2022 - 2024 New Board Members
Hannele Secchia is an ATCK who has lived her whole life outside her passport countries - Finland and Germany. In addition to those, her heart countries are the UK, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa. She comes with years of cross-cultural experience, as well as a background in HR. Currently, she is based in Ethiopia and looks after the wellbeing of the expat staff in the organization she is in, as well as networking with and serving the wider expat community. Hannele is passionate about helping globally mobile families arrive well, stay well and leave well. Having previously served on boards, managed volunteers and served as a volunteer herself, she would love to bring all of her skills and experience together in a role on the FIGT Board.
Dr. Tasha Arnold is an experienced leader and researcher in the field of education specializing in trainer and educator development, school improvement, cross-cultural training, transitions support, and program development for schools, universities, and global teams. She co-founded The Academic Achievement Bureau where she worked with international schools and universities conducting research on their organization and providing services to aid intercultural understanding, transition adjustment, and student achievement. She is currently the Executive Director of The Interchange Institute (TII) and is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of TII. She is a NEASC and CIS school accreditor and serves on the board of The Namibia Project charity.
Elena Darmenko is an expat psychologist and adaptation strategist with 16 years of experience in Foreign Relations and more than 7,000 hours of counseling (CBT, Art Therapy, First-Aid Psychology). She helps other internationals adjust to the new country, relationship changes, individual past, present and future challenges. In her practice she’s following and developing a principle of a culturally sensitive counseling which emphasizes the psychologist's understanding of a client's cultural background, ethnicity, traditions, and belief system. Elena incorporates cultural sensitivity into her work to accommodate and respect differences in opinions, values, and attitudes of various cultures and different types of people.
Deborah Valentine has been a 'serial' expat - having moved every four times in her first 40 years of life. Since then, she has settled in one country, but remains active and committed to the 'relocated' individual. Hard to drop life habits. Today, she is Director of a volunteer organisation dedicated to the successful relocation of internationals to the Netherlands, and remains an active member/follower of groups and organisations dedicated to ensuring people travel, arrive and settle well - wherever they may go. In particular the partners/spouses of those who travel. Being a part of FIGT fits this profile to a 'T'.
Originally from the US, Debbie Kramlich has lived more than half her life in Peru, Sweden, Germany, and now Thailand with her husband Todd, a mental health therapist. She is the daughter of a TCK and a TCK herself as well as a mom of 7 TCKs all of whom have dual citizenship with US and Sweden. During her time abroad, she has learned to support and advocate for her children in national schools and with second language acquisition which has contributed to her role as an educational consultant at large for TCKS, families, and schools.
She is currently a postdoc research associate at Payap University and an English teacher in Chiang Mai at a German school. Her MA is in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies and she has taught English (and written curriculum) for universities, language schools, adult education programs, and national schools. Written in the European setting, her Ph.D. dissertation examined the role of the teacher in fostering and facilitating transformative learning.
Part of her current research focuses on transformative listening and is done in collaboration with a global learning community of 8 academics. In addition, she is writing about and researching the role of the educator in creating a culture of belonging in the multicultural classroom. She is passionate about using the framework of cultural humility to guide her in living respectfully as a learner of new cultures and enjoys helping others follow the same path. She speaks English, German, and Swedish.
Affiliates Director - Sarah Kobrus
Globally mobile for almost two decades, Sarah Kobrus is also a Social Worker, certified person centred counsellor and Emotional Logic coach with over thirty years training and experience in transition, grief and trauma. She is passionate about helping others overcome adversity in ways that reset and renew their resilience. Originally from England, she has lived in the US, Bahrain, Qatar, France and Holland while raising three now adult TCK’s.