A showcase of FIGT Members' written work, focusing on the issues we study, the best practices we share, and the strategies we provide to support expatriates and cross cultural individuals and their families. Contributions are a privilege for Small Business and Corporate membership levels only and you can submit up to 3 posts per year. Please use our online form below to submit a blog for consideration or contact blogeditor@figt.org.

  • 10 Oct 2019 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    The goodbyes and welcomes continue as we thank three more out-bound Directors: Rita Rosenback, Kyoung Mi Choi, and Jody Tangredi.

    Last month we acknowledged three of our Board Members who were leaving the FIGT Board and welcomed the new Board Members who will be replacing them. This month we continue that practice of grateful goodbyes focusing on three more Directors: Rita Rosenback, Kyoung Mi Choi, and Jody Tangredi.

    Vice President

    Rita has served as Vice President for the past three years, supporting two Presidents. In the video below she discusses her memories and her proudest moments with FIGT Communications Co-Chair, Ginny Philps.

    Rita’s role will be filled by Jodi Harris, who has a BA in English and another in Spanish as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Work and has been working with globally mobile communities for over 15 years.

    Research Network Liaison

    We also farewell Kyoung Mi Choi, who has been the Research Network Liaison Director. She describes her proud memories:

    "I was so pleased to see the TCK and CCK researchers from around the world at the last two FIGT conferences…sharing our passion, care and curiosity and generating ideas to better support each other. I am also proud to be part of the research group and of an organization like FIGT that values TCK/CCK research and the researcher’s efforts."

    We welcome Anastasia Lijadi to the role of Research and Education Director. Anastasi has an award-winning PhD and is currently working as a Research Scholar as part of a team working on developing a new human well-being indicator.

    Scholarship Director

    We say thank-you to Scholarship Director, Jody Tangredi, as she tells us:

    “The biggest objective I had when I came to the Board was to create a more objective and less time-consuming review of the scholarship applications. While the existing process was strong with four readers from diverse backgrounds and some guidelines, I knew how to develop a rubric and a process that would help make it more rigorous while taking less debate time. I ran a pilot one year and am delighted to see it’s in use for the third year running, working well.

    “I also found such generosity of spirit and smarts working on this Board that I’m proud to say it was a pleasure to contribute to our award-winning year.”

    The new Scholarship Director is Matilda Criel-Ewoldt who has herself been a recipient of the David Pollock scholarship to attend the conference in 2019. She is currently working toward her doctorate in clinical psychology researching aspects of the TCK experience that might predict healthy or unhealthy coping.

    Thank you to everyone who has given their time, energy, enthusiasm and creativity to the work of FIGT and welcome to those who have committed to working on the Board for the next two years. We couldn’t do this without you all!

  • 10 Sep 2019 7:34 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It’s that time of the year again when the FIGT community welcome new members to its Board and farewells those who are moving on.

    If anyone knows how to farewell with a good goodbye and to welcome with an open heart it is this community. 

    In this blog, we ask three of the departing Board members to reflect on their experiences of being on the Board, and we briefly introduce and welcome those who will be taking their place for the next two-year term.


    Firstly, Todd Cress who has been our Treasurer for the past two years. Reflecting on that time, Todd reports that he is proud that:

    FIGT has successfully held conferences in Europe and Asia! FIGT continues to reach new audiences. I hope the affiliate network and member base continue to grow and become stronger and more diverse.”

    As an Officer on the Executive Committee, Todd worked closely with the Logistics Chairs to bring the conferences to life, an aspect he really enjoyed.

    He observed, “It’s amazing how much was accomplished at FIGT with so much else going on in the Board members lives (special shout-out to Kate Berger!).”

    The position of Treasurer will be filled by LaShell (Shelly) Tinder, who has both personal and professional experience of relocation spanning three decades. Shelly is currently Global Mobility Manger at H&M where she has extensive fiduciary responsibilities.

    Logistics Director

    Todd gave a shout-out to Kate Berger, who has served on the Board for three years as Logistics Director. During that time, Kate has managed the logistics for three conferences –two in The Hague and the most recent conference in Bangkok. 

    Reflecting on those experiences, Kate shared that she was proud and happy:

    Sitting around the table (all together in The Hague) or during our monthly meetings and realizing that I am a part of a team of greats! It's been humbling and an honor to think with such passionate, experienced and knowledgeable people. Also, being recognized as a Board member at the conferences has made me feel extremely proud as it has been clear each time that the room was filled with participants who were very positive about all of our hard work.” 

    Kate has enjoyed Getting the space to learn and lead as I go -- it's been so much fun and rewarding being able to bring in new ideas, work as a team and learn from one another.”

    As Todd referenced above, Kate has been busy with her own new arrival, a beautiful baby boy! As she couldn’t be with us in Bangkok in person, Tanya Crossman acted as Co-Director for Logistics and did an amazing job.

    Tanya has now been voted in to the Director role and will take over the Logistics function using skills she has gained over many years of consulting with global youth organisations and International Schools.


    Another area within the Board that has seen significant change is Membership. Outbound Membership Chair Deborah Valentine reflects:

    What I am most proud of is taking the brilliant work done by my predecessor, in designing the New Membership Strategy and putting the building blocks in place for it to grow further."

    The new Membership Chair who will be learning about these building blocks is Mariam Ottimofiore. Mariam has a background as an economist and skills in research and writing.

    We will learn more about Mariam and the other new Board Members in a future blog and next month will hear the reflections of the other departing Board members.

    For now we will finish with Deborah’s reflections of what she enjoyed most about being on the Board.

    "Looking back on two years of being on the Board, reflecting on the discussions we have had - the decisions we have had to make - the people I have had the immense pleasure of working with - the laughter and creativity we were able to unleash, it is very difficult to identify the most enjoyable aspect.

    "However, if I must say one thing it would be this: that I have marvelled at, and enjoyed seeing and being part of team which simply came together whatever the challenge, celebration or personal circumstance. To witness how across time zones, support and solutions evolved was simply amazing. I enjoyed that because you knew: there was a team who had your, and each other’s’ back at all times."

    See part 2 of our farewells and welcomes as we enter the 2019-2020 year.

  • 09 Sep 2019 12:38 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT is fortunate to have such supportive sponsors as CrossBorder Living and the Pattersons, who thoroughly understand globally mobile life and its challenges. 

    We are fortunate to have supportive sponsors, and it’s particularly easy when a sponsor like CrossBorder Living shares an intuitive understanding of the globally mobile life and the challenges and stresses faced by individuals, couples and families living and working across cultures.

    Founders, Jennifer Patterson, who has lived abroad more than half her life, and her dual-national husband Jeff Patterson, have raised two tri-national children while working for their own advisory firm for international clients, Patterson Partners.

    Drawn to the mission of Families in Global Transition, Patterson Partners sponsored us for several years, and it was during the many conversations they held with FIGT members and conference attendees that it became increasingly apparent how challenging it was for cross-culturals to gain the financial information and services they required and also find regulated financial services firms able to provide that.

    The globally mobile community is used to having to create the previously non-existent services needed to survive and thrive. So, not surprisingly, Jennifer and Jeff realized that in the face of such gaps in the international financial advising world, they would just have to step in to help close them.

    This led Jennifer to write two books on the topic, the most recent being Financial Planning for Global Living.

    She also went on to found CrossBorder Living, whose Global Institute for Life and Wealth teaches cross-border technical and practice-related topics to financial practitioners.

    Just as importantly, it also provides events and training for the globally mobile to create, grow and manage their financial assets – regardless of how much or how little they might be – in a way that best supports how they want to live cross-cultural lives.

    FIGT2019 in Bangkok saw Jennifer and Jeff once again generously engaged in listening, learning and sharing their knowledge to help participants better understand what they need to know. Because as they well know, these conversations are the inspirational seeds to enhance the structures and tools they’ve developed to help our community.

    We are deeply appreciative of the Pattersons and CrossBorder Living for their continued partnership with FIGT!

  • 08 Aug 2019 5:45 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Here at Families in Global Transition, we consider ourselves lucky to have supportive sponsors like Worldwide Speech.

    Founder Erin Long, a longtime expat herself, knows firsthand the demands and challenges of a cross-cultural life. It’s why she built her company. It’s also why she has been an active participant in FIGT and our annual conferences for several years.

    Erin actively shares her insights on trends and developments in support services for children with special needs, all the while listening to and learning from fellow attendees who are concerned parents or teachers and administrators in global education.

    Erin understands that children with special needs may require additional support in order to attend and thrive in an international school setting.

    Committed to giving children the opportunities they deserve, she ensures Worldwide Speech’s therapists are licensed practitioners, and they make hard-to-find services like speech therapy and reading intervention available by providing sessions online.

    “Our primary service is providing online services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and academic tutoring,” Erin says. “Our value, however, is not just in our services, but our understanding of the international schools and mobile community.”

    Erin also gives back to international education by mentoring graduate students studying speech therapy who have an interest in working with children in the globally mobile community.

    Many thanks to Worldwide Services and Erin for continued partnership with FIGT!

  • 07 Aug 2019 6:46 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT's new content strategy aims to bring more original content from members to the wider community. We kick off August with a look into the "impact of relocation on family & friends" and September on "dual careers."

    As members of the FIGT Board left #FIGT2019, we were left with two big questions:

    1. How do we make this experience last all year, and not just for three days?

    2. How do we enable everyone in our community to feel more a part of this experience?

    Our solution is a new approach to FIGT's activities, creating more original content, bringing together those who regularly attend FIGT events and enabling them to share their knowledge, experiences, and insights with our wider community -- which in case you're wondering is 4,700 Facebook followers, 3,500 Twitter followers, and 550+ LinkedIn followers.

    We plan to focus our content on a relevant theme for four weeks at a time, kicking off every period in our monthly newsletter.

    For the next four weeks, we’ll be focusing on the impact of relocation on family and friendships, with original content from FIGT members Jane Barron, Valérie Besanceney, Megan Norton, Jerry Jones, Sundae Schneider-Bean, Mariam Ottimofiore, Jo Parfitt, Terry Anne Wilson, Dr Anne Lessle and more!

    Our next focus area will begin on September 15th, looking at dual careers. Please reach out to our Social Media team at social-lead@figt.org if you would like to contribute, have questions, or suggestions for future themes. 

    To access the content: Please join us on FacebookLinkedIn, or Twitter. Video content will be available for the month and then archived to the members only section of this website.

    Cover image by rawpixel from Pixabay

  • 08 Jul 2019 7:43 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Once again, it’s been great to see #FIGTMembers shining on our digital screens.

    It was great to hear that four of our #FIGTMembers had been named in the Top 25 Expat Podcasts list put together by the Feedspot blog.    A fantastic list of podcasters included  #FIGTMembers  - Amel Derragui of Tandem NomadsSundae Schneider-Bean, LLCDominika Miernik: DM Coaching and Louise Wiles of Thriving Abroad Congratulations to all of you.

    A video uploaded to our facebook page led to over 30 shares from our page and many comments and likes on our page and the pages that it was shared to. Those of us who were at #FIGT2019 were not surprised to see the response.  This was the Lightning session ‘Unlikely Connections’ where #FIGTMembers, Cath Brew and Jerry Jones shared the story of how their friendship began.  Comments and likes showed that it touched peoples’ hearts around the world as much as it did in Bangkok.

    Congratulations to #FIGTMember, Stephanie Ward who spoke at an amazing looking conference in Amsterdam.  The GTD conference focused on how to supercharge productivity and included a very impressive line-up of speakers.  Stephanie shared photos on her FB page which showed her speaking on a stunning stage set-up

    #FIGTMember, David Hodson, shared a tweet that was highly liked and retweeted.  The good news that the International Family Law Group, one of our organisational #FIGTMembers, and an #FIGTsponsor, was named as a Top Family Law Firm for 2019 by eprivateclient was well received.  We add our congratulations for this award to the firm!

    #FIGTMember and Board Director, Vivian Chiona, announced on LinkedIn that her business Expat Nest launched their Chinese language website.  This news was greeted with enthusiastic support by their followers and supporters acknowledging the value this will offer. 

    If you have some news we can share - please let us know!

  • 26 Jun 2019 1:13 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Anyone who has been involved in Families in Global Transition during the past several years knows what a stalwart sponsor International Family Law Group has been, and this year is no exception. IFLG partners David Hodson and Lucy Greenwood lead by example, modeling for fellow sponsors, FIGT members and conference attendees alike what it means to be committed to and actively involved in carrying out FIGT’s mission.

    In their daily work, David and Lucy work tirelessly to help international families be aware of, prepare for, and respond to the potential challenges of international moves, especially when marital relationships run into difficulties.

    Knowledgeable about topics, trends and research affecting people living across cultures, they continually develop new materials to help expats prepare for and help prevent the complications and ensuing struggles that can occur. As Lucy has noted, “sponsoring FIGT shows our client base and beyond that we are mindful of tailoring our work to international families’ needs.”

    At the FIGT2019 conference held in Bangkok earlier this year, David and Lucy shared their extensive knowledge and experience dealing with cross-cultural marital/family discord. They then went a step further, gathering a panel of experts to outline the broader financial, tax and legal implications that can occur – sometimes unwittingly − in globally mobile businesses and lives, and how to address them.

    In addition to the many in-depth conversations both shared with those present at the conference, Lucy donated considerable time and attention to the Program Committee, preparing the Lightning presenters to share their ideas and experiences with the FIGT community and beyond.

    Thank you David, Lucy and the entire team at IFLG for your crucial support to FIGT!

  • 11 Jun 2019 2:20 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It is with immense appreciation that we thank BAMBI – Bangkok Mothers and Babies International – as a local, host-country sponsor at the Platinum level of FIGT and our recent #FIGT2019 annual conference in Thailand. In turn, we also wish to acknowledge our Anonymous Donor, without whose generosity the financial resources wouldn’t have been available for BAMBI to serve in this role.

    BAMBI, a longstanding special project of the not-for-profit Childbirth and Breastfeeding Foundation of Thailand, is in its 37th year of providing support and friendship through the common bond of parenthood. In terms of impact, BAMBI “provides a soft landing for young families new to Bangkok,” and then helps support them as they grow and thrive.

    “We are delighted to be a sponsor of FIGT because there are a lot of synergies between what we do,” said Emma McNerlin, Vice Chairwoman of BAMBI. “We recognize the challenges families face arriving in a new place, and being able to get orientated to the practicalities of where they are. FIGT, I think, helps people to think beyond that, towards the impacts of the decisions that they make for their (cross-cultural) lives.”

    The combined contributions made by our Anonymous Donor and BAMBI help FIGT continue to grow in its mission as a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them across cultures.

    Again, many thanks for your invaluable support!

  • 06 Jun 2019 12:23 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    The Renaissance St Pancras Hotel was this year’s spectacular backdrop for a groundbreaking night for Families in Global Transition. From humble roots around Ruth van Reken’s kitchen table in Indianapolis to a truly international organization celebrating its 21st year, FIGT has touched the lives of countless individuals, families and organizations navigating international transition.

    At this year’s ceremony, Families in Global Transition was recognized for this work, winning the Excellence in Employee & Family Support at the 2019 Relocate Awards.

    In addition, we delighted to see so many of our FIGT family also recognized, including Board Member Anne Lessle, winning Best Research Contribution - Academic Research, and ACCESS, receiving highly commended in the Excellence in Employee and Family Support.

    Ruth van Reken, one of those founding members, was heartfelt in her response:

    “When first hearing about this award, I felt a rush of emotions--joy, gratitude, awe, and completion. Joy that after the initial birth pangs four women felt at my kitchen table 21 years ago, the baby we ultimately gave away for adoption has indeed become an adult!

    Second, gratitude. Gratitude for all who have nurtured her into this adulthood.

    Third, awe. Awe that her amazing adult beauty and power are now visible and recognized by others.

    Fourth, completion. Completion such as parents feel while watching a child graduate and know their baby has been launched to continue growing in new ways not yet fully seen.

    Yes, the dream begun at the same kitchen table from which I write these words has happened above all we could have asked or hoped for. My heart is satisfied.”

    The Relocate Awards have earned a reputation as the industry gold-standard for their independence and recognition of creative and innovative approaches to global mobility. Over 60 entries made the independent judges’ shortlists this year, highlighting the huge energy employers, global mobility service providers, education consultants, schools, HR and global mobility experts are directing towards meeting today’s talent challenges in innovative ways.

    Echoing a sentiment that has long been at the core of FIGT’s mission -- to support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world - Relocate Global’s managing editor Fiona Murchie noted:

    “Every entry, shortlisted, highly commended and category winner, is the result of untold hard work and commitment to the cause of putting people at the heart of global mobility. All our winners have made an outstanding contribution to their companies and people’s lives and we congratulate everyone on their achievement.”

    On the evening of the Relocate Award Gala evening, FIGT Members Simon Fitch of TASIS and Deborah Valentine of ACCESS-Netherlands (both also shortlisted for an Award) hosted a friends of FIGT who available to join in the celebrations.

    True to the FIGT 'reunion of strangers' character, Deborah and Simon were delighted to reconnect with FIGT Sponsor, the International Family Law Group, represented by Lucy Greenwood, Anne Lessle and Claudine Hakim (also short-listed members); FIGT2019 conference presenter Edward Cole and colleague and Simon’s colleague Mary Mitchell.

    Added to the joyful group were some future members, as well as friends of friends: Samantha Davidson, Geraldine Collett and Stacey Vickers - yet another shortlisted candidate and ACCESS Partner from The British School in the Netherlands.

    All in all, a wonderful array of friends new and old!

  • 16 May 2019 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    Having an FIGT member reflection Kitchen Table discussion at #FIGT2019 was simply wonderful. To hear from people during a conference, members and non-members alike; first-time conference attendees as well as returning conference attendees was very inspiring -- with some healthy challenging questions which can only make us better!

    One of the challenges I, personally, have had serving in this role is distance -- physically as well as experientially. My own motivation, expectations and reasons for joining FIGT do cloud my perceptions. Human nature does this. As open minded as we aim to be, it is only when we listen that we truly appreciate, and learn. So, first and foremost I would like to THANK those who came to the FIGT Membership Kitchen Table in Bangkok -- your views, insights, contributions to and participation in the discussion were truly inspiring!

    Our members of course, invest in us, FIGT -- so that we can exist as a resource for so many. We do however, have a duty towards that trust: in knowing how we can best serve those who invest, and trust us. So, since FIGT is far MORE than the conference, I would like to invite anyone reading our newsletter -- member or not, conference experienced or not -- to please accept this invitation to send me your thoughts, reflections, opinions (positive as well as critically constructive) about FIGT’s membership options, policies, fees and privileges. I know doing so by email means it is not ‘anonymous’ -- but I promise to keep you anonymous. I would love to develop a community based survey with the input from YOU versus simply my own thoughts.

    I have input from those who came to the Kitchen Table at #FIGT2019. Do you also have something to share? Please do so, by emailing me at membership@figt.org, so I can develop a survey for all our members, past conference attendees and newsletter subscribers in order to assist the person who will fill my role later this year in giving further direction and purpose to FIGT’s Membership.

    Thank You.

    Deborah Valentine
    Membership Director

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