awards Winner 190619g

Winner of the 2019 Relocate Award for Excellence in Employee & Family Support

Anne Diana Lessle & Deborah Valentine, Families in Global Transition

Award Winner: Families in Global Transition

Families in Global Transition (FIGT) was hailed the winner of the Relocate Award for Excellence in Employee and Family Support. This entry was praised by the judges as “a genuine case of the best of human nature creating a massively successful entity”. This global forum welcomes internationally mobile individuals, families and those working with them, by promoting cross- sector connections for sharing research and developing best practices that support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world.
FIGT’s entry focused on its major annual conference (which supports its regular global networking operations) and resource sharing at this stimulating three-day event. The judges felt that a real sense of compassion and empathy flowed from this conference, which served to highlight the immense sense of community, information sharing and networking of like- minded people within this organisation. The conference, held for the first time in Asia after a successful run in Europe, provided an example that demonstrated the agility of this volunteer body.

A 360° View of Relocation 

The judges noted that FIGT recognises that the needs of relocation go well beyond physical considerations, with its emphasis being to address the mental, emotional, social and developmental impacts and challenges of cross-cultural transitions. They recognised FIGT’s understanding that issues of identity, relationships, belonging, connection and community must be addressed in a new cultural environment. In addition, the judges noted how FIGT’s volunteers understand what is left behind – the loss of people, places and support structures that matter – and assist those on the move to cope with these issues.

The emphasis on added value in FIGT’s entry was very clear; opportunities for face-to-face networking alongside sharing of experiences via social media clearly assisted families on the move. The judges noted how participants really valued this face-to-face experience, with many commenting on how it had improved their sense of community over and above that which could be achieved remotely via social media. The judges

reported, “The emphasis on connecting
people around the world clearly adds value
to the network, while the size and scale of the
conference that is run – and the positive feedback on it – is a clear plus-point.”

An Ethos of Empathy and Affirmation 

The judges were particularly impressed that this fascinating initiative offers its worldwide network of support by drawing upon a volunteer network of diverse individuals who are enthusiastic and support those on the move through demonstration of an “ethos of empathy and affirmation”. The judges noted that the FIGT initiative draws upon its volunteer diversity to help a wide range of families and individuals from different backgrounds, who experience cross-cultural transitions as part of their globally mobile career journeys. The judges praised how diversity is used as the key to success in this volunteer worldwide network. They noted that “this organisation is a true example of how diversity can be fostered to provide huge benefits to all involved in this operation” and commented that this was “glorious to read”.

FIGT covers a wide range of sectors, from the corporate, to the humanitarian, to the military, all of which have mobile families who have benefited from sharing experiences through this voluntary network. The organisation employs a sole administrator, working 30% of a work-year. Officers and board members are all volunteers and manage some 300 paid members, 2,700 newsletter subscribers and social media activity involving 14,000 people around the world.

The judges said that “creating such a global reach from a volunteer base showed superb resource management.” They added, “The fact that this organisation has grown into a worldwide network having started off as a small ‘kitchen table’ initiative, demonstrates an impressive and inspirational outcome.” Summing up, the judges concluded, “An amazing effort and outcome from a volunteer body.”