Nominations Committee Slate of Board Member Nominees
July 2022



The FIGT Board announced the annual nominations process in April this year. We were very glad to receive a number of applications from very qualified and experienced candidates.

In accordance with FIGT Bylaws, a dedicated Nominations Committee comprised of non-Board FIGT members (Isabelle Min, Jerry Jones, Louise Wiles and Carolina Porto) together with the Nominations Director, Daniela Draugelis, presented a slate to the Board, after following a rigorous selection and interview process.

We are grateful for all of those who applied for these positions and their willingness to serve FIGT’s community. FIGT is only possible because of the dedication and commitment of our volunteers, including our Board Directors, our many committee members, Affiliate leaders and those who regularly contribute their time and energy to our work. While we acknowledge the diversity of experience, thought, background and expertise that our 100+ volunteers bring to FIGT, we also acknowledge that we do not yet fully represent the diversity of the globally mobile experience. With your support, we will continue to work on making FIGT a truly inclusive space for everyone affected by global mobility.

We had advertised for eight Board positions but unfortunately could not find candidates for two roles: Treasurer and Sponsorship Director. We will endeavor to find alternate arrangements in accordance with the organizational needs and bylaws.

The Board of Directors has approved the following slate of nominees to fill vacant positions on the FIGT Board.

Voting members of FIGT have until August 23, 2022 to provide comment on the slate of nominees. Unless 5% or more of the membership petitions against the slate or a particular nominee, the slate of nominees as presented will be automatically elected. The on-boarding process will begin in September 2022 and new Board members will take office on October 1, 2022.
Nominee for President - Hannele Secchia   

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.   

Nominee for Communications Co-Director - Tasha Arnold

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.

Nominee for Communications Co-Director - Elena Darmenko   

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.    

Nominee for Program Director - Deborah Valentine   

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'.    

Nominee for FIGT Research and Education Director - Debbie Kramlich

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.

Nominee for 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.                        
Now repatriated to the beautiful Lake District in North West England, she is writing two books - “Good Grief: The Emotional logic Way to Transform Loss into Resilience” and “Count Only Sunny Hours: My Journey to Hope”. She loves walking with her black labrador, reading, cooking and wild swimming.

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