Reina de Bettendorf served as FIT deputy treasurer (2012), treasurer (2013–17), and most recently as vice president (2017–22). She was elected FIT honorary advisor in 2022.
I am a translator by profession. Over the years, I have picked off a smattering of experience in the administration of small businesses and organisations. I also have a personality that would probably be classified as type A. I’m a big fan of order and efficiency.
I fell into managing the translation association in my native Panama when I was asked to help it recover from a period of lavishness that undermined its finances and imperilled its future. It sent me to the FIT Statutory and World Congress in San Francisco in 2011 so I could see how grown-ups did things. In San Francisco, I had the enormous good fortune of being taken under the wing of one of FIT’s legendary Council members. She took a risk on me and helped me get elected to Council, a first for someone hailing from a country seen by some as the hinterland.
I spent 11 wonderful years assisting in the management of FIT, first under the keen eye of another legendary member with a gift for numbers, then more or less on my own. As deputy treasurer and then treasurer, I felt deeply responsible for FIT’s financial wellbeing. There were occasional bumps in the road, and many nights I went to bed worried about our ability to fund the ambitious programs that we had launched.
I learned a great deal along the way, of course. As an honorary advisor, it’s a relief to be able to contribute my thoughts, based on my experience and my recollection of situations that we have faced previously, without having the heavy weight of responsibility for the implementation of recommendations that emerge from our discussions. I do not feel as if I have been turned out to pasture. Rather, I feel like an elder – a rather youngish one – who can share her experiences for what they might be worth. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve and very happy to continue my work with FIT.
Reina de Bettendorf, Honorary Advisor (APTI)