ONLYLYON today relies on a powerful network of 26,500 Ambassadors, including 5,000 abroad.
Whether they are Lyon natives or people who have adopted the city, living in Lyon or abroad, the Ambassadors, through their activities and their love for the city, help to promote Lyon in France and around the world. This strategic influencer network plays a decisive role in the ONLYLYON program’s activities.
An international network
In all, 13 correspondents organise, develop and manage ONLYLYON communities in Sao Paulo, Sydney, Moscow, Boston, Montreal, Brussels, London, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and Paris! Detecting opportunities for business, cultural or academic collaboration for the Lyon area, they are vital points of contact for promoting ONLYLYON’s various missions worldwide.
Like her parents and grandparents, Noémie was born and grew up in the Croix-Rousse district. After studying at INSA, she headed off for the USA, diploma in hand... And now, at the age of 26, she has been living in New York since 2018. As a supply chain engineer for Dassault Falcon Jet, she discovered ONLYLYON in 2019. Seduced by the idea of promoting her hometown and building a network of good vibes on the other side of the Atlantic, she accepted without hesitating when offered the role of correspondent. “I was already an ambassador without knowing it, because I’m so proud of my city, I never stop talking about how great it is. Lyon is a human-sized city, perfectly located between ocean and mountains, combining lifestyle and incredible architecture. For me, France is Lyon: capital of gastronomy and possibly the best city in France!” she says enthusiastically, mentioning Paul Bocuse, Cafe Terroir, Monsieur P, Balthazar and Copains Copines on the Croix-Rousse Hill. Nowadays, she runs monthly after-work drinks with Hugo Crimier, bringing people from Lyon together around their ties to the city. “We live far from Lyon, so finding a bit of home here is great.”
He was born and raised in Lyon and still lives here when not putting on his shows all around the globe. Appointed as head of the Créteil and Val de Marne National Centre for Choreography in 2009, this "Lyonnais through and through" remains very fond of his city. The dancer and choreographer admits that Lyon, the capital of dance with its Maison de la Danse and its dance biennale, helped him become what he is today. A pioneer in his field, he continues to promote Lyon’s identity. The founder of Compagnie Käfig and of the Pôle Pik Choreography Center in nearby Bron, he has managed to take hip-hop from the streets to the stage of many prestigious venues. More than a form of recognition, for Mourad Merzouki being an ONLYLYON representative is a way for him to “wear the team's stripes and to build bridges between Lyon and the rest of the world.”
A Lyon native, Daniel Boulud is one of the most famous expatriate chefs in the United States. In New York, he heads several brasseries, cafés and restaurants, including the two-starred Daniel. The chef honoured us by serving as the representative of New York’s ONLYLYON community at a kickoff party in September 2019. “In my view, Lyon is a unique city given the influence of its gastronomy, its geographical location, culinary traditions, its wine-growing areas, and more broadly for its lifestyle. It is a subtle blend of excellence, enjoyment, history and creativity. Lyon is the perfect recipe!“
Working in the gastronomical sphere with her company Tastimony, Anne-Sophie has clearly come up with the right recipe for bringing together London’s community of Lyonnais and promoting the city across the Channel. Anne-Sophie, who coaches UK teams selected for the Bocuse d’Or competition and the Pastry World Cup, never misses a chance to help people discover Lyon.
After spending 11 years in Australia, Leo Denes became ONLYLYON’s Sydney correspondent in June 2016. He has built up a network of 150 Ambassadors there. The founder of the Australiance website, which offers services and advice to help people successfully expatriate to Australia, he also organises events that showcase Lyon to Australian startups. To thank him for the role he played in bringing Australian firm Award Force to Lyon, he was awarded an ONLYLYON prize in 2017. In 2019, he organised a Festival of Lights event that echoed Sydney’s VIVID music and light festival.
A consultant for French companies, Guillaume Dubuis has lived in Moscow for 25 years. An ONLYLYON correspondent since 2017, he manages the Muscovite community, which today has fifty members. A figure he wishes to ramp up by organizing more events and highlighting the activity of Lyon-area businesses in Russia. An effective scout, he presents Lyon’s strengths and advantages to business decision makers in the city he now calls home, and facilitates the work of Lyon delegations to build relationships between Lyon and Moscow.
Christophe Paucod, the Michelin-starred Lyon chef who heads Tokyo’s “Lugdunum Bouchon Lyonnais” bouchon in Tokyo did us the honour of becoming an ONLYLYON community representative in late 2019. It is a small piece of Lyon in the heart of Japan. With its typical Lyonnais décor the ONLYLYON Ambassadors enjoy gathering in this bistro-style restaurant. “I have tried to bring traditional Lyon cuisine with a slightly more refined touch, and slightly smaller quantities to offfer refined bouchon dining experience.”
A Franco-American, Julie-Anne Lutfi always dreamt of a life that would combine her two favorite cities: Lyon, where she grew up and Boston, where she studied law. Quite naturally, in 2016, she became ONLYLYON’s correspondent in Boston for the city’s 130 members of the Ambassadors network. A corporate lawyer, she has since then spread the “good word” among Bostonians. Involved in developing the Big Booster project (an international start-up acceleration program), she is also a go-to contact for Lyon inhabitants who wish to settle in the area.