Meet the Team
Co-founder and Apply in Sicily Coordinator, Italy
Jennifer Sontag has over 20 years’ experience as a small business owner. Her entrepreneurship journey began at just 10 years old when she started babysitting and washing cars. She went on to open a maternity clothing boutique at 19, which she sold to a department store eight years later. Jennifer expanded her business to focus on image consulting for high-profile female clients, including Michelle Obama and Madeleine Albright. A health issue sent her back to university at 35, where she completed her Bachelor in Social Work from Saint Louis University, and went on to earn a Master in Public Health with a speciality in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Kent State University, and her PhD in the same.
In 2015, she learned about the possibility of getting her Italian citizenship recognized, and down a rabbit hole she went. She emerged more confused than ever and was looking for someone to help. She contracted a service and arrived in Italy. Unfortunately, this was all during the height of the global pandemic, so she was forced to figure it out on her own—and that she did. And she did it so well, she started helping others who were at various stages of the process by connecting them with property owners or people working in the community.
As she’s always been passionate about designing pathways for people to achieve their goals, she took this hobby of helping others change their lives by becoming Italian citizens and turned it into what it’s become today: Italian Citizenship Concierge (ICC). Along the way, her now co-founder Bettina reached out looking for help with a client who was unable to secure a consulate appointment and would instead Apply in Italy. Over the next year, they started working together and sharing clients until they were business soulmates sharing a mission to help others make their Italian dreams a reality.
Jennifer loves her work and it is definitely a passion project, but every now and again she tries to find a moment for herself—which usually includes getting lost in a book. Jennifer doesn’t only thrive helping rescue people, she is also the proud owner of sweet Henry, a rescue dog with whom she loves taking on walks with no particular destination in mind.
Co-founder and 1948 Case Expert, US
Passionate about document and historical research, Bettina Holm eventually turned her personal interests into her life’s work. Originally from Italy, Bettina immigrated to the United States as an adult with her husband and two sons. The bureaucracy behind obtaining dual citizenship required her to take a deep dive into her cultural roots, eventually sparking a business idea to assist others in navigating the complexities of obtaining a second citizenship.
Before her immigration, Bettina earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Bologna and went on to earn her Master in Business Administration and Management there as well. As she’s always been internationally driven, her thesis focused on the advantages and disadvantages of universal banking—adding to her knowledge of both systems.
After 25 years of moving from country to country and home to home, Bettina and her family laid their roots. Once in the United States, Bettina started helping clients with the intricate details necessary for their dual citizenship. From document research to discovering family ties, she ensures that everything is in line for the process to go through successfully. Meeting Jennifer was perfect for Bettina, and merging their two companies into ICC was exactly what Bettina needed to continue making a lasting impact.
Bettina’s love for culture doesn’t stop at document research and family history, she also loves attending cultural events such as concerts and the theater. She’s passionate about reading and traveling and uses those as yet another way to immerse herself in different cultures.
Document Concierge Coordinator, US
Maggie Gray started her professional journey in the world of international relations, which was triggered by a trip to China at just 16 years old. She’s always been adventurous—in fact, she learned to drive a boat before a car.
She earned her Bachelor in Political Science and International Relations at Kent State University and shifted paths to earn her Master in Education at Maryville University. She worked in both international relations and as a teacher upon graduation, but was striving for something that would leave a lasting impact. She took the opportunity to join the ICC team and merge her skill sets.
Maggie’s work in international relations provided her the tools necessary to be an effective researcher and stay up to date on current topics regarding Italian citizenship. And her time in the classroom helped her with her communication and organization skills, ensuring that all of the necessary documents are in place throughout each step of the process.
On a personal note, Maggie enjoys working out, playing sand volleyball and hopping from cafe to cafe all throughout Cleveland, Ohio to find the best iced chai latte out there.
Head of Marketing and Academy Coordinator, Italy
After a year-long stint living in Madrid on a student visa, Elizabeth Orlando knew she wanted to stay in Europe. A conversation with a friend over brunch led her down a life-changing path that started with a consultation with ICC. The next thing she knew, she was on a plane to Sicily to officially start the process of obtaining her Italian citizenship.
Elizabeth earned her Bachelor in English & Communication at Hope College and went on to earn her Master in Arts: Media, Communication, & Theatre at Northeastern Illinois University. These credentials led her to work in media for over 10 years, managing television and digital investment for multi-million dollar brands. She worked extensively on strategic planning and initiatives and gained the skills necessary to best position brands for success on various social media platforms. She led a team and trained junior level employees, furthering her communication skills and her ability to simplify complex ideas, which has proven crucial as the Academy Coordinator.
Once Elizabeth’s citizenship was recognized, she wanted to stay on with ICC to give back to the team that helped change her life. When she’s not working, she can be found in the gym, out hiking or running, lounging on the beach reading, or watching some form of theater—mainly musicals. And on a different note, the rest of the team is jealous of Elizabeth’s capability to drink wine and whiskey and never have a hangover.
Document Essentials Assistant, Italy
Laura Perkins has always had an adventurous side—so much so that she’s applied to be on the TV show Survivor multiple times. Unfortunately she never was selected, so she decided to create her own next adventure by moving to Italy and becoming an ICC client.
Impressed by what the company was offering, Laura went through the citizenship process and then decided to apply to be part of the team. Her extensive experience of running small businesses and non-for-profit organizations for over 40 years has helped her seamlessly shift into her current ICC role.
As Laura is semi-retired and thrilled to have left corporate America, she considers this the best job for her in this transition. She is thriving in Italy and has no plans to leave anytime soon. As she now has more free time than ever before, she uses it to travel to different countries and experience new cultures and ways of life. Plus, she just became a grandmother, so she jets off to the UK as often as she can to get some extra baby time.
Italian Language Coordinator, Italy
Roberta Sneider views travel and language as her first loves. Her passion for learning about other cultures and their forms of communication has grown into a passion for teaching others. Don’t be fooled though, Roberta grew up in an Italian family, which means finding her own voice wasn’t a walk in the piazza.
As a graduate in foreign languages and literatures from Goethe University Frankfurt, Roberta found her voice in teaching. She decided to open an Italian language school in Germany and taught there for many years until she made the move back to Rome.
Roberta and Bettina have been friends for as long as they can remember, which naturally fell into a working relationship as well. When the merge happened, Roberta decided to return to her true passion of teaching Italian by offering lessons to the ICC clients. When she’s not teaching, you’ll likely find her reading, writing, or pursuing her love of photography.
Document Concierge Assistant, US
Originally from Italy, Virginia Cherullo is proud of her Italian roots and loves connecting other people with theirs. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Genova at Liceo Sandro Pertini and later moved to the United States with her husband.
In 2017, Virginia was introduced to Italian citizenship by descent and knew that she wanted to be involved in helping people complete the process. She met Bettina early on in her move to the US, and they recently decided to bring their passions together. Based in Colorado, they work together to manage the Denver office.
Although she’s stateside, Virginia still has a very strong Italian accent—something that just won’t go away! It makes her a bit more authentic, we think. In her freetime, she enjoys visiting museums and art galleries. She is also a big foodie and likes trying new things when she travels.
Housing Placement & Real Estate Partner, Italy
Angela Del Popolo
Document Translations Partner, Italy