Starting off our series of new 2019-2020 board member profiles is Mariam Ottimofiore, Membership Chair. An avid believer in the rich resource that is FIGT’s member community, she encourages everyone to get involved...because “the more you give, the more you'll receive.”
Can you please briefly describe your FIGT role?
I am thrilled to be the new Membership Chair for FIGT. My role is to enhance, expand, and shape FIGT’s membership offering and to proactively engage with our membership network.
I report to the FIGT Treasurer and also work closely with other Board members such as Communications, Sponsorship, and Research & Education to ensure clarity, cohesion, and support towards our overall FIGT mission of serving globally mobile individuals and families.
What inspired you to stand for this particular office?
I strongly believe that FIGT’s members are its greatest resource. There is an incredible depth of knowledge and expertise amongst the FIGT community and I believe becoming part of the FIGT members group is a huge opportunity to learn, grow, share, and connect.
Our members are essential and critical to FIGT’s mission of serving cross-cultural and globally mobile individuals and families, and I look forward to promoting the idea of membership being a two-way street: the more you give, the more you'll receive.
Anything you particularly hope to accomplish this year? What do you look forward to?
I am looking forward to interacting closely with FIGT members to understand their needs and develop new privileges that would be of benefit to them. I am also interested in reaching out to potential members to promote our current offerings.
I am particularly excited about reaching out to individual members such as your average expat parents looking for resources, community, and support that I believe FIGT can provide.
I am also looking forward to revamping the FIGT bookstore directory to promote books written by FIGT members.
Lastly, I am looking to expand FIGT and its mission to diversify its reach to include refugee families, immigrant families raising cross-cultural kids, migrant workers who often move while leaving their families behind, and to all others who are part of families in global transition. Transition affects us all, regardless of our status or privilege.
Your favorite thing about being a part of FIGT?
I have been a part of the FIGT community for the past three years and without a doubt my favorite thing about FIGT is the connections I have formed both online and offline with people who care passionately about living a global life and living it well.
I love that, thanks to FIGT, if I have a question on managing dual careers or am looking for resources on how to support my kids through yet another move or how to raise a multilingual kid, I know who to reach out to for answers, help, guidance, and support.
I personally love the support I have received from FIGT members in my work and the feeling of belonging to the “FIGT Family”.
Can you share a random piece of info about yourself please?
Even though I’ve lived in nine countries and moved countless of times, I haven’t developed the global skills of packing a suitcase expertly, reading a map, or remembering which country has which voltage! As a result, I always leave the packing to the professionals, get lost in every new city and country I call my home and always pack a million international adaptors when I move.
One of my most embarrassing moments happened when I had newly arrived in Copenhagen and did not know my way around the city at all. When my husband left for his first day at work, I went out to explore the city and got terribly lost.
In the end, desperate, I hailed a cab (obviously I had no clue how expensive cab rides were in Copenhagen) and gave the cabbie the name of the temporary housing we were staying in. I pronounced it all wrong, so the cabbie looked at me confused.
Then I remembered the street name that I had memorized and written down just in case (this was before the advent of an iPhone). When I showed it to him, he burst out laughing!
Turns out “ensrettet vej” in Danish means “one-way street.” So, we had deduced that where I needed to go was on a one-way street somewhere in Copenhagen!
I have never been more embarrassed in my life, but it did provide me with the incentive to start learning Danish immediately.
Please share some words of wisdom for FIGT members and globally mobile people in general!
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and benefit from the knowledge, experience, and resources within the FIGT members group. Always keep space at the table for others.
You don’t need to figure out this international life all by yourselves. There is a welcoming community out there, the FIGT community, who can make you feel less alone and be your anchor as you navigate the foreign seas.
Cover photo courtesy of Mariam Ottimofiore.
You can learn more about Mariam in the Board Member bios section. She's keen to hear from members! Not a member yet but curious to find out what it entails? Learn more about membership.