Global Awards 2020 Winner Interview: Gunsu van der Avoird
Congratulations on winning a Global Award! How does it feel?
It is totally a great feeling, for sure! Doing what I love and sharing this with my friends is true motivation and happiness in itself. Getting official recognition for it is just so special and will be a lifetime memory as well.
You are both an Ambassador and Consul in Breda. What inspired you to get involved in both roles in your community?
I have been the Ambassador in Breda for three years. When online events first started, I began organizing online official events — similar to my worldwide colleagues. Then I was offered the chance to organize DinnerNations activities, which totally captured my attention because food and worldwide cuisines are also my personal interests. Then, I decided to take on the Breda Business and Personal Development Group, since this topic is very important to me. If I look at the bigger picture, I just love doing what I’m doing and taking initiative — I just step up when I see something that gets my attention. As a global citizen, I love this multicultural and multilingual community, with all its color, diversity, and richness.
In your own words, what is the role of an Ambassador and Consul?
From my perspective, we’re the public face of InterNations. We’re there for our group members and friends, to help spread the spirit of InterNations, such as connecting our dear expat friends worldwide and being a global citizen, sharing our experiences in our “new homes”, and promoting the feeling of “nobody stands alone”.
The past year has been challenging with the sudden change to online life, but you have excelled in hosting online events and activities every day throughout the pandemic. That's impressive! How did you adapt to the online experience and keep the community spirit alive?
Of course, at the beginning it was all about adjusting and getting ourselves ready for this new concept. I think it was the same for all my dear Ambassador and Consul friends worldwide; once we started, we just went on and on from there. After I saw the spirit, participation, motivation, sharing and caring, laughter, learning, and evolving, then it became a positive cycle. This keeps me going and helps me to create and evolve more each day.
What can members expect from your events and activities?
In activities with the Breda Business & Personal Development Group, we meet business professionals all over the world. With our very valuable guest speakers, we learn, share, and benefit from each and every piece of knowledge, experience, and teaching. Breda official events and DinnerNations activities are all about coming together with our friends, socializing, and sharing laughter and positivity. I have been organizing these events with my worldwide partners, with whom I have experienced great fun and lots of joy in creating together. When you join these events, get ready to have a cozy and warm night with good friends. Just grab some food and drink, and join us!
How has InterNations helped you?
InterNations always gives me the warm feeling that I am welcomed. During these years, both through online and in-person events, I have memories of lifelong friends, lots of laughter, learning, and sharing. InterNations allows me to be more involved, to participate, and to connect more — it is inevitably enjoyable and informative, with a global mindset. Especially last year, which was the darkest of all in many ways — we all thought it could not be made lighter or more positive. For me, last year was full with InterNations: with my own events to organize, participating in my friend’s events, and also being together with all my very dear friends.
I totally did not have much time to face the bitter reality of last year. I kept my mindset strong, I kept producing, and moreover I remained social with my friends, just as in real life. No one should remain alone — at least, this is my belief and my lifestyle. In an unexpected, unprepared, and very depressing time in my life, InterNations was there to offer another way of connecting and continuing my social life; it gave me positivity, cheer, and joy. This mission has not only helped me in an emotional way, but it is also revolutionary and so insightful as well.
At the awards ceremony event, you said you can't imagine a life without InterNations. What makes the InterNations Community so special? Why would you encourage others to get involved as an Ambassador or Consul?
I have loved InterNations and its spirit from day one, when I became a member five years ago. It brings me a sense of belonging, as well as opportunities for socializing, sharing and caring, connecting, and enjoying. And since last year, when all our lives changed as never before, InterNations has become our only social contact point, reminding us of the real world as we know it. This impact cannot be explained, you can only experience it.
I gave my focus, motivation, and time to InterNations in order to create, learn, enjoy, and share my own events. I also love to follow and enjoy my dear friends’ brilliant events worldwide. I offer a virtual tour in the morning, then I have a business event in the afternoon. I complete the evening with a music event. I even started the new year with a worldwide party — together with my close friends around the world — organizing this event and sharing the experience with all our friends everywhere.
When I look back, I see that I participated in more than 500 events — which means I learned, laughed, and had a great time with my friends for a substantial amount of time. And this is just priceless …. All I can say to any friends who are interested in joining the team: JUST DO IT! If you have something to say, if you have an idea to share, or if you simply do not want to be alone, just step in. I can guarantee you will not only collect lifetime friends and memories, you will also become a better version of yourself in many ways.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to have this very special experience through the years!
This interview was edited for length and clarity.