A Year Later – September 26

Make a move overseas and suddenly my life has time stamps of before and after.

Who knew a fundraiser with a couple decades of experience would be recruited to live in and work in Australia? I have always been a “leap and the net will appear” sort of person. While some thought I was crazy to contemplate let alone actually do it, this was not my first overseas rodeo.

What’s worse that can happen? I come home…. Again.

In 1981, I went to college in Adelaide, South Australia. In the 2000’s, the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) invited me to speak a couple times – it did not go well (another blog post) but they invited me back. In 2015, a recruiter and spiders on LinkedIn aligned and I got a call.

Long story short, after three months of telephone and Skype interviews, they flew me to Melbourne for in person interviews. Ten days later I flew home with a contract and the visa process began. Two months later, I packed up, flew to Melbourne with Keri Kae Gebo for 10 days of fun and I started living and working in Melbourne.

Australia Day 2 – Woolamai Beach Victoria w Keri Kae

I highly recommend the opportunity to live outside of your home country. The perspective you gain is invaluable. Now, I realize, I moved from one first world, English speaking country to another. But the social, economic and political differences are vast.

Personally, I found, watching from afar as the US struggled and fought and died for those without a voice or against leadership with the wrong tone – was very difficult.

Then Australia began their own Make Australia Great Again campaign. Overnight they refused to renew visas (the same one I had) and immediately sent talented researchers out of the country – the same people they had previously invited to work (like me) and set up laboratories. Let alone their horrible treatment of “boat people” on islands in Papua New Guinea.

Thank you Clay Buck for decades of friendship & love

Around this time, I started thinking about my Australian visa renewal, current job and things happening at home. Many expats seek citizenship in other countries. While I am a US citizen by birth, personally it is careful choice to become a citizen elsewhere.

So I planned my return home. Many thanks to Michael White and Clay Buck who opened their arms and hearts to me as always, generously giving me a safe place to land in Las Vegas. And very much appreciated as the Polar Vortex raged in the Midwest and East Coast.

On September 26th I left Melbourne for Las Vegas, without a job and a plan to reenter life in my home country. It was so good to see Michael at the airport and I enjoyed “winter” in Las Vegas.

Hoover Dam because it’s there

Two months later, I started a job I love at College of Southern Nevada as Executive Director of the Foundation. That was only possible because the Las Vegas professional, fundraising community connected to and with me. My life and career has always been about friends and networks. After three years abroad, the network continued to expand beyond the miles, across oceans and continents.

I am grateful for the experience and people I met and miss in Melbourne. I am grateful my fundraising network grew and welcomed me to Las Vegas. I am grateful to be home. And I know I can travel whenever I like and you can always come home…or not.

Leap and a net will appear……