As you may be aware, the ABRA Board focuses its efforts through dedicated committees for each theme: relocation, membership, events and communication. By bundling our strengths we are able to work more effectively and efficiently, however, it’s not just board members who drive our committees. Any ABRA member can join and even chair a committee. We are always seeking new insights and bright ideas on how we can move our association forward. Ideas such as the creation of our brand new membership category specifically for freelance relocation consultants.
'We are always seeking new insights and bright ideas on how we can move our association forward.'
New Membership Category
Most, if not all, of our Full and Local Members rely on freelance relocation consultants during busy periods. As freelancers, they are able to jump in and help out where needed, covering everything from orientation tours to school visits and more. As such, it is important they receive the same level of training as any other relocation consultant.
With the creation of this new membership category, Freelance Members will be able to access the EuRA Managing International Mobility training for free, just like any other ABRA member. Freelance Members will also be invited to join the quarterly ABRA Member Meetings, where they will be able to network with peers and partners.
The ABRA Board has decided on launching this membership category at the exceptionally democratic rate of €25 to ensure widespread take up. We look forward to welcoming Freelance Members as of November 1st, 2019, and thank our Full and Local Members for helping us spread the word.
Free Access to EuRA Training
Over the years the partnership between ABRA and EuRA has gone from strength to strength, as together we seek to raise the bar in service delivery while sharing knowledge and insights from the industry. Many ABRA members already enjoy the many benefits of EuRA membership, including the annual relocation conference and free access to their outstanding online training programme.
We’re delighted to have negotiated some of the same benefits for ABRA members, courtesy of EuRA. As an ABRA member, you are now able to access the Managing International Mobility – or MIM for short – training for free, whether or not you are a EuRA member. Comprising 23 lessons in all, Module 1 can now be followed whenever and wherever you like. Simply pick up where you left off when you log in to the EuRA Academy app.
There will be four modules in total, three of which are currently under development. Training is entirely free for EuRA and ABRA members, however if you’d like to be accredited there is a small admin fee to be paid. To receive your ABRA member coupon code, contact ABRA Secretary Fiona Klomp on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Relocation Committee, comprising Eric Klitsch of Brussels Relocation and Pauline Six from Bright Expats, has recently been joined by new board member Liesbeth Van de Meersche of The MAP Group. With Eric taking over as ABRA President, the Relocation Committee would love to attract additional members, so if you feel you would be able to offer your support, please reach out to us. Volunteers for this committee should be Full or Local Members. Together, the RC promotes the industry of relocation, works towards recognition of ABRA, legal and other compliance matters.
This year, the focus has been firmly on 1000 Brussels as the situation is becoming worse by the day. The Fast Track desk has imploded under the backlog, and registration of expats takes an inordinate amount of time. As such, the Relocation Committee has built a core team to work on a new procedure. We look forward to keeping you updated on further progress.
ABRA Vice President Pauline Six joined a Round Table in Etterbeek at the start of the year, which involved different institutions that support or work with expats located in the Etterbeek area. Their APProach project aims to develop e-services for citizens and improve expat inclusion in the municipality. Around half the 50,000 residents in Etterbeek are foreigners thanks to the EU institutions, with some 2% leaving or arriving annually.
While we lost a few members throughout the year due to changing contact persons, our Membership Committee has made every effort to attract even more new members to our association. Katrien Van den Waeyenbergh of Partena Business and Expats, Sandra Van Bellingen of BBF and Fabienne Vanderkelen of Altair Global, contacted some 150 potential new members by direct mail towards the end of last year and followed this up with a personal phone call.
Their approach has proven very successful, with 13 new members joining ABRA this year. This brings our total membership to 77 members, of which 15 are Full Members, 1 Local Member and 64 Affiliate Members. With the creation of the new Freelance Membership, we are looking forward to further growing our ABRA family.
It remains the goal of the Membership Committee to ensure that we not only see an increase in new members, but also that current ABRA Members are pleased with their membership. So if you have any questions, concerns, or have a potential new member in mind, please reach out to Katrien, Fabienne and Sandra anytime via email@example.com.
The ABRA website continues to remain a useful reference tool, with the period between May 2018 and May 2019 attracting 23,067 unique visitors over 42,000 times. Between them, they viewed 274,524 pages, representing a growth of almost 20% in visitors and a 70% rise in page views from previous years.
As such, we’d like to remind all ABRA Members that if you’ve published a white paper, have conducted an important study or have other industry relevant news, you can share it on our newsfeed and social media channels. If you haven’t received your guide to publishing with ABRA, then reach out to Fiona via firstname.lastname@example.org for your personal copy.
Having chaired the Communications Committee for eight years, Fiona has handed over Chairmanship to Salvatore Orlando of BNP Paribas Fortis. The committee is very keen to attract new members with experience in media and/or marketing to help expand our partnerships, advertising and promotion of the industry. Any ABRA Member can join the Communications Committee, so please do reach out to us if this sounds like you.
From ‘How to prepare your business for a Deal or No Deal Brexit’ to ‘The Expat Method: Mastering Personal and Organisational Change’, the keynote speakers at our Member Meetings have been varied, thought provoking and informative. Thank you to speakers Sara Bigwood, Leadership Development Coach and Family Strategist, Christine Sullivan of Fragomen Global Immigration Services, Michael Penning of the Community Help Service, Simon Poppe of Allia Insurance Brokers and Michael Dale, Life Coach, Facilitator and Author of ‘The 7 Core Needs’.
Our gratitude also goes out to our recent meeting hosts DY Patil International School, Partena, IDSB, ING Brussels, Aspria Royal la Rasante and their speakers, as well as upcoming hosts Da Vinci International School in Antwerp.
We have a number of topics and speakers in the pipeline, however we are always interested in your suggestions. Please to reach out to Dave Deruytter of ING and Alexander De Nys of Fragomen with your suggestions and thoughts. You are also most welcome to join our Events Committee if you would like to help shape our event programme moving forward.
Considering joining one of our Committees? We’d love to hear from you! Positions are on a voluntary basis, however you are expected to be available for a number of short meetings throughout the year, as well as be able to help implement any planned points of action. Contact email@example.com to find out more.