Petra Shellis didn’t know about FIGT when she needed it. As a Communications Co-Director, she hopes to spread the word so that all globally mobile people seeking support and community can find FIGT.
Can you please briefly describe your FIGT role?
I’m excited to be one of the new members of the FIGT Board of Directors and, together with Flor Breton-Garcia, we lead the Communications team.
We work closely with the entire FIGT Board and concentrate on an ongoing collaboration with Membership, Sponsorship, and Affiliate Directors to deliver communications and ensure consistency of messages across social media platforms, the newsletter, and website.
A monthly overview of FIGT’s digital marketing strategy is also part of our role.
What inspired you to stand for this particular office?
My thoughts go back to times when I lived in China as an expat, when the adaptation process was very challenging for me. I felt like I couldn’t find assistance. FIGT already existed, but I wasn’t aware of it.
I want to volunteer my skills to help to raise awareness about FIGT among people who need support, are looking for access to resources and community, or may be searching for answers to pressing questions about their globally mobile life.
Anything you particularly hope to accomplish this year?
I would like to concentrate on FIGT’s digital marketing strategy and on the growth of this great organization. I want to increase our market share organically by looking at co-branding and by cooperating closely with our Affiliates Director.
Online partnerships and co-branded emails will be another area, which can help us to increase awareness among global nomads.
Your favorite thing about being a part of FIGT?
My favorite thing about being part of FIGT is to be with like-minded individuals, who “speak the same language” and understand you completely. Without long explanations, they share the same views about things, have similar memories, and have been through similar challenges in life. It gives me this feeling of belonging that I was looking for while moving countries.
Can you share a random piece of info about yourself please?
My first unusual cultural experience took place in China when a simple trip to visit the immigration department turned into an unexpected lesson.
Chongqing was a place where the taxi drivers didn’t speak English, and to be able to communicate with them was a real challenge.
On a rainy day, my hotel ordered a cab for me, but everyone seemed to be using this method of transportation. After 30 minutes of waiting, the taxi finally arrived—and a passenger was already sitting in the front seat!
The driver promised to drop me off first, which didn’t happen, and I was about one hour late for my appointment.
This experience taught me how to become an expert on getting from A to B in the shortest amount of time. I decided to simplify my life, learned to read the map, got to know all surrounding areas, and gave drivers simple commands in Mandarin.
By the end of our stay, I knew the city like I was local and I didn’t end up in places I didn’t want to visit.
Please share some words of wisdom for FIGT members and globally mobile people in general!
We move to new locations. We stay a couple of years. A lot of questions pop into our heads. Could we stay forever? When do we move again? We move again and again.
Apart from asking “how do we make ourselves feel at home?”, some of us or our children born in a different country may also ask: “Where is our home?”
Two thousand years ago, a Roman philosopher Pliny is said to have said: “Home is where my heart is.”
Home is never about the actual building, but about being close to the people who love you and who can help create this feeling of warmth and happy memories.
This saying makes sense today in a global, mobile community more than ever.
Here are Petra's concluding words, worthy of a Communications Co-Director:
If any of these words resonate with you and you would like to find out more about us, please explore www.figt.org, participate in our virtual events, join a local Affiliate group, connect via Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and sign up to our newsletter, and become a Member!