Meet Maria Fe, the newly elected Chair of YFU International!
February 07, 2024 14:50

With which three words would you describe the past year in YFU?

“Productive, Exciting, Promising. YFU had a productive year because we started implementing the Global Strategy and great progress has been made so far. The network has also commenced working on the basis of the new Global Standards, which translates into the commitment our member organisations are showing towards improving quality and compliance of the programs offered to our students and families across the globe.

The excitement showed by volunteers, staff members and national directors when in-person meetings take place is remarkable. I was able to sneak into some sessions during the National Directors meeting in Istanbul back in November, and I was amazed by the professionalism of the event and the enthusiastic presenters coupled with very good engagement.

A similar sentiment transpires from reading the YES 2023 Report! For those who have not seen it, and are craving for some good energy and motivation, I highly recommend to take a look at it. With a solid strategy in place, clear direction, and an enthusiastic network of dedicated people committed to the growth of the organization , I think we have a promising future ahead.”

What do you think were YFU's biggest achievements in 2023?

“While there were many achievements, there are two I am especially proud of: the launch and implementation of the 2023-2027 Global Strategy – because I firmly believe we have committed to concrete and achievable goals which represent clear milestones that will help YFU to grow as a global network and hopefully will assist to take our organisation to the next level. Thanks to the work done by our colleagues from the Global Office, we are able to monitor and track the planned activities and goals.

Secondly, the formation and re-opening of YFU Mexico who has been a critical partner within the Spanish speaking countries. Whilst activities will resume slowly and steadily, I trust the organisation will settle rapidly. Again, I heard enthusiastic volunteers and families are welcoming the re-opening so that is fantastic news for the YFU family”.

What are you taking from the past year with you to the future; lessons learnt, inspiration, attitudes, values...?

“Everything! I am continuously learning and incorporating new experiences from my partner Jack, my family and closest friends, colleagues from work and dear friends from YFU. Being part of a diverse community like YFU has so many benefits, and one of them is the broad range of lessons you can learn from the persons that surround you. Now there are two values that keep coming up to my mind and heart based on previous experiences (not necessarily last year’s): resilience, trust and tolerance. So I try to implement them whenever I need.”

As the newly elected chair, what are you looking forward to the most in 2024? Do you have a short message or greetings to the whole YFU world?

“To the dear YFU Family, please keep safe and look after yourselves and one another. Stay connected to your own family, friends and local YFU community. It is so important to have such a wonderful circle around so let’s not take it for granted and reach out if you need help. There is always a friendly YFU friend around the corner. I am very grateful for the opportunity and vote of confidence my fellow colleagues from the International Board gave me, it is a challenge I proudly and humbled accepted. Now, I am a workaholic (not in treatment) so I am definitely looking forward to continuing working on some specific topics with my colleagues at the International Board and of course the Global Office folks. In particular, putting in place a new succession plan for the IB is in my priority list because I think it will be beneficial for the whole network so stay tuned for more on this.”

Thank you, Maria Fe!

Maria Fe, originally from Argentina and currently living in Australia, started her path in YFU back in 1996 when she went on exchange to Catonsville, Maryland, US. She has been an advisory board member of YFU Australia since March 2020, and she's an Intellectual Property (IP) lawyer admitted to practice in Argentina and Australia currently working in Sydney as in-house Counsel for a multinational organization.