2020 David C. Pollock Scholar Tracy Oyekanmi is dedicated to helping professionals working abroad. She was scheduled to talk about the growing group of globally mobile African professionals who are contributing to their communities, both in the West and their original local areas.
2020 David C. Pollock Scholar Tracy Oyekanmi is a marketing communications professional who aims to improve the career visibility of foreign professionals and global remote workers through intercultural competency training and coaching. She is also host of Visible At Work podcast, where she and her guests share actionable insights and discuss their experiences of working abroad.
Tracy was scheduled to talk at FIGT2020 about African professionals embracing differences to unlock opportunities. She shares a bit about herself and the topic.
How did you hear about FIGT and what inspired you to apply for the Scholarship?
I made a new friend, Karin Tischler from Germany, who lives in Canada. We started talking and laughed about similar cultural experiences, as I had worked with a lot of German clients, plus she had moved from the US to Canada, just like me.
After a few laughs, I mentioned my consulting plans and podcast Visible At Work, about helping foreign professionals with intercultural and workplace communication skills training, to which she immediately advised that I check out FIGT. A few days later, I visited the website, saw the call for Scholar applications, and was motivated to apply.
What are your areas of interest/expertise related to global mobility?
I’m interested in improving the career visibility of foreign professionals and global remote workers through intercultural competency training and coaching, while they deal with the realities of a new work environment/routine.
How did you get into this field? Why are you passionate about it/why is it important to you?
While working in global PR & communications for over 10 years, I helped several senior executives adapt to a new environment, fine-tune their leadership style, and deal with the media. Then I moved to two countries in three years and had a baby while working on my master’s degree. Now, I understand the realities of transitioning!
I’m passionate about helping others, especially self-funded expats and global remote workers who may not have access to employer-provided training or those who do but need continuous coaching beyond the pre-departure and one-time arrival debrief. Research has revealed that such professionals often face issues of isolation and dismissal of their experience which could affect their confidence, mental health and ultimately their performance and productivity.
Can you tell us a bit more about what you were going to talk about at FIGT?
African foreign professionals are often portrayed in mainstream media in refugee stories. But there’s a new breed of professionals who are using their expertise from their home country to earn more through global mobility and give back to their communities, both in the west and their original local areas.
What do “diversity and inclusion” mean to you?
Diversity and inclusion to me mean different initiatives around recognizing diverse individuals and including them in places/opportunities that they are less likely to access on their own. However, what makes it most meaningful is that such people have through their personal lens a sense of belonging, above all else.
I believe that it is one thing to be selected for a diverse thought or narrative, but it is another to make meaningful contributions in that space.
Finally: Can you share a random piece of info about yourself please?
I’ll describe myself as a foodie. I am very open-minded about trying new foods from different cultures. This has helped me start up conversations with any foreigner I meet. Once I ask about their food, their eyes light up. I either try it if they have it there or collect the recipe.
ALSO: Read Tracy’s full bio and learn about the other 2020 Scholars.
FIGT social media is focusing on “diversity and inclusion.” Please join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to access more engaging stories and videos (publicly available for the month and then archived to the members’ only section of this website).