Friday, February 6, 2015

A Farewell to GoAbroad & An Open Letter to STA Travel

It's been nearly a year since I've updated What Would Jane Do (apologies on that front) but it seems there's no better way to make a comeback than by sharing one of the biggest and most recent announcements regarding my life:

After nearly four years with my GoAbroad family, it's with bittersweet emotions that I announce my departure as Outreach Manager (aka: Roadshow Veteran, Obsessive Tweeter, Excessive Jewelry-Wearer, and General Troublemaker) in the GoAbroad US office.  

It's been one amazing, thrilling, challenging, and unforgettable ride with this team, and I've learned SO much about what it means to be an international educator. This is a field that is populated with some seriously inspiring people, and I'm so lucky to have been able to work alongside the best of them these last few years. It's not everyday your professional colleagues become some of your best friends, and I still can't believe how lucky I am to have every single one of these people in my life.

With that being said, I'd also like to take this time to announce what's in store for my professional future. After I depart from GoAbroad at the end of this month, I will be heading to Arizona in early March to join the team at STA Travel as the Communications Manager - a role which I'm entirely thrilled to take on, especially as the team there is such a great partner with I've traveled with many an STA-er as part of the GoAbroad/STA Travel Roadshow, and I look forward to developing new relationships while building upon my professional interests.

As I look forward to the future and this opportunity with excitement, it's also important to reflect on how much the last few years have meant to me. To underscore this, I learned that my dear friend and colleague, Nikki Powers, and my amazing boss, Troy Peden, asked to pen the following open letter to my new family at STA Travel. The first time I read it, it made me cry and laugh. It happened the second time I read it as well. The third time.... well, I had to admit that I do have a Cat Lady problem. We all have things to work on, right? 

To say that I'm lucky to have these people in my life will always be an understatement. So, without further ado.....

An Open Letter to STA Travel From

After nearly four years as part of the GoAbroad family, our own Tiffany Harrison will be starting a new role with STA Travel next month. We at GoAbroad wish Tiffany all the best in her new position and couldn't be happier for her. Because of our relationship with STA, it's almost as if she's still part of the extended family and we'll see her on Thanksgiving and at Grandma's birthday. 

There are a few things STA should know about Tiffany before she joins their ranks, outlined in this open letter.  

Dear STA Travel,

As a colleague and also a friend, I think it is important for you to know exactly what you are getting yourself into by hiring one Tiffany Harrison. There are things you may not realize about her and I'd rather have these out in the open. So here are my opinions as well as some advice about working with Tiffany.

Tiffany is an over achiever. She always has been. 
As the oldest of four girls, Tiffany learned early on how to stay out of trouble and do what she was supposed to do, something she's carried with her through college and beyond. As she says herself, "They used to call me bossy, now they call it leadership skills." 

She's not as ladylike as she seems. 

After meeting Tiffany at a conference you probably think she's as prim and proper as can be. That was my first impression as well, but don't be fooled. As soon as you get to know her better, she stops being polite and starts being hilarious, outgoing, and uninhibited. Remember that first point I made about staying out of trouble? Not 100% true all the time ... 

Read up on the following subjects: Tea, Dr. Who, Scotland, Jane Austen. 

While Tiffany certainly has other interests, if you have a knowledge or fascination with any of the aforementioned areas, you'll be good to go for a while. You could probably create a Venn diagram of these four subjects in one circle and all of the other topics in the entire universe in the other circle, and everything in the overlap zone would be golden.   

I hope you're not allergic to cats. 

Since Tiffany has final editing privileges on her own blog, it's doubtful this one will ever reach the public's eyes. But no matter, I'll find a way to get the message out through a variety of PSA's. You probably do not already know that Tiffany loves cats, since she rarely talks about cats in person and never posts anything about cats on social media. However let this be a warning: if you have a cat allergy it's best to just stay away from her altogether, since her very essence has been known to trigger cat allergies across the state.

You better like morning people. 

I've seen Tiffany while going to the airport at 4:00AM, driving an SUV through the night, and getting up at 6:00AM for the fifth day in a row on an RV - and each time she is as happy as a clam. Tiffany regularly comes into the GoAbroad office saying something like, "Good morning!" in a singsong voice. Please consider this when planning where Tiffany's desk will be - anyone in her path is going to get a bubbly greeting probably a compliment. 

Tiffany is always up for anything. 

You want Tiffany to drive an RV? She's all for learning how to do it. You think she should become a leader in diversity and LGBT issues in study abroad? No problem. Think she should do an impromptu speech to a gym full of high school kids? Sure, she'd be happy to. Want her to whip up a quick webinar for tomorrow? It won't phase her. Tiffany is adaptable, multi-talented, and can think on her feet.

Tiffany wears her heart on her sleeve. 

You would be hard-pressed to find someone with more passion and love for their work than Tiffany. The relationships she has built with everyone at GoAbroad and in the field are genuine and heartfelt. Tiffany is not someone who can do something halfway - she is all in with her brain and her soul. Tiffany is not shy about how much she loves her team or her job - she likes to share it with the world whenever she can. 

You picked a good one, STA, and while we are sad Tiffany is leaving our family, we are excited that she gets to join yours. So GoAbroad is saying "so long," but certainly not "goodbye." And anyways, we'll see you at Grandma's birthday - mom said we have to go this year.


To everyone who may be reading this, especially those of you at and my dear, dear friends in Fort Collins, I want to say thank you. Thank you for every single moment and memory you've given me. There are no words to describe how grateful I am, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try :) Because took a chance on a recent college grad, giving me a job and a platform to grow into the person I am now, I've been able to travel from Asia to Australia and across a vast expanse of the US, worked on numerous presentations with colleagues in the field, and experienced some of the most incredible things while gaining friends I know I'll have for life. 

So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's all of you who make getting up in the morning so damn easy, and so worthwhile. It's the luckiest person in the world to have that kind of community, and I couldn't feel more like I've won the jackpot in friends and family to call my own. Cheers to you, and cheers to the next adventure!