Robin Pascoe has been a long-time champion of FIGT and we are incredibly grateful for her contributions as a thought leader, supporter, and financial contributor. It’s because of generous individuals like Robin that we are able to continue to strengthen and diversify our community - members who contribute their gifts, time and talents in order to propel FIGT forward to “Build community and foster connection to help the globally mobile thrive”.
Offering Foundational Support for Families in Global Transition
By Robin Pascoe
FIGT has undergone a huge sea change since as the Expat Expert (www.expatexpert.com) I attended my first conference back in 2000. At that time, my books focusing on the challenges of the expat spouse in the relocation experience were considered almost revolutionary—and as it happened, very controversial. Of course, anyone who is acquainted with me personally, knows I got a tremendous kick out of stirring the pot, to say stuff no one had said out loud before (and have women cheekily ask me: are you a fly on the wall of my marriage?). FIGT allowed me to meet up in person in Indianapolis with fellow travelers. It was truly like coming home, to a place where I finally felt like I belonged, where I didn’t have to explain myself. These are all sentiments which I know still hold true to this day.
But flash forward to 2022. The world has changed dramatically. The relocation and expat experience has changed. FIGT as an organization also needed to change. Like many other global groups, it had to move its activities to virtual spaces and must continue to seek out new ways to pivot to the current realities, both logistical and in the experience members want and need to share.
As it happened, I stopped attending conferences in 2010 after being honoured, with Jo Parfitt, as a trailblazer. I made a personal pivot away from all things expat and went to work with my husband building a brand for our international education company, Maple Bear Global Schools (www.maplebear.ca). But I was drawn back into the FIGT world in 2018 when I was honoured once again to open the 20th anniversary conference in The Hague. And my pal and colleague Jo encouraged me to become engaged with the Parfitt-Pascoe Writing Residency Program which she had created (and done all of the heavy lifting I might add!).
I began to be interested once again in FIGT but in a different way. For one thing, I was much older and suddenly, I filled the role of ‘wise elder’, a role I admit I have enjoyed! But the success of Maple Bear provided another opportunity for me. I have been able to offer substantial foundational support for FIGT. At first, I did it quietly and anonymously but have since become more transparent in the hopes of encouraging others. I have learned that in the world of fundraising, this is called leverage.
Today, I write this with that exact goal in mind: to encourage all current members to find new ways of supporting FIGT as an organization. Foundational support is not just about writing a check (not that there is anything wrong with that!). Consider volunteering, getting the word out to expand our membership, sharing experiences in online meet-ups. Perhaps you’d like to donate a small sum as a way to ‘give back’ to the organization that allowed so many of us to build successful careers. FIGT—and founder Ruth Van Reken in particular—have given us so much. Now is the time to show that gratitude in order to support the sustainability of this wonderful organisation.
Personally, I am beyond grateful that the overwhelming success of Maple Bear has allowed my husband Rodney Briggs and I to support many causes important to us, most especially the environmental education NGO in Costa Rica Finca Cantaros Environmental Association (www.fincacantaros.org) created by our TCK daughter Lilly Briggs. We have pledged to continue to substantially support FIGT for at least the next three years to give the leadership of new president Hannele Secchia a chance to reconfigure the organization so it reflects the realities of the post-pandemic world. I hope you will join us in whatever way suits your time and resources!