As we head into the holiday season and look forward to 2018, thoughts here at FIGT are firmly fixed on putting on an unforgettable FIGT conference in March. It’s the 20th anniversary of FIGT, and we look forward to exploring the topic “Diverse voices celebrating the past, present, and future of globally mobile lives”
The conference brings together a group of budding writers who will be mentored by Jo Parfitt on how to write articles for a global market that get published. In return for this extensive training, mentoring, and a full scholarship, the residents will be chronicling about the conference. They’ll be interviewing, blogging, writing articles, and posting about the conference on social media.
I’ve had a chat with Lillian Small, FIGT’s Social Media Lead who is one of the PPWR residents. Here we learn more about Lillian, how she had a career transition to blogger, writer and digital marketing expert, her expat experience that led her to supporting FIGT’s communication team and what she’s looking forward to about the conference.
FIGT Blog Editor: What influenced your decision to pivot to a writing career from being an engineer?
Lillian: “When considering careers before university, I initially explored the idea of psychology but opted in favour of engineering – the certainty of the qualification and overseas career opportunities appealed. After 5 years’ working as an engineer, my husband secured a role that moved us to Paris. This posting was intended to be 12-18 months, during which I decided to explore my free time and started my blog. As a child, I’d always enjoyed journaling, and the short Paris stint was an ideal time to return to this. 18 months turned into 3.5 years, where I became fluent in French and worked with a friend in a design agency. I liked the idea of a career that could be location agnostic, and I pursued more of my creative side. During our most recent move to Aberdeen, I’ve earnt a Masters in Digital Marketing and am looking forward to establishing a business. I do miss certain aspects of being an engineer, I was a go-to person and was lucky to have varied roles, but it’s not a deep personal passion of mine.”
FIGT Blog Editor: How do you think your expat background has helped to shape your career?
Lillian: “As an expat, you learn to be adaptable and grab opportunities when they come your way. Taking risks and diving in at the deep end isn’t as daunting, as you’re living with uncertainty much of the time. So, you end up becoming resourceful and proactive at putting yourself out there and discovering new parts of your personality. When the chance arose to work for a friend in an unrelated industry, I took it, and it has evolved into my new career path”
FIGT Blog Editor: What led you to FIGT and the PPWR Residency?
Lillian: “I’ve known about FIGT through personal contact with previous board members, and previous speaker Naomi Hattaway. I’m interested in becoming more involved in the expat community and return to writing after completing my Masters. I also felt that PPWR with provide me with a real sense of purpose when attending the conference. It will be intense and lots of work – I’m definitely throwing myself into the deep end again!”
FIGT Blog Editor: What excites you most about PPWR and the conference?
Lillian: “I’m really excited about being able to really digest the content, and learn from such knowledgeable and wise speakers. It will also give me the chance to meet so many people I’ve chatted with virtually over the years – and put faces to names. It will be hard work, but I’m excited that it will give me a renewed focus”
Do say hi to Lillian when you see her at the conference. If you’d like to learn more about her, visit her blog, The Smalls Abroad.
Stay tuned to upcoming blogs where we’ll be introducing more of the PPWR residents and conference speakers.
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