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Fiona Citkin

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Intercultural Consultant

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About Fiona

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Keynote speaker Fiona Citkin, a former Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine, is a professional educator, author, public speaker, and internationally renowned intercultural consultant, who learned about reinventing herself and succeeding in America from own unique experiences.

With experience as a director of Berlitz, FGI, and a personal consulting portfolio that includes UBS, DuPont, Estée Lauder, Bayer, Dewberry, Hershey, and the US Department of Defense, Fiona is a popular speaker with unique content on success in the US, women/gender issues, globalization/immigration, as diversity and multicultural issues.

After completing her PhD, Fiona became a professor and Chair of the English Department of Uzhgorod National University in Ukraine. Her first book, Terminology and Translation was a hit in European academia, rare for a young academic, and led to many speaking engagements, conferences and visiting professorships at the Universities of Vienna, Budapest, Bern, Warsaw, Galway, etc. The whole world opened for a girl from a former behind-the-iron-curtain country of the Soviet Union, and she was accepted in it for what she was!

After her family moved to New York, because of her husband’s career options, Fiona’s academic career became history. She chose family. So, she worked for a global computer company CSI (Complex Systems Inc.), Berlitz, and similar culture-language-oriented organizations, until accumulating enough experience to start her own consultancy, Expert MS Inc. Fiona became a naturalized citizen and got used to a fast-pace environment of America. Since moving to America, she has reinvented herself multiple times, doing work in college teaching, PR, sales, marketing, course design, training, and HR consulting—she could be given an Oscar for her many roles! Fiona liked change and what she was doing. Her expertise has opened many doors including presenting opportunities at major corporations, colleges, and government agencies—even consulting for the Department of Defense— to train and advise on cultures, gender, diversity, and inclusion.

Fiona’s first book written in the United States was rooted in her consulting practice: “Transformational Diversity: Why and How Intercultural Competencies Can Help Organizations to Survive and Thrive.” It explores inclusive leadership practices of today, and the how-to of implementation—which, according to readers’ feedback, became the most popular section. Its success led to Fiona’s recognition as diversity thought leader by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). In 2008-2012 the Transformational Diversity approach had been tried and tested at UBS Investment Bank and other organizations (Hershey’s, DuPont, Cotton Incorporated, Dewberry, Colgate Palmolive) for over five years.

At the request of the Diversity and Inclusion Division of SHRM, Fiona designed and facilitated an innovative course, Global Cultural Competence for Business Leaders, which became a staple for leadership education in our multicultural world. For Transformational Diversity and her consulting combined, Fiona Citkin was also awarded a prestigious 2012 Top Champion of Diversity title by the think-tank DiversityBusiness.com.

Dr. Citkin’s public image is quite polished, with experience in conference presentations; television, magazine, and radio interviews; a presence on YouTube and Vimeo; plus, various social media and publications. In 2013, following Arianna Huffington’s personal invitation, Fiona began her monthly Huffington Post column. Her column explores American multicultural women’s success with a host of related issues and suggests practical solutions for all stakeholders: society, policy makers, and, of course, women. Her articles attract an enthusiastic audience both at the Huffington Post and her business clients. When Arianna Huffington started a new company, Thrive Global, she invited Fiona to become a contributor on her new platform as well.

See keynotes with Fiona Citkin

    Keynote by Speaker Fiona Citkin

    How Womankind Becomes True American Meritocracy

    • The strong womankind of the US is diverse. Many strong women are America-born while some come from all over the world—from Peru to Germany, from Mexico to Ethiopia—and from all walks of life. They are writers and artists, business women and philanthropists, and they have forged their own professional paths while caring for their families, contributing to their communities, and making a difference in any number of ways. We bring their unique experiences and know-how to the audience and inspire everyone to become an achiever in his/her own right.


    Keynote by Speaker Fiona Citkin

    Women in America: Unique Success Stories

    • Many women have graciously shared with Dr. Citkin their immigrant stories, and described the often-confusing terrain in which they started their professional lives—to become outstanding American achievers. The common denominator of their success is Integration, education, and persistence. By drawing attention to the lives of the extraordinary immigrant achievers portrayed in the new book, scores of other people—native-born as well as immigrants—will benefit from the accumulated know-how and be inspired to make a difference.


    Keynote by Speaker Fiona Citkin

    Seven Success Values: Women’s Perspective

    • The U.S. may be a country of opportunity, but as a new book of Fiona Citkin (HOW THEY MAKE IT IN AMERICA) makes clear, the best opportunities are reserved for the talented, the determined, and the prepared. Talented multicultural women, represented by Isabel Allende, from Chile; Verónica Montes, from Mexico; Weili Dai, from China; Alfa Demmellash, from Ethiopia; Irmgard Lafrentz, from Germany; Ani Palacios McBride, from Peru; Raegan Moya-Jones, from Australia; Josie Natori, from The Philippines, etc., used US-American opportunities in full and contributed their 100% – becoming the outstanding professionals, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists, enriching the US. Dr. Citkin delivers 7 Success Values that underline big achievements.


    Keynote by Speaker Fiona Citkin

    Cultural Competence for Global Leaders

    • This presentation is a shortcut necessary for global leaders who need to be armed with in-depth cultural competencies, while integrating a culture-sensitive Character Building; The American Mindset; Emotional Intelligence; Creativity; Strategic Thinking; Inclusive Leadership; and Perseverance. Interactive presentation delivers the cultural competence skills and practices them with the audience.


    Keynote by Speaker Fiona Citkin

    Leadership Careers, Female Style

    • Leadership careers are big business and big attraction. Achieving the American Dream and becoming an American leader seems to require a steeper-than-ever climb, with ever changing rules for achieving success under stress. This informative and inspiring presentation—which examines both The American Dream and those unwritten American leadership insider rules—offers immigrant women leaders’ stories with real takeaways.

Thinking of Revolutionary 2017: Lessons Learned

Revolutionary Past

2017 has been a revolutionary year in many ways—and by “revolutionary” I mean bringing about fundamental changes.

First, we’ve had some outstanding anniversaries, such as:

– One hundred years of the Bolsheviks’ takeover in Russia—or, as they call it in my birth country, a centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution

– 150 years of Karl Marx’ Capital (where he concluded that no matter what you do, capitalism is not sustainable and inevitably ends in a catastrophe).

– 50 years since the death of Che Guevara, the face of revolutions in Latin America

– 500 years anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Thesis, nailed to the church door—which ultimately led to the Protestant revolution.

These events are nothing short of revolutionary, leaving human society with significant consequences, ideas, values, and costs. What’s the echo in 2017?


Near-Revolutionary Present

This year showed the real rebellious spirit on the rise, for instance:

1. The Americans saw the game-changing president Donald Trump occupy the White House and trump-quake at work.

2. Britain launched its divorce with the EU.

3. Both Russia and China started to challenge the US influence worldwide.

4. The forces of change promoted more women into the top positions, and we saw fresh feminist wave opposing sexual harassment, with #MeToo sweeping many predatory bosses off their chairs. This does resemble a mini-revolution when something’s gotta give.

5. Anti-globalization forces proved strong but not all-mighty because of the young leadership of France’s president Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s prime-minister Justin Trudeau. Many centrists in Germany, Netherlands, and even Austria also embraced the world, remaining open to trade and diverse cultures—which, at this day and time, sounds revolutionary enough.

6. Diversity and Inclusion have been inching forward, despite a flurry of provoked racist and anti-Semitic activities—which served as wake-up calls for all people who always believed that the USA is a true democracy. The counter-revolution of the alt-right met a strong opposition of the united left and middle/center progressivists and conservatives alike. When united, this front can do even better in 2018 and beyond, and the battle to sustain the original American Revolution will be won, again.


Do I Measure Up?

I did my best to measure up to our eventful time, and my ups and downs alternated throughout 2017. Here’s how.

First, the good part. I do count my blessings for my good family and ability to enjoy nature; I prepared and performed the second ever best-attended webinar for SIETAR-Europa (Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research) which is now on YouTube; my presentations at SIETAR-Italia in Milan and SIETAR-USA in San Diego brought me new friends and followers; invited to contribute to a post-conference volume in Italy I did so. Not bad, right?

Second, my personal “downs” were not too dramatic—may be because America turned me into a thicker-skinned individual than I’ve been in my youth ?. Indeed, my progressive publisher returned my book with instructions how to elaborate it, and it took me half a year. There was no way of expressing my stress with tears—because who am I, a crybaby? No way! I did what’s necessary and moved on and felt much better ever since: my new book (about outstanding American immigrant women) will now be better suited for a mass market. This came at a cost but who cares?

Third comes my detached “down-point” – regarding some politicians who make everyday news while dismantling the prowess of the US both on the international arena and at home. This, of course, is a distant, public stress—but it has a way of accumulating and weighing me down. I keep thinking about how to deal with that. Do you?


Let’s tie it all together.


Lessons Learned

Ours is an exciting time to live – and we owe it to ourselves to:

1. Recognize the recurrent revolutionary spirit of our time and attempt to measure up, in our personal and professional lives.

2. Step out of our virtual ivory towers, our closed like-minded communities, and get accustomed to living in a real, broader world.

3. On a personal level, my best to-do is to practice what my father used to say, “Tunnels end with light, prepare for that.” True to this spirit, I keep summing up the lessons of tougher times—to move on, in 2018. Even though the light may be effectively disguised, it is there! I am a believer that light and openness and speaking up are my top choices to move on.

Follow me if you can at http://fionacitkin.com/blog/.

See keynotes with Fiona Citkin
Non-binding request for Fiona Citkin

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Keynote topics with Fiona Citkin