 1995 and shortly thereafter began bringing groups of Canadians and Americans and now Europeans to Mexico to see if it is right for them. They are true ambassadors for their new adopted country.
Home Phone: (376) 766-3987
Cell in Mexico: 331-319-0118
Vonage: From U.S. 210-745-1404 From Canada: 416-619-9310
Ray Bullock, President
After almost 30 years in Engineering and Project Management in the Oil and Mining Industries, Ray moved into Private Business, primarily in the Management and Financial aspects of Real Estate and Developments.
In 1995, Ray and his wife Marie decided to check out life in Mexico. It was an instant love affair but it was very difficult to get accurate and current information. This was the motivation to start Focus on Mexico. Recognizing that an educational program about Mexico was necessary and would provide a valuable and fun experience for people considering a move to Mexico, Ray and Marie set about researching all aspects of living in Mexico. Initially through live seminars and now via the internet, the Focus Fast-Track-to-Learning program has helped many people find a new and meaningful life in Mexico. In his free time Ray enjoys golfing with his Mexican and foreign friends and practicing his Spanish.
Kate and Bill Garner: Marie and Ray have to be commended for being the creative force behind this program and having the courage to begin it. It is really a great program. You know how to find excellent staff that not only get the job done but are just plain NICE. Thank you for a wonderful introduction to Mexico.
Bill McConnaughey, IT Manager
Bill has worked as an expatriate and in the United States. His journeys have taken him to locations throughout the world including the Far East, Mid East and various countries throughout Europe. He has spent more than 35 years in information systems technologies doing system analysis, design, development, implementation, client support and project leadership. He was heavily involved in the Sprint and Sprint PCS roll-outs in the United States. “I was happy to be a part of the company when they made history by launching the first single technology nationwide PCS wireless network…it was really a significant achievement, and I felt I played a small part in its success.” Bill has also studied martial arts off and on for the last 40 years in and out of the military. His main areas of study are Tai Chi Chuan and the arts associated with Tai Chi Chuan. He teaches tai chi in the are four times a week, and his very laid-back nature has prompted many of his friends and students to say, “he went from Rambo to Gandhi” in his study of the martial arts. With Bill’s background and his very sociable nature and enthusiastic attitude, he's a very valuable part of the Focus on Mexico team.
Karen McConnaughey, Manager of Operations
Karen has been involved in advertising and marketing for over 30 years. She was also the Convention Manager for Puritan-Bennett Corporation for ten years, where she organized, coordinated, and scheduled meetings, major events, hospitality suites, etc., for a minimum of 33 conventions per year. “One of our biggest events was a hospitality gala held at the then newly built New Orleans Aquarium. We were introducing a new product that year at the American Association for Respiratory Care, and we wanted to create a big ‘splash,’ so the Aquarium was the logical choice. It was a big hit, and we got a lot of press from being one of the first organizations to use that venue for an event.” As a former Advertising & Promotions Manager for a major credit union in Kansas City, MO, she also brings a wealth of experience in writing, designing and creating promotions for newspapers, magazines and radio. With her winning smile and delightful personality, we’re happy to have Karen on board the Focus on Mexico team.
Manuel Garcia, Director of Transportation
The very best bus driver in all the world, Manual Garcia has been with Focus on Mexico since 1996 and has been on every single Focus on Mexico program. He put four of his five children through University driving his big bus. Manuel is always popular with our participants. As Focus alumni Chuck and Mary Rublaitus wrote, “Manuel: you are a very special person, always there to get us after each outing and more than ready to lend a hand helping one out of the van, but always ready to teach us a little Spanish.” And alumna Dinah Estrada echoed, “Manuel was not only a skilled driver but also a kind and courteous gentleman.” Hats off to Manuel.
Focus now has its own in-house Reps to look after our clients- scroll down to meet our fully qualified team.
Focus Participants who come on our Focus Fast-Track-to-Learning programs and decide they want to live here find choosing the right property (to buy or rent) to be an important decision. In order to best service all our clients, and to maintain our strict policy of ‘no pressure,’ we brought on our own team of people to act as liaisons for our clients. We wanted to ensure that clients interested in real estate had access to the whole real estate industry, while not feeling pressured to buy anything. We respect our clients’ decision to gather all the information and make their own decision when the time is right for them. Some people are ready to buy when they come on the program and others are five years away from even considering a move. Others want to rent first or only rent. The information they learn will be invaluable to them, whatever they decide and the Focus Team is here to help them through the process.
And for people looking for real estate before they come, they can be the eyes on the ground to answer questions or get more info about certain properties or areas. And for those Focus clients interested in rentals, they can advise them on the different locations and pros and cons, and recommend several property managers we know are good to deal with. So whether our clients buy or rent, we (Focus) are there to help you with the transition.
They are all Focus Alumni who have come on the program and moved here so are in the same head space as our clients and can relate to all the same things. This service has been extremely well received from Focus participants.
Vern and Kathleen Carlson, Oct 30 Focus Group: "We can unequivocally say that the benefits of taking the course exceeded our expectations. We thought the real estate segments and outings were excellent - really well done! We didn't feel any pressure to buy, yet had so much incredible expertise at our fingertips! This was a really thorough study on the various communities lakeside, with ample time to visit *(and sometimes re-visit)) anything we wanted to see - which gave us a great 'feel' for values and communities. We did finally find our dream home and couldn't be happier. As for the Focus staff and Buyer's Agents, we have only positive things to say about everyone we've encountered and worked with. This is an extraordinary team of people, each and every one of whom brings value to the program.
Mike Marks & Andrea Bruce, Feb 2011 Group: The Focus team is an amazing group of individuals. The knowledge, the intellect, the expertise, the warmth, the kindness and the open hearts of these people touched me. I feel that I have made friends for life and gained a support system that will make my transition to Mexico elegant and fun. In order to purchase a home we needed special concessions, and the advice from Focus was invaluable in getting the deal accepted. The resources are beyond a doubt invaluable in every area that I might need advice or assistance. Thank you Focus Team! Job well done. I also noticed that everyone on the team loves their job, as well as who they work with and for. How refreshing!
We also help with the Relocation
Our in-house reps not only help our clients with their Real Estate needs (with no pressure) but they can offer valuable assistance through the relocation process, making for a smoother transition. We also have a special website for Focus Alumni to help not only with the relocation but ongoing after the move and once living here in Lake Chapala. It is filled with important information for everyday living. And we are here to help in any way, long after the program is over. Focus becomes your extended family.
“Working for Focus gives me the opportunity to help people realize their dreams of retiring to one of the most beautiful places in the world…making a difference in people’s lives is fulfilling, productive and fun, all at the same time.”
Catherine Gonzales was raised in New Orleans, moving to Houston for high school. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in marketing. She began her career working with Duracell Battery Company. After five years, Catherine left Duracell as a District Manager to open a computer business. She owned and operated a successful computer business for 12 years. After selling the business, she worked for companies such as EDS, Sprint, and EMC. Catherine has also conducted Webinars for high-tech companies such as Dell and Sprint as a Sales Coach training their people.
Catherine has two children; a son who is a graduate of the University of Georgia and is a Captain in the U.S. Army stationed in Italy. He and his wife are expecting their first child in September.. Her daughter lives in Houston. She works as a Customer Service technician in the Oncology department of Gulf Coast Veterinarians.. Catherine is married to a man from Sante Fe, New Mexico. Not only is he a prince, but he speaks Spanish, which is great for living here in the Lake Chapala area and is a great benefit to out Focus clients also.
Some of Catherine’s favorite hobbies are bridge, tennis and reading. Her passion is playing bridge and competing in tournaments. She also loves ‘helping people find what will make their hearts soar’. Coming to Mexico can be so liberating. Seeing people discover this for themselves is a joy.
She also shared with us her passion about living here in Mexico: “The thing I love most about living in Lake Chapala is the feeling of serenity and peace. I breathe a sigh of relief when I cross the border going south…all my cares seem to slip away with each mile. When I drive into my community and see the pool where it meets the lake and the mountains, I am so happy.”
Catherine went on to say, “Everyone must come to love this place on their own terms and time. Trust that you can make this happen if your heart says it is right. We had many obstacles to overcome that were only possible having made the commitment to come here.”
Catherine is an extremely competent, caring, attentive person and everyone she looks after is thrilled to work with her.
Name: Catherine Gonzales
Local Phone number: (376) 766-0206
Dale Wilson: Catherine - Thanks for all your time and expertise and connections during this trip for me to Ajijic. You truly made everything so very easy, and quick! You are such a perfect person to do the work you are doing, and it's obvious that you enjoy it. I am glad we had the time to get to know each other a little better, and I look forward to more of that when we're neighbors. Take good care, and thanks again for all your help. I truly couldn't have done it without you. Abrazos, Dale
Pat and Judy Neary - We signed up for the FOCUS on Mexico program in order to learn about the
wonderful Lake Chapala area. We envisioned attending
the program, if we like the area, we would keep it in mind for our retirement
- many years in the future! As they say, "the best laid
plans......." Marie paired us with Catherine Gonzalez (and the added
benefit of her dear husband, John.) We immediately hit it off. By Wednesday,
we were ready to retire NOW!! Catherine thought she knew of a new development
we would like. We were sold. Catherine helped us by drawing up the
purchase contract, making suggestions for changes and additions and submitted
the completed contract to the broker. Within two days she had left a voice mail
message excitedly congratulating us on the complete acceptance of our offer
contract. She also shared she was looking forward to our moving down - and an
offer to help me go shopping for furniture to outfit our dream retirement
home.We are now very excited to think about our new home, new friends and new
Exactly one year after taking the FOCUS on Mexico program,
and being teamed with Catherine, we are now preparing to close on our new home.
Catherine has gone above -and way beyond - our expectations.
Not only has she regularly sent us pictures to share the progress of our
home, she has met with the builders rep on several occasions to advocate on our
behalf in our absence. She never hesitates to contact us by phone or
email to clarify any issues that have surfaced.
We visited Ajijic in August to check on our home. She
invited us to her home, included us in a cocktail social and took us to some
furniture stores to get decorating ideas. She and her wonderful husband
picked us up at the airport and referred us to a dependable driver to take us
back at the end of our stay. The home buying process would have been
much more anxiety-producing and awkward without Catherine guiding us. We
remain forever grateful and are so excited to move to Lake Chapala
when we retire in several years.
Audrey Doll and Phil Newbold- When we decided to move to Mexico we didn’t realize how critical the support from the Focus on Mexico team would be in making our move relatively easy. Catherine Gonzales, a key member of the Focus on Mexico team, guided us through everything from building our local team; finding our eventual house; structuring our finances; and navigating the multiple aspects of an international move. To paraphrase a popular commercial, don’t try to do this at home by yourself.
Gloria and Peter Fishman - Our participation in the Focus Program on April 17-24, 2010 was not only greatly enjoyable but also very fruitful - a trip that resulted in the purchase of our home with a fantastic lake view in the Los Sabinos community where we now live part of the year as Ajijic snowbirds. We made our property purchase through Catherine, and in that process we grew with her as she stayed in close contact with us. We had planned to be in Ajijic for one week prior to the settlement date. Catherine and John needed to be in the US during that period. Without hesitation, they offered their house to us. To ease our feeling of intrusion, they said they needed house sitters at that time anyways. We benefited from and will never forget their generosity and caring.Catherine is a seasoned Relocation Advisor at Focus on Mexico. So many Focus alumni whom she has assisted have become her friends. If you don't believe it, just attend a party that she and John host periodically. Not only are they hospitable and utterly pleasant to be with, they are eager to help others. Con mucho afecto, we say Catherine is indeed our friend for life.
Steve and Cindy Paustian - We have great
news...our home sold this weekend, thanks to the thousands of sandhill cranes,
canadian/snow geese and beautiful sunset over the Platte River. Hope all
is well with you and John and the Focus on Mexico Group...looking so forward to
starting our new lives very soon. Thank you as always for your continued
support and guidance through this process. We could not have done this without
Wendy Scott & Rob
Harkema - Catherine
Gonzales was assigned as our relocation agent from the Focus On Mexico course
that we enrolled in February 2013.
Catherine helped to
smooth out a stressful process. There
are many steps to becoming a resident of Mexico and she was there for us from
beginning to end with advice, contacts and even a sounding board on those
frustrating days when we seemed to be moving backwards.
The saying “You don’t
know what you don’t know” is fitting while transitioning to a new country. Many
problems and questions arise as you go through this process. Catherine does not
always know, but she is confident enough to say so. She then finds out the
correct information in a timely fashion.
Once we arrived, her
generosity and support continued.
Catherine helped us with all the details once our feet hit the ground –
house rental, cell phones, banking, various applications, car purchase,
contacts, house hunting, activities, where-to-buy-that, best restaurants and
introduced us to a ready-made, like-minded social group that also supports us.
Focus On Mexico offers
a complete and thorough education on making the move to Mexico. But it’s people like Catherine Gonzales that
make the process personal and enjoyable and she obviously loves her job. She is dedicated, loyal, informed and makes
the whole process a fun adventure. She
is more than a relocation agent, she is a great friend.
“I love helping people follow their dream and supporting them throughout the process. There is so much to know when making a move to a new country and having your own personal contact that has been there and done that, makes the transition that much smoother.
Paulette has extensive business experience, and being a resourceful and organized person, she started, owned and operated several businesses throughout her working career - an interior decorating/drapery business, a gift shop, a small restaurant and a real estate office. She says, “Nothing gets to me more than being told, ‘It can’t be done!’” Paulette worked in Canada as a real estate agent for around
12 years and owned her own office for 5 years. She worked for a
developer for a few years selling new construction. Owning rental
properties of her own over the years has also given her a broad
foundation of building and renovating many properties. Her interior
design and decorating background make her a wonderful asset.
“I love to take courses and learn new things,” Paulette says. It’s obvious from her credentials. She received a Residential Interiors Certificate program at the University of Alberta, Canada, where she learned computer assisted drafting, which she really enjoyed. Also, when she worked as a Real Estate Agent she took many real estate courses including one focusing on working with people who are relocating – ReloPro and e-Agent. “I love helping people and learning about them and their lives,” Paulette says. “And, sometimes to make something work, you have to be inventive and creative…there is always a way! That’s one of my strong suits!”
Obviously, Paulette is interested in Interior Design, but she also loves to read, knit, do cross word puzzles, computer drafting as well as enjoys her sons, their wives and five grandchildren. “One thing I’ve learned about myself since moving is that I can make anywhere feel like home in a relatively short time and adapt to a different way of life, to new customs and ways of doing things. I think that my personality fits well here – just go with the flow!!”
And, when asked “What do you love about Lake Chapala/Mexico?,” Paulette replied: “We love the good lifestyle and the people, both Mexican and foreigners, who seem to be like-minded people. We have a much more social lifestyle here and more new friends than in Canada. The weather is absolutely wonderful – no snow or freezing temperatures. We love the sunshine and the colors of the flowers and foliage.”
Name: Paulette Coburn
Cell Phone: 331-494-1624
Local Phone number in Mexico: 376-766-2595
Vonage number: 780-449-2425
Barb Reimer and Dale Kuker - Paulette and Randall Coburn. Without these two Focus individuals assigned to our home building project, it simply would have not have been such a pleasant and successful venture. From the onset, they worked very hard to present our home vision to the builder, complete with CAD drawings, detailed written instructions and numerous meetings with the sales representative and the job foreman. While we were in the States, they kept us informed on progress, both with detailed notes and reports, and on-site photos. And when we returned to close on the house on October 1st (only one day later than scheduled), they provided us with support and information to aid us in getting settled. Anyone wishing to purchase a new home in this area could have no better representation.
Jim and Judy Cronin -Thank you for all that you do Paulette. We talk about you almost daily and how we are so blessed to know you and Randall. You have truly been the most professional sales person we have ever dealt with. The whole experience of moving to the Village and being able to have you to be our rock is hard to understand. We can only believe that going forward will truly be a lifelong friendship with you and Randall. Anyone who has the fortune to work with you to assist to them in their quest to move to the village could not be more blessed than to have you be their realtor.Have a blessed holiday and safe travels.
Carla Rush: Paulette and Thomas make a
great team. They took an entire day after the Program finished to drive us all
around and show us houses and neighborhoods we might be interested in. I have
emailed questions to both of them since we got home and they have replied
immediately. This is a level of service I am not used to. Kudos to both of them.
Making a move to a foreign country is a huge commitment and
it makes it so much easier if you know that there is someone there that will
help you each step of the way. I know
because I was once in those shoes. Now it is my turn to be able to help those
who want to move part time or full time to our little corner of paradise.
I grew up in New York and
lived most of my adult life on Long Island. I
was in the financial world for over thirty years working as an accountant,
first in public accounting and then in the private world. I am a person who is
committed to seeing a project or a task through from the beginning to its
I have always enjoyed being able to help people whether in
my professional life or my personal life. In our spare time my husband and I
loved being on the water. For more than twenty years I was a member of the U.S.
Coast Guard Auxiliary which is the civilian arm of the United States Coast
Guard. We were on the water on our private boats on the weekends (as well as vacations)
so we were the eyes and ears for the Coast Guard. As an Auxiliarist I spent
many hours being trained and maintaining my training to assist boaters who were
in distress in all types of situations whether it was life threatening or even
if they just thought it was life threatening. This was a very rewarding
experience because boaters really appreciated knowing that there was someone
around that could help them in their time of need.
Besides boating, I enjoy reading, crafts, dancing and love
meeting and getting to know new people.
The things I love about living Lakeside
are the warm and friendly people both the Mexicans and the foreigners, the
weather, the great lifestyle and the ease of making new friends who pretty much
become your new family as well. I look
forward to being able to share this life changing experience with people that
decide to move to Lake
Cell Phone: 331-264-3394
Local number in Mexico: 376-766-5735
Vonage number: 956-688-8124
Concierge ‘A-la-Carte’ Services
It is with great pleasure that Focus welcomes Kira Byerly to partner with the Focus Fast-Track-to-Learning program, offering optional ‘A-la-Carte’ services to Focus clients.
Kira has spent
the last eight years living both in Guadalajara and the Lake Chapala Area. Born in Guadalajara and raised in her home
town Torreon, located in the Northern
dessert of the State of Coahuila, Kira started her working carreer as a
licensed Graphic Designer, and after going through several moves in various
cities, she had the opportunity to work
three years for the State of Yucatan Tourism Board, promoting the
Mexican treasures in several countries in world trade fairs in Spain, Germany
and London, among others.
Carlos, who has built his career as a business consultant, they both decided to
build a family by adopting two grown siblings, now integrating this new
adventure for the last two years.
Kira has had the opportunity to work and develop different skills during the
last ten years, such as Directors Assistant, Office Management, Condominium
Management, Hotel & Hospitality, Advertising, Property Management and Real
Kira brings a
multitude of skills to her position with Focus on Mexico including exceptional
computer skills, great organizational attributes as well as excellent
interpersonal skills. Always seeking simple and practical ways to get her tasks
done, Kira is a true pleasure to work with and a committed team player.
coming on board the Focus on Mexico Team, initially in the role of Program
Director, Kira quickly mastered the skills required in her role. When we
launched the new Focus Fast-Track-to-Learning programs, it was an easy choice to pick
Kira to provide the Concierge ‘a-la-carte’ services to Focus Fast-Track clients.
Kira rose to the occasion by setting up her new Management and Concierge
business, and now offers the Concierge and A-la-Carte services to our Fast-Track
programs as well as to Focus clients well after the program ends.
But Kira’s true
love is service to others; going above and beyond the boundaries to make your
adventure an unforgettable experience. Kira’s personal and friendly approach
will instantly set you at ease, knowing you will be very well looked after -
before, during and after the Focus program ends. We are extremely pleased to
now partner with Kira for the new Focus Fast-Track programs.