Project Description

Amy Grat

What was your career path?

I was the daughter of a teacher and a nurse and so it was in my nature to help and teach. A “make the world a better place” profession was also appealing. I worked in a nonprofit focused on economic development and was inspired by the mission of ITEP. I started off here as a volunteer which, if you want a job in the non-profit sector, is a really important first step. All my experiences in ITEP since then have developed into a deeper love of and commitment to the organization. I joined the Board of Directors and jumped at the opportunity to lead ITEP as CEO when the time was right. It was been the best job I’ve ever had. I’m excited to go to work on a Monday morning!

Did you have any relevant experience or training?

In my previous position, I had worked in fundraising and was able to transfer over my experience to help ITEP at a time when the organization was smaller. They needed help putting on fundraiser events and getting corporate sponsorships so I started calling people, asking them to sponsor a table at the ITEP dinner. Back in 2007, this was a smaller affair than it is today.

What personal qualities have helped you become successful?

I am fundamentally committed to delivering on what I promise – I don’t oversell, I deliver. And I expect the same of every employee I hire. A job in international trade is no different than in the nonprofit sector. The qualties that make you successful are: having a results-oriented attitude and taking responsibility for the success of your work. It all starts with showing up.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Opening of the students’ eyes and minds and, by extension, the doors to opportunity in international trade. Witnessing the progress of a freshman that joins one of our programs, then works with a mentor as sophomore, and develop themselves professionally and personally is very rewarding. It comes down to working with students and giving them the tools to be successful in their career.

What advice would you give someone seeking a career in your field?

Wanting to make the world a better place is not exclusive to working in international trade. You just need to find the right organizations and volunteer. There are a lot of nonprofits that deal try to bring people from all over the world together and work to create a global mindset through different programs and opportunities. There will always be a need for education, training and mentoring. Your future is worldwide if you can see it.