ESFG Lyon is run by a small team of volunteers who meet monthly to discuss membership applications, budgets and spending, and organise parties and other events.

The Committee has a maximum of 10 members. Within the Committee, the Board includes: President, Vice-President(s), Treasurer, Secretary, Vice-Secretary (Membership). All the Committee members and the Board are elected at our Annual General Meeting held in September of each year.

We are always looking for new members to join the committee, so if you have an hour to spare once a month to join us, please contact us!


Katy Giroud, President



Born and raised in North West England, I have been living in France since 2003 and in Lyon since 2014. My French husband and I have 3 children, a girl and 2 boys, all born in France and whose English culture and language we have always tried to encourage, particularly through the support of the ESFG.
I took on the role of President after the Covid pandemic and my aim, with the support of the Committee, is to get people back together again by proposing different types of events for families to enjoy in person, to enable them to build the enduring, supportive friendships that have brought joy to our members throughout the history of ESFG.
I hope to contribute to ensuring that Anglo parents in Lyon have access to a warm, friendly English-speaking space whether that is online or in person. This is so valuable when you might be feeling a little lost and in need of a good chat with people you can relate to.

If you choose to join us, I hope that you will find our group as welcoming and supportive as I have always done and that you and your family enjoy getting involved with everything that we have to offer for kids and parents alike.

Emma Jones, Secretary

After meeting a Frenchman on holiday (a classic ESFG story…) I moved to Lyon over 10 years ago. We now have an 8 and a 5-year old together. I first came to an ESFG baby playgroup in 2015 where I was welcomed with helpful hands to hold the baby while I had a cup of tea, a piece of cake, and a good old chat. 8 years on, our family is so grateful for the opportunities for the friendship, fun, support, and information this group continues to provide. Our children get to meet and socialise with other bilingual / bicultural kids just like them and the grown-ups get an ever-helpful, non-judgemental support network. This is my third year on the committee, and the second as secretary. I love being actively involved in the group.




Elsa Pagnoud, Vice-Secretary (Membership)

My dad being French and my mum Maltese, I have lived in both countries. I now work in Lyon as a maths teacher, trying to pass on some Maltese culture to my children, born in 2011 and 2014. I joined ESFG in 2015 and have since enjoyed loads of baby play groups, then play groups, and now MKC and parents outings. I’m the one handling membership for the ESFG. 




Amélie Veron, Treasurer



Ilona Brownjohn, General Committee Member



Mary King, General Committee Member

I first joined ESFG in 1998 after moving to France from the UK. I found it invaluable as a support network for both myself and young child. I remained a member until my kids were in secondary school and I was back working full time as a regulatory manager. After having my 3rd child, I re-joined ESFG as this group is such a lifeline for me despite having lived in France for more than 20 years. I have met some of my dearest friends through this group.

I help run the Magic Key Club which is geared towards 6 year olds and upwards. I think up fun experiments and activities to get the kids talking and interacting.



Allison LaMotte, General Committee Member

Originally from Minnesota, I’ve been in France since 2008. For years I avoided anglophone expats in an effort to fit in, but when I was pregnant with my first child in 2019 I started worrying he wouldn’t feel a connection to my culture and language. That’s when I stumbled upon the ESFG! And I’m so glad I did.

What struck me when I attended my first ESFG event was how welcoming everyone was. Even though many of the members had known one another for years, I immediately felt like I was part of the group. Now I’m a mom of two (aged 4 and 1) and I’m so grateful to have the support of this community. It truly keeps me sane! And my kids love going to the events too. So it’s a win-win!



Karuna Phommavongsa, General Committee Member


I was born and raised in London but I also have Laotian roots. I moved to Lyon in 2011 for work as a teacher. I live in the north of Lyon with my French husband (who I met here) and my six year old daughter is bilingual (French and English) with a few Lao words in her dictionary! I joined ESFG when my daughter was first born and going to baby playgroup every week was the beginning of some great friendships. I knew I was in the right place when I was asked the question, “Would you like a cup of tea?” Having a support network (with a cup of tea!) when you have a newborn is priceless. ESFG events and friendships in the group are so valuable, it’s a chance for us to have a little bit of England in France! Don’t be shy, come and meet us!



Jane Rodriguez, General Committee Member


As you can see my name is typically English and typically Spanish – just like my mum and dad 😉  I originally come from a village called Mere in deepest, darkest Wiltshire (south-west England) where people really do talk like the Wurzels – oooarrr! I studied in Leeds (French and German) and Bath (Translating and Interpreting), and before I moved to Lyon I spent some time living in Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and other parts of France. I moved to Lyon because my partner got a job here as a law lecturer so I ‘followed’, but as it happens I actually spent some time in Lyon as an au pair during my gap year back in… well that doesn’t matter… and always thought it would be somewhere I’d like to live later on.

I’m a freelance certified translator. I work from home part-time and spend the rest of my time taking care of my kids. It’s a juggling act but I love the perks of being self-employed and the chance to watch my children grow up. Talking of which I have two of the rascals. A son named Elias (14) and a daughter called Lila (8).


Kate Starnes, General Committee Member

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. My French husband and I met
while traveling in 2016. We then traveled together for some years before deciding to put down roots and
move to France in 2019. We now have a daughter who is 16 months old.

When I was pregnant, I realized that I wanted to find an English-speaking community for her and was
happy to find the ESFG. Her first year of life was a whirlwind and I had difficulties getting involved.
She is now nearly a year and a half old, and I’ve found more balance in our lives. Or maybe I’ve just
gotten better at juggling…. who knows 😉 I’m looking forward to helping create a space for both our
children and the parents to flourish and build connections with other bi-lingual families.

I’m an artist who expresses primarily through pottery and ceramics. In Portland, Oregon I had a small
ceramics business alongside my day job and am now very excited to launch it full-time in France. We
live in the Parc naturel du Pilat and I am interested in using our home to form some creative play dates
here. Do you also live in Pilat? Please reach out and let’s set up a time for coffee or tea.