Staring Protocol Right in the Face

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, CEO of Grassroot Diplomat, shares a time when the Board made her stomach tremble.
See what she means in her latest Founder's Blog.

Photo Credit: Eric Lafforgue

Photo Credit: Eric Lafforgue

Remember a few articles ago, I was challenging the differences between the role of international relations and diplomacy? I admit it was a moment of personal crisis. I suddenly felt lost, not knowing what my core focus should be. I was stretched in so many different directions with bold and beautiful ideas, I was only making myself work harder every day, instead of thinking and working smarter. For years, I have been struggling with defining what Grassroot Diplomat’s true purpose is that I became lost in the fog. I kept wallpapering new missions on top of old ones that the messaging started to get confusing. When I tried to explain what Grassroot Diplomat is or does, even I was having a hard time focusing on its true origin.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an explosive board meeting that made my stomach tremble. I felt nervous and it kept me up for a few nights. A few new members showed up to the meeting with simple questions that made everyone else think. That question was “Why?” Why do we do what we do? Why should we do it? Why should we care? Why us?

For the first time, my Board made me think of how my projects meet the vision of our organisation and the impact it has to our audience. Asking why Grassroot Diplomat came to existence brought back a flood of memories for me…the disappointment I felt being at the United Nations and Foreign Service, the attitudes of trainee diplomats who were pleased not to deal with the public, the meetings I had with Ambassadors who hadn’t a clue what was happening at grassroots level.

The Board offered up one single piece of advice to my executive team – bring Grassroot Diplomat back to basics.

Thanks to the amazing people on my Board, I no longer feel lost. Through their challenge, they have empowered me to hit the reset button so that we can re-hash what our true mission, strategy and vision is for the foreseeable future. I’m not ready to share what that is yet, but rest assured that Grassroot Diplomat will get a new facelift in 2018 with a simple message for the people we want to help and support.

We won’t shy away from ethics, morality and issues of governance. And you better believe that we will look protocol right in the face!

Over the next couple of months, we will be recruiting new Board Members, executives, and a roster of advisors to support our new vision. We will also be creating a new board for an exciting subsidiary we are looking to forge for a younger audience we currently don’t cater for. I have so much to share with you but we must learn to be patient.


For now, I want to thank you for joining me in my journey and sticking with us so far. I would love to hear from you. C’mon, don’t be shy - make your comments live below.

And if you haven’t had a chance to read my new book “Women in Diplomacy” – check it out on Amazon.


Serving you with light and hope,

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa
CEO, Grassroot Diplomat