Michelle Taylor-Posey and Fabiana Oliveira in Verona
2018 Honorable Mention:
Gunsu van der Avoird in Breda
Each year, we welcome new faces all around the world to the Ambassador role in their respective communities. It often takes time for these new additions to settle into the role and to understand the rhythm of their unique community, which is why it becomes even more exciting to find an Ambassador who immediately shows great potential and initiative as a leader in his or her community. The Breakout Ambassador title is awarded for exactly this case.
To determine our list of nominees, we looked for Ambassadors who are newer to the role and started only in 2018. Nominees for this category excelled right from the start and already started making a difference in their community, despite being new on the scene.
2018 was a particularly exciting year for InterNations with the opening of 30 new communities. From Nanjing to Nashville, our newest communities started to come to life through the dedication of the Ambassadors and Consuls who stepped up to take the lead on development. Ambassadors of these brand-new communities were faced with a challenge, as they were learning their new role in tandem with starting an InterNations Community from scratch. Among the communities was Verona, which opened in May 2018.
Why They Won
The Verona team wasted no time getting started — Michelle Taylor-Posey and Fabiana Oliveira’s very first event had a record-breaking number of attendees for the 30 new communities, and they haven’t slowed down since. One jury member makes the case for the Verona team’s win:
“Michelle and Fabiana’s warm personalities, motivation, and enthusiasm shine in every event they organize. Taking the lead in a newly established community is a challenge and no easy task. However, the Verona Community has shown to thrive under Fabiana and Michelle’s care. Since taking the lead earlier this year, the community has flourished. Their dedication and motivation are an inspiration, and it is incredible to see what can be accomplished in such a short period of time. Their contributions have undoubtably made a difference in bringing expats and global minds together, fostering connections and helping everyone feel at home. They embody the InterNations spirit and truly make it a mission to bring everyone together and create unforgettable moments.”
What motivated you to apply for and take on the role of Ambassador this past year?
Verona Team: Both Michelle and Fabiana were “called” to apply for the Ambassador role when it opened in March 2018. Although both had had previous involvement with InterNations, their motivation to apply was slightly different.
Fabiana had recently moved to Verona with her husband and meeting people was her first intention. She had had experience with the InterNations Communities in Miami, Campinas (Brazil), and Milan so she knew the value of InterNations and of it being the best place to meet other expats with a similar worldview.
Similarly, Michelle knew the key to success within a new city was to meet other like-minded expats that could help her navigate the sometimes daunting task of cultural decoding. She too had recently moved to Verona, from the US, and making friends was paramount.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Verona Community… yet. When it was announced that a Verona Community would be opening, and an Ambassador was needed, both Fabiana and Michelle jumped at the opportunity. Not only would it give them a chance to meet people, it would allow them the opportunity to plan the events and grow the community. Plus, both love event planning!
What do you think was the key to your success in your first year?
Fabiana: I love to connect with people from different backgrounds and cultures and I was eager to discover new places and new people in the city.
Michelle: Yes, I too really like meeting people from around the world. There’s something electric in talking to people with completely different backgrounds.
Fabiana: But the real reason we’re successful, I think, is because we complement each other with our different strengths and we work well together.
Michelle: Exactly! We listen to each other, bounce ideas off each other, are always on the look-out for the next venue, and both want to bring value to the community.
What has been a highlight so far?
Michelle: For me, it’s all about nurturing a community that supports the expat: bringing people together to make friends, find work, learn about the (new) city/country. And, I have a particular weakness for planning events — it’s just too much fun!
Fabiana: No secret here, I just love connecting people. It’s just something natural for me.
Congratulations to Michelle and Fabiana, 2018’s Breakout Ambassadors.
We would also like to recognize our honorable mention, Gunsu van der Avoird in Breda, Netherlands, for taking over the role and making a difference in her community right from the first moment!
About the Winners:
Fabiana Oliveira was born and raised in Campinas, Brazil. She truly enjoys traveling around the world and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. She has visited 30 countries and lived in five countries, so far. Fabiana is open-minded and likes to discover new things, as well as meeting with people from different backgrounds and culture. She is also an outdoors lover and is passionate about exploration and travelling. She enjoys diving, skiing, playing tennis, volleyball, reading books, and, last but not least, good food and good wine. Fabiana has a master's degree in business management and, working internationally, she has occupied positions in sales and supply chain for multinational companies. She found InterNations to be the best place to offer her the greatest chances to meet new people with the same mind set. It was her base when she moved to Miami, where she found many interesting friends who also supported her to settle in fast in the city, and now she wishes to do the same in Verona.
Originally from Los Angeles, and via Portland, Oregon, Michelle Taylor-Posey moved to Verona where she now lives. She has an M.A. in intercultural relations and through this field she was introduced to InterNations. Michelle loves travel and language; she's curious about the history, dialects, and culture of wherever she is in the world. Michelle's particular interest is supporting the international transferee by easing the transition in a new city. InterNations has been pivotal in her transition to Italy and she wants others to be successful settling into life in Verona as well. Bringing people together and making events fun are two hobbies she thoroughly enjoys. She has loved getting the Verona InterNations Community started!