"The new era is about believing in yourself and creating your own niche," writes interviewer Ergem Senyuva of Yesilist, Turkey's guide to sustainable living, after talking to me and Tara Agacayak. "GlobalNiche helps people realize their visions and reach their dreams." Read the entire interview here. Moving to a new place can be challenging for many people. What are your suggestions for them? Build your safety net before you need it -- that means creating a global niche even before you move to smooth your transition. Connect as soon as possible with potential peers in your new location. Take care of your personal and professional needs, you’re the only one who knows what they are.
Can you please briefly tell us how you became part of Global Niche. Even though we’re from the same San Francisco region in California, we met in Istanbul through a professional women’s group in 2009. Then we took an expat professional women life design class together and learned more about our commonalities, and noticed how our backgrounds complement each other. Anastasia is a media person with experience in Hollywood and New York, and Tara is an information tech person who designed databases for the US Department of Defense. Combining the media and info tech, we were both early adopters of social media used as a survival tool -- especially Twitter, which brings the world to you -- so in 2009 we started talking to groups of international women about becoming visible in the world through a professional web platform. That’s an online presence meant to support you as a professional person.
GlobalNiche.net was an off-shoot of Anastasia’s cultural producing work at the ExpatHarem.com site for global citizens. ExpatHarem was a group blog and discussion site, and GlobalNiche was meant to take all that philosophy and put it into practice. We wanted to give people the practical skills and tools they’d need to thrive. Tara came on as chief operating officer in 2010 and in 2011 we started having monthly webvideo conversations to discuss the issues of being at home in the world. Now we have a program and two monthly live webvideo events and a private Facebook support group for people in our program.
You live in different continents and different time zones. What are the obstacles you run into while you are running the operational aspect? We use Basecamp, an online collaboration software, and Skype for weekly conference calls. We’re connected daily on an asynchronous basis through Twitter, email, and the other social web services we use. We have an ambient awareness of the other’s activities through all that social media. Even though it’s nice to be able to work around the clock by passing the baton back and forth to each other, the biggest obstacle is often the time zone. We can’t always connect when our energies are at similar levels.
GlobalNiche operates online. Do you sometimes believe you are missing the warmth of face to face communication? How do you compensate for it? Live web video has the warmth of face to face communication. We use the Linqto app for that. We also make the effort to see each other and members of our community when we are in close proximity to each other, with planned and impromptu GlobalNiche meetups around the globe. We’ve had gatherings in San Francisco, New York, Istanbul, London. We also know that virtual life is just as real as actual life, and what’s most important is not the exchange of molecules but rather the depth of our human connection.
How do you see Global Niche evolving over time? This is a solution whose time has come, and the problem will only continue to grow as people move around and the economy remains weak. We’d like to continue to listen to the needs of our community, develop even more robust products and services to help them overcome these huge life challenges. We hope to continue creating a nurturing environment, providing tech-savvy, globally-aware, culturally-sensitive support. We’d love to add some live bootcamps to speed people through the process. Get them on their feet, and doing what they love, right where they are.