Rubina is a counseling psychologist and mother of 2 TCKs, with 19+ years professional experience working in India, UAE, The Netherlands, Brunei and currently based in the USA. She holds a double Masters degree and has held positions as a counselor and special needs educator. Rubina considers herself an adult TCK, is passionate about travelling and thrives on experiencing different countries and cultures. Having worked with over 50+ nationalities and been confronted with different cultural perspectives of the hijab, Rubina wants to share her story of the biases she comes across as a practicing Muslim without a hijab in an international setting.
Rhoda Bangerter is an MK, a CCK, a global nomad, a wife, a mother of TCKs, and a certified life coach. Rhoda's mission is to raise awareness of how culture impacts our multicultural lives, to provide tools to thrive in it and a safe space for storytelling and discussion around cultural differences. Rhoda's experience of multi-culturalism is very close to home with her husband of fourteen-years who is a veteran traveler, including to war-torn countries. He is currently working abroad for two years on a bachelor posting (2019-2021) while she lives in Switzerland as solo parent to their two sons. You can contact Rhoda through her website at www.amulticulturallife.com.
Jane Barron (MEd) is a youth intercultural transition specialist, educator, researcher, speaker and author. Her work is informed by 26 years of experience in both international and local schools, parenting two cross-cultural children, a domestically mobile childhood and repatriation to Australia. Founder of Globally Grounded, Jane consults to international and local schools, families and students crossing cultures - developing their understanding of the impact of cross-cultural mobility, creating programs and implementing support mechanisms to enhance learning and life. A Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN) Board Member and 2017 Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency Scholar, Jane is co-author of Insights and Interviews from the 2017 Families in Global Transition Conference-Building on The Basics: Creating Your Tribe on the Move.
Amoneeta's Edoda (father) is Aniyunwiya (Cherokee) and his Ima (mother) is Israeli. He received his PhD degree in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University. He has over 10 years of experience from various facets of psychology including mental health and crisis counseling, teaching, as well as from research. As a scientist-practitioner, Amoneeta’s research and practice mutually inform each other. His research aims to contribute to marginalized groups’ growth, resilience, and life enhancement. He is currently a psychology faculty member and the Counseling Psychologist at Webster University in Thailand.
Valérie Besanceney is originally Dutch, Swiss by nationality, and holds the numerous cultures she has lived in close to her heart. Valérie has been an international educator for the past 15 years. Author of two children’s books, B at Home: Emma Moves Again and My Moving Booklet, she is passionate about helping students and their families thrive through their transitions and serves on the Board for Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN). Together with her American husband and their two young daughters, she loves exploring the benefits and challenges of being a multi-cultural family. Valérie has been a member of FIGT since 2014 and on the program committee since 2016. She has served on the FIGT Board as Program Director since October 2018. Visit her website at www.valeriebesanceney.com.
Aleka Bilan brings more than 25 years of education institutional experience to her business as an educational consultant. Aleka was a teacher and school counselor with assignments in four different continents and spent the past dozen years in Asia. Most recently, Aleka was Head of the High School Counseling Department at Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) in Indonesia, where she spent five years as a comprehensive socio-emotional and college/career counselor for grades 9 to 12.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sarah Black is the founder of Athrú Communications, a tiny PR and marketing consultancy with a big attitude and a big heart. She has more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience ranging from major global brands to tiny non-profit start-ups in Ireland, the UK, Norway and the US. This experience includes work with a wide range of peace and reconciliation organizations in Northern Ireland. Sarah passionately believes in the power of effective communications to drive change. Learn more about Sarah's work on her website at www.athrucommunications.com.
Linda Bloemberg is a secondary school counselor at Concordia International School Hanoi. She raised three TCKs of her own and has worked with 100s of students in her 23+ years in Hanoi. With many years of experience both in the classroom and as a counselor, she is very aware of the strain on schools to build community in the midst of all the transitions and academic demands facing students, teachers and counselors. With a focus on restorative practice, Linda completed an action research project for the International Institute of Restorative Practice and is in the process of establishing a professional learning community to support teachers in her school who endeavor to bring a restorative approach to the classroom.
Lori Boll is an experienced Special Education leader with a personal connection to individuals with disabilities. In 2003, Lori’s son, Braden, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This milestone event changed her focus from teaching elementary students to advocating for all children and their education. In Shanghai, China Lori co-founded the first inclusive school in the city. Currently Lori is running the Intensive Needs Program which opened up at International School Bangkok in 2017. Lori has been appointed as SENIA's (Special Education Network & Inclusion Association) Executive Director beginning in June. Lori has over 20 years teaching internationally and has raised her own TCKs.
Carine Bormans, teacher and mother of two adult sons, is an experienced expat-partner who has lived in Kuwait, Brussels, Vienna, Paris, Geneva, Nairobi, Kinshasa and lives at present with her husband in Bamako, Mali. While in Brussels she worked two successive contracts as Family Officer at the HR-department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, where she specialized in training embassy staff and their spouses about life when abroad and after returning to Belgium. This extensive experience resulted in the development of a practical, easy to use and comprehensive model for expat-partners who find working abroad the obvious choice. By sharing this model, Carine hopes she can help young expat-partners to take up the challenge of living abroad while maintaining a professional activity.
Cath Brew is an illustrator, story-designer and heritage interpreter. She runs Drawn to a Story, which explores Identity, Belonging and Expat Life. Cath specialises in expressing visceral experiences and 'the intangible' - the cultural and personal meanings and quirks of expat life that we often don't know how to verbalise. Cath is author/illustrator of Living Elsewhere - 100 cartoons of what it's like to live outside your home country - the good stuff and the more challenging. Clients tell Cath that she gives them a voice and helps them process their complex thoughts and feelings. Cath has also illustrated and designed a range of books and publications, including signage for heritage sites.
Trisha Carter, is an Organisational Psychologist, specialising in Intercultural Psychology. She is a Certified Facilitator in Cultural Intelligence (Adv) and has been helping clients to grow and develop their cultural intelligence for over 20 years. Trisha has delivered training and presentations in all states of Australia and in countries around the world including PNG, USA, UK, The Netherlands, Malaysia, China and New Zealand. Trisha is the founder of TransCultural Careers and the designer and founder of the online learning portal CICollective.
After receiving her marketing degree and enjoying 25 years of a truly global career in advertising, Renata decided it was time to transform her lifelong hobby of interior designing her own homes and those of her friends into her new profession. Since then, she has earned her Interior Design degree in NYC where she is currently based, and developed a design process that combines the global influences she has experienced with the needs and style of her clients to help them create their own perfect oasis. Her studio is specialized in residential design services for the expat community, dedicated to helping individuals and families create a home wherever they are. Visit her website www.rgcprojects.com.
Vivian is the founder of Expat Nest which promotes the emotional well-being of expats by offering online counselling services. She is a psychologist with Masters degrees in both Child and Adolescent Psychology and in Health Psychology. A multilingual bicultural and expat with family all over the world, Vivian herself feels most at home in the international community and is inspired by its diversity. She was a counsellor at a top international school in the Netherlands, a taskforce member of the International School Counsellor Association and an online facilitator with the Council of Europe’s Pestalozzi Programme. Vivian is the FIGT Affiliates Director and also the co-chair for the FIGT Affiliates in The Netherlands and Greece.
Jason Coates is an international education consultant based in Singapore. He provides families and students with strategies and custom action plans in order to take full advantage of life's opportunities and help students realize their personal interests for their educational journey. With more than 20 years experience in education, marketing, public relations and communications, Jason uses storytelling techniques to help students create and develop a themed personal narrative that is authentic and compelling, which broadens opportunities in line with personal interests and professional goals. Visit his website at www.fycc.biz.
Sara Coggiola is a Life CoActive coach focusing on expats, families in transition, trailing spouses, and Third Culture Kids. She facilitates cross-cultural workshops and training for both the corporate and private sector. Sara has built her portable career after realizing that moving countries is challenging if both spouses are to grow their respective career paths. She has co-designed and co-lead a serie of workshops about personal and professional reinvention, aiming to give new perspectives to people to work on and turn into opportunities. Her website is between-cultures.com.
Edward is a UK-based cross border financial adviser at Cross Border Financial Planning who specializes in helping globally mobile individuals with their financial planning. His clients come from all around the world and he has built up a trusted global network of tax and legal specialists to help them. Edward is a keen sportsperson and takes every opportunity of his spare time to be outdoors and active.
Now based in London, Polly has lived for varying lengths of time in Mexico, Ireland, Italy, Costa Rica and the US. After graduating from Manchester University with a BA (Hons) in Spanish and Italian, she spent 15 years in international book publishing, running the foreign rights department of the independent publisher Canongate Books. A three year stint in California as an accompanying spouse with two young children in tow was a formative experience and led her to complete a Masters in Cross-Cultural Psychology and to train as an intercultural trainer with Anne Copeland. She now heads up the Global Mobility department of Parental Choice, an agency that helps families orientate themselves when relocating and repatriating, with a specialist focus on finding childcare and schools.
Anne P Copeland, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the founder and Director of The Interchange Institute, a non-profit organization focused on the understanding and support of people in intercultural transition. Anne was Associate Professor at Boston University for 19 years before choosing to take her work outside academic life. She has completed extensive research on expatriate adjustment and has authored over 100 research articles, chapters, and professional presentations. Anne developed the training-of-trainers course, Crossing Cultures with Competence, for experienced professionals wanting to bolster their cross-cultural training toolkits. She was FIGT’s Program Director from 2007-2012. Learn more about her work at www.interchangeinstitute.org.
Scott Cowcher is an Australian who has lived in his home country for only one year out of the last 20 years. He has qualifications in Education, Mental Health, Public Health and Health Management. He has lived in Bangkok twice, but 20 years apart as well as in Cambodia and in Washington, DC. He currently lives in Bangkok with his husband and two children. His journey to FIGT commenced with his recent role as Regional Champion of South East Asia and the Pacific for the World Bank Family Network. Scott's role is to develop support networks for WBFN members and their families as well as support their dedicated country based Connectors and Champions.
Tanya Crossman is an Australian who has lived most of her adult life in China. Over the past 14 years, Tanya uses her passion about multiculturalism to mentor, write about, research and consult to support TCKs, CCKs, and multicultural families. Tanya regularly works with international schools, providing consulting on cross cultural competency and supporting CCKs, presenting to students, educators, and parents. Tanya is also the author of Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century (2016) and is currently researching toward a new book for young adult TCKs. She blogs regularly on her website and has appeared on numerous expat and TCK related blogs and podcasts.
Steven DeMille is the Executive Director for RedCliff Ascent, an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program. He specializes in working with struggling adolescents, young adults, and families. Steven has a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision and is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in the state of Utah. Steven has been involved in research on treatment for adolescent teens for many years. His research interests include adolescent treatment interventions, Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare, ethics, and effectiveness research. Steven has presented on adolescent interventions as various national and international conferences and his current focus is on the impact of nature and the outdoors on adolescent and family therapy.
Camille Deniau is a TCK, French by birth, who has grown up and lived in Singapore, France, London and Ireland. She is an exposed and collected artist and has grown her art www.projectrootsart.com in the last 4 years. Her artwork shares her feelings of rootlessness and search for “home” through a graphic exploration of trees. Camille has spent the last 20 years following art classes at studios and established institutions like University of the Arts London. She is based in London and works at Google where she participates in building the company’s diverse culture through interventions on personal development. Camille holds a BSc in Geography and Economics from the London School of Economics and an MSc in Management from HEC Paris Business School.
Monika is a specialist in organizational development, change and strategic management with a long-term commitment to the effective intercultural interaction. She lived part of her youth in Pakistan, was educated at the Vrije University in Amsterdam and at Henley Management College (UK) and now lives in the Netherlands. Monika holds two Masters of Science and one Master of Business Administration degree and has started her thesis at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam on Third Culture Kids and leadership. She speaks fluent Dutch, English and German, as well as reasonable French.
Helen Ellis is an MA (Social Anthropology) student at Massey University, New Zealand. Prior to beginning her MA, Helen had a career in travel, event management and business ownership. Inspired by her own life experience, her thesis is exploring the experiences of ‘long-haul distance grandparents’, an ever more common phenomenon and challenge for many in the context of global mobility. Helen and her husband live in Auckland, while three of four children and five of six grandchildren live overseas. Her years of transnational familial journeys sparked a fascination with the experiences of other distance grandparents. In 2020 Helen plans to follow her MA with a book about distance grandparenting. It will include global stories, thoughts and ponderings from grandparents, children and grandchildren, scattered all over the world. Her website is www.helenellis.net.
Sue Ellson, BBus, MIML, MAHRI, CDAA, MPC, ASA, WV, FIGT, is the Founder and Director of NewcomersNetwork.com (2001), a social enterprise established in Melbourne, Australia. She is an independent LinkedIn specialist, as well as a trainer and a writer. She is the author of four books on LinkedIn, Careers and Business, Marketing Hyper Locally and Gigsters, as well as a speaker and a career development practitioner. As a gigster she works with local, domestic and international clients. She is also a representative of NetExpat in Belgium (assisting trailing spouses) as well as a tutor at the Centre for Adult Education and consultant. Her mission in life is to connect people. Her next two books will feature poems as she also wants adults to read to each other, not just to children. Sue's website is sueellson.com.
Lisa Finn Powell is an author, Tedx speaker, journalist, humour columnist, performer and choral conductor as well as a voice, writing and speaker coach. She is the co-host of Stories Around the World radio show/podcast. She holds a BA in Communications, English Literature and Art History from the University of Missouri and an MA from the University of East London, where her social policy research on US/UK family-friendly employment policies was published. In Sydney, she founded her business, Inspire Harmony and created the Notes to Self personal development and leadership training workshops. She is a dynamic speaker on migration, grief, resilience, authenticity and vulnerability. Her books include The Thin Time - a travel memoir of grief and loss as an expat widow and mother of four, and the upcoming series Accidental Expat. Her website is lisafinnpowell.com.
Samantha Florent is a Third Culture Kid who used to have a language disability as a child. She married a TCK, and gave birth to two smaller TCKs. Her family had a charmed life moving around the world until disaster struck in the form of an American public school. The school district mistook their children’s unusual ESL profile, unfamiliarity with American social norms, and discomfort in the school environment as indicative of Autism and ADHD. The children described by their school were children Samantha had never met before. With the help of Maria Vetter (her co-presenter) a former Special Education teacher and currently an Education Consultant/Advocate the family navigated the Special Education process and got a legal settlement from the school district. It is likely they were one of the first families to get a settlement for a bad transition.
Karla Fraser has worked for 20 years in higher education administration in the US, Middle East, Caribbean, Central, and Southeast Asia. In 2019, Karla became an expat career coach and entrepreneur and launched Roseapple Global, LLC. The accumulated experiences over the nine years internationally have equipped her with the in-depth knowledge needed to guide and prepare aspiring, new and sequential expats in student affairs of higher education abroad. Thanks to the digital age, Karla effectively uses technology to provide invaluable coaching and preparation services for people from varying backgrounds globally. Based on her life experiences as a TCK and travels, she wants to help others achieve their goals of expat living.
Flor Bretón-García is a Venezuelan lawyer and linguistics specialist who has transited expat life since 2002. She currently lives in Germany where she works as a language and intercultural consultant. Flor shares her passion for her mother tongue, Spanish, by teaching children, young adults and executives both online and in-person. She is also an advocate for expat women empowerment, especially those who move overseas in a less privileged position. Flor began her journey as a social entrepreneur with her project Little Nómadas in 2016 and since then she has assisted many Latino families moving overseas.
Sarah Gonzales is Director of Graduate Programs at the Williams S Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. In addition to her work in higher education, Gonzales serves the NAFSA: Association for International Educators on their Trainer Corp team teaching Intercultural Communication in Practice, Admissions and Placement of International Students, and Assessment and Evaluation for International Educators. She has also taught Cross Cultural Negotiation and Conflict Management at Pepperdine Law for five years prior to joining UNLV, and is co-coordinator of the Research Network Affiliate for Families in Global Transition.
Elizabeth Greninger, PhD, is an educational consultant and parent of two bilingual school-age children living in Hermosillo, Mexico since 2015. She began her career as a public-school teacher in New York and Texas, and then went on to lead a teacher preparation program and serve as a Managing Associate at edCount, LLC, leading a range of projects in support of K-12. Most recently, she has been working with Proyecto Vimenti, Puerto Rico’s first charter school, to support curriculum and instructional planning. Elizabeth is a seasoned educational leader with a keen understanding of the distinct academic, developmental, linguistic, and cultural needs of students in diverse settings. She holds a doctorate in Educational Administration (K-12; public policy) from Texas A&M University and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
Claudine Hakim is Head of Advancement, Transitions and Student Support at the International School of London (ISL). She was one of the founding Head Teachers at ISL Surrey and is the leader of the award winning ISL Crossroads Transitions programme. Having lived in three continents, Claudine is passionate about fostering well-balanced and inclusive international communities. Claudine is a member of the ECIS Admissions Special Interest Committee and is a Board member of Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN) as Director of Certification. Claudine holds a Masters degree from the University College of London, Institute of Education in Educational Leadership and Management and a BA in Psychology and Counselling from Richmond International University.
Kevin is a Canadian whose heart for expatriate care developed while living in Thailand and providing a support role for Third Culture Kids in the late 1990s. After completing his MA in Counseling Ministries in 2007, Kevin continued with further studies and served in private practice. He then had the opportunity to specialize in expatriate mental health care over a five-year period at International Health Management in Toronto, Ontario. He is married with two young kids. As a family they delight in adventure and new discoveries and, since relocating to Thailand in 2015, there have been plenty of opportunities for that. In addition to his role as a psychotherapist, Kevin also serves as Professional Development Coordinator for Cornerstone Counseling Foundation.
Alaine Handa is a ATCK, travel blogger, cookbook author, choreographer, dancer, and an educator. She is the author of the cookbook In Search of the Best Swedish Chokladbollar. Alaine takes her TCK and expat background to tell her story through her cooking, travel writing, and choreographic projects. Armed with a myriad of colorful experiences, she strives to create cross cultural connections through food and performing arts. Visit her website at www.travelwithalaine.com.
Iris is a Psychotherapist and Expressive Therapist (PsyD, MA, DMT), holding a Doctorate in psychology specializing in family and couples’ therapy from the Professional School of Psychology, USA and a master’s degree from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, USA. She has been practicing psychotherapy since 2003 in Israel, Singapore, and Thailand, treating patients from different age groups, cultural and social backgrounds. As she and her family relocated from one country to another, she had to adjust her career to the new setting, as well as provide support and maintain treatment for patients from different areas on the globe. Iris works with a wide variety of patients, from diagnosing and treating certain personality disorders or emotional and behavioral disorders through working with couples and families on improving their relationship, to providing mental support to athletes or supporting people through relocation and culture adjustment. She works in different clinical settings such as schools, hospitals and private clinics. Learn more about her work at www.irishertz.com.
Elisabetta Iberni is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. She is interested to explore and develop new approaches in counseling and psychotherapy with people on the move, blending different theoretical backgrounds in a pluralist direction. She is currently based in The Netherlands.
A German-French psychologist, psychotherapist and PhD, Sonia has lived a location independent life as a digital nomad for the past four years while working as an online therapist, providing counselling to expats and other globally mobile clients in German, French and English. Growing up with two languages and cultures herself, Sonia experienced the challenges and advantages of the mobile and international life from an early age. After finishing her PhD in clinical psychology she decided to take a break and travel the world. However, instead of returning home afterwards she started an online private counselling practice and has been travelling the world ever since. In 2018 she traveled to and worked from 12 different countries across three continents including Australia, Europe and Latin America. Her website is www.sonia-jaeger.com.
Joyce graduated from the International School Bangkok (ISB), where she was President of the Thai History and Culture Club, recipient of the foreign languages award and the scarlet elephant award for her work with Cambodian refugees. Over 40 years later, attending FIGT’s conference last year at the former ISB campus, these memories came flooding back. Her early international experience sparked a life-long interest in intercultural matters and Joyce now teaches, coaches and researches intercultural management and communication. She was President of the Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research (SIETAR) Europa 2017- 2019. Joyce has lived in Singapore for over 10 years as well as in France, China, Japan, Pakistan and the UK. Joyce speaks several languages, including Japanese, Thai and Mandarin Chinese.
Jerry is a cross-cultural trainer, coach, writer, speaker, as well as an expat parent. He is the author of The Day Grandma Got Us Kicked Out of Mexico as well as 99 Questions for Global Families and 99 Questions for Global Friends. He lives with his family in Qingdao, China and his work can be found at www.thecultureblend.com.
Ekta is an Intercultural Program Specialist at BGRS in Singapore and is responsible for managing Intercultural and Language Training services. Prior to BGRS, she worked with Sterling Lexicon as a Client Engagement Manager on the Business Development Team and at Cartus, where she was an Intercultural Program Consultant on the Intercultural Team. Her passion in learning about different cultures sparked her interest in intercultural communication. Born and raised in multi-cultural Singapore, Ekta understands the importance of style switching when interacting with people of different cultures. She is fluent in English and Hindi.
Amy Kellogg has lived as an expatriate in the UAE for the past 16 years and has worked extensively with expat families, teenagers and children in a variety of contexts. Currently, she is a licensed counsellor in Dubai and serves as a Wellbeing Advisor for two international schools. She has a BA in Psychology from Grove City College (USA), an MEd in Counseling from the University of Texas - Pan American (USA), and is currently pursuing a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University (USA).
Katherine is the founder of InvisibleCulture.com, a consulting firm that specializes in cross-cultural workplace dynamics. Since 2000, Katherine has coached all levels of employees of Fortune 500 companies and their families around the globe. She is an Adjunct Professor at Baruch College in Intercultural Training, Coaching and Consulting, and is a Certified Process Communication Model® Coach. She also founded HantamNY, to support a program that is accomplishing 11 of the UN’s 17 Sustainability Goals, in one remote community in South Africa. “I believe we have so much to teach each other.” She has lived in Australia, Singapore, China, Costa Rica and now lives in New York City with her husband and three sons.
Originally from the US, Debbie has lived more than half her life abroad, including in Peru, Sweden, Germany and now Thailand. She is an educational consultant for TCKs, families, and schools and is currently a postdoc research associate at Payap University and an English teacher in Chiang Mai. She has an MA is in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies and has taught English across a wide array of settings. Her PhD dissertation examined the role of the teacher in fostering and facilitating transformative learning. She speaks English, German, and Swedish.
Anastasia Aldelina Lijadi, PhD won the 2015 Atlas TI Award for the best dissertation using qualitative methods at PhD level from the International Institute of Qualitative Method, University of Alberta, with a dissertation on proposing a theory of place identity construction of Third Culture Kids. Dr. Lijadi works in International Institute of Applied System Analysis (IIASA), in Austria. She serves as an editorial member for the Journal of Psychological Research and International Journal of School and Education Psychology. Dr Lijadi also serves as the Research and Education Director for FIGT.
Bernie and his wife, Katie, first took their two teenage children to Japan to work at Fukuoka International School in 2002. That kicked off an international education journey that also included Nepal, Tanzania, and the United Arab Emirates until 2019. The last four years Bernie was working as a university counselor at Jumeira Baccalaureate School in Dubai. As a career school counselor, supporting individual students, parents, educators, and school counselors has been at the core of his professional work since 1985. Most recently Bernie was confirmed as a Council of International Schools Affiliated Consultant Member. He attended his first FIGT Conference in 2019.
Diana is a nonprofit professional, blogger, activist, podcaster and Latina mom from NYC. On her blog Ladydeelg.com she writes about motherhood, life in NYC and raising bilingual and multicultural kids. Her podcast, Parenting and Politics, seeks to inform, inspire and empower parents to take action and make a difference. As a nonprofit professional and activist, Diana works with organizations that help mothers, children and families. She has worked with the Aspen Institute, MomsRising and was a UN Shot@Life Champion. Diana sits on the Board of Multicultural Kid Blogs, an online community for raising world citizens and Serious Fun Afterschool Program. She has an MA in Migration Studies and an MPA in Nonprofit Management. Diana is fluent in Spanish and French.
Ai Jun is a cross cultural coach, the co-founder of the FIGT China Affiliate, General Manager of Readers and Leaders, and the CEO of Qiaojie Education. She spent 11 years as an expat in the South Pacific and in Europe. In mid-2019 she repatriated to Mainland China. She is currently living in Shenzhen, China.
A native from Hong Kong, Cecilia Lui brings 30+ years of multidisciplinary background across corporate administration, business development, communication, and learning & development with multinationals in both Canada and the Asia Pacific. Cecilia applies her cross-cultural lens to all disciplines of her work in HR, business and cross-cultural consulting, coaching, training, and mentoring, supporting professionals on skills building and cultural nuance for career and personal growth. She frequently helps expatriates adapt their skills and approaches across cultures, personalities and environment by gaining self-understanding into their own cultural conditioning and makeup.
Madalina Lungu is a self initiated expat from Romania living in Germany, with a working experience in the field of cross border recruitment and relocation. She has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Personnel and Organisational Management. Madalina inherited the passion to live internationally from her father who was a skipper. From an early age she travelled across Europe for music tournaments. With her local team, she has created AIESEC internship opportunities for foreign students as well pursued professional training in Switzerland and Germany. Her headquarters is in Munich, Germany.
Amy McConnell Franklin, PhD, Med, MPH is a globally recognized trainer, author, speaker, changemaker, and leader in emotional intelligence and social and emotional learning. Now based in Chiang Mai, Thailand she is an independent consultant working with international schools and human service agencies who are educating migrants and other marginalized populations. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Amy sees emotional health and social connectivity as preventative capacities to build emotional resilience, strong and healthy social connections,clarity of values and identity to counterbalance our increasingly digitalized, confusing, fast-paced and globalized world. She has worked extensively on five UWC campuses worldwide as well as with diverse school communities in the US. Her website is www.amymcconnellfranklin.com.
With over 15 years of living, studying and working internationally, in Rome, Milan, Manchester, and London, Dominika Miernik is an award-winning international career coach and business idea generator for women. She specializes in helping expat women seeking to make an international career change to navigate the challenges and opportunities associated with discovering their dream career and then adapting to a new country. For self-employment-minded women, she expertly guides them to connect the dots between what they love to do and how they can design a business that matches their desired lifestyle. Her website is DM Coaching.
Isabelle began life in transition, repatriating to Korea a few months after birth. She grew up in 6 countries speaking 5 languages before permanently settling in Seoul. As CEO and Founder of the Transition Catalyst Korea Institute, Isabelle combines her multicultural upbringing with 30 years experience as a public broadcaster, adjunct professor, intercultural trainer, certified coach and facilitator to empower individuals and teams through transition.
Aiko Minematsu is an adult TCK residing in Tokyo, Japan. Growing up, she was enrolled in seven elementary schools in Japan and the USA because of her father’s job. As a result her childhood was a constant move between different cultures. She holds an MA in TESOL from the Teachers College Columbia University as well as a Secondary School teaching license for teaching English in Japan. She has taught English to returnee students in Japan for over ten years and is currently a university lecturer in Tokyo, teaching English for academic purposes. Her research interests are identity trajectories of TCKs, language education and multilingualism as well as teacher education. Her life goal is to empower TCKs in Japan through education.
Nikki is a serial expat with an Australian passport. Over the last 17 years she and her family have lived in Sydney, Hong Kong, Durban, Atlanta, Hamburg and Copenhagen. She is a project manager, podcaster, partner and parent. The podcast Two Fat Expats which she co-hosts with Kirsty Rice (4 kids 20 suitcases and a beagle), is listened to in over 160 countries and explores all facets of expat life, sharing the good, the bad and sometimes ugly through conversations with the global community. Since discovering her family was neurodiverse Nikki has become a passionate advocate for this community and the additional challenges they face as expats, which led to the creation of the Expat Kids Learning Differently community.
Janneke Muyselaar-Jellema is a medical doctor and has worked in the children and adolescent mental health field, in a child rehabilitation centre in and in an asylum seekers centre in the Netherlands, her passport country. Born and bred in Africa (Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe) she knows what it is like to grow up as a Third Culture Kid. Her parents worked in Africa for 35 years. She has travelled to more than 25 countries, loves diversity and writes for her blog DrieCulturen. Janneke currently works in medical education at the Leiden University Medical Centre and is a Youth Health Physician in The Hague, the Netherlands.
Chibesa is a mother of three, a spouse and a business owner with an academic background in HR Management and certifications in Individual Directions Inventory™ (IDI) and Career Coaching (CPCC). She has worked in Africa at the World Bank and with the US Department of State as a contractor, supporting international clients with global mobility and career development. She has a strong affinity for career enhancement, training and international relocation for expats, expat spouses and professionals in the international development space. Her motto in service delivery is 'One Size Does Not Fit All'.
Asako Noda is currently involved in setting up a new international school in Tokyo. Inspired by her childhood education in the UK, she is also implementing children’s creative writing programs in educational institutions. Asako was born in Singapore, grew up in the UK but did not have the opportunity to be fully identified as a returnee in Japanese schools due to the definition of “returnee” in Japan. After many years of living in Japan, she discovered that she may not have been a returnee but perhaps a TCK, and that was when her journey of “identity searching” began. Her passion and interest is to help create an environment for better understanding of ourselves and others for a more diverse Japanese society. She is currently a trainer at an international NGO which organises children’s cross-cultural camps.
Chris is a passionate and diverse author and speaker who uses a unique blend of storytelling, humor, and provocative insight to engage and challenge a wide variety of audiences. Addressing topics ranging from transition and repatriation to globalization and cultivating community and increasing empathy, Chris communicates with energy and personality. Chris’s book, Arrivals, Departures, and the Adventures In-Between, is written specifically to empower TCKs and help them make the most of their cross-cultural experience. It has also been used to teach cross-cultural skills and instill global awareness in a variety of disciplines at the college level and in business. His website is chris-o.com.
Katarina Osterman is a mobility specialist working in the relocation industry in Asia for over 12 years. After completing her University studies in Slovenia, she relocated to Shanghai for CWW and then joined Santa Fe in Thailand where she has been supporting expat families for over nine years. With her recent promotion to GM of Santa Fe Thailand, she is the first woman to lead this exciting market.
Doug is a psychologist, author, coach, presenter, consultant and PhD candidate. Author of Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it, Doug’s passion is to challenge the educational community to address transitions effectively. He provides training to support, refresh, equip, and connect transition-care providers around the globe who are committed to healthy student, family and staff mobility within and between schools. As the Chair of Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN), Doug seeks to support and connect school-based programs addressing international mobility and partner with schools to transform transition-care within the school community. His PhD research, The Safe Passage Attachment Study at International Schools (SPASIS), examines the relationship between turnover and attachment security. His website is www.dougota.nl.
Mariam Ottimofiore is an adult TCK and a Pakistani expat, who has lived in Bahrain, US, Pakistan, UK, Germany, Denmark, Singapore, UAE and Ghana. She is an economist, writer, researcher, author and blogger at And Then We Moved To in which she explores expat life, raising multicultural and multilingual children, and world travel. Her newly published book This Messy Mobile Life: How a Mola Can Help Globally Mobile Families Create a Life by Design (Summertime Publishing, 2019) is the first book in the expat genre that ties in multiculturalism, multilingualism and mobility to equip international families to navigate the complex challenges they face as a MOLA family. Learn more about Mariam on her website andthenwemovedto.com.
In her own way, Tracy is giving new meaning to communication by helping people and businesses become more visible in what they do. As a specialist with proven experience in Marketing Communications, Public Relations, and Strategy for the past ten years, as an executive it exposed her to managing cross-functional relationships with different teams across different time-zones. She says "I gained a deeper interest in how other forms of communication affect our lives; particularly the workplace because we spend 60% of our adult life working with people." Now, through her podcast, Visible At Work, she teaches foreign professionals how to unlock executive opportunities using communications in their new country. Tracy is also rounding off a Strategic Communications Graduate program in Philadelphia, USA, while living with her family in Vancouver, Canada. Learn more about her work at tracyoyekanmi.com.
Pascale is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Supervisor and Clinic Manager at Monash University, Melbourne. She works with children, families, schools and trainee psychologists from a range of cultural heritage at the clinic and in private practice. From Quebec, Canada, she lived in the UK for 18 years where she worked in varied settings and as an educational psychologist, including with army families. Pascale is a co-founder of the Melbourne Affiliate for FIGT. She has three children and her husband works in the international maritime signalisation industry. Visit her website at 3ppsychologies.com.
Carolyn (Interval Coaching and Consulting) is a Core Energy Life Coach and yoga teacher whole-heartedly serving global women in transition. An American lovepat with roots in school counseling, trauma prevention, bereavement, victim advocacy, and stage performance she’s spent over 30 years learning and teaching about how to avoid, live with, recover from, and embrace stress. Through the practice of Vinyasa Yoga, she teaches the power of syncing breath with movement, intention, voice, and presence in everyday life. Carolyn hosts the Global Women in Transition Facebook group, Vibrant Women’s Circle gatherings, and the upcoming Space Between Breaths Italian Retreat. She invites clients to explore their own continuum of change, creating space for deep connection, grief, and opportunities for creative expression. Carolyn lives in Italy, in a German-speaking village with her Italian-speaking husband and their 10-year-old multilingual CCK.
Ginny Philps is a social anthropologist with a global career encompassing sustainability reporting, stakeholder relations and social impact analysis. She has consulted for various NGOs and social enterprises and has established communications infrastructure for diverse, remote and city-based clients. Always keen to place sustainability at the heart of her own decision-making, Ginny is currently exploring how best to reconcile a conscious regard for the environment with her transient, travel-heavy lifestyle. Keen to open the floor to challenge and ideas from fellow global nomads, Ginny intends to share tools and tips for living a transient life that respects, promotes and actively supports environmental protection.
Sue Prior is an internationally minded and experienced inclusive educator, conference presenter, academic author and consultant, skilled in working within diverse communities in Australia, Thailand and Hong Kong, with a specialty in twice exceptionality. She is an executive committee member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children and a trained parent group facilitator with SENG (Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Previously Sue was the gifted education consultant for 140 schools in Brisbane Australia with extensive experience in special needs, giftedness and twice-exceptionality. Visit Sue's website at www.priorlearning.com.au.
Peter is an American (by passport), born in Kenya, and has lived abroad for 27 years, in Kenya, Nepal, Louisiana, South Africa, China, and Thailand. He lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand with his wife, Chrizelle, and seven-year-old son, Joel. By day, Peter is a partner of Stak Services, an international company based in China that specializes in custom product development and manufacturing. By night, Peter leads Soul Safari retreats to help people connect with greater meaning and purpose. Peter is passionate about pushing personal boundaries and venturing beyond the comfort zone. He is thrilled when he can help someone see things differently and consider possibilities that they weren’t aware of before.
Emily is an Australian and has lived abroad for 20 years. Both her daughters were born in India and have lived their whole lives in Asia. As a result Emily understands how challenging parenting in a foreign land can be and is passionate about providing support, community and resources to expats via support groups and coaching. With a background in HR and certified as a coach with WIAL, she draws on her skills and experience developed in a professional context to support parents living abroad. Her website is expatparentingabroad.com.
Sundae is a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist who specializes in minimizing time to adapt and maximizing satisfaction and success abroad. Sundae helps individuals adapt as quickly (and painlessly!) as possible to the ever-changing circumstances of international life. Her expertise is sought out by clients ranging from European multi-national organizations to international NGOs, from West and East African country directors to seasoned accompanying partners. Sundae helps individuals and organizations expedite success, create meaningful connections (abroad and at home), and cherish the experience. Her podcast Expat Happy Hour has been rated Nr 1 episode in Places and Travel on iTunes. Sundae is the founder of Trailblazing Spouseⓒ and Expats on Purpose © and her work can be found on www.sundaebean.com.
Monica has a degree in Adult Education Science and has been an HR Consultant for 25 years working in international corporations, teaching communication and negotiation skills within MBA programs. She's a mother of three Third Culture Kids and her family has been living overseas for the past 13 years, in London, Delhi, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh, Chennai and now Pune; true globetrotters! Monica's goal for the past 13 years has been supporting executives and their families as they connect with new cultures, enabling them to become happy and successful in their new homes. She also works with Third Culture Kids and recently she helped a brilliant 13-year-old become selected as a TEDX speaker. The 13-year-old's topic was the meaning of being a TCK. Monica's professional mission is supporting clients so they can get in touch with the higher versions of themselves wherever they are.
Born in London, raised with mixed cultures and languages; from an early age Taljeet (Talu) was intrigued by the question 'where are you from?’ This led her to study a Masters in Air Transport Management and travel to gain both self and global awareness. Talu's husband is German, an ATCK raised in Japan, and as expats they share a passion for living in different countries. For the past 20 years they have lived in Switzerland, Indonesia, Germany, the US and China. Today, Talu is a global citizen, a proud mother of two mixed race TCK children as well as a certified Life Coach. As a Life Coach, Talu empowers others to find purpose, happiness & balance in their lives, no matter where they come from or where they live. Her website is www.true-awareness.com.
Grace is an Asian-American born and raised in the US. After finishing her MA in Counseling Psychology, she and her family have served with Serve Globally/Evangelical Covenant Church since 2003 in Kyrgyzstan and in Thailand within the areas of medical/community development and counseling. She particularly enjoys working with couples using Emotionally Focused Therapy to help them establish more secure attachments in their marriage. In addition, she counsels individuals on a variety of issues in order to help them regain hope and healing. Along with counseling, she also serves as the Executive Director at Cornerstone Counseling.
Christian Shull is a TCK who was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, before moving to Cairo, Egypt, at the age of eight. He has been living abroad for 27 years. Christian's first extended encounter living in the US culture was attending St. Olaf College, Minnesota for his Bachelors degree in History, in which he also received the opportunity to study abroad throughout Asia. For the past two years he has been living in Spain while receiving his Masters degree in International Education at the University of Alcala de Henares. Currently Christian is working on publishing his thesis "On the Career and Educational Choices of TCKs". His previous jobs have included working in international, public, and private language schools in Taiwan, Thailand and Spain and working as a University Counselor in Shanghai, China.
Yui was born and raised in Lampang. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English (Literature) from Chiang Mai University and completed her MA in Educational Administration with Naresuan University. Yui worked with Compassion Thailand for 12 years connecting sponsors and donors from various countries with the local churches and the children in the program. She joined Cornerstone Counseling Foundation in September 2017 as Director of Community Services. Her desire is to participate in helping Thai people and their communities be equipped and empowered in addressing mental health issues to better serve and care for others.
Austyn Smith is the creator and host of the Expat Hour Podcast. After struggling with the adjustment to expat life in Holland two years ago she was inspired by the caliber of people she met living abroad. They offered unique and supportive perspectives on expat life. She vowed to find a way to get their collective wisdom out to the world and founded Expat Hour, a podcast where expats of all ages and circumstances share their life stories of living abroad. Aside from connecting with others, Austyn loves the outdoors and is a mother of four children.
Trisha Smith-Pierce is a teacher who works with schools and governments. She teaches English, writes curriculum and trains instructors. She believes that learning languages can open doors for students and that by helping teachers through training and curriculum support allows them to facilitate student opportunities. A US citizen with a love for languages and global cultures, Trisha has lived and worked in Asia, South America, North America, Africa, and Europe. She recently worked with the US Embassy to write outreach curriculum for the Great and Good Friends exhibit and is currently developing a webinar series for English teachers' professional development. Trisha holds a master’s degree from George Mason University in Curriculum and Instruction, with a specialization in teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Jonathan Steffen has worked as an international educational consultant since 2008. Before 2008, he taught students with special needs in the USA. His passion comes from his own experience as a TCK and he is driven by a desire to see families thrive while living internationally. Based in Penang, Malaysia at Dalat International school, Jonathan works locally and regionally with families as well as networks with other consultants in the same field of work. He and his wife have an educational resource website for international families: WorldFamilyEducation.com.
Freda Sue was born in Taipei in Taiwan, and currently lives in South Carolina, USA. She earned an MFA Degree in Printmaking from the SCAD Atlanta. She is an Assistant Professor and the Foundation Coordinator at USC Upstate. Freda Sue has recently and concurrently been showing works across cities over the world, including;Tavernes de la Valldigna in Spain, Taipei inTaiwan, Atlanta Georgia, Brooklyn and New York in the USA, among other cities. Freda Sue is a member of an SC Upstate based organization, Contemporary Print Collective, a member of the Southern Graphic Council International as well as a member of the Taiwan Society of Printmaking. Learn more on her website at www.fredasue.com.
Esther has been in the education and training field for the past 20 years. She enjoys piloting new initiatives and recently worked on the Singapore national SkillsFuture initiative which integrates services for education and career guidance across schools, tertiary institutions and the workforce. A licensed counselor, Esther combines her background in chemistry teaching and career counseling to engage students and adults in meaningful learning. She finds joy in connecting with people and encouraging deep self-exploration to support cross-cultural thriving. Esther also enjoys integrating theory-practice-research to inform strategic decisions. Esther has trained in the United States, South Korea, China, and Singapore in mental well-being, career development, and multicultural counseling. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Psychology.
Danau is the author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School. She holds a PhD and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Danau is an anthropologist whose research is driven by a desire to uncover the hidden voices among TCKs while trying to understand her own experiences of being born in Canada with Chinese, Indonesian, and Japanese heritage and growing up in several countries.
Philip is highly experienced in private financial planning for British expats, US/UK cross border financial planning and the structuring of pension assets for non-UK beneficiaries of pension sharing orders. He is currently a Director of Cross Border Financial Planning. Philip has worked in financial services since 2001 when he joined Abbey National. His interest in cross border financial planning started in 2007 after he started with AWD, at the time Europe’s largest financial advisory firm. In 2012 Philip was invited to join the Alexander Beard Group to run their Expat and Emigration Division. One of his major achievements was the creation of a US/UK cross border financial planning service.
Daniela Tomer is an Israeli licensed Clinical Psychologist who has lived in Latin America, Israel, Europe and Boston, USA. She has worked professionally as a Clinical Psychologist, specifically within the field of Psychotherapy and Psychological Evaluation. She has worked with many new immigrants crossing cultures. She is also the co-founder of GNW-Global Nomad’s World, past Program Chair of FIGT as well as a mom of four TCKs. Please learn more at: www.globalnomadsworld.com.
Born and raised in Australia, Stephen has just begun his 25th year in the classroom teaching social studies. He started his teaching career in Australia and left ‘home’ at the age of 27 to live and work in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, GA. He has worked in international schools in China, Germany and he is in his 5th year at ASB in Mumbai, India. He is married to an ATCK and is raising three TCKs (aged seven, five, and two). He is a member of the program committee for FIGT and has presented at the conference in 2018 and 2019. He is currently studying to gain his counseling degree at Lehigh University.
Jessi grew up in Central Asia, graduated from Hope International University (Fullerton, CA in 2013) with a specialized degree in Third Culture Kid Care and is uniquely equipped to connect with and advocate for a growing, culturally confused population. In 2013, Jessi founded Kaleidoscope, a non-profit committed to seeing third culture kids not just surviving but also thriving. She is currently based out of New York and survives on a steady diet of airplane food and coffee.
Ruth Van Reken is a US citizen who grew up in Nigeria as a second generation Third Culture Kid (TCK) and raised her three daughters in Liberia For over thirty years Ruth has traveled extensively speaking about issues related to global family lifestyles. Currently, she is seeking to understand how lessons learned from the TCK experience can transfer to others raised among many cultural worlds for various reasons. Ruth is co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, 3rd edition, multiple other writings and co-founder and past chairperson of Families in Global Transition. Learn more at: www.crossculturalkid.org.
Judit Vegh is a trainer in intercultural competence, cultural sensitivity, social and cultural differences and their psychological aspects, effective cultural communication, self-motivation, identity as well as in personal values. She is furthermore a Phd scholar conducting research on intercultural competence, acculturation, transnational families, place attachment, identity as well as the home concept.
Rebecca Versolato has a Bachelors of Arts Degree, an Undergraduate Degree as well as a Postgraduate Degree in Psychoanalysis. She is originally from Brazil, currently living in Singapore. Her specialty areas are family matters, blended families, adolescents and children. Since she moved to Asia, Rebecca has been working with expatriate and immigrant families as well as Chinese-Singaporean families for the past three years. Previously, she has worked in private practices as well as at the Social Clinic of the Sao Paulo State Union with difficult cases concerning addiction, violence and severe poverty. She is one of the founding members of the Psychoanalysis Association of Singapore, a member of the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, a member of the Singapore Association of Counselling as well as a member of the Australian Association of Counselling. Learn more about Rebecca at www.rebccaversolato.com.
As an advocate, Maria works with families of students with special needs, from diagnosis and early intervention, to school-age and transitioning out of school into independent living. She helps families understand the educational process and aids them in securing the specialized services their children require. She also supports parents and students by attending IEP meetings, conferences, mediations and team meetings to advocate for students’ rights. As an educational consultant, Maria also assists with the implementation of programs in homes, schools, colleges and camps. She coordinates with families, home team members, schools and camp staff to provide students with an environment conducive to learning that supports each child’s individual needs. Maria places a special focus on educational diversity in inclusive schools.
Katia Vlachos is a researcher and writer on cross-cultural transitions and expat life. She is also a coach, supporting expats and their partners through challenging transitions. Born in Cameroon to Greek parents and previously a defense analyst, Katia has lived in seven countries on three continents for the past 25 years. She is the author of A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment (LID Publishing, 2018). Learn more on her website www.katiavlachos.com.
A TCK from Taiwan and the US, Jane is an intercultural coach and training consultant helping clients bridge differences within and without themselves at the same time leveraging the benefits of diverse experiences. In addition to her work in relocation, Jane served as a Cross-Cultural Consultant at the Community Services Center in Taipei and as an Instructor of Communication and Multiculturalism at Shih-Hsin University. After working in Tokyo and New York, Jane moved back to Taipei in 2009 and co-founded a cross-cultural learning platform, practiced counseling, coaching, facilitation, as well as learning the Enneagram program. She also received certifications from the International Coach Academy and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Jane holds a BA in Sociology from UC Berkeley and an MA in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Learn more about Jane on her website crossculturally.com.
Jemina has been a visual arts teacher for the past 14 years in the US, Germany, and Thailand and is currently the Visual Arts Manager for Success Academy in Manhattan. In this position she manages art teachers, curriculum, professional development, and quality of excellence in 45 schools. Jemina was raised in Colorado and moved to Montana in 1999 to continue with her outdoor passions while obtaining a Bachelors degree in Art Education from the University of Montana. Jemina obtained her Masters in Fine Art Photography from the Academy of Art University in 2009. She has completed coursework for a PhD in International Educational Leadership, and recently started her dissertation.
Linnea Welker is the Primary Division Educational Psychologist at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, where she has worked since 2014. She is passionate about cross-cultural psychology and eager to continue to gain knowledge from FIGT presenters, as well as share her developing knowledge. She earned her Master’s degree in Psychology and Advanced Certificate in School Psychology from Marist College in New York in 2000 and in 2004, respectively. She is a PsyD student in Clinical Psychology and is currently considering which aspects of global citizenry she will focus on for her dissertation research.