Last but not least among the new 2019-2020 Board members we've interviewed is Tanya Crossman, who has a big job ahead preparing for FIGT 2020 as Logistics Director.
Can you please describe your FIGT role?
I am FIGT’s Logistics Director. I am responsible for coordinating logistics for the annual FIGT conference — venue, catering, registration, and all the other bits and pieces involved in event planning and coordination. I coordinate with an event manager at the venue and lead a committee of FIGT members who volunteer their time and talents to the smooth running of the conference.
What inspired you to stand for this particular office?
I had a somewhat unconventional path to the board. I served as co-director for much of 2019 while the previous director, Kate Berger, was on maternity leave. Although I had only been to one FIGT conference (in 2017), I was very excited that FIGT was coming to Asia, where I live. I have a lot of experience with event logistics, so I volunteered to join the new Logistics Committee. A couple of months later I was unexpectedly "promoted" when I was asked to coordinate the event logistics in Kate’s place.
The experience of collaborating and contributing was really special, and I decided to apply to join the board in my own right.
Logistics is a skill I can offer, but for me, joining the board is about having a voice in how FIGT grows and develops as an organization. I believe in what FIGT is and does, so much so that I not only want to give my time and talents to it, but I want a seat at the table.
I was also inspired by the board members themselves. In my interim role, I joined their meetings and was blown away by their passion, commitment, and support for one another.
Anything you particularly hope to accomplish this year? What do you look forward to?
I will be continuing the work Kate began, growing the Logistics Committee and strengthening long-term strategic planning. I hope to oversee moving the conference again, and setting up a system to facilitate rotating the FIGT conference around the world.
Your favorite thing about FIGT / being a part of FIGT?
Walking into a room full of people who GET IT because they’ve experienced some of the same things — there’s so much you don’t have to explain! And being part of a global community that is committed to being relational and supporting one another, through resources and advice and encouragement.
Can you share a random piece of info about yourself, please?
I’m fairly fluent in Mandarin Chinese (both written and spoken). After my first 10 years in China, I spent a few years living in my native Australia, and I discovered that the Chinese side of my brain would get bored if not exercised regularly. If I went a couple of weeks without a conversation in Chinese, I would start unconsciously inserting Mandarin sentences into my English conversations, utterly confusing my Australian friends!
A few of them started to play along — guessing at what I said and making a joke of it. I loved it! They couldn’t share the Chinese language with me, but their acknowledgment of my bilingual self meant the world to me.
Please share some words of wisdom for globally mobile people.
One of the hardest experiences in life is isolation — to feel alone in a group of people, to feel no one understands your experience. FIGT is a great space for alleviating the isolation around international life and transition.
You are not the first or only person to experience what you’re going through. There are people with advice and resources to share — and people who need the advice and resources you can offer them! When we connect and communicate in the relational community that FIGT provides, we all make each other stronger.
Come talk with Tanya at FIGT2020, where she’ll be presenting a Morning Forum “Support During University Transition” with Aleka Bilan, Jason Coates, and Karla Fraser! You can learn more about Tanya in the board member bios section and members can also listen to her talk, “Third Culture Kids 101.”