Principal Foreign Trade Specialist
Riverside County Economic Development Agency
Describe your typical day at work.
Activities that can typically make up a day at work are: hosting a delegation of government officials from another country to welcome them to our county is not untypical, meeting with staff to plan an International Summit or other Trade event, producing our export trade magazine, planning an International branding campaign for our County, meeting new manufacturers that want our help to find new foreign markets for their products, planning or hosting our College of Foreign Trade, meeting with foreign investors from various business sectors, keeping up with foreign affairs around the world each day, attending industry meetings and events put on by the Foreign Trade community, meeting a Consul General or Ambassador or Economic Attaché.
What personal qualities have helped you become successful?
My dad instilled working hard, but my education instilled working smart. The two combined gave me the ability to compete in any workplace. Work hard and smart became my foundation. I have confidence in my abilities and those abilities and accomplishments over time will eventually define who I am. I’ve never afraid to take a leadership role, I believe in my ideas and take responsibility for my outcomes.
What are the toughest challenges you face?
It is always difficult to stay up to date with the demands of International trade around you because it is constantly evolving and changing on a global level. Keep learning and pay attention. One cannot be out of step with today and expect to be the innovator of tomorrow as innovation is the key to future success. Innovation is expected of leadership and keeping a step ahead of others is one of the toughest challenges I face every day.
What advice would you give someone seeking a career in your field?
– There are traditional paths to International Trade or business and you can follow those. But do not discount an untraditional path. Degrees in, International Relations, Political Science, International Commerce, are all traditional pathways to International Trade but so can be business, sales and marketing, law, transportation, communications, logistics, banking, web design, and e-commerce.
– International Trade is a two way street. Both sides must feel they are winning in order for there to be longevity in the trade relationship.
– Just because others speak a different language does not mean they do not understand you. So be humble and respectful at all times.
– “You can’t teach what you don’t know and you can’t lead where you don’t go. There is no substitute for developing your mind” …Jesse Jackson
How do you see the future of the profession? What are the positions in this field with the most potential for growth?
The International Trade field is wide open. In the United States, for example, less than 1% of the manufactures in the U.S. engage in exports. However, to grow their market share, exports are the largest potential market expansion. Global e-commerce is growing so rapidly that companies like Amazon, e-bay, and Alibaba are teaching the world how to reach these foreign markets through the internet. So if you are into web design, shipping, logistics, international law, business consulting, more companies globally are going to need people with the knowledge and expertise to help them grow their company in all world markets.